News & Media

Allen wins iRacing season opener at Daytona

February 29, 2012, Jason Lofing, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Jeremy Allen (Indianapolis, Ind.) was in the right place at the right time at the virtual Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday night. As a result, he took home the victor's spoils (including $500 in cash) from the opening round of the 2012 NASCAR Series World Championship after scoring a narrow win over Robert Hall (Hampton, Ga.) and Richie Davidowitz (Holbrook, N.Y.).

Allen's win capped an action-filled race that saw no fewer than 18 drivers swapping the lead a total of 45 times during the 100-lap race. In the end, Allen squeezed ahead of Hall, Davidowitz and Patrick Baldwin (Torrington, Conn.) on a Lap 97 restart. Baldwin and Davidowitz got together in Turn 4, sparking a multi-car melee with Allen crossing the line inches ahead of Hall as the yellow flag waved effectively sealing the victory.

The race marked the start of the third season of the NASCAR Series World Championship, with 50 sim racers competing in the 17-race season for their share of the $19,000 championship purse including a check for $500 to the Daytona winner. NASCAR Pro Series winner Alex Warren (Naperville, Ill.) headlined several newcomers ready to challenge the likes of defending series champion Ray Alfalla (Cape Coral, Fla.) and 2010 titlist Richard Towler (Newcastle, England) in the quest for the online racing championship.

At the beginning of the race however, it looked as though the JR Motorsports cars were the ones to beat. In fact, they swept the top-four qualifying positions with Thomas Lewandowski (Buffalo, N.Y.) winning the pole by a .003 second margin over teammate Steve Sheehan (Schenectady, N.Y.) with Derek Wood (Lincoln, Neb.) and Alfalla making-up Row 2. When the green flew, the four quickly paired-up and tried to control the early part of the race. All that changed when Wood's engine suddenly expired on Lap 8, breaking-up the foursome and bringing many other drivers into the mix up front.

Wood's demise so early in the race seemed to calm the whole pack down and many drivers looked content to ride it out until the final few laps. The battle for first was still fierce throughout though, with the lead constantly changing hands during the race. Pit strategy came into play just 16 laps into the race when Davies and Josh Parker (Cranston, R.I.) pitted in an attempt to run the race backwards, much like a road course race. They were joined on pit road by newcomers Matt Whitten (Rockridge, Va.) and Michael Conti (Woodland Park, N.J.), and the foursome attempted to gain time on the pack of cars which had not yet pitted.

The plan worked, as they built a six-second lead on the pack once everyone had completed the first of two scheduled stops. Shortly after the cycle was complete, Davies lost his drafting partner when Parker began experiencing technical difficulties at the halfway point of the race, leaving Whitten and Conti alone up front. It appeared the two would be able to fight it out for the win unchallenged, but because of their early pit stop strategy, they needed to take more fuel on the final stop of the race, enabling the pack to catch up.

The first yellow finally flew on Lap 72 when Warren tried to come to pit road and Jean Costa (Mount Pocono, Pa.) clipped him in the rear, sparking an accident resulting in serious damage to the cars of Brad Wright (High Point, N.C.) and Florian Godard (Villeneuve Saint Georges, France). This allowed many drivers who experienced problems in the pits to regain the lead lap by taking the wave around, and also bunched-up the rest of the field for the final run to the finish. Now, it was 'go' time.

On the restart, drivers quickly paired-off in tandems, attempting to get to the lead and away from the pack. The yellow flew for a second time on Lap 83 when Godard could not keep his damaged car on the apron and slid up into traffic in Turn 3, sparking a multi-car incident that damaged many cars including Alfalla's Impala.

That set up a restart on Lap 87, with Conti and Whitten still holding first and second positions, respectively. The two pushed clear of the pack, but had to switch positions with nine laps remaining. In the process, they were swallowed-up by the pack behind them with Allen emerging in the lead. The yellow flew again on the next lap, this time for a crash on the back straightaway which sent Thomas Hazard (Rochester, Minn.) for a wild ride on his roof and collected a half dozen more cars.

The race thus came down to a three-lap shootout, and who could push the best when it counted the most. As the field took the green, the two lead cars in the tandems, Allen and Hall, stayed neck and neck through Turns 1 and 2 with helpful pushes from Davidowitz and Baldwin. By the time the pairs got to Turn 4, they were still dead even when the pushers (Davidowitz and Baldwin) got together. Baldwin went up the track, disconnecting from Hall and triggering a pileup in his wake with Allen inching ahead of Hall as the caution flew, effectively ending the race.

With his win, Allen earned $500 cash for his effort, while Hall collected $250 in iRacing credit as the runner-up. Davidowitz finished third, ahead of Conti fourth with Baldwin slipping to fifth. Sixth was Whitten ahead of JRM teammates Towler, John Gorlinksy (Manasquan, N.J.) and pole-sitter Lewandowski, while Brian Shoenburg (Moorpark Calif.) rebounded from his early crash damage to complete the top 10.

Week Two brings the series to its annual stop in Phoenix International Raceway for some flat-track racing action. Kevin King (Sammamish, Wash.) won the Phoenix race last year and will be looking to improve on his 25th-place showing at Daytona, while Allen and the rest of the front runners in the points look for another solid run to build some early season momentum. Who will conquer The Valley of the Sun? Find out in two weeks on's broadcast of Round Two of the 2012 NASCAR Series World Championship.