The 5th race of Season 4 of our Nascar Heat League had the crew turning right for the only time this season, as the drivers wheeled and deal’d around Watkins Glen International for just the 4th road course race in League history. We would crown a new road course king with this race as the 3 previous road course winners [Mitchell Riggs (MitchMan009), Peirce Jackson (El_Majacko), and Sean Ryan (Sean420Cali)], would not be in attendance tonight.
For the 2nd race in a row, Jake Giroux (JakeGirouX24) took the Pole, and the track record at Watkins Glen, with a 1:07.955. It was the first time a driver has broken the 1:08 mark in the League, and he would break it again in the race. Charles Sumner (Hootius), Michael Caterino (vWardude), Nick Michaud (NickCM12), and Kyle Spencer (KDawgHonda777) rounded out the Top 5.
Before we start the recap, kudos again have to go out to the whole League for this race. Like last week at Martinsville, the crew tackled Watkins Glen with a lot of action, but NO YELLOWS!!!!!!! This is the first time in League history that we have raced back-to-back races caution free. Hats off to everyone.
As the field took the Green, we had an intense battle in Turn 1. Jake and Charles battled side by side until Charles had some wheel spin on the outside curbing and had to correct the car. This allowed Jake to pull out to an early lead, Kyle to take 2nd, and Randal Sparks (Setx_90) to jump up in 3rd (who gained 4 positions in the first turn), with Charles and Michael right behind. Randal was the first to have a slip in the Bus-Stop. While it did not wreck out his car, the mistake dropped Randal out of the Top 5, in which he was unable to recover fully from. The 2nd slip came from Kyle as the curbing in Turn 1, of the follow lap, would knock Kyle’s car up on 2 wheels, luckily avoiding a flip. This dropped Kyle down to 5th behind Nick, in which those two drivers would hold those positions throughout the rest of the race on their way to Top 5 finishes. After Kyle’s issues, Jake wold hold a 3-4 second lead over Charles and Michael until the first round of pit stops. Charles’ crew had the fastest stop, which allowed him to be right on the tail of Jake after the pit cycle. Jake would have a slip exiting the Bus-Stop, which allowed Charles to take the lead. Charles would not look back from there and lead the final 13 of the 22 laps to claim the victory at the Glen. This was Charles’ 8th League victory, giving him sole possession of the All-Time record. In the battle for 2nd, Michael would overtake Jake on the 2nd set of pit cycles, which lead to a multi-lap battle between the two. Michael would catch a break with Jake making a mistake entering the Esses, and would use that gap to secure a runner-up finish. While Jake finished 3rd, he would also capture his 2nd Career Fastest Lap of the Race award, beating the track record he set in qualifying. Christopher Johnson (MeattyLoaf) took the Hard Charger Award for the race. Christopher started in the rear of the field after disconnecting in qualifying, but rebounded to a +6 on his way to a Top 10 finish.
Here are the Top 10 finishers from Watkins Glen:
1. Charles Sumner (Hootius) – 2nd win this Season; 8th Career win (PRL Record)
2. Micheal Caterino (vWardude) – 3rd Top 5 this Season; 31st Career Top 5 (PRL Record)
3. Jake Giroux (JakeGirouX24) – 2nd Top 5 this Season
4. Nick Michaud (NickCM12) – 3rd Top 5 this Season
5. Kyle Spencer (KDawgHonda777) – 3rd Top 5 this Season
6. Brandon Wedding (BWedding92)
7. Jake MacLeod (SassaFrass_3)
8. Randal Sparks (Setx_90)
9. Christopher Johnson (MeattyLoaf)
10. Adam Zemke (Zeke_H30)
The Driver’s Championship saw Charles Sumner (Hootius) gain an extra 5 points on the field, increasing his lead up to 13 points through 5 races. Micheal Caterino (vWardude) moved up to 2nd place in the standing after his runner up finish. Adam Zemke (Zeke_H30) dropped to 3rd, tied with Kyle Spencer (KDawgHonda777) as both drivers are now 25 points off of the lead. Nick Michaud (NickCM12) is 5th in the standings, just 5 points behind Adam and Kyle.
The Playoff Championship has a lot on the line going into the cut race at Auto Club next week. Charles has moved on to Round 3 with his win, with Michael and Kyle sitting with comfortable double digit leads over the cut line. There are 5 drivers with in a 8 point gap, all vying for the final 3 transfer spots to the Round of 8.
The Team Championship still has not seen a team breakaway yet after 5 races. Car Ramrod (Charles and Christopher) hold just a 3 point lead over defending Champs One-Two Racing (Michael and Nick). Wall Riders Inc. (Adam and Brian) had the first major hiccup of the Top 3 teams at Watkins Glen, and currently sit 31 points back of the lead.
The crew will have a tough one on their hands on Wednesday night, tackling the fast and unforgiving Auto Club Speedway in California. Feel free to join in on one of the many drivers in the League who stream their POVs on Twitch every Wednesday night at 9PM EST for all of the fast paced action.