FONTANA, Calif. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Timmy Hill Motorsports/iRacing.com photo —
For a team that has had immense turmoil over the past two weeks, David Comstock finally brought newly-rebranded Timmy Hill Motorsports (THM) some much needed stability and a spark of momentum on Monday night.
Comstock made a thrilling charge on a green-white-checkered finish to Monday night’s =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series Auto Club 180, driving around Harrison Widelitz exiting turn four coming to the white flag and holding on for his first FTCS victory of the season as chaos behind the lead pack brought out a race-ending caution just 50 yards from the start-finish line.
The win was the second of Comstock’s FTCS career and gives him a solid foothold in the Full Throttle Chase Grid after five races.
“It’s been a lot of adversity the last couple of weeks,” said Comstock of the break-up of what was Cody Byus Racing. “I didn’t think it was going to be in that way, but the four of us here in =RSR= — myself, Brennan [Mercer], Shawn [Breitzman] and Brian [Macklin] — all came together and said we were going to keep on keeping on. We did that tonight.”
“This is a huge win. It’s my home track, it’s the home track for Monster Energy and Garry Mercer Trucking has an office just across from the track, so it’s a big night all the way around.”
Knowing that had he crossed under the flagstand, the leaders would have raced it back to the finish, Comstock was grateful to catch a lucky break — only leading the final two laps en route to victory lane.
“I knew I had to get around the leaders as fast as possible,” Comstock explained. “I knew if the yellow came out, that was the race — luckily it came just after we had gotten the lead and we were able to hold on and get a trophy.”
The race ran green for the first 73 laps before a a crash on the backstretch that involved Garrett Atwell, John Abbott and Corbin Himstreet slowed the pace for the first time all night and brought the leaders down for a late-race set of tires. While William Kempf stayed out to assume the lead on 25 lap old Goodyears, three drivers — Harrison Widelitz, Brian Macklin and Thomas George — gambled on a two-tire strategy (as opposed to Comstock and others, who took four) to try and steal a checkered flag.
It almost paid off for Widelitz, who took the lead on the lap 83 restart and looked set to be able to hold serve when a caution came out the next lap for Mitch Rollo, David Lanza and Sean Casto sliding at the exit of turn two — freezing the field for one final two-lap dash.
Widelitz’s moment in the sun was ultimately not to be, but the sim-racing veteran was still pleased with his third-place result as a fill-in for former series champion Landon Harrison.
“I’m really proud [of our run],” Widelitz said. “When I was told Landon needed a sub again after I did the same thing last week and got crashed out at Phoenix, I said, ‘Thank God, I get a chance to redeem myself.'”
“It was a really fun race, even though I really used up the right front tire. I knew on that late-race caution I had to roll the dice if I even wanted a shot at winning, so we took that chance and it didn’t quite pay off, but it’s still a solid night nevertheless.”
Dwayne Vincent, who also got around Widelitz to finish second to Comstock, was disgusted with the final caution — leaving him robbed of a shot at victory and forced to settle as the bridesmaid for the second consecutive week.
“[I’d be able to get to Victory Lane] if these fools would stop bringing out late race cautions,” Vincent said. “It’s just frustrating. We had one of the fastest cars in the field tonight and to not be able to put it on top is tough to swallow.”
Stefan Marinak, driving a pink Cinderella-themed car as the loser of a Wolfpack team bet from Phoenix, finished fourth and Macklin gave THM two cars in the top five with a fifth-place effort.
Vincent and One Up Motorsports teammate Adam Benefiel dominated the evening, with the pair combining to lead 47 of the event’s 90 laps (39 by Benefiel and 8 by Vincent), but late-race connection issues dropped Benefiel from the top ten out of the sim — and subsequently out of a shot at victory lane. Benefiel would finish 38th, four laps down.
It was also a tough night for polesitter Thomas George, who started up front and led the first 15 laps of the event, but self-spun off the exit of turn two after his two-tire gamble late in the race and wound up 31st.
In all, the lead changed hands twelve times, including three times during a green-flag pit sequence at halfway, between nine different drivers.
The =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series returns to action on Monday, March 30 at Martinsville Speedway for the Garry Mercer Trucking 200. Coverage begins live at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on LSRTV.
Audio with race-winner David Comstock:
Audio with runner-up Dwayne Vincent:
Audio with third-place Harrison Widelitz:
RESULTS: =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series; Auto Club 180; Auto Club Speedway; Fontana, Calif.; March 24, 2015
- David Comstock
- Dwayne Vincent
- Harrison Widelitz (subbing for Landon Huffman)
- Stefan Marinak
- Brian Macklin
- Jeff Ward
- C.J. LaVair
- Dan Murray
- Nick Silver
- Bobby Terrell (subbing for Kevin Linden)
- William Kempf
- Nicholas Kohan
- Eric Brundies
- Chad Coleman (subbing for Jimmie North)
- Scott Simley
- Chad Cole
- Johnathon Caddell
- Nathan Little
- Brennan Mercer
- Steve Gottschalk
- David Lanza
- Joey Gattina
- Steve Ritter
- Glenn Campbell
- Mark Bratcher
- Jose Gonzalez
- Scott Stenzel
- Corbin Himstreet
- Bryan Harvey
- John Abbott
- Thomas George
- Sean Casto
- Garrett Atwell
- Doug Roth
- L.D. Sarabia
- Rich Jette
- Rett McBride
- Adam Benefiel
- Shawn Breitzman
- Mitch Rollo
- Brandon Peterson
- Keith Brooks Jr.
- Greg Evans (DNS)