DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Ian Plasch/DeadZone Racing photo —
Sophomore NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series powered by iRacing driver Allen Boes scored arguably the biggest win of his still-young career at the top level of sim-racing on Tuesday night, as he drove to victory in the seventh annual PEAK Daytona 250 over a stacked field at the ‘World Center of Racing’.
Boes made the pass for the win on lap 91 and led the final 10 laps en route to his second career NPAS triumph, but it was a strategy call by spotter Ian Plasch and crew chief Huston Hamer to stay out and conserve fuel when the lead pack pitted with 20 circuits remaining that ultimately shuffled him to the front.
“We were going to pit — Huston had actually called for him to pit, but when he got stuck on the outside of Kevin King, we told him to screw (the plan) and stay out to conserve fuel,” Plasch admitted post-race. “We knew it was close but we knew (Allen) had been saving fuel the entire run and we figured it might be just crazy enough to work.”
And work it did, as Boes stayed out along with then-race leader Brandon Schmidt, P.J. Stergios and Corey Vincent trying to stretch the gas tank all the way to the end — a move that was aided by a caution with six laps to go that set up a green-white-checkered finish after a slow David Rattler mis-timed his blend into the pack and sparked a six-car crash collecting Josh Berry, Michael Conti, reigning champion Kenny Humpe, Kevin King and Tyler Hudson among the victims.
From there, the two lap sprint to the checkered flag was halted by a crash coming to the white flag, seeing the field frozen and Boes claim the checkers under caution as Taylor Hurst went flipping back in the pack.
“Man, I tell you what … the last few laps of that race — between saving fuel, trying to make it to the end, and then with that [last] caution coming out — it was crazy,” Boes said in victory lane. “It was a little bit disappointing (to have to go through another restart); I didn’t know what was going to happen when we got up to speed, I just knew that it made us good (to the end) on fuel. Luckily it happened the way it did and it all worked out.”
“The guys at DeadZone (Racing) — Ian and Huston, especially — they did an awesome job calling the shots and making the strategy work out tonight. I was a little nervous there for a while, because we were extremely close, but I was content to take my chances going for the win and we got it in a big way. It’s huge to win one at Daytona and I’m going to remember it for a while to come.”
The TEAM’s Justin Bolton started on the pole and showed that the bottom was the place to be early, leading the first nine laps before his teammate Cody Byus zipped around the outside with a push from Blake Bryant. Byus would then make it 11 more laps dominated by the reigning championship team before series veteran Nick Ottinger appeared in the battle at lap 22 to assume the race lead.
That would spark a series of 11 lead changes over a 16-lap span — seeing names including Boes, Ottinger, Ray Alfalla, Nathan Wise, Tyler Hudson and Ryan Lowe all take turns at the point — before green-flag pit stops would cycle through and pass the torch to Slip Angle Motorsports’ Bryan Blackford on the 37th round.
Blackford would dominate the lead pack for the next eight circuits before the Menards Chevrolet of Chris Overland used a well-timed push by 2013 champion Hudson to move out front and lead for the first time at lap 45. While Hudson would sneak by at the stripe on the next time around, once Overland re-assumed the top spot on lap 47 he would hold it until the first caution on the night flew with 51 circuits complete — ending a streak that saw the entire first half of the race run uninterrupted.
The yellow flew as a result of problems for Bryan Blackford, who came to a dead stop in the tri-oval and collected both Dylan Jones and Matt Bussa in the process. With the slowdown, all of the race leaders came down pit road for service and when the green flag flew again it was Hudson leading the field and looking to break his NPAS drought with a trip to victory lane.
Boes would make his push toward the front work on lap 60 when he snuck around Hudson with a push from P.J. Stergios, but a sequence of four more lead changes in the next five laps would see Byus return to the lead conversation and settle the field out behind him until lap 71, when Hudson got a massive run up the outside to spark a furious scramble for the point.
The next time around would see a four-wide dice in turn three and Conti escape with the lead for the first time all night long — the 2014 champion would hold the position until his final pit stop at lap 81 which set the fuel-saving strategy for Boes, Schmidt and the others into motion.
Schmidt nearly had a chance to steal the win away as well, having a huge run up the outside and nearly drawing even with Boes moments before the final caution flag came out to end the race — the sudden chaos seeing Schmidt bounce off the wall moments after the caution came out, but holding onto his position when all was said and done.
All told, the NPAS veteran took a lot of positives away from a strong second-place run to open his 2016 season.
“I really thought I was going to be able to get Allen, but the caution came out just a little too soon,” Schmidt said. “He came down a little to block and slow my momentum — that was what got us out of shape — but I was able to hang onto it and it’s a great way to kick off the season.”
“My previous best at Daytona was somewhere around 14th, so this is huge in terms of improvement for me personally, and a big building block that we can use going forward. Hopefully we can keep knocking off consistent top fives and top 10s, and put ourselves solidly in the points here over the course of the first part of the season.”
Vincent, Timmy Hill and P.J. Stergios rounded out the top five, followed by Ottinger, Michael Johnson, two-time Daytona winner Alfalla, Jake Stergios and Ryan Lowe among the rest of the top 10.
Polesitter Bolton fell all the way back to 23rd by the time the checkered flag flew to end the race.
With one race officially in the books and Boes’ momentum from the NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series not having slowed at all, the series looks to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in two weeks’ time to kick off the intermediate-track portion of the schedule. Will the driver of the No. 21 Toyota make it two wins in a row to start off the year, or will former series champions like Alfalla, Hudson, Conti and reigning titlist Humpe be able to mount a charge and kick off their quests for glory and $10,000?
Find out on Tuesday, March 8 as the stars and cars of the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series powered by iRacing hit the track in the Peach State, live at 9 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and simulcast via iRacing Live, the Motor Racing Network and FansChoice.tv!
RESULTS: NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series powered by iRacing.com; PEAK Daytona 250; Daytona International Speedway; Feb. 23, 2016
- Allen Boes
- Brandon Schmidt
- Corey Wincent
- Timmy Hill
- P.J. Stergios
- Nick Ottinger
- Michael Johnson
- Ray Alfalla
- Jake Stergios
- Ryan Lowe
- Brad Mahar
- Andrew Fayash III
- Chris Overland
- Cody Byus
- Adam Gilliland
- Trey Eidson
- Shane Dougherty
- Tyler Hudson
- Ryan Borges
- Dylan Duval
- Kenny Humpe
- Thomas Davis
- Justin Bolton
- Byron Daley
- Greg McKinney
- Nick Furler
- Michael Conti
- Tyler Laughlin
- Dillon Raffurty
- Tyler Hill
- Patrick Crabtree
- Nathan Wise
- Nicholas Johnston
- Casey Tucker
- Kevin King
- Taylor Hurst
- Blake Bryant
- Josh Berry
- Alex Warren
- David Rattler
- Bryan Blackford
- Dylan Jones
- Matt Bussa
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: email@example.com
Email Race Chaser Online: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews