SPEEDWAY, IN – Race report by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell — Slip Angle Motorsports photo – The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series (NPAS) powered by iRacing.com witnessed a former champion reignite his pursuit towards a third crown after returning to Victory Lane for the first time since 2013 at Michigan International Speedway in dominant fashion.
Two-time NPAS champion Ray Alfalla led 40 laps of 100 in the Brickyard 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, marking his second straight season kissing the bricks and earning Slip Angle Motorsports their first career win.
“Racing at the Brickyard is always fun,” Alfalla explained once climbing from his machine in Victory Lane. “It’s one of the tracks that I most enjoy racing at. It feels great to win at a track and event like this.”
“And this Slip Angle Motorsports team is brand-new. We just formed this season. Lisa Pineda being the team owner got Byron Daley, Bryan Blackford and I together (as teammates). It’s been a rocky start but I’m glad all of us finished right up there in the top six (at Indy).”
Seeking his third NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series championship (and his first since 2012), Alfalla retakes the points lead with five rounds remaining in the season by just a two point advantage over JScho Motorsports’ Michael Conti.
“It’s been an up and down season,” Alfalla expressed “Our worst finish is 21st, which isn’t to bad. We haven’t finished (as high) as I’ve wanted us to. We’ve kinda turned around though. We’ve gotten help from a bunch of different people. And Tuesday night was the end result of that hard work.
“I think we are in contention (for the championship). I’m the points leader. Next race is a road course (Watkins Glen) which should change things up a bit. We just have to take advantage of over people’s misfortune or mistakes. There’s still five races left, which is a lot of time.”
Alfalla coasted to the winner’s circle but not without a challenge from sophomore driver and eventual second-place finisher Chad Laughton. Due to the long green flag runs Laughton’s bid for a second-career win was denied in the end.
“(Chad) Laughton’s car was strong on the short runs,” Alfalla commented about the duel with Laughton. “His car was a little tighter then mine, which is why he was a little faster then mine on the shorter runs. I knew if I was ahead on the final run that he would tighten up and I would be able to get ahead. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Chris Overland laid in the weeds throughout the race, finishing a quiet but consistent third place – a run that he hopes to duplicate throughout the remaining five races in order to return to contention in the championship hunt.
“I was proud of my third place finish,” a content Overland stated post-race. “I’ll admit that I wanted more then that, but when it comes down to it you can’t ever be disappointed with third. I made a big jump in the points. And I’m still in the hunt with five races to go. (This run) was exactly what the No. 47 team needed going into Watkins Glen.”
Rookie Overland also recognized that Alfalla’s win in Indianapolis should frighten the field heading down the stretch and proves that his organization will need to step it up to contend with the two-time champion.
“There’s nothing you can do about Ray (Alfalla),” Overland explained. “Ray is good on his own. You can race him straight up and he’ll find a way to get around you. Ray’s always a contender and there’s nothing that I can do about that. The main thing I can do is capitalize when he makes a mistake.”
“Ray Alfalfa is one of the best, if not the best sim racer. And when it comes down to it, I almost have nothing for him unless I put 100 percent in.”
The 250-mile event displayed two caution periods – once for Mitchell Hunt’s machine having electrical issues forcing him to slow on the racetrack at Lap 12 and then the final caution occurred on Lap 20 when Alex Scribner looped around exiting Turn 2 forcing the field to slow.
Nick Ottinger also had issues on Lap 17 when he made contact with the outside wall forcing him to retire at Lap 98 which resulted in a 31st place finish. He now sits fourth in the points standings, 21 markers behind leader Alfalla.
The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series’ returns to the racetrack on August 13th for their debut road course event at Watkins Glen International Raceway, a race expected to provide unexpected drama and a shakeup in the championship standings.
Audio with race winner Ray Alfalla:
Audio with 3rd-place Chris Overland: