Paul Pepper had been missing for a month and was nowhere to be seen except for the occasional sighting here and there. Rumors of an engagement and a brand new red truck dominated the news concerning the Loud Pedal Motorsports driver, but Pepper would change that quickly when he showed up out of nowhere to grab his first victory of the season Thursday night in the PRL Patriot Fire Series. Starting 10th, Pepper would only lead 18 laps all night but those were enough to grab the surprise win after staying out on older tires to gain much needed track position.
“We are going to be drinking a bunch of beer tonight!” Pepper said from victory lane. “Not really sure why we decided to stay out there, but enough people stayed out with us to give us the cushion we needed from the guys on new tires, I’m so pumped right now I can’t believe it worked”. Pepper went on to thank his teammates on Loud Pedal Motorsports for talking him into starting from the high line on the last restart and being supportive during the race.
Nick Kohan would finish in second after starting in 25th on the night. “I don’t know how we managed to finish so well after the start of this thing, we got a speeding penalty too so I think we were dead last at one point, but we just stayed out of trouble most of the night”. When asked about the difficulty of passing on the hot track “Man, it was really difficult to pass once the track got hot, it was slick all day long, you’re used to running it at night and having more grip so it was a real challenge out there today”. Kohan hopes to build off his great finish early in the year at Daytona next week at another plate track Talladega.
Tim Johnston finished third in the race, driving up from a 24th starting positon. It was Johnston’s best finish of the season and although he was not available for an interview after the race we are positive he was excited about his performance for the night.
The 200 lap race was slowed 13 times for 61 laps and the passing was definitely difficult on the slick surface. Short tempers from the week prior spilled over and should only increase the bumping next week when the series does some plate racing. The race marked the first event of the summer segment that will include just about everything from plate tracks to road courses and everything in between. Each segment consists of 12 races and there is a season championship that will continue throughout all three segments.
The PRL Patriot Fire Cup Series heads to the Talladega Superspeedway next for the Steel Horse Racing 250 on Thursday, May 25th at 9:00 p.m. EST. As with every PRL Patriot Fire Cup Series race, the action can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel and the IRacing live stream. For more information on the PRL Patriot Fire Cup Series or the Premier Racing League, visit http://www.premierracingleague.com/
MARTINSVILLE – Josh Skroupa was able to avoid most of the carnage at the paperclip and drive to victory lane for his second victory of the season Thursday night in the Premier Racing League Patriot Fire Cup Series. Starting from the NP3 Designs pole, Skroupa battled with several drivers all night trying to maintain track position at the Virginia track, but would lead the majority of laps and ultimately take home the grandfather clock.
“I just bought a house, I could use a clock” Skroupa said from victory lane. “It really got exciting there at the end, once the track got rubbered in it got really difficult to get around, Ricky Hardin raced me hard all night really clean so I gotta give him a shout out for the good racing between us”. Skroupa went on to thank Tommy Rhyne for talking him into his return to the Premier Racing League and that he was looking forward to the summer segment.
Drew Carroll would bring his #87 Clipping the Apex Ford home in second. Carroll or “Mr. Excitement” had been the source of some attention by fellow driver James Krahula when Krahula painted his car to look like the #87 but sponsored by a scud missile. “Yea I don’t have any comment on that, I wasn’t trying to really get into anyone tonight but I seemed to catch a couple guys at bad spots in the corner because of my line, so I gotta apologize to those guys for the contact”. When asked if he thought he had a shot at the victory “No, I actually had some damage like everyone else out here but it is what it is, didn’t make any friends but we will move on to Richmond and take it from there”. Carroll hopes to continue his momentum next week at Richmond.
Nick Kohan emerged as the surprise big winner of the evening after he pulled out the Spring Championship in exciting fashion. “The Rolling Rock is definitely going to be flowing around here tonight boys, man I still can’t believe we won it!”, said Kohan who would end up in a tie with Tommy Rhyne at the end of the segment but was named the champion due to his lone victory of the season at Phoenix as the tie breaker, “I thought the officials were wrong or maybe Steve Harvey was announcing it”.
Tommy Rhyne came home third in the race but was more frustrated with losing the segment championship tie breaker. Tommy tried to snatch the victory at Martinsville with some last minute risky strategy of staying out on nearly 90 lap old tires with only 3 laps to go in the event. The move nearly paid off as the final caution would fly in the first turn of the restart but Skroupa had managed to already pass him on the fresher rubber. “Just frustrated that we let it slip away from us, I keep thinking about what if I had just gotten one more point somewhere, a position here or there, or one bonus point and we have that championship, just goes to show you how important every single position s out here week in and week out” an exhausted Rhyne would say after the event.
The 300 lap event was slowed 12 times for 57 laps and the normal fireworks at a small track certainly flew. Lots of door slamming and short tempers flared as they normally do here at Martinsville. At the end of the race there were not a lot of cars without signs of hard racing being easily identified. At least one driver had to be parked as a result of incidents on the track and others saw the race as a chance to rectify previous injustices. The new “race others how you want to be raced” rule was certainly in effect and being utilized.
Brian Yaczik would finish third in the segment standings with his late push. Brian certainly looks to stay in contention as the summer segment begins and for the season long standings. Tyler Dalton and Bob Bryant would round out the top five in the standings for the Spring Championship. Each segment consists of 12 races and there is a season championship that will continue throughout all three segments.
The Premier Racing League Patriot Fire Cup Series starts the summer segment and heads to the Richmond International Raceway next for the Commonwealth 200 on Thursday, May 18th at 9:00 p.m. EST. As with every Patriot Fire Cup Series race, the action can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel and the iRacing live stream. For more information on the Patriot Fire Cup Series or the Premier Racing League, visit http://www.premierracingleague.com/
Sparta – Jeff Ward came into the race leading the points, and still with only 1 win on the season back in Auto Club. Consistently picking up the most halfway bonus points was the key to his early season points lead. He got a good look at the field as he put his #89 Ford Mustang on pole by a scarce .009 over Tyler Dalton.
The race started out a little choppy, as two early cautions slowed the pace of the field down. Jeff Ward was staying out front after fighting off challenges from Tyler Dalton and Drew Carroll. Jeff showed why he was able to grab that early season points lead with the early pace of his race.
Scott Eckrich, and Brian Yaczik both started out back. Scott’s car was found with two tires leaking air, and had to start at the back, Yaczik didn’t complete a lap. Both cars didn’t stay back in the back very long. Through a few pit stops and strategy, they were able to work their way up to the top 5 as the race progressed.
A caution flag flew on lap 31, which sent all the field down to pit road.
After the caution was withdrawn, and the Green fell back into the air. Jeff Ward, Drew Carroll and Scott Eckrich maintained a stranglehold on the front of the field. Swapping the lead of the race amongst themselves for the remainder of the event.
A late race caution with 6 laps to go set the field onto pit road one final time. Eckrich took 2 tires because of overshooting his pit stall, and the rest of the field took 4 fresh tires.
On the restart, Ward was able to maintain his 2nd position, as Eckrich found 2 tires to be entirely too loose. Coming out of turn 2 Ward sailed by Eckrich and never looked back to pick up his 2nd win on the season.
Yaczik finished p2, with Tyler Dalton in 3rd, Drew Carroll 4th, and Kevin Pearson rounding out the top 5.
The Sim Racing Apps Grand National series wraps up segment 1 next week on the road course of Mid Ohio.
jeff Ward grew his points lead to 9 over Yaczik with the Segment 1 finale next week at Mid Ohio.