Alfalla finds Victory Lane at Pocono

NASCAR.com

It took eight races and a lucky break, but Ray Alfalla is finally back in the NASCAR iRacing.com Series World Championship victory lane. Alfalla survived the early carnage and took advantage of a huge mistake by Nick Ottinger with 11 laps to go en route to his win at Pocono Raceway.

It looked as if Ottinger had sealed-up the win when he passed Alfalla with 20 laps remaining, but Alfalla tried his best to keep the pressure on. With 11 laps to go, Ottinger pushed it a little too hard and slid into the wall on the exit of Turn Three, allowing Alfalla to retake the lead. Ottinger quickly tried to close back in, but a yellow flag would trap him in second position and set up a three-lap shootout.

On the restart, Alfalla got a great jump on Ottinger but third place driver Robert Hall got an even better start than Alfalla and drove it hard down into Turn One on the outside of the race leader. Hall almost cleared Alfalla on the outside, but the two made slight contact entering the corner. The contact was enough to send Hall spinning and the rest of the field scrambling to miss him. Not everyone was so lucky and it resulted in a spectacular crash that saw Brian Schoenburg, who was second in the points coming into Pocono, fly over the Turn One wall and out of the race track.

The yellow flag flew with Alfalla in the lead, just in front of Ottinger and the race would not be restarted. Polesitter Carson McClelland hung around the front all race long and ended up third. Brandon Kettelle finished fourth ahead of Joey Brown and Steve Sheehan.

Alfalla was thrilled to be back in victory lane. "I wasn't sure what to expect going into the race, but the car ended up being pretty awesome," he said. "Nick and I had a great battle at the end, which I really enjoyed."

He also expressed remorse for his part in the contact with Hall. "I hate that Robert and I made contact on the final restart, as I wasn't trying to do anything out of the ordinary into the turn," explained Alfalla.

Ottinger, while obviously disappointed he let what would have been his fourth win of the season slip through his grasp, kept a positive outlook. "Had a good points night, I'm semi-disappointed with the outcome because of how I just gave it away," he said. "It was shaping out to be a good finish and I know myself and Ray would have put on a great show."

The first third of the online race was marred by crashes that resulted in more than a dozen cars receiving heavy damage. There were six cautions before Lap 35, most caused by overaggressive driving on restarts. Drivers who had the best pit strategy and stayed out front were the ones in best position to avoid the mess and come away with a good finish.

After the sixth caution, the next 55 laps went green. Hall led the first part of the run, but was passed after the conclusion of green flag pit stops as Alfalla came out of the pits with a two second gap back to Ottinger due to pitting a few laps earlier. However, Ottinger made the most of his slightly fresher tires and faster car, allowing him to close-in quickly on the two time champion to set up the duel for the win.

With both Schoenburg and Marcus Lindsey having poor results, the points standings have been shaken up once again. Tyler Hudson still leads the standings despite an 11th-place finish and now enjoys a 23 point cushion over Ottinger. Second through fifth in the standings is incredibly tight. Third-placed Alfalla is just two points behind Ottinger and a single point ahead of Schoenburg, who slipped to fourth after a rough race. Marcus Lindsey rounds out the top five, just two points back of Schoenburg. The top five are well clear of sixth on back, with a 32-point gap separating fifth and the sixth-placed Peter Bennett.

After the carnage at Pocono, the NiSWC shifts back to a mile and a half track with Kentucky Speedway playing host to Week Nine of the season. Kentucky marks the end of the first half of the season and it is safe to say the top five in the standings still have a great shot at a title.

Ottinger and Alfalla look ready to square-off for another victory but do not forget Brown, who has shown speed all season at the 1.5 mile tracks. Hudson, despite being the series points leader, is still looking for his first NiSWC victory and is one to keep an eye on as well. Check out the action under the lights at Kentucky in two weeks' time on iRacingLive and MRN.com!

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        Average Lap Time Laps Completed Cautions Caution Laps Lead Changes        
        1:14.655 200 8 29 11        
Fin Pos Driver Start Pos Car # Status Interval
Laps Led
Average Lap Time
Fastest Lap Time Fast Lap #
Laps Comp
Pts
Status
1 Ray Alfalla 9 2 0 0 49 01:14.8 54.089 11 100 48 Running
2 Nick Ottinger 8 5 0 -0.195 9 01:14.7 53.993 71 100 43 Running
3 Carson McClelland 1 24 0 -0.72 10 01:14.3 53.948 2 100 42 Running
4 Brandon Kettelle 24 80 0 -59.15 0 01:15.2 54.147 69 100 40 Running
5 Joey Brown 13 12 0 -1.438 0 01:14.7 54.129 11 100 39 Running
6 Steve Sheehan 21 6 0 -1.864 0 01:14.7 54.118 71 100 38 Running
7 Paul Kusheba 5 32 0 -2.341 0 01:14.7 54.046 2 100 37 Running
8 Byron Daley 6 93 0 -2.704 0 01:14.7 54.057 68 100 36 Running
9 Dustin Montgomery 16 8 0 -3.401 0 01:14.7 54.176 39 100 35 Running
10 Chad J Laughton 26 26 0 -4.305 0 01:14.7 54.238 71 100 34 Running
11 Tyler D Hudson 14 1 0 -4.893 0 01:13.9 54.09 2 100 33 Running
12 Jason Karlavige 32 60 0 -5.774 0 01:14.7 54.082 71 100 32 Running
13 Chad Coleman 31 28 0 -6.369 0 01:14.2 54.456 70 100 31 Running
14 Jake Stergios 25 41 0 -6.824 3 01:14.4 54.013 68 100 31 Running
15 Derek Crone 19 7 0 -7.211 0 01:14.7 54.359 39 100 29 Running
16 Matt Bussa 22 34 0 -7.803 1 01:14.7 54.395 73 100 29 Running
17 Brandon Schmidt 33 3 0 -8.713 0 01:14.7 54.514 69 100 27 Running
18 Brad Davies 41 11 0 -9.023 0 01:14.7 54.39 40 100 26 Running
19 Alex Warren 27 82 0 -36.221 0 01:14.2 54.289 71 100 25 Running
20 Landon Harrison 39 89 0 -37.113 0 01:15.0 54.167 72 100 24 Running
21 Michael J Johnson 35 39 0 -37.548 0 01:14.6 54.279 71 100 23 Running
22 Bryan Blackford 42 33 0 -38.18 0 01:13.4 54.477 69 100 22 Running
23 Marcus Lindsey 2 1 0 -38.816 0 01:15.1 53.882 2 100 21 Running
24 Josh Berry 43 91 0 -3.976 0 01:14.7 54.201 72 100 20 Running
25 Cyril Nousbaum 11 99 0 -1 L 0 01:14.5 54.429 4 99 19 Running
26 Rob Ackley 37 22 0 -1 L 0 01:15.6 55.066 2 99 18 Running
27 Peter Bennett 3 69 0 -1 L 0 01:15.2 54.006 2 99 17 Running
28 Brian Schoenburg 23 55 0 -2 L 0 01:13.5 54.092 11 98 16 Running
29 Robert Hall 15 30 32 -3 L 28 01:14.2 54.059 39 97 16 Disconnected
30 Joshua Laughton 4 40 0 -4 L 0 01:15.7 53.998 2 96 14 Running
31 Danny Hansen 36 20 0 -7 L 0 01:17.8 54.636 2 93 13 Running
32 Casey Malone 30 92 32 -19 L 0 01:08.9 54.674 2 81 12 Disconnected
33 Landon Huffman 29 75 32 -32 L 0 01:15.2 54.701 62 68 11 Disconnected
34 Michael Conti 10 5 32 -33 L 0 01:17.2 54.028 3 67 10 Disconnected
35 Kevin King 18 29 32 -38 L 0 01:18.1 54.376 4 62 9 Disconnected
36 Jon Adams 38 84 32 -51 L 0 01:27.0 54.709 2 49 8 Disconnected
37 John Gorlinsky 34 21 32 -57 L 0 01:32.4 54.3 3 43 7 Disconnected
38 Adam Gilliland 17 81 0 -59 L 0 01:29.9 54.604 4 41 6 Running
39 Thomas Lewandowski 28 16 32 -73 L 0 01:33.5 54.735 3 27 5 Disconnected
40 Carson Downs 40 97 0 -78 L 0 01:29.4 54.763 5 22 4 Running
41 Cody Byus 7 27 32 -79 L 0 01:29.2 54.351 3 21 3 Disconnected
42 Richard Dusett 12 96 32 -79 L 0 01:29.2 54.275 2 21 2 Disconnected
43 Patrick Baldwin 20 52 0 -87 L 0 01:13.3 54.484 5 13 1 Running

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