PGRL S1 R3 Recap
01 Mar 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 1 | Round 3
Premier Series | Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Scott Eckrich with Graafix LC Motorsports took his first win of the season in the Memestonks Vegas 200 presented by SnoopDawgyDon on Twitch.tv with the Pretty Good Racing League at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ahead of his teammates Paul Pepper and Mike Rasimas making this a great night for Graafix LC Motorsports as a whole. Eckrich talked with us about the hard charge in the last few laps of the race, “We knew we were driving it super hard there. I kind of got caught up in that little melee and had to drive around it there before that long green flag run so we were about 4 seconds back from those guys. We drove the tires off that thing just to get up there and luckily… just barely managed to hang on.”
Travis McQuistion started the night leading the 35-car field to the green as last week’s winner of the “You Finished Last” pole award from the Pretty Good Racing League’s complete field inversion for each round. Paul Pepper wasted no time challenging for the lead trying to take it away from McQuistion around the outside of turns three and four on the first lap, but McQuistion was able to retain the lead as the field started to single file out and settled in for the long race. Michael Strohl and Norm Pelletier made contact battling for 12th place going through turn four on the 14th lap with Danny Gutierrez getting caught up in the middle and that sent Pelletier wide making hard impact with the outside wall, but he was able to recover and continue on in 17th as the race stayed green. Gutierrez wasn’t as fortunate as he had serious damage and was forced to pit under the green going down several laps
McQuistion and Pepper continued to battle each other with Pepper using the inside line to take the lead away on lap 24 with James Krahula and Michael Chrobok battling for 3rd close behind McQuistion. Further back in the field, Fred Thompson got loose coming out of turn four and slid up the track in the path of Norm Pelletier causing significant damage to Pelletier’s front end. Both drivers recovered from the contact and again the race stayed green as the field passed the 30-lap mark.
Brian Yaczik worked his way up through the pack making one calculated pass at a time and found himself on the rear bumper of Pepper going into lap 36. Yaczik took the inside line and battle side by side with the leader before taking the lead for himself coming out of turn four two laps later. Scott Eckrich, moving up from his 23rd place starting position, soon found his way to 2nd behind Yaczik as tire wear was showing with some of the drivers that choose to battle for position early and simply didn’t have the grip in the turns to hold Yaczik and Eckrich off after 40 laps of hard racing.
The green flag pit stops started cycling through on lap 45 as fuel became a concern. Yaczik waiting until lap 48 to come in and was able to hold the lead as he rejoined the track. Pepper had the better pit stop between the two drivers and forced Yaczik into an instant battle for the lead with Pepper able to hold Yaczik holding him off in the end. The first caution of the night came out on lap 53 when Pelletier’s unfortunate luck struck again as he upset the car coming out of turn four sending himself hard into the outside wall and coming to a stop on the front stretch. Many drivers in the back half of the field choose to use this opportunity to top off with fuel again in anticipation of another long green flag run to offset their fuel windows from the leaders.
Pepper had a good launch on the restart, but Yaczik was able to run the outside line around Pepper and take the lead away. Joe Hassert got out of shape going through turn four and went through the infield grass to recover. Hassert was able to straighten back out and rejoin the track without incident as the race stayed green. A similar situation happened for Travis McQuistion and Adam Blattel separately a few laps later, each getting loose coming out of turn four and using the infield grass to straighten back out before rejoining the track.
Eckrich took the lead away from Yaczik going into the second half of the race as several drivers started making more aggressive moves trying to advance where they could throughout the field. The 2nd caution of the evening came out on lap 66 as Adam Blattel snapped loose sending him hard into the outside wall and slid down coming to a stop on the track. Michael Strohl and Chris Davis inherited the leading row as they stayed out on the track when most of the field took the chance for another pit stop, Strohl last pitting on lap 54 and Davis on lap 44. Now on lap 71 as the green flag comes back out, Strohl held the lead as Davis was quickly falling back in the field to 6th after one lap.
The third caution of the night came out soon after that second restart as the field was getting sorted out. Scott Eckrich was forced to check up, as the leading drivers chose to stay out on older tires and were off the pace, while running 3-wide between Kevin Bartelt to his outside and Davis to his inside setting the car out of balance and began fishtailing down the straightaway. Impressively, Eckrich was able to avoid all but one other driver behind him as he was sent into the outside wall.
On the restart, Mike Rasimas was able to take the lead on the inside of Strohl as the fourth caution came out. This was another case of a driver getting loose coming out of turn four, this time being Michael Chrobok, as many drivers had experienced so far in the race. Chrobok was able to keep his car from spinning back up into traffic as he stayed low on the track giving the other drivers space to get around without incident. As the drivers lined back up, Strohl was on much older tires that the drivers around him being the only driver in the top 18 that didn’t take tires on lap 67 or later. Strohl’s last stop was on lap 54 as the green again came out on lap 82.
Pepper quickly made it around Strohl for the lead as the race resumed with several minor incidents in the field, but the green flag stayed out as all drivers were able to recover and continue on. Strohl was able to reclaim the lead from Pepper getting everything he could out of the car, but with fuel being a concern as he fuel window was much closer than the drivers around him. After a few laps, Strohl had to concede a few positions dropping back to 4th but stayed close behind Rasimas now in 3rd.
With 100 laps behind them, Yaczik continued to battle Pepper for the lead with Pepper able to hold him off lap after lap with Rasimas watching from 3rd and Strohl in 4th as 5th place and behind struggle to maintain the lead pace. With 25 laps remaining, many drivers started pitting under the green in small groups getting fuel and fresh tires shuffling the grid as most of the field were spread out around the track and on different laps. Pepper stayed out late, long after the majority of the field had taken their stops, holding the lead until finally pitting with 14 laps to go.
With 8 laps remaining in the race, the top five came down to Eckrich, Yaczik, Rasimas, Pepper, and Strohl. Eckrich had a half of a second lead over Yaczik and seemed to be slowly pulling away as Yaczik struggled to maintain the pace dropping back to 4th behind Rasimas and Pepper with 3 to go. Rasimas showed the superior speed as the white flag came out. Eckrich blocked Rasimas coming out of turn four and Pepper tried to take the opportunity to advance but couldn’t get past Eckrich before the line.
Coming out of the final turn, the race could’ve gone to any of the top 3 as they crossed the line in an intense battle for the lead. This was a strong night for the Graafix LC Motorsports race team moving forward as they take the team points lead as well as an exciting race for the fans. Now the Pretty Good Racing League moves on to the Racy McRace Race Phoenix 150 at Phoenix Raceway on March 8th broadcast live at 8:50PM EST only on the Virtual Grip Network. It’s sure to be “pretty good”.