PGRL S1 R4 Recap
08 Mar 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 1 | Round 4
Premier Series | Phoenix Raceway
Scott Eckrich with Graafix LC Motorsports took the checkered flag under caution tonight with the Pretty Good Racing League in the Racy McRace Race Phoenix 150 presented by Octane93 on Twitch.tv at Phoenix Raceway ahead of Johnathon Caddell and Michael Strohl. Mike Rasimas is the current points leader and finished the night in 4th. Eckrich started in the back of the pack and worked his way up to the front, then received a penalty for speeding in the pits and again found his way back to the front. “Luckily we were able to just kind of methodically work our way up. We were doing a good job missing the wrecks, you know, a couple of them were pretty close, but we managed to keep the car clean there and luckily, we had some pretty good speed there.”, Eckrich commented on tonight’s race, “Would’ve been interesting I think if Jeff Ward wouldn’t have got that speeding penalty there because I could definitely see him coming.”
The first caution of the night happened on the very first lap of the race as John Perkins slid up the track from the inside line of turn three and collected several cars behind him. Dupre led the field to the green on the restart and the PGRL had a much cleaner start. Lap 7 saw the second caution when Kevin Bartelt got a shove through turns one and two sending him around. Jason Franks was in charge of the field as the green flag came back out again with Chad Mikosz to his outside. With a strong launch, Franks and Mikosz came together when Franks slid up the track just enough to make contact in turn one and sent himself into the inside wall bringing out the third caution of the night with a large pile up shuffling the entire field. Mikosz was able to keep his Chevrolet Camaro straight and was the newest leader going into the next restart.
Mikosz had a great launch off the restart, but the caution flag came out again as the drivers struggled to get a clean restart and get the race going. The caution was thrown out for Adam Blattel who got loose checking up for Fred Thompson and slid to the inside without further incident with the field. Mikosz again led the field to the green going into lap 22. Mikosz started very early from the backstretch catching the field off guard and spreading the drivers out. Michael Strohl took the lead quickly utilizing the outside line around Mikosz and immediately started pulling away.
Scott Eckrich and Thomas George battled Mikosz for 2nd place and cleared for the position as the drivers started the 30th lap while Strohl built over a 1 second lead ahead of the rest of the pack at that point. Eckrich closed the gap over 5 laps and was pressuring for the lead when the 5th caution came out when the #62 of John Wilcko lost control sliding into traffic and collecting another car. Most drivers chose to use the opportunity to take their first full pit stop of the race including Strohl and Eckrich. James Krahula, who stayed out, took the lead for the restart.
Krahula had a several car length lead off the restart with Strohl already up to 3rd from starting in 6th place. The caution flag again was thrown out for a minor incident in the rear of the field. Krahula defended the outside line off the next restart as Strohl made the pass for the lead along the high side with George and Jeff Ward following suit moving around Krahula. As the race entered lap 50, the drivers seemed to find their grooves and settled in for a longer green flag run which gave some quicker drivers that had been stuck deep in the pack an opportunity to move up positions and contest for the lead themselves. Krahula had been on the track longer than anyone else in the top half as they came up on lap 58 and the caution flag came out again. Rick Thompson had contact from the inside that pushed him just loose enough to send him around along the outside wall.
Ward was the leader when the green flag came out on the 63rd lap of the night. Another clean start for the field, Ward pulled away by over a car length over Marc Cohn. The 8th caution came out on lap 65 as Strohl was trying to pass Cohn to the outside and Strohl slid up just enough to make contact sending himself into the outside wall. Thomas George took the lead for the restart with a strong launch over Johnathon Caddell behind him. Strohl was pressuring Caddell for 2nd going into the 71st lap with Krahula behind him. Eckrich had worked his way back up to 6th and was quickly moving forward as the drivers started the 75th lap of the night.
Eckrich took the lead on lap 80 and pulled away from George as most of the field had single filed out around the track. Lap traffic was about to become a concern for Eckrich with 60 laps remaining when the stewards threw out another caution after Django Matthews blew the engine of his Ford Mustang and slid to the inside of the track. Practically the entire field choose to take their pit stops during this caution putting the drivers all back on an equal playing field starting lap 96 with Eckrich leading the pack. A strong start from the backstretch gave Eckrich a strong lead over Caddell in 2nd. Krahula was defending 4th place hard against Ward and Strohl on lap 100 but got just loose enough to have to lift to recover and dropped back to 7th behind Mike Rasimas
With 45 laps remaining, Eckrich was consistently running faster lap times than the rest of the field pulling further away in the lead by around 0.2 each lap. Eckrich had already reached lap traffic going into lap 112 but the caution came out again after Mark Hertzog and Danny Gutierrez made contact going down the back stretch spinning both drivers into the wall. Stacking back up for the restart, Eckrich again led the field to the green with 33 laps to go. Unfortunately, Brian Yaczik got loose off the restart and spun into the outside wall bringing the caution back out.
Eckrich took the green with another strong launch going into lap 123 followed by Caddell, Strohl, Krahula, and Rasimas rounding out the top 5. Eckrich was still out pacing the field as Mikosz and Rasimas battled over 5th with the position going to Mikosz. The 12th caution of the night came out with 23 laps remaining when there was a miscommunication between Jeff Ward and the racing stewards. Ward stopped on the track when an incorrectly thrown black flag led to him being disqualified from the race before the stewards could correct the mistake. The mistake was eventually straightened out by race control and Ward was allowed to continue competing, but still unfortunate for the drivers that it resulted in a caution.
With 19 laps to go, Eckrich again took the lead over Caddell. The drivers quickly single filed out around the track with only the occasional battle in the middle of the pack for positions. Eckrich continued to outpace the other drivers by an average of 0.1 every lap as they came into 10 laps to go with a gap of over 1.5 seconds over Caddell. Rasimas was struggling to get around Krahula for 4th but was able to get around the inside after several laps of battling. The caution came out with only 5 laps to go as Hertzog in the #57 Ford Mustang lost control when he had to checkup hard for another car ahead sending himself into the outside wall.
The race ended under caution finishing out the night with Scott Eckrich taking the win in the Racy McRace Race Pheonix 150 presented by Octance93 on Twitch.TV. With Phoenix Raceway behind them, the Pretty Good Racing League now looks toward Atlanta Motor Speedway for more intense action in the Raise Hell, Praise Gael 250 event on March 15th broadcast live at 8:55PM EST only on the Virtual Grip Network.