PGRL S1 R12 Recap
03 May 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 1 | Round 12
Premier Series | Darlington Raceway
Photograph by: Michael Chrobok
Sim Racing Software: iRacing
Scott Eckrich with Graafix LC Motorsports took the checkered flag as well as the season championship tonight for the season finale in the Imma Head Out 200 presented by The Joy of Driving at Darlington Raceway with the Pretty Good Racing League ahead of Jeff Ward and Drew Carroll. “Just really tried to take care of the front tires tonight because I knew it was going to matter.”, Eckrich commented after claiming the champion title, “Real excited to get the first one, be able to etch my name into that record book as the first PGRL championship winner.”
Kevin Bartelt started the night’s action off on the pole taking the green flag for the field with Don Runkle Jr to his outside. Bartelt pulled away to an early lead as the field shuffled around going single file very quickly. Joe Hassert and Michael Chrobok started working on closing that gap back up with Pete Baskins and Thomas George rounding out the top 5. Jeff Ward, Woody Mahan and Brian Yaczik were up into the top 10 within the first 10 laps already making moves toward the front.
Chrobok cleared Hassert for 2nd place after a short battle and immediately closed in on Bartelt showing an aggressive pace taking the lead and pulling away in a manner of moments. Scott Eckrich made a hard charge through the field and found his way into 6th in the first 15 laps right behind Ward. Ward and Eckrich continued to push closing the 2 second gap to George in 3rd while George pressured Chrobok ahead of him. The top 5 came back together on track with 20 laps down.
On lap 25, Ward maneuvered around Bartelt for the lead with Eckrich moving into 2nd. Chrobok and George started to fall back as Ward and Eckrich pulled away to battle amongst themselves over the lead. Eckrich was up 17 spots from where he started the race as the leading battle continued to pull away building a gap of over 4 seconds on the field with Ward still in the lead 40 laps into the evening. Drivers started cycling through their first pit stops just before lap 50 while Ward and Eckrich continued to run away with the lead running over 8 seconds ahead of the field.
Ward pulled into the pits on lap 53 for his stop with Eckrich pitting the following lap giving the lead over the Yaczik briefly before he also chose to pit laps later. The final round of stops happened on lap 57. Ward and Eckrich resumed racing still running 1st and 2nd with a commanding 13 second lead over Chrobok in 3rd. Ward had to check up for lap traffic trying to stay on the lead lap allowing Eckrich to clear ahead into the lead going into the 65th lap of the night.
Eckrich had contact with lap traffic approaching the halfway point of the race sending him hard into the outside wall. Able to recover, Eckrich continued to run from behind Ward but with significant damage to his car hurting his pace allowing Ward to pull away. Ward negotiated through the rear half of the field putting everyone outside of the top 11 one lap down with Tommy Rhyne running as the last car on the lead lap with 80 laps completed. Eckrich struggled to hold onto what he could dropping back to over 6 seconds behind the lead and 7 seconds ahead of Yaczik in 3rd as he tried to hold out for the next pit cycle to make repairs.
Lap 92 saw the first caution flag being thrown giving Eckrich the much-needed chance to make repairs and get himself back on pace. Eckrich was able to take back the lead coming out of the pits ahead of Ward as the field again took the green flag and, after a failed restart attempt, racing resumed with Eckrich and Ward pulling away from the field with their superior pace. Ward stayed very close to Eckrich and took a look to the outside but conceded back behind Eckrich with 44 laps remaining.
Ward took the lead away soon after and showed a strong pace staying out of reach for Eckrich to try to reclaim the position. Drew Carroll had moved up into the 3rd position and was leading the main pack in the field around 1.5 seconds behind the leaders. The second half of the race was very much a repeat of the earlier laps with Ward and Eckrich chasing each other as they both pulled far ahead of the rest of the field. Carroll was being pressured from Yaczik behind him in 4th but able to hold his ground running a consistent pace each lap.
With 20 laps remaining, Eckrich was getting more aggressive as he tried to take the lead from Ward. Eckrich saw his chance with 12 to go and took the lead quickly from the inside line as Ward struggled to maintain pace in the final stretch. Eckrich pulled away little by little around the last 10 laps of the race taking the checkered flag and officially becoming the season champion with Ward, Carroll, Yaczik, and Paul Pepper rounding out the top 5 finishers crossing the line.
Scott Eckrich took the championship with 423 points in the season and 36 points ahead of Thomas George in 2nd place. Jeff Ward finished the season out tied for 2nd with George with Mike Rasimas and Brian Yaczik rounding out the top 5 drivers as the first season came to a close. After an off week to take a breather, the drivers will be right back on the track to kick off season two with the Pretty Good Racing League at Kansas Speedway on May 17th for the Goodbye Fast Repairs 200 presented by SpeedMafia with all of the action broadcast at 8:50PM ET only on the Virtual Grip Network!