PGRL S2 R2 Recap
31 May 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 2 | Round 2
Premier Series | Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing
Jeff Ward with Graffix LC Motorsports took the checkered flag and his first win of the season tonight with the Pretty Good Racing League in the “Chad Cole, He’s My Guy 300” at Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of Danny Gutierrez and Shane Parish. “Once it got nighttime there and started cooling down on the track it just started gripping up for me and [I] found some speed.”, Ward shared with us after taking his win, “We made it through it, and we got the win, and we can move onto something that’s kind of foreign next week which is Gateway.”
Django Matthews led the 28-car field to the green flag to start of the evening’s excitement. Mark Hertzog fought back from the outside taking away the lead with Greg O’Berry challenging for the lead immediately after. O’Berry cleared for the lead as the field was aggressively shuffling positions early on before settling in for the long run ahead. Cody Erdmann took the lead away 10 laps in and quickly built up a decent gap ahead of O’Berry. Shane Parish was showing a strong pace running in the top 10 and making an aggressive charge to the front of the field as Jeff Ward was also pushing through the field quickly up 15 positions from the start of the race.
Erdmann was forced to drive defensively to hold back Rick Thompson and that gave Parish and Ward the opportunity to challenge for the lead themselves. Parish cleared fairly easily for the lead with Ward taking 2nd place. The first few drivers chose to begin their pit cycles around lap 50 under green conditions to include Parish, Ward, and Brian Yaczik. By lap 55, practically the entire field had made their stops and rejoined the race. Parish held the lead as the field shuffled back out with Thomas George running in 2nd place ahead of Ward and James Krahula. Ward was able to catch George while George was still getting back up to speed after exiting the pits and overtook him for 2nd place on lap 60 and was running 1.6 seconds behind Parish.
With 70 laps completed, Ward was able to significantly close the gap to Perish as Perish negotiated through lap traffic. Parish continued to run a very fast line and again started to pull away momentarily when Ward was caught behind the traffic himself. Danny Gutierrez worked his way up to 3rd place passing George and Rick Thompson running around 4.5 seconds behind the leaders. George and Thompson continued to battle each other of 4th place as the laps counted down.
A caution was thrown out as the drivers were approaching the halfway point giving the field an opportune time to cycle through the pit again. Parish maintained the lead as the field again took the green flag and racing resumed. Parish was forced to check up when his car went loose suddenly dropping back to 5th giving Ward the lead ahead of Drew Carroll. Another quick caution and a preventative pit cycle put George in the lead ahead of Ward with Parish running in 7th as the green flag again came out over the field.
Ward followed very close behind George pressuring for the lead and able to clear for the position going into lap 115. Parish was aggressively pushing back up through the field fighting to get back to the front. Carroll and Gutierrez were able to catch the bumper of George, and each overtook pushing George back to 4th with 80 laps remaining. Parish was up to 5th and moved to follow Gutierrez past George who seemed to be falling off the pace. Parish was able to get around Gutierrez a few laps later for 3rd place as Ward further stretched the gap between himself and Carroll.
Michael Chrobok had been quietly moving up through the field throughout the race and was up to 9th running over 8 seconds behind the leaders with 70 laps remaining. Parish was pressuring Carroll for 2nd place but didn’t have an opening to take advantage of at the time. Parish tried to get beneath Carroll, but contact was made causing both drivers to lose momentum allowing Ward to pull over 2 seconds ahead of them. Parish was able to hold off Gutierrez for 3rd, but Gutierrez and George were able to get up close behind him going forward after his costly mistake.
Parish immediately went back after 2nd place diving down low and clearing Carroll on lap 146. The field started pulling off for their final pit cycle again under green conditions with less than 50 laps remaining. The caution came out as many drivers, including Ward, were still on pit road. Ward was able to maintain the lead, but Parish and George were shuffled back to 6th and 8th respectively as the drivers were restacked to take the green. Racing resumed with 40 laps remaining. Ward cleared ahead of Gutierrez, but Gutierrez was able to stay close to Ward’s bumper going into the final stretch of the race.
With 20 laps remaining, Parish battled hard with Brian Yaczik over 3rd place. Parish was able to take away the position after several intense laps, but the time spent in that fight put Parish almost 4 seconds behind the leader. Ward continued to extent the gap ahead of Gutierrez to over 2 seconds going into the final 10 laps. Ward pulled away unchallenged and took the checkered flag 4 seconds ahead of Gutierrez with Parish, Yaczik, and Erdmann rounding out the top 5 finishers.
Jeff Ward took the lead in the points standings away from Mike Rasimas with 91 points. Danny Gutierrez moved up to 2nd place 13 points behind the lead and 1 point ahead of Shane Parish in 3rd place. Brian Yaczik and Thomas George round out the top 5 drivers in the points thus far in the season. The drivers with the Pretty Good Racing League now head over to Illinois for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Fundraiser 200 at the World Wide Technology Raceway for the third round of the season on June 7th with all of the action broadcast live at 8:50PM ET only on the Virtual Grip Network!