World 600 Recap
03 June 2022
Special Event | World 600
NASCAR Xfinity | Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing
Michael Strohl out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania driving with Domination Intimidation Racing took the checkered flag after an action packed 600 miles around Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of DJ Stagner with Swamp Motorsports and Seth Noell with Nexxus eSports. “Once I knew [Bressi] was out of the race it was mine to lose, and I wasn’t sure if I could catch [Noell]. I thought he might save enough [fuel].”, Strohl shared with us after his dominating performance tonight, “Just a great, great race.”
Seth Noell with Nexxus eSports started the night off on the pole with Michael Dewell to his outside as the 39-car field took the green flag and racing began. The mostly single filed out behind Noell as the drivers settled in for the long endurance event. The first hour of the evening was more or less calm with only a few minor incidents as most drivers were content for the moment to simply run in the pack while the laps counted down. Michael Strohl was leading the field ahead of Thomas Bressi and Jacob Fyfe. Seth Noell and Michael Dewell dropped back to 4th and 5th respectively but were still running up close to the leaders with roughly 60 laps behind them.
Dewell maneuvered his way back up to the leader and he and Strohl traded positions back and forth across several laps for the lead. Nicholas Starling moved up into the front of the pack in 4th place with Bressi challenging Strohl for the lead as Dewell dropped back to 5th ahead of Noell. Jaxson Hartman started in 15th place and was up to 3rd trying to reel in the leaders. Bressi got to the inside of Strohl and cleared into the lead after around 90 minutes of racing and seemed to hold a strong pace over Strohl stretching out the gap between them. Bressi extended the gap ahead of the rest of the field to over 1 second shortly after crossing the 100-lap mark.
Just shy of 2 hours of racing, many drivers were starting to cycle through the pits under green flag conditions. Bressi stayed out longer trying to get as far ahead as possible before making his stop. Strohl was one of the first of the lead pack to taking his stop pulling off the racing line on lap 123. Bressi took his stop one lap later with Noell and several others. As the field started to divide between drivers with fresh tires and drivers with worn tires the large difference in lap times led to several near misses as drivers coming out of the pits were aggressively weaving through the field to regain as many positions as they could.
As the field sorted itself back out going into lap 133, Starling held the lead briefly until Bressi overtook a few laps later. The majority of the main field had splintered into several 3 to 5 car packs with the drivers again settling in to put some laps behind them. Cody Smith was up 15 positions from where he started hours before as he ran in 4th. Bressi held the lead running consistent faster laps than the vast majority of the field. Daniel Shirley and Larry Patrick came together going down the front stretch on lap 169 ending the over 100-lap green flag run forcing drivers to pit earlier than they may have wanted to since most had pitted under the green flag only 30 laps prior.
Bressi and Strohl were on the front row as the green flag came back out and the drivers resumed racing 27 laps shy of the halfway point. Strohl took the lead from Bressi quickly off the launch. DJ Stagner and Hayden Pastorius were running in 3rd and 4th ahead of David Grantham as Noell and Dewell, who started the race on the front row, stayed in the lead pack running in 6th and 7th. Bressi had control of the field after taking the lead back from Strohl as the drivers crossed into the second half of the night. Stagner was consistently reeling in the leaders lap after lap showing patience as Bressi and Strohl battled each other.
Bressi had started to break away from Strohl as Stagner caught Strohl’s rear bumper going into lap 230. Stagner patiently followed Strohl without making any aggressive attempts on an overtake waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of. Bressi had extended his gap further out to over 1 second over Strohl while Strohl and Stagner seemed to be falling off lead pace. With 150 laps remaining in the race and the sun slowly setting in the distance, mental and physical fatigue was becoming a legitimate concern for many of the drivers going forward as track conditions continued to evolve with the temperatures and sight distance both dropping rapidly.
Around lap 250, several drivers chose to pit for fuel and tires under green flag conditions to include Bressi, Strohl, and Stagner all coming in on lap 254. Stagner was able to overtake Strohl on pit entry by braking later and held the position ahead of Strohl as they rejoined the track moments later, but Strohl was able to take the position back soon thereafter with the three drivers back into the podium positions. Adam Wood was running in 5th place behind Pastorius and up 30 positions from where he started. Stagner started to drop off as the battle for the lead seemed to be between only Bressi and Strohl with 120 laps remaining.
Bressi held the lead with a strong lead going into the final 100 laps of the race. Drivers had started going through another pit cycle including Strohl. Bressi went down pit road 2 laps later and came back out on track behind Strohl. Bressi managed to get back onto the lead lap but made contact with a lap car that lost control ahead of him causing front end damage and bringing out the caution flag. Strohl the lead as the field stacked back together with Noell to his outside and Bressi running in 3rd. Strohl had a good launch of the start, but Noell stayed with him as the field spread back out with 85 laps remaining.
Noell was able to overtake for the lead with fresher tires than Strohl with Bressi doing the same pushing Strohl back to 3rd. The top three pulled away from the rest of the pack while Bressi went beneath Noell trying to take the lead away. He cleared Noell on lap 321 but wasn’t able to run away as easily as he had previously after gaining damage from the earlier contact to his front end. Strohl continued to fall back as Stagner and Grantham both passed him rather easily and Strohl struggled to stay with the lead pack as the top 4 pulled away. With 70 laps remaining, Stagner had caught the rear of Bressi and was pressuring for the lead with an aggressive dive to the inside line.
Contact between Bressi and Stagner resulted with Bressi spinning hard into the outside wall and collecting several cars behind them. The last thing Bressi wanted but the exact situation Strohl needed to get back into the race with fresh tires. Noell took control of the field as the green flag came back out over the field and racing again resumed. Grantham stayed tight on Noell’s rear bumper with Strohl following close behind running single file. Grantham cleared for the lead running along the outside with Strohl following him around knocking Noell back to 3rd and under pressure from Adam Wood. Strohl overtook Grantham for the lead with 56 laps remaining and trying to separate himself from Grantham.
Stagner, Wood, and Fyfe had an intense three-way battle for 3rd place building as the end of the race was coming within reach with Stagner holding a strong pace. Going into the final 50 laps, Strohl hadn’t been able to get away from Grantham who was staying very tight behind him. The top 9 drivers will still on the lead lap with Kendall Kerr running in the last lead lap position. Stagner had caught the rear of Grantham as Strohl was able to break away slightly. The lead lap drivers were all pushing trying to make up as much time as possible with a minimum of one more fuel stop sitting between them and the checkered flag. Stagner was the first to go pulling down pit road on lap 364.
With 30 laps remaining, most of the drivers had completed their final pit stop with the exception of Noell and Brandon Bernhardt. Stagner was running in 3rd with Strohl in 4th 2 seconds behind him on track. Strohl went to work closing the gap to Stagner running consistently faster laps. Stagner caught Bernhardt and made the pass for 2nd place easily with Strohl closing on him quickly. Stagner was forced to block defensively against Strohl as the two drivers started battling hard with 20 laps remaining. Strohl got to the inside and the drivers raced side by side with neither driver getting the advantage over the other. After several laps battling from the outside line, Stagner had to concede giving 2nd place to Strohl. Noell was still controlling the race, but his fuel was a serious concern with 15 laps to go.
Strohl pulled away from Stagner by over 1 second as he aggressively closed the gap to Noell lap after lap. Noell was far off the pace and Strohl was gaining at a rate that would lead to Strohl taking the win away from Noell regardless of fuel saving. Fyfe was making a hard charge through the top 10 climbing up to 5th place ahead of Wood with only a few laps left to get any positions he could before the end. Pastorius was running in 4th and defending against Fyfe hard. Strohl had closed the gap to Noell and moved to clear around the outside and never lost pace as Stagner caught the rear of Noell.
Stagner took 2nd place while Noell did everything he could to save fuel as the white flag came out. Strohl was running 2 seconds ahead of Stagner as he crossed the line for the win. Stagner finished 2nd and Noell crossed the line in 3rd after some very impressive fuel saving. Pastorius, Fyfe, Wood, Grantham, and Bernhardt round out the top 8 finishers and every driver on the lead lap in the end. “What an event”, Strohl commented after claiming the checkered flag, “This is an idea [I’ve] had for quite some time and I’m just glad it went off without a hitch.”