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June 14, 2022

1

PGRL S2 R4 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

14 June 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 2 | Round 4
Premier Series | Sonoma Raceway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing

Scott Eckrich with Graafix LC Motorsports took the checkered flag in the Joy of Driving Without Drinking 45 at Sonoma Raceway with the Pretty Good Racing League presented by The Joy of Driving ahead of Thomas George and Vincent Crow. “I don’t know what I did to my tires, but I didn’t make them happy apparently in the second run there… [George] was just doing a great job too, keeping the pace up”, Eckrich commented about taking the win by 0.005 after a drag race to the line with Thomas George, “Coming into that last lap, I figured he had me.”

Pete Baskins led the 32-car field to the green flag to start off the night’s action with Thomas George alongside him on the front row. George had the better launch and cleared for the lead as the field shuffled positions very early. Baskins slid back to 3rd behind Greg O’Berry and Norm Pellitier started to climb up into the top 5. Jeff Ward and Scott Eckrich were both making a hard change through the rest of the field with both drivers getting into the top 10 on lap 4.

O’Berry challenged for the lead but George was able to defend against an aggressive dive to his inside and continued to control the field with 5 laps completed. Eckrich was running in 10th, 22 positions up from where he started the race and Jeff Ward had moved up into 5th behind Woody Mahan and Adam Jurski. O’Berry was able to overtake for the lead on the 7th lap and quickly started to put as much distance between himself and the rest of the field as he could to prepare for the upcoming pit cycle.

Ward closed the gap to Mahan and Jurski on lap 10 with Eckrich running behind them in 7th and gaining time quickly. O’Berry and George had separated themselves from the field both running together over 5 seconds ahead of Jurski. O’Berry misjudged a corner entry and opened the door giving George the chance he was waiting for to retake the lead and George was able to pull almost 2 seconds ahead as O’Berry struggled to build his momentum back up. Mahan made contact with the left side wall causing critical damage to his left rear and ended his night early.

16 laps into the race, Ward was up to 3rd place and running 5 seconds behind O’Berry. Eckrich moved up to 5th and was closing on Vincent Crow quickly ahead in 4th. O’Berry chose to pit very early going down put road on lap 18 and rejoining the track in 14th place. That moved Ward up into 2nd place ahead of Crow and Eckrich. Crow intentionally opened a lane for Eckrich letting him take 3rd place with 26 laps remaining. Drivers were sporadically going down pit road two or three cars at a time while George, Ward, and Eckrich were still running on track.

The leaders were aggressively negotiating through lap traffic trying to not give the driver behind them any favors. While George and Ward were losing time lap after lap, Eckrich had maintained a strong pace and was still closing on Ward as they approached the halfway point of the night and Eckrich took that moment to go down pit road with 23 laps remaining essentially cutting the race in half. George and Ward chose to pit on the following lap while Eckrich was already back on track and making up time.

Eckrich was able to overtake Ward as the leaders rejoined the track and was running within 5 seconds of George who rejoined in 4th. Crow was leading the field ahead of James Moore and Jurski with 20 laps left to go. Crow was the last of the leading cars to pit giving the lead back to George with 16 laps remaining. Eckrich had overtaken Ward for 2nd place and had closed the gap to George down to almost 2 seconds. Moore and Crow had stayed inside of the top 5 and were close behind Ward as Moore was pressuring for 3rd place going into the final 15 laps.

Inside the final 10 laps, Eckrich was running under 1.5 seconds behind George. Moore took 3rd place away from Ward after Ward slid wide going around a corner, but Ward stayed tight on his rear bumper keeping the pressure up on Moore. Eckrich kept George within sight, but his pace seemed to falter as the race stretched on. Ward and Moore ran side by side for a moment as their battle came to a head before making contact. Crow overtook both drivers for 3rd place as they recovered and resumed racing with Moore in 4th ahead of Ward.

With 4 laps remaining, Ward cleared ahead of Moore into 4th and, as Ward did before, Moore stayed with him going forward making his intentions clear. George was still controlling the field ahead of Eckrich with the gap down to only 0.4 between them. The gap stayed the same as the white flag came out and Eckrich started aggressively looking for a chance to take the lead away. George got loose coming out of the final corner and Eckrich beat him to the line by 0.005 in a drag race to the finish ending an incredible night of racing.

Jeff Ward continues to lead in the point standings with 160 points. Brian Yaczik moves up to 2nd with 145 points and Danny Gutierrez dropped back to 3rd tied with Shane Parish with 143 points. Vincent Crow moved up one spot into 5th place after tonight’s podium finish now with 133 points. The drivers of the Pretty Good Racing League now head over to Tennessee for the Beef Jurski’s Cheesecake Emporium and Banana Breadery 200 at Nashville Superspeedway for the 5th round of the season on June 28th with all of the intense action broadcast live at 8:55PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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