PGRL S2 R7 Recap
12 July 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 2 | Round 7
Premier Series | Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing
Scott Eckrich with GRAAFix LC Motorsports took the checkered flag tonight in the “Chuckles, We’re in Danger 200” with the Pretty Good Racing League at Atlanta Motor Speedway ahead of Shane Parish and Chance Manning. “I really don’t know why [the officials] put me up there, but I guess we’ll take it?”, Eckrich commented on the confusing shuffling of the racing order in the end. Eckrich says he was playing it safe for the first half of the night, “[I was] trying to avoid the first melee. It didn’t happen so that was cool, but yeah just trying to bide our time, keep tires under this thing and just make sure we didn’t knock ourselves out of the race before it started.”
Rich Jette started the night off on the pole to the inside of Joe Hassert as the green flag came out and the 30-car field roared across the line and into the first corner. The drivers stayed mostly side by side far back into the field for the first few laps before Greg O’Berry was able to clear into the front leading the outside line very much in a superspeedway fashion. 10 laps into the race, O’Berry held the lead from the front of the outside line while Hassert led the inside line and was running within a car length of O’Berry with both lines running similar paces.
Going into lap 30, the drivers were mostly running patiently in line as the narrow track made running 3 wide a risky move for so early in the night. O’Berry was still out front leading the outside line with Christopher Dewald on his door leading the inside line. Eckrich was running in 24th, 9 positions behind Jeff Ward, and wasn’t yet making any aggressive moves toward the front yet. Lap 43 saw the first round of drivers pulling down pit road with Eckrich coming in on lap 48 and Ward on the following lap. Many of the drivers struggled to get onto pit road without incident making contact with another car or missing the entrance altogether.
The pit cycle was completed through the field on lap 53 and Eckrich had jumped up to 6th place behind Brian Yaczik.. Adam Jurski was in control of the field ahead of Chance Manning. Lap 57 saw the first caution of the night from Don Runkle Jr making hard contact with the outside wall and collecting Ward unfortunately ending Ward’s night very early. Mike Rasimas controlled the field as the green flag came back out and racing resumed going into lap 61. The inside line had the better start which allowed Eckrich to jump further up through the pack into 2nd place with Yaczik in 3rd.
Eckrich went up to take control of the outside line and that gave Yaczik an opening to slingshot around both leaders and clear into the front of the field before he also went up in front of Eckrich as the top line started to pull away from the rest. Lap 71 saw the “big one” as the middle of the field imploded collecting roughly a third of the drivers, those being the drivers who weren’t lucky enough to find a path through the carnage as the track turned into a parking lot. Practically the entire field opted to use the opportunity to go down pit road for their second stop of the night.
Eckrich, Yaczik, and Thomas George went 3 wide over the lead off the restart with Yaczik holding the position in the end and Eckrich fell back to 5th from the shuffle. Drew Carroll moved up into 2nd ahead of George as the outside line again started to pull away from the rest of the field. With 30 laps remaining, Tommy Rhyne was in the lead ahead of Carroll. There were several failed attempts to build the inside line back up and the top 6 drivers ending with Eckrich were all running single file along the top. Going into the final stretch, Yaczik and Eckrich led the final round of pit stops with 25 laps to go.
The last thing Eckrich and Yaczik wanted to see happened in the final 18 laps as the caution flag came out once again and ruined their pit strategy to leap ahead of the field and started from the back end of the lead lap going into the final few laps. Rhyne and Paul Pepper were side by side on the front row as racing resumed with 16 laps remaining. Rhyne had a great launch with, but Carroll dove up into the gap between Rhyne and Pepper and led the high line into the front of the field. Rasimas slid up behind Carroll as a third line started to form down the center. An incident in the final laps brought the caution back and the field line back up for a 2-lap shootout.
Carroll and Rasimas shared the front row as the green flag came out for the final time. Eckrich was running behind Yaczik on the low line behind Rasimas. Carroll jumped out to an early lead being pushing by Pepper. As the drivers were shuffling around for position another large wreck collected Carroll, Yaczik, Eckrich, Pepper, and others as Shane Parish dove through the chaos and into the lead but in a shocking upset with the timing and scoring Eckrich was found to be the leader at the time the caution flag actually came out and, after the racing officials gave him his track position back, Eckrich claimed the win with Rasimas, Parish, Manning, and Rhyne rounding out the top 5 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Jeff Ward holds onto the lead in the point standings for his 6th straight week with 255 points. Brian Yaczik trails behind by only 10 points with Shane Parish 16 points behind the leader. Scott Eckrich moved up to 4th place after the night’s win and now has 238 points as Thomas George dropped back to 5th with 224 points. Next week, the drivers of the Pretty Good Racing League head up to New Hampshire for the Circle Jerks: A Revival Motoring Podcast 150 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 19th with all of the intense action broadcast live at 8:50PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!