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July 27, 2022

PGRL S2 R9 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

26 July 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 2 | Round 9
Premier Series | Pocono Raceway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing

Thomas George with Steel Horse Racing claimed his first checkered flag of the season tonight with the Pretty Good Racing League in the Steel Horse Live 69 at Pocono Raceway ahead of Vincent Crow and Mike Rasimas. “I take it one lap at a time, that’s just kind of how I do things.”, George shared with us as the night wrapped up and he modestly added, “I didn’t come into this race expecting to lead like this. I struggle a bit at Pocono.”

Woody Mahan led the field to the green flag at the start of the night with Thomas George running alongside him to the outside. The two drivers battled hard over the lead for several laps until George was able to pull away enough to hold the front going into lap 4. Drew Carroll caught the lead battle and overtook Mahan for 2nd place as he closed the gap to George ahead with 10 laps completed. As the laps counted down, Carroll was able to stay with George, but couldn’t find the speed to make an attempt on the lead in the early stages of the night.

Scott Eckrich and Jeff Ward battled each other as they climbed up through the field with Eckrich breaking into the top 10 first on lap 20 and was closing in on Brian Yaczik. George gave up the lead going into lap 24 as he opted to take his first stop for fuel early giving control of the field to Mahan. The shuffle in the running order sent Eckrich and Ward up to 5th and 6th respectively with both drivers staying out on track for several more laps. As the last of the field came through their pit cycles, George was able to reclaim the lead 30 laps into the night.

Going into the 2nd half, Ward was up to 6th place with Eckrich drafting with Mike Rasimas using each other to push forward as Rasimas ran in 8th. Going into lap 36, Rasimas and Eckrich had closed the gap to Ward while George was still in control of the field with a lead of over 2 seconds ahead of Carroll as the entire field had become spread out around the track. Ward cleared Cody Erdmann for 5th place and Eckrich overtook Rasimas to stay on Ward’s rear bumper. Eckrich got to the inside of Ward and quickly cleared into the top 5 pushing Ward back to 6th ahead of Rasimas.

With 30 laps remaining, Eckrich wasted no time moving forward as he cut to the inside of Christopher Dewald for 4th. Lap 41 saw the first caution of the night caused by contact between Yaczik and Erdman sending both drivers around on the racing line without causing serious damage for either. That gave the field an opportune time for the final fuel stop and closing up the large gaps that had built up throughout. George took the green flag for the field with Eckrich to his inside in 2nd place. Ward had fallen back to 12th off pit road and had a lot of ground to make up in the last 25 laps.

George cleared Eckrich off the restart and Eckrich was quick to slide up behind him ahead of Vincent Crow. Ward was aggressively pushing forward up to 6th running behind Rasimas after the first lap. George maintained the lead going into the last 15 laps ahead of Eckrich who was staying tight on his bumper waiting for George to make a mistake. Rasimas overtook Carroll for 4th place while Ward held onto 6th ahead of Isaiah Dupre. The top 10 were all running single file close enough together that if any driver made a mistake whey would likely be dropped to the back of the line before finding a space to slot into.

The top 7 drivers were still packed tightly together going into the final 10 laps. George wasn’t giving Eckrich any opportunity to make a pass attempt while Eckrich was pushing George trying to separate their battle from the rest of the group. A late race incident brought out the 2nd caution of the night with 7 laps remaining brought everyone back together for a 3-lap shootout to the finish. Goerge stayed out on track while Eckrich and Ward opted to go down pit road for fresh tires rejoining the track in 9th and 10th. There was another incident off the restart in the middle of the field and brought the night to a close with George taking the win under yellow flag conditions with Crow, Rasimas, Chris Lanini, and Eckrich rounding out the top 5 finishers across the line tonight at Pocono Raceway.

Jeff Ward leads in the point standings the 8th week in a row with 342 points. Brian Yaczik holds onto 2nd place now 33 points behind the leader. Thomas George moves up into 3rd with 294 points after tonight’s win, only 15 points behind Yaczik. Shane Parish fell back to 4th place with 285 points and Vincent Crow holds onto 5th with 276 points. Next week, the drivers of the Pretty Good Racing League head to Indianapolis for the “Do You Got an Updated Track? Be a Lot Cooler If You Did! 100” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 2nd with all of the intense action broadcast live at 8:50PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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