PGRL S3 R3 Recap
06 September 2022
Pretty Good Racing League | Season 3 | Round 3
Premier Series | Darlington Raceway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing
Brian Yaczik with Loud Pedal Motorsports claimed his first victory of the season tonight in the “The Joy of Driving Darlington 250” with the Pretty Good Racing League at Darlington Raceway ahead of Jeff Ward and Thomas George. “We had the gap and the pace, and it was going to be smooth sailing”, Yaczik shared with us regarding his strong lead before the late race caution, “You always know there’s a risk of a caution at the end of these things so you kind of factor that in, so I wasn’t really trying to drive stupid aggressive.”
Jonathan Cogswell was in control of the 28-car field alongside Saif Faries on the front row as the green flag came out and the track came alive. The field quickly went single file as Drew Carroll moved up a few spots off the start and closed in on Cogswell’s rear bumper. Carroll was able to get around to the inside of Cogswell to take the lead away early on going into lap 9. Jeff Ward and Scott Eckrich, both drivers being previous season champions and must start every race from the back of the field, were making fast moves through the field both drivers up around 10 spots each.
Cogswell continued to drop back further into the field as Jordan Harnish and Chance Manning had gotten around him put him back to 4th. 15 laps into the night, Harnish got loose and lost all of his progress as the caution came out allowing many drivers to come down pit road very early on. Eckrich was one of the drivers who chose to stay out on track and was in 7th place for the restart. Trouble soon found the current points leader, Cody Dempster, sending him hard into the inside wall as well as making slight contact with Ward sending Ward into Eckrich. Eckrich was forced down pit road for repairs to his right front from the incident.
Woody Mahan was in control of the field as the running order settled and the green flag again came out over the field going into lap 26. Manning made a quick move to the inside to take the lead away while more drivers had bad luck down the front stretch far enough off the racing surface to not bring out the caution. Carroll and Manning battled back and forth over the lead for several laps with Carroll holding the position 30 laps into the run. Going forward, the field started to spread out around the track as the drivers settled into a groove making more calculated moves for position as opportunities presented themselves.
Ward had broken into the top 10 for the first time in the night with almost 50 laps completed. Brian Yaczik was running in 3rd and slowly reeling the leaders in. Yaczik was able to clear ahead of Thomas George for 2nd place on lap 54 as he continued to push to the front. Lap 63 showed Yaczik making his move for the lead. Manning battled him for it from the outside, but eventually was forced to concede falling back to 2nd place ahead of Carroll as Ward quietly moved further up through the field running in 6th. As the race approached the 100-lap mark, Yaczik had run away with the lead and Ward got up to 3rd running over 2 seconds behind the lead while drivers throughout the field started making the first round of pit stops under green flag conditions.
Lap 99 saw Ward losing the car trying to get slowed down for pit road entry spinning around and losing a lot of time on his stop a dropping back several spots in the field as he rejoined the track. Rich Jette was the final driver to come down pit road as the cycle completed on lap 112 with Goerge in control of the field ahead of Yaczik and Michael Chrobok. Ward was running in 9th still working to slowly make up the positions he lost with his earlier mistake. Yaczik caught up to George and took away the lead with 66 laps remaining with both drivers having to take drastic action to avoid contact with a lap car that got loose directly ahead of them.
Ward came down pit road under the green on lap 126 in an attempt to regain track position by jumping the field as the pit cycle began again and rejoined the field in 13th place 2 laps behind the leaders. Several drivers took notice of Ward’s strategy and began coming down pit road in small groups lap after lap. With 40 laps remaining, Yaczik was still running in the lead stretching his fuel run out further while George was in 4th as the last car on the lead lap. Ward was running in 5th and 1 lap behind the leaders. Yaczik came down pit road on lap 148, well within the fuel window to finish out the race without needing to stop again.
Yaczik’s stop put Ward back on the lead lap and running in 3rd still behind George. Yaczik was back in 7th and quickly moving up through the field as Woody Mahan, the leader at the time, came down pit road giving the race lead to George over 12 seconds ahead of Ward with 30 laps to go. George had to give up the lead soon thereafter for his final pit with Ward coming down on the following lap. Chrobok inherited the lead from them with Yaczik closing the gap quickly now in 2nd place. Yaczik reclaimed the lead on lap 158 with George the final driver on the lead lap in 9th place. The different pit strategies had separated most of the drivers around the track going into the last 25 laps.
A late race caution came out with 19 laps remaining restacking the field together and drastically changing the ending of the race. The majority of the drivers chose to come down for a final set of tires as Ward rejoined the lead lap. Yaczik was still in control of the field as the green flag came back out with 14 laps to go but contact between Carroll and Chrobok resulted with another caution as Chrobok got sent around. This gave Ward, who stayed out through the last caution to rejoin the lead lap, an opportunity to get fresh tires to be on an even playing field with Yaczik for the last stretch.
The green flag came out for the final time with 9 laps to go. Yaczik maintain control of the field with Ward up to 5th off the jump. George was pressuring Yaczik for the lead and Ward was aggressively pushing through the pack as the leaders went side by side. Yaczik cleared himself back into the lead while Ward struggled to get around Manning for 3rd. Ward took 3rd going into the last 3 laps as George continued to look to the inside of Yaczik but wasn’t able to complete the move. The battling between the leaders allowed Ward to close the gap as the white flag came out. George made hard contact with the outside wall allowing Ward to clear into 2nd as Brian Yaczik took the checkered flag tonight at Darlington Raceway. Jeff Ward, Thomas George, Chance Manning, and Woody Mahan rounded out the top 5 finishers.
Brian Yaczik jumped up two positions into the points lead with 124 points. Thomas George moved up three spots into 2nd with 108 points ahead of last week’s leader, Cody Dempster, in 3rd with 101 points. Adam Jurski stays in 4th with 99 points ahead of Woody Mahan by 1 point rounding out the top 5 drivers in the points standings. Next week, the Pretty Good Racing League heads to Kansas Speedway on September 13th with all of the intense action broadcast live at 8:50PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!