BROOKLYN, Mich. — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — LSRTV audio — Jacob Seelman/iRacing.com photo —
The wait is finally over.
For the first time in 2015, longtime Real Sim Racing veteran Dwayne Vincent raced his way to an =RSR= broadcast victory, triumphing in Wednesday night’s Click It or Ticket! Michigan 180 at the Michigan International Speedway after leading a race-high 61 of 90 laps.
Vincent took the lead for the final time after
“That was nerve racking,” Vincent admitted in victory lane. “I told Scott if he’d come out of the pits ahead of me I’d have never caught him. It’s been frustrating, but this feels great [to finally get a win.]”
The win was made more special, as much as heart-wrenching, by the fact that the win came just a week after Vincent’s mentor and teammate Adam Benefiel withdrew his entry from =RSR= competition, hoping to move to the Pro ranks of iRacing in 2016.
“All the guys at One Up [are still a big part of this,]” Vincent added. “I respect Adam’s decision. He wants to run for Pro next year, and I think he should. He’s taught me a lot — I’m gonna miss him — but I’m glad we were able to represent that crew and get one in his stead tonight.”
Championship leader Jeff Ward scored the pole and led the field to the green flag, having to hold off a furious early charge from Anthony DeBaro. Ward lead the first six laps before tagging the wall on lap seven and handing the lead to DeBaro, falling all the way back to fourth as Dwayne Vincent and Scott Simley fought past his Unocal 76 Chevrolet as well.
The lead would change hands again at lap 14, when DeBaro nearly caught the wall on the exit of turn two and handed the point over to Vincent’s NAPA Chevrolet — allowing Vincent to pull away and dominate the middle section of the race before the race’s lone scheduled round of green flag pit stops at halfway.
That cycle would allow Ward to reclaim the lead after an unscheduled stop at lap 33 for damage repairs when he hit the wall in turn two, and the championship leader began to pull away despite a near-yellow on lap 51 when Anthony Palombo blasted both the outside and inside walls on the backstretch.
Palombo’s mishap would not draw a caution, however, and Ward would give up the lead to Vincent on lap 62 to make his final stop — defining the closing stages as Vincent held off Scott Simley over the final 28 laps to take his first =RSR= broadcast victory of any kind all season long.
Made even more remarkable was the fact that the event went from green-to-checkered without a caution — the first =RSR= broadcast event in any series to do so in 2015.
Simley came home second, lamenting the inability to pass in the late stages but applauding the caution-free run through the event.
“I just seemed to flatten out every time I finally caught [Dwayne.] I tried to push as much as I could, but I could just barely make it on fuel so I had to be careful. We ended up with about eight tenths of a gallon, so we got to the end, but we’ll give it our all heading to Homestead for the finale and see what we can do to pick up a win.”
“It was great to finally see a clean race, though. Hats off to all these guys for keeping it green from start to finish.”
Thomas George rounded out the podium in third, driving a special Pepsi-sponsored No. 1 Chevrolet in Wednesday night’s event.
“It was crazy how Dwayne and Scott were able to pull away from me while saving as much fuel as they were,” George said. “I don’t know how they were able to do it — I was clutching it in the corners and I must have just not been rolling the corners enough — but I’ll take third tonight and we’ll try to make it happen on Monday [in the Full Throttle Cup Series] as well.”
Chad Cole and Jose Gonzalez rounded out the top five, while Ward finished tenth to carry a 26-point lead into the season finale in two weeks’ time.
The 2015 =RSR= Asphalt Assault XFINITY Series concludes on June 24 with the South Florida Showdown from Homestead-Miami Speedway (9:30 p.m. Eastern, LSRTV).
RESULTS: =RSR= Asphalt Assault XFINITY Series; Click It or Ticket 180; Michigan International Speedway; June 10, 2015
- Dwayne Vincent
- Scott Simley
- Thomas George
- Chad Cole
- Jose Gonzalez
- Christopher Hurlow
- Anthony DeBaro
- Thomas Lattimore
- Paul Williams II
- Jeff Ward
- Doug Roth
- Gregg Omo
- Wyatt Wolfe
- Anthony Palombo
- Jared Comeau
- John Klickner