RPW Column By: BRITTANY NUTILE / RPW – Kyle Souza grabbed round seven of the iRacing events at Stafford Motor Speedway in the tour-type modifieds. It was a crazy ending to the race, between Kyle Souza and Bryan Narducci and contact out of the final turn became the deciding factor.
Mason Tessier finished second in the feature race. Tessier competed in Wednesday nights preliminary race to advance himself to compete with the Stafford Regulars. Mason is a legend driver at Seekonk Speedway for Nick Lascuola Racing. He has only been iRacing for a little bit over a year.
Mike Christopher Jr. finished the race in third tonight and has been running well in all races he has been competing in. Christopher Jr. had good battles trying to get up into the top two to compete with Narducci and Souza for second and the lead but couldn’t quite get there.
Some of the top 10 drivers of tonight’s round of iRacing commented on their heat and feature races, how the tour-type modifieds feel, how their experience in this type of modified is and how they like driving it. Here is what the drivers had to say about their race:
Winner of the race: Kyle Souza: “I qualified well and was able to win the heat from the pole, but the feature was definitely a difficult one to run. I was able to take the lead early in the race, then Bryan Narducci got past me for the lead. Going into the final corner, I was behind him, and we made some contact, and he went spinning off turn four. It definitely was not what I hoped would happen in the final corner. Bryan ran a good race, and so did most of us at the front of the field. I think the tour-modified drives even better than the SK since it has a bit more power. You can feel the car set in the track and the setup was good in the feature. With the extra power, you can’t be as aggressive as you can with the SK, but you have to be in order to complete a pass. I was lucky enough to start towards the front again and have the track position I needed to be in position to win. I’m a bit surprised that non-Stafford drivers have been able to win, but when you look at the drivers who did win, you see a lot of experience on the iRacing servers. I’ve been on more than five years, and Reagan Parent, who won in the late models, has been on a long time as well. The experience definitely helps, and some of the Stafford drivers are just getting their feet wet on iRacing. They will continue to improve, and it will get tougher and tougher each week to compete with them. Running on iRacing with these Stafford drivers is a real pleasure, I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I’m not sure it’s going to translate as much in real-life for Moe, as a PR rep, but it’s definitely going to help the drivers with some of their reflexes. You have to be up on the wheel to be successful.”
Peter Bennett: “The heat was business as usual with the goal of making the feature. No aggressive moves for 10 laps. The feature surprisingly had some good green flag racing in the first half of the race. The last half of the race was all about survival.The tour mods take a but more concentration and are harder to drive with the extra horsepower. I believe that separated the field a little bit more which promoted better racing. I don’t have any real-world experience in mods/tour mods and my experience with them on iRacing is very limited. They are fun cars to hop into and I’m excited to see how similar they are to the real thing when I strap into my SK light for the first time this year. I’m not surprised the fans are running competitively and winning races against the real drivers. There are a ton of talented racers out there, some have the opportunity to run in real life, iRacing gives those drivers who might not have the time or money, the ability to race. I began iRacing years before I was racing cars, so I support them 100%. The cool thing about the format in these iRacing races is that it is similar to the qualifying structure in the real life at Stafford with running heats and consi’s to make the feature. Consistently qualifying for the feature once real racing starts up will be my priority. iRacing is helping me stay fresh and helps me out with the competition every week. It provides me my weekly racing fix that we all so desperately need in these times.”
Jacob Perry: “The tour-type modified is personally more enjoyable because the car is harder to drive and is tougher in the longer races. I personally love the tour style cars in real life because of the style of driving required with being smooth and smart. I enjoy racing with the fans, and they present a challenge with their iRacing skills, but I still enjoy it. I can’t wait to go back to a real car, I think a little bit of the line can be brought over to real life but, in real life everything is so different it’s so hard to say what can be applied. It’s tough to say but I think I am more prepared for if I get a ride at Stafford this season to be able to run with the top guys.”
Reagan Parent: “The heat race was a really good race, racing with Ryan. I was able to cross him over and get the win which got me the first starting position in the race. The race started going with Ryan Blanchard we were both riding out front and then No. 7 of Kyle Souza came up through the field. I knew with Blanchard behind me we would ride and then once Souza got past, I knew he would be all over me not trying to save tires for the end of the race. I think the non-drivers winning is cool and also has negatives to it. It’s cool to be able to race with all the Stafford drivers and win one of the races but, also the drivers of Stafford should be able to race and show off their sponsors that they have that can’t see their cars on the track right now in real life where I feel like we are taking up their cars on the track right now in real life where I feel like we are taking up their spots in the race with most of the fans that qualified, qualifying in the race on Friday too. I think racing iRacing helped me get ready for this year in my real racing. It keeps your skills somewhat sharp whereas you’re not driving anything at all. I also think going back to real racing needs to come sooner as the longer this goes on the more rivalries are being created on a video game that hopefully don’t transition over to real racing.”
Mason Tessier: “The feature went pretty bad actually, I finished sixth in my heat making me have to race the C-main, starting 16th and got up to fourth at the finish. The preliminary race was very clean and allowed us to really spread out. I had a good qualifying run starting me second in the heat but fell back to fourth making me start 12th in the feature, I just tried to stay patient, learn, and keep the car clean which led to a second place finish. I love it, it’s such a different driving style than what I’m used to. I liked the amount of power that the tour-types have, tire spin was a factor on restarts and coming out of the corners, I like them more personally because of the extra power.”
Ryan Blanchard: “The heat race went really well; we had a poor qualifying effort which put us to the P3 starting position in our heat. We ended up winning our heat after passing Mikey Flynn with five to go and had Hodgdon following us through. The tour-type modifieds are definitely fun to drive. They take a lot more braking and they are less of a momentum car like the SK is. They are really fun to drive, and they put on a great show as the fans saw at the end of the race. I liked this modified because you really had to drive the car more and it was really about being consistent and knowing the line you had to run to be fast. With these cars it was not holy crap this guy is fast based off of the leaderboard. It was “Can this guy maintain a consistent 10,20 or even 30 lap run hitting his marks?” I’m not really too surprised that the fans have dominated the driver’s events. Fans take advantage of iRacing because for some it is their only type of in car racing that they can get. iRacing does a very good job at what they do to give us the type of program we need to practice or even know what it is like to drive a real race car. I told my buddies they better watch out because the fans are way better than you think you are. Unfortunate I never got to bring home a checkered flag, but it was cool to lead a bunch of laps and come so close. I don’t actually race but if I did, I would say consistency and adapting to the track as fast as you can is probably the two things I’d have in mind. iRacing taught me some of the things I would need to know in the spotters stand for a Stafford Speedway race. Its keeping the public/community entertained and without the fans I’m not sure that there would be so much motivation to do this. All I wanted to do was make a name for myself and I hope that four top five finishes would do so.”