RPW Column By: BRITTANY NUTILE / RPW – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – The second event for the Stafford Motor Speedway iRacing eSeries was another good race with lots of friendly competition, new drivers joining the event and more tough battles for everyone involved. The event started with practice where
Teddy Hodgdon again was one of the faster cars out of the gate.
Next were the four heat races taking only five drivers from each heat advancing them directly into the race.Then, it was onto the consi races where the drivers had one last chance to get into the race. Only 3 drivers from the 2 consi races would advance.
There were some new people joining in on the competition and fun of iRacing. Some of the new drivers included Cassandra Cole, Cory DiMatteo, Kevin Crosby, Daniel Coutu, Mark Alkas, Nick Salva, Joe Ellert, Andrew Les, Kyle Johnson, John Fortin and Robert Stirk.
One of the new drivers in tonight’s field mentioned above is Cassandra Cole. She didn’t race in last Friday night’s race but, showed she is pretty good on iRacing, finishing in sixth place. Cassandra has been using iRacing on and off for a couple of years now but, has been practicing more now since there is no racing yet.
She added, “On iRacing I learn car control and passing strategies and also about setups and
changes you can make on the car.” I asked her about how her first iRace went and she said “In the 80-lap race I learned there was a lot of impatient people, just like in real racing and it was kind of a wreck fest. My biggest thing was avoiding wrecks and just trying to finish the race.”
Cole thinks she got lucky avoiding the wrecks and will be practicing more so she will be good for the next race.
Cory DiMatteo started on the pole with Peter Bennett on the outside pole for the feature event. Bennett is not a stranger to iRacing, he has been using iRacing since 2011. But, in real life he is a newcomer to Stafford Motor Speedway in the upcoming season. Bennett will be running as a rookie in the SK light division this year at the speedway.
Bennett talked about how there is a lot to learn from iRacing if you put time into it. “This year, Stafford will be the first track I will race on that is actually on the simulator. I hope the track is the same so it will make me more comfortable behind the wheel in real life when racing starts.” When asked about how the race when he said, “The 80-lap race was a blood bath as expected. There is no doubt in my mind that all competitors are very talented.”
Bennett had a good event overall, starting on the pole for the heat race and also finishing first . He started second in the event and ended up finishing 3rd , it was a very successful event for peter to say the least. Looking forward to seeing what Bennett can do in the next race also, his season at Stafford when we go “real” racing.
Some returning drivers gave feedback on what they learned from the last race to help them do better or improve on in future races. Here’s what they had to say:
Travis Hydar- “I think I’ve been doing pretty good against all the other drivers. It’s pretty cool to be able to race with guys on there that you watch (race) every week.”
Jacob Perry- “I think for my lack of laps at Stafford compared to other drivers we are running really well, and I am excited for next Friday night to get after it again!”
Sal Accardi Jr.- “I’m still off on time trials compared to the fast guys but, I’m kind of use to that in real life that happens to me also. I’ve raced with so many different drivers that it really doesn’t affect me. I know what I have to do regardless of who’s in the race.”
George Bessette Jr.- “I think I’ve been doing OK against the others, just a lack of practice shows a
different in time trials, but we are all pretty close.”
Also interviewed were new drivers who either raced last week or are new to the Friday night iRacing event.
Here’s what they had to say:
Peter Bennett- “Racing against all the different drivers from Stafford is a great experience. As a rookie to Stafford this year, I look forward to racing with them at the track and meeting everyone. This is a great ice breaker for an exciting year to come.”
Cassandra Cole- “It’s cool to race with people from all different divisions and be on the same playing field setup wide and motor wise, so there’s no huge advantage.”
For next Friday’s event (4/10/20), there will be a preliminary race on Wednesday night (4/8/20) for anyone who has iRacing and is not a competitor who races at Stafford. They will take the top five finishers who will compete in the iRacing main event on Friday. With about 57 drivers registered for the event and only five that can get in to compete on Friday, it’s going to be an all-out war and a very exciting race to watch.