RPW Column: Kyle Souza Wins Round 5 Of Stafford Speedway’s eSeries

RPW Column By: BRITTANY NUTILE / RPW – Kyle Souza was the victor of round 5 iRacing at Stafford Motor Speedway.

This week the drivers were able to race street stocks instead of the modifieds they used in the four other rounds. Souza started the race on the pole. He had a very good race and was in the top of the field the entire race, leading all 50 laps of the race.

Kyle is a motorsports reporter; he has a company called Souza media. His company services Seekonk and Thompson and Tri Tracks for PR and social media, and Kyle also writes for MyRaceNews. He also hosts a podcast.

Andrew Molleur had another good run tonight in the iRace event. He started the race 4th and stayed in the top 5 throughout the race. Andrew has been really good in the iRace events. Ryan Borges had another top 3 finish in the virtual Stafford Speedway. Ryan has been doing great with not being a regular at Stafford and its really cool to see the non-drivers/fan having good races and winning races and being very competitive with the regular drivers.

 some new drivers and non-drivers this race spoke with us about how they did tonight and what they are learning on iRacing that can be brought to real life racing. Along with how cool it is to race against drivers and fans in iRacing. Here is what they had to say:

Kyle Souza- “I had to run the preliminary race on Wednesday, two days to the feature, and it was certainly a difficult endeavor with just about 60 drivers basically going for just five spots. It went rather clean for me, finishing up inside the top 5 and transferring but I know I benefited from qualifying on the pole and starting up front. Track positions matter a lot.

I’m administering a league at Seekonk, so I know how difficult this is, and Stafford giving fans the opportunity to run with some of their Friday night regulars is something I wish more tracks would do on the service. It really gives the race fans a thrill to be able to compare side-by-side with guys like Teddy Hodgdon, Andrew Molleur and more. To be able to compete against some of the guys I cover as part of racing in real life was definitely a different experience, but one that I enjoyed. Glad I could beat some of them. Practice on Friday went well, having run the car on Wednesday, I didn’t have to take that much. I actually qualified just outside the top 10, but my lap that I put down was actually good enough to be on the pole. I hit the wall during the lap and the server will not count your lap if you hit the wall. I started 5th in my heat race and was able to drive to the front and win that, taking the pole for the feature, and I was able to lead all 50 laps. It was definitely a bit stressful with the amount of cautions that we had but being out front made all the difference in the world when I could control the starts.”

“For me, the pro’s here are endless. Not just because I was able to win but being able to run with some of the real-life drivers and have it broadcasted by the team at Stafford was a pleasure. I don’t have anything negative to say about any of the experience. Looking forward to doing it again this week. Certainly, winning at the virtual Stafford Motor Speedway is definitely nothing like it would be in real life. I’m not going to have the opportunity to win there in real life, so winning at the virtual level is about the best I am going to get. It still was a pleasure to be added to the list of virtual winners.”

Jeff Gallup- “ It simulates the track and grooves and what you are looking for out of the car to go fast. Difference is how you can pass and some of the setup work. I can learn a few characteristics of tracks which is more important on tracks I have never been before. Just learned the street stocks at Stafford and those little things to get speed out of it. The heat was good, I avoided the big one on the backstretch and was able to get a top four and rode it out there. Feature was able to work my way up to 6th, tried to roll the top a little bit and lost a few positions. Still a solid race for not much practice. I would change a few things on my qualifying lap to hopefully start more towards the front. I think I did ok that was the first race with them all, so a top 10 without any incident is good. It’s good to see the non-drivers/fan get a chance to race with drivers even though most of them have more laps or iRacing than the drivers.”

Jon Puleo- “Real life racing and iRacing have a bunch of similarities like the setup of cars, track temps and the feel of the tracks. The differences are feeling the g force going into the turns and feeling the speed under you. I use a lot of what I learn on iRacing in real life. I learn about setups, different lines to run about different tracks. I usually race Stafford or Thompson before a race at either track. In practice you learn how the car is going to handle. Everyone had the same setup, so practice is a good tool to gauge off other cars how fast you are or what lines they are running. The heat races are a great add on from Stafford. Heat races in real life are always intense and nerve racking. Its accurate to that in the game as well. The heat dictates your starting spot for the feature. The features have been lots of fun racing with all the Stafford drivers and fans. I learned how people race and what its like to drive a fender car. I wish I could’ve gotten on the podium but, I’ll try again next week! I haven’t had the runs I should have, been caught up in wrecks and misjudged some calls on my part. It was great to finally get a 5th place finish for my Mr. Rooter team it was a great run. I love the format; the fans make it interesting and it gives me a chance to race with high level drivers. It’s also fun to race with guys you see race on Friday’s but don’t compete against. The fans have been putting on a show as well so it’s lots of fun.”

Other drivers we spoke to that have been racing since the beginning rounds of the iRacing events at Stafford Speedway were asked about how their heat and feature races went and how it has been racing against other drivers and non-drivers throughout the races. Here is what they have to say:

Travis Hydar- “I got spun out in the heat race twice but just missed the transfer spot, so I ended up going to the consi. I won the consi and started 17th in the feature. The feature had a ton of cautions, but we charged from 17th all the way up to fourth and I really can’t complain about that! It was a nice change in pace to run the street stocks, something I’m used to.”

Andrew Molleur- “We qualified really good (fourth) so I was happy to be able to start up front in the heat, ended up second. Started fourth in the feature and stayed inside the top five throughout the event and was able to come home second in the end. I love racing street stocks on iRacing and one of my favorite street stock drivers Ryan Waterman gave me the ok to run one of his schemes for the race. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait for the late models!”

Ryan Borges- “My heat race went alright, I felt like I was pretty quick but due to a couple of cautions and the car in front of me having some connection issues, I was only able to get up to second. In the feature, I felt like I didn’t get enough green flag laps to get up and challenge for the lead. I started fifth and felt like I really held around there for most of the race, since we unfortunately only got a few stretches of green that were more than a couple laps. Toward the end when we went green a bit, I was finally able to show some muscle, but I didn’t really have time to get to Souza or Molleur.”

Matt Vassar- “The heat was fun; I started third and took the lead after the first lap. Then a caution came out and I got turned around by the high roller. I got some damage but was able to come from 13th to fourth in the final two laps from some good moves and carnage by others. The feature was filled with action too. We started 10th and fell to 13th. I worked my way back to eighth and got into a good race with Reen. We got together out of two and a few laps later he tried the bottom shot. I saw it coming and used a trick of braking and turning into him which made him bounce off of me and shoot him spinning into the grass in four. I then made a few moves and drove to sixth but, could have gotten even better if there weren’t so many late yellows. As far as my paint scheme I figured I would paint up a kind of tribute car to my dads 1987 car he ran at Stafford and Riverside Park. It was neat to honor him. This week we have the late models and ill be running another scheme before going back to Hummel blue and orange for the races with the tour car.”

Teddy Hodgdon- “The street stocks in iRacing are totally different than driving a modified. A lot less tire, less horsepower, sliding around a more, so getting the tire up to temperature quickly is super important. I made a mistake in the heat race which had to put us in the consi, then spun by myself in the feature, and had to climb my way back to 10th, definitely not my best weekend.”

The next race is Friday and the drivers, non-drivers, and fans will be running late models in the features.  

Top 10 finishers:

1. Kyle Souza
2. Andrew Molleur
3. Ryan Borges
4. Travis Hydar
5. Jon Puleo
6. Matt Vassar
7. Jeff Gallup
8. Troy Talman
9. Robert Silk
10. Teddy Hodgdon