THE VIRTUAL LOUDON, N.H. — It was a magical Tuesday night for Jimmy Mullis.
Mullis was able to lead the last 116 laps straight en route to his first victory of the season, a second win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the third win in his career overall.
“After about lap 15, our drive-off was just incredible compared to everybody else,” Mullis said post-race. “We never lost center rotation, so that was huge. Overall, the way that our car handled, we were able to run that lower groove, which saved tires a lot.
“I’m not sure that everybody was able to do that as good as we were. Obviously, that was a big factor in the way that the car performed tonight. They killed it on the setup, and I was just fortunate to be able to drive it.”
Mullis took the lead from the pole sitter, Graham A. Bowlin, on lap 42. Through the remaining cautions and pit stops, Mullis never let go of the lead, and was able to hold off Matt Bussa and Nick Ottinger in the closing stages to win.
The event was slowed 11 times for 53 laps, and ended up going an extra six laps past the scheduled distance of 151 laps (a total of 157) due to a couple of late race cautions.
Mullis moves up into the ninth position in the standings after his victory, only 19 points outside of the Top 8 which qualify for the 2020 playoffs. Bowlin currently holds the final transfer position.
It was a tough night for some bubble drivers on both the playoff cutoff and the Top 20 cutoff on Tuesday night.
Brad Davies was in the final transfer spot entering New Hampshire, but falls to 12th in the standings after a 38th place finish. Jake Nichols was in a few weeks ago, but now falls to 13th after a late race incident relegated him to a 29th place finish.
With the battle to be locked back in for the 2021 season, Roush Fenway Racing teammates Kollin Keister and Nathan Lyon both had nights to forget, 31st and 39th place finishes, respectively, and went from both being good to outside the cutoff.
Keister falls to 22nd, while Lyon is now in 25th.
The 2019 eNASCAR iRacing champion, Zack Novak, has also had a season to forget, for the most part. Novak had made his way up inside the Top 10 from the 30th starting spot, but contact with Ryan Luza late sent the No. 90 Sunoco Toyota head on into the outside SAFER barrier. Novak falls further from the cut, down to 24th in the standings.
The next race in two weeks, the 11th of the 2020 season, will take place at Michigan International Speedway.
Garrett Lowe scored his first career victory last season at Michigan in the three-wide finish with Blake Reynolds and Chris Overland.
In 11 races at the track prior, current competitors Steve Sheehan, Ray Alfalla (twice), Michael Conti, Ryan Luza, and Lowe all have victories at the two-mile Speedway.
NOTES AND NUGGETS:
- 39 drivers finished on the lead lap, despite 11 caution flag incidents. Only Jeremy R Allen retired from the event, finishing 132 laps down.
- There was only one lead change, on lap 42, when Jimmy Mullis passed Graham A. Bowlin.
- Keegan Leahy had a night to forget, finishing 22nd after an early stack up brought him down pit road for an unscheduled stop. With Ryan Luza finishing seventh, Leahy’s point lead is down to four points. Garrett Lowe is also right there, eight points out of the lead after an 11th place finish.
- In the Team Standings, Virtual Racing School continues to lead over JR Motorsports by 48 points. Ray Alfalla finished eighth, while Bobby Zalenski finished tenth.
LETS GO! WINNER BACK TO BACK AT @NHMS!! That was absolutely my best performance in this series, no doubt about it. Incredible car after 15 laps all thanks to the guys at LDR. Redemption for Richmond feels so good. The fight for the playoffs is alive! #RReSports x @SunocoRacing pic.twitter.com/f2pzJ39BbR
— Jimmy Mullis (@jmullisracing) July 15, 2020
TOP 10 IN DRIVER’S POINTS:
- Keegan Leahy +82
- Ryan Luza +78
- Garrett Lowe +74
- Bobby Zalenski +58
- Michael Conti +55
- Nick Ottinger +38
- Ray Alfalla +35
- Graham A. Bowlin +19
- Jimmy Mullis -19
- Logan Clampitt -24
NEW HAMPSHIRE 151 RACE RESULTS:
- 46 – Jimmy Mullis – Richmond Raceway eSports
- 5 – Matt Bussa – Williams eSports
- 25 – Nick Ottinger – William Byron eSports
- 18 – Graham A. Bowlin – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 8 – Michael Conti – JR Motorsports
- 99 – Logan Clampitt – Burton Kligerman eSports
- 53 – Ryan Michael Luza – Williams eSports
- 2 – Ray Alfalla – Virtual Racing School
- 27 – Corey Vincent – Renegades
- 83 – Bobby Zalenski – Virtual Racing School
- 21 – Garrett Lowe – Wood Brothers Racing
- 51 – Malik Ray – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 55 – Caine Cook – Renegades
- 33 – Michael Guest – Team Dillon eSports
- 97 – John Gorlinsky – William Byron eSports
- 23 – Casey Kirwan – Denny Hamlin Racing
- 3 – Blake Reynolds – Team Dillon eSports
- 16 – Chris Overland – Wood Brothers Racing
- 42 – Bob Bryant – Bryant Sheehan eSports
- 14 – Brandon Hayse Kettelle – Clint Bowyer Racing
- 10 – Justin Bolton – Stewart-Haas eSports
- 32 – Keegan Leahy – Denny Hamlin Racing
- 1 – Steve Sheehan – Bryant Sheehan eSports
- 54 – Alex McCollum – G2 eSports
- 36 – Chris Shearburn – Letarte eSports
- 4 – Santiago Tirres – Letarte eSports
- 15 – Michael Guariglia – Jim Beaver eSports
- 41 – Dylan Duval – Stewart-Haas eSports
- 24 – Jake Nichols – Mode Motorsports
- 75 – Phillip Diaz – Mode Motorsports
- 17 – Kollin Keister – Roush Fenway Racing
- 90 – Zack Novak – Richmond Raceway eSports
- 66 – Jarl Teien – G2 eSports
- 9 – Eric J. Smith – Jim Beaver eSports
- 77 – Ashton Crowder – Burton Kligerman eSports
- 37 – Christian Challiner – JTG Daugherty Racing
- 79 – Brian Schoenburg – Clint Bowyer Racing
- 88 – Brad Davies – JR Motorsports
- 6 – Nathan Lyon – Roush Fenway Racing
- 47 – Jeremy R Allen – JTG Daugherty Racing
Check out the TReSports Photo Gallery from Race #10 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway! All Photos by Justin Melillo via iRacing.com.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com