Ryan Michael Luza racked up his third win of the 2019 eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series on Tuesday night at Richmond Raceway.
Starting from the pole position, Luza was the early dominant car, leading the entire first quarter of the race.
A mid race restart relegated Luza to as far back as 10th, but he clawed back, running the majority of the race in the Top 5.
Luza regained the lead from Keegan Leahy with 26 laps to go, and was able to hold off Blake Reynolds on a one lap dash to conclude the event.
“It feels great,” Luza said to RaceSpot TV post race. “We were probably 40 laps in, and a lot of us stayed out. Me, (Michael) Conti, and (Logan) Clampitt had stayed out on 10 lap old tires. Keegan (Leahy) and Blake (Reynolds) got by us. I mean, they had really good cars too, but that just put us behind the curve, basically the entire race.
“The way that last caution fell right after green flag pit stops, we had only went like seven laps, I’m like hey, we had 10 laps on our tires last time, and they still had hell passing us, so seven laps are going to be even better. Only Keegan stayed out, and he had damage, and our car was just an absolute rocket ship for 10 laps. Just blazing fast.
“I knew if I was going to get by Keegan, I had to do it very, very quickly, because there is no guarantee with those cautions like we saw, and just to try and get a gap for all the guys that took four (tires).”
Reynolds, who started 21st, arguably had the best long run speed in the entire field. With 10 laps to go, he had worked his way up to third, but could not get around Leahy for second place.
Reynolds was able to utilize the bottom on the final restart to get around Leahy, but it was only a one lap shootout, and by the time they had reached the backstretch, Luza had easily pulled away to a comfortable lead.
“I didn’t want to do anything rash,” Reynolds told RaceSpot TV post race. “I was going to be patient. My main focus was getting past Keegan (Leahy). I didn’t think that with the jump that Luza was going to get there, that I could run him down in one lap, but I got Keegan there and I was able to bring home second.”
Leahy led 60 laps on the day, but could not hold on to the top spot, as Luza was able to get around with 26 laps to go. Leahy started the day in 32nd, and had luck on his side for the most part, but it wasn’t enough to get the G2 eSports driver into victory lane.
“I made some adjustments on the pit stop after the green flag pit stop, when I was battling with Blake (Reynolds), and I think I would have been a lot closer on speed with him on that last run,” Leahy told RaceSpot TV post race. “If it went green, I think I definitely had a solid shot of winning.
“It’s so, so hard to pass here anyway, so yeah, I definitely had a shot if it went green, but I really can’t complain about the luck, because I got extremely lucky and made some really good pit strategy calls as well. Through the race, I made my way up from my starting spot, I think it was 32nd, all the way up to the lead. I can’t complain honestly about the luck and the cautions.”
Luza maintains the points lead over Leahy as the series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for Round 6 of 18 in two weeks.
Now THAT was short-track racing! 💪🏻
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) April 10, 2019
- 53 – Ryan Michael Luza – FlipSid3 Tactics
- 30 – Blake Reynolds – Team Dillon eSports
- 62 – Keegan Leahy – G2 eSports
- 55 – Brian Schoenburg – Williams eSports
- 99 – Logan Clampitt – Burton Kligerman eSports
- 75 – Philip Diaz – Mode Motorsports
- 88 – Brad Davies – JR Motorsports
- 5 – Matt Bussa – Williams eSports
- 17 – Michael Guest – Roush Fenway Racing
- 90 – Malik Ray – Richmond Raceway eSports
- 37 – Christian Challiner – JTG Daugherty Racing
- 8 – Michael Conti – JR Motorsports
- 20 – Jake Nichols – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 46 – Jimmy Mullis – Richmond Raceway eSports
- 36 – Chris Shearburn – Letarte eSports
- 16 – Chris Overland – Wood Brothers Racing
- 14 – Casey Kirwan – Clint Bowyer Racing
- 4 – Nathan Lyon – Letarte eSports
- 18 – Bobby Zalenski – Joe Gibbs Racing
- 21 – Ray Alfalla – Wood Brothers Racing
- 42 – Dylan Duval – Independent
- 66 – Jarl Teien – G2 eSports
- 3 – Michael Guariglia – Independent
- 27 – Corey Vincent – Renegades
- 7 – Ryan Lowe – Independent
- 80 – Brandon Hayse Kettelle – Independent
- 6 – Zack Novak – Roush Fenway Racing
- 24 – Cody Byus – Mode Motorsports
- 19 – Casey Tucker – Independent
- 31 – Logan Kress – Independent
- 83 – Adam Benefiel – Independent
- 33 – Benjamin W. Nelson – Team Dillon eSports
- 63 – Timmy Hill – FlipSid3 Tactics
- 51 – Eric J. Smith – Independent
- 28 – Garrett Lowe – Renegades
- 79 – Nickolas Shelton – Clint Bowyer Racing
- 74 – Taylor Hurst – Independent
- 77 – Ashton Crowder – Burton Kligerman eSports
2 – Caine Cook – Independent
47 – Nick Ottinger – JTG Daugherty Racing
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com