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It was Leahy’s grid to control as the green flag dropped, he got an incredible jump on the field while Alfalla from 2nd was positioning into blocking Luza from 3rd. Alfalla seemed to lack any race pace to maintain his spot in the front, as he started to drop off, falling to 6th by Lap 31.
Tyre strategy was the early topic as talk suggested tyre life could be extended by some distance, allowing a 2 stop strategy over the 3 stop. The fuel window was between lap 59 – 64. The leaders decided to pit around lap 43/44, such as Leahy, from the lead, who pit on lap 44 but it would be Luza who went a lap earlier and managed to undercut Leahy on the next go around.
Pit Road Drama
Homestead was developing to be a green flag race but a bizarre incident involving Sheehan on the pit entry saw him crash his #1 entry into the pit entry divider, after he missed the extended pit access road, off of turn 4. With the car sideways almost blocking the entry, Kirwan collected the stricken car, ending the hopes for those two right then. The racing stayed green though.
It was a smooth running event for the majority of the race. By lap 55 we knew Shearburn, Bryant and Reynolds where going for the long strategy, with Luza having made that early stop, he was on a charge through the field making the most of his fresher set of boots but still had Shearburn to overtake. It wasn’t til lap 64 where the races first caution appeared, after Lyon suffered a flat tyre and bringing out the yellow. With everybody reacting Reynolds now went from 33rd to 9th, things where looking good for him too.
Cautions Breed Cautions
After the restart Keister got mixed up in a small game of tag, which unbalanced his car but fortunately only minor damage, as the field around reacted in time to avoid turning this one into a pileup. Again the field reacted, with only 9 cars deciding to stay put and claim track posisiton, Shearburn was amongst those who did. Then lap 74 saw Bryant lose power, restart, to only lose power once again, it was either fuel or a technical glitch which ultimately damaged his chances of a good result.
Overtake For Victory Lane
Luza came up against Zalenski and it was a determined fight from both, it was Luza though who made the overtake and stayed there with some 30 odd laps remaining. It’s stayed green since the second restart and no-one was able to catch the youngster, who claimed his first victory in a year and a well deserved one at that.
Was ready for my first @NASCAR @iRacing @CocaCola Series race winning interview in awhile!— Ryan Luza (@RyanLuza) March 18, 2020
Absolutely stellar @WilliamsEsports Mustang tonight, awesome to put them in victory lane! 🏁
Thanks to everyone at FSR for the hard work!#eNASCAR @chillblast @BenQEurope @fanatec pic.twitter.com/bnMNoAAJBc
Had a great battle with @RyanLuza. Did my best on the old tires! After the battle I was surprised to find out I had to save a lap and half of fuel. Didn't take account of clean air = more fuel burn. We had to save a ton and ended up P8. Points leader!@iracing @nascar #eNASCAR pic.twitter.com/hvj4NGX92J— Bobby Zalenski (@bobbyzalenski) March 18, 2020