Every week, iRacing, the world’s premier online racing simulation service, highlights its latest news for NESN Fuel. This week, iRacing recapped the third round of the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Read more about iRacing here.
NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman put his real and virtual world experience to the test Tuesday evening, holding off NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Garrett Smithley for the win in the third race of the 2017 NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.
Without Ty Majeski in the field, who had qualified on pole for each of the series’ last two races, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin made his series debut from pole position Tuesday night at the Dover International Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver launched out to an early lead, but was quickly overtaken just three laps into the race by Parker Kligerman and Garrett Smithley, dropping him to third. Hamlin would struggle on the outside line, falling to a race low sixth position by Lap 11.
With Kligerman out in front, Smithley gave chase closing to within two car lengths of the new race leader 10 laps into the 30-lap affair. Just as it began to look like a battle for the lead was inevitable, as Smithley continued to apply the pressure, Smithley started to fade as the race crossed the midway point at Lap 15. Smithley would have to hold of Christian Eckes for second throughout the remainder of the race, allowing Kligerman to run away with the race. Kligerman would cross the start finish line over three seconds ahead of his nearest competitors, becoming the third different race winner in three races on the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, in convincing style.
TRD development driver Gracie Trotter, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin and JR Motorsports driver, and Xfinity Series points leader, Justin Allgaier race three-wide during the open qualifying session.
Full Race Results:
1. Parker Kligerman
2. Garrett Smithley (-3.01 seconds)
3. Christian Eckes (-3.61 seconds)
4. Denny Hamlin (-3.92 seconds)
5. Christopher Bell (-4.25 seconds)
6. Blake Koch (-25.24 seconds)
7. Myatt Snyder (-2 laps)
8. Ben Kennedy (-4 laps)
9. Gracie Trotter (-6 laps)
10. Raphael Lessard (-22 laps)
“After Denny and Ben Kennedy were so fast in qualifying I was thinking I was going to be relegated back in third,” Kligerman admitted post-race. “They both took it so easy in those first couple of laps that I was able to hook the bottom and get the inside line … from there it was just a matter of taking care of the right front (tire). I expected someone to come after me but they never did.”
Kilgerman lightheartedly noted that this was his first “race win” since the ARCA Racing Series Twilight 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in May 2016. “It’s been a long draught so I’m excited,” he joked. Kligerman, who’s driven in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series, including a win in the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, can now add a win in the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series to his expansive list of racing accomplishments.
You can catch Parker Kligerman in his day job on the iRacing simulator weekly during “NASCAR America” on NBC Sport Network.
The series will return in two weeks on Tuesday, Oct. 10 for one final race in the inaugural 2017 season. The race can be streamed live beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET by logging onto iRacing.com/Live, and will be immediately followed by coverage of the the 16th and final race of the 2017 NASCAR Peak Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing.
All photos via iRacing
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