It was a fairly straightforward championship finale at the virtual Darlington Raceway on Tuesday night as the D-BOX eNASCAR International iRacing Series powered by Digital Motorsports season came to a close with NASCAR Pinty’s Series driver Treyten Lapcevich scoring the overall third season title.
NASCAR’s amalgamation of their various international racing series, from the Pinty’s Series in Canada, the NASCAR Mexico Series, the Whelen Euro Series and now the Brasil Sprint Race, combined with the up-and-comers of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity here in the United States, put on yet another successful five-race series with five different winners at the end of the season.
Utilizing iRacing‘s NASCAR Xfinity Series machines, the field would conclude the Winter Series with a battle at the Lady in Black, the track Too Tough To Tame, the one and only Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.
Lapcevich needed to finish within nine spots of NASCAR Mexico Series driver Victor Barrales to clinch the series title. In a 17 car field, finishing in the top half would guarantee that should Barrales catch the same fire he had at Las Vegas back in November.
Rajah Caruth won the event, his second career win in the series, while Lapcevich took home fourth. Barrales wound up in seventh, allowing Lapcevich to win the title by 13 points. Jean-Philippe Bergeron, who finished second at Darlington, wound up taking third in the final standings.
The race had zero cautions despite a number of incidents throughout. Many driver could attribute their incident points to the infamous Darlington Stripe.
PLENTY OF DARLINGTON STRIPES TO GO AROUND
When a driver goes too hard into either of the differing corners at Darlington Raceway, they often wind up catching the wall in such a narrow space. Playfully known as the Darlington Stripe, drivers often wear it as a badge of honor when competing in the real-world.
In the sim, especially in one of iRacing’s cars that doesn’t have the New Damage Model, collecting a Darlington Stripe is almost a death sentence in highly competitive races. Fortunately for the entirety of the field, not a single car made it through the 70 lap event without at least a little damage.
NASCAR Mexico Series champion Ruben Garcia was one of the first to earn his stripes, battling for the lead with Bergeron early on as he collected the wall and began to fall backwards. His day didn’t get better, as he collided with Lapcevich and nearly spun out, both drivers saving it and continuing.
Justin T Campbell moved up into the second position as a result and tracked down Bergeron a few laps later. As Campbell made his move for the lead, Bergeron collected his first big stripe. Not long after Campbell took the lead, it was Caruth on his back bumper looking for a way around into the lead.
Caruth laid the bumper to Campbell a little too hard, sending the fellow Drive For Diversity driver into a quarter spin. As Campbell saved it, Caruth tried to slow up to let him back in, but Campbell gave way to the spot and fell back to third.
As Lapcevich moved back up into the second spot, he and Caruth battled while the rest of the field opted to pit for tires and fuel. They were the last two to pit, pitting the field against one another with differing strategies.
With both Lapcevich and Caruth waiting until the last possible lap, others had pitted for the fresh virtual rubber much earlier, allowing them to leap frog into higher positions and forcing the two leaders outside of the Top 10 briefly.
Bergeron pitted right at halfway, allowing for a true split on tires for what should have been equal runs at the start and end. A few laps prior, Barrales opted to try the undercut, to try and make up positions at the start of the run. Alex de Alba also tried this out and originally cycled up to second place behind Bergeron.
Campbell pitted a few laps before Caruth and Lapcevich and managed to undercut a few seconds back into his favor. Caruth would not be denied, however, as he meticulously moved through the slower traffic and back up into the second spot.
With just over 10 laps to go, Caruth was more than seven seconds behind Bergeron. With two to go, Caruth made the move for the lead and never looked back.
SEASON 3, RACE 5 – DARLINGTON RACEWAY TOP 10 FINAL RESULTS
|1||3||13||Rajah Caruth||Drive For Diversity||70 LAPS||20||40|
|2||4||7||Jean-Philippe Bergeron||Pinty’s Series||+2.02||38||35|
|3||5||21||Justin T Campbell||Drive For Diversity||+3.544||4||34|
|4||2||20||Treyten Lapcevich||Pinty’s Series||+5.204||0||33|
|5||6||46||Miguel Gomes||Euro Whelen Series||+8.718||0||32|
|6||1||88||Ruben Garcia||Mexico Series||+8.898||8||31|
|7||8||39||Victor Barrales||Mexico Series||+17.030||0||30|
|8||7||8||Giorgio Maggi||Euro Whelen Series||+17.591||0||29|
|9||9||10||Ulysse Delsaux||Euro Whelen Series||+23.600||0||28|
|10||12||40||Néo Lambert||Euro Whelen Series||+28.757||0||27|
TREYTEN LAPCEVICH TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
The turning point of the 2022 Winter Season came in the midway race at Daytona. Barrales had won at Las Vegas and followed that up with a solid result at Mosport, a few spots behind Lapcevich who had won. At Daytona, Barrales wound up 15th, losing multiple points to Lapcevich in the process.
At Zolder, the two battled while Paul Jouffreau ran away with the victory. Barrales wound up losing yet another point to Lapcevich and would need some bad luck to befall the Canadian at Darlington if he wanted to have a shot.
That luck almost changed when Lapcevich and Garcia got together. Somehow, they all saved it, and Lapcevich was able to rebound back for another solid finish. While it was a mini-series at only five races, Lapcevich took the momentum of winning Season 2’s finale and turned it into a title for Season 3.
POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RACE 5 – DARLINGTON RACEWAY
|1||20||Treyten Lapcevich||Pinty’s Series||1||171||LEADER|
|2||39||Victor Barrales||Mexico Series||1||158||-10|
|3||7||Jean-Philippe Bergeron||Pinty’s Series||0||151||-20|
|4||46||Miguel Gomes||Whelen Euro Series||0||148||-23|
|5||10||Ulysse Delsaux||Whelen Euro Series||0||145||-26|
|6||51||Jake Cosio||Mexico Series||0||144||-27|
|7||8||Giorgio Maggi||Whelen Euro Series||0||143||-28|
|8||33||Paul Jouffreau||Whelen Euro Series||1||123||-48|
|8||148||Gordon Barnes||Whelen Euro Series||0||123||-48|
|10||14||Alex de Alba||Mexico Series||0||121||-50|
WELCOME (TO) BRASIL
Since the series’ inception back in 2021, only the three international NASCAR divisions of Pinty’s, Mexico and Euro Whelen had been represented, plus the various drivers in the Drive For Diversity at home.
Tuesday’s race saw the first expansion of the series in 13 races as the newly-announced NASCAR Brasil Sprint Race was represented at Darlington. The #9 car, driven by Arthur Gama, a professional race car driver in Brazil, was decked out in the NASCAR Brasil logos and had the first-ever Brasil window banner.
Unfortunately, with Caruth winning a second race for the NASCAR Drive For Diversity and the Gama-driven car for the Brasil series running into issues throughout the event, ultimately finishing 13th, the perfect season streak achieved last week was over.
Maybe if there is a next season, all five represented divisions can win a race and complete the international super sweep.
All five of the eNASCAR replays are available on the iRacing YouTube channel if you’d like to revisit the third season. Congratulations again go out to Treyten Lapcevich, the 2022 Season 3 champion!
2022 ENASCAR INTERNATIONAL IRACING SERIES SEASON 3 SCHEDULE
- 15th November– Las Vegas Motor Speedway | WINNER: Victor Barrales
- 22nd November – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park | WINNER: Treyten Lapcevich
- 4th December – Daytona International Speedway | WINNER: Ryan Vargas
- 13th December – Circuit Zolder | WINNER: Paul Jouffreau
- 20th December – Darlington Raceway | WINNER: Rajah Caruth