Story and Images by Matthew Overton
March 27th, 2022 – Just one race at CMS this week – the The Downspout’s Friend 150 for NARS as they took the SC2018X cars out for Round 7 of their 8 race series.
Qualifying showed that the drivers had the setups and speed to run competitively with each other on the track and it was AM driver Ricardo Almeida that took the pole position with the only sub-48s lap at 47.813 Top PRO qualifier was Gilles Lalonde posting a 48.076. It was obvious that everyone was “bringin’ it” for the last oval race of the series
Racing however, is never like qualifying! For all the drivers who have dismissed oval racing as ‘turn left, turn left, turn left’, Daytona was a rude reminder that highspeed drafting on a superspeedway requires a tad more concentration than that! With well over half of the advertised 60 laps under full caution/pace car, the event was a continuous lesson on the discipline and focus necessary to race even the ‘junior’ NASCAR series successfully.
That said, spirits remained high in the field with a constant stream of chatter and advice as the cars trundled along behind the pace car. With all said and done (including a ‘sim life replicating real life’ wreck as we approached the finish line) it was Almeida and Lalonde that started as they finished, with 1-2 at the front of the field that finished in some confusion as cars skidded over the s/f line and the race officials worked furiously to track the finishing order. It was the first win in class for both drivers – Lalonde working up to this milestone while Almeida proving himself in his first race of the series.
The series returns to Daytona in two weeks for the road race and the championships are still very much in the air. On the PRO side, Eduardo Beninca holds a 30 point lead over Brian Hall and Norm Graf who are tied going into the final event. For the AM field, Brendan McVeigh holds a slim 8 point lead over Jair Oliviera and Paul Ibbotson – also tied with Ross Smith only 15 points behind them.
Next week is a full schedule for rF2 at CMS, with the MNRL taking the TA U2 Datsuns to Road Atlanta and then both NARS and the VWSC racing the Hypercars and GTs at Long Beach.