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NASCAR Cup: Timmy Hill scores virtual Texas win

By AMANDA VINCENT

Driving for underfunded teams for several years, Timmy Hill has never really been a top performer in NASCAR. Meanwhile, he’s made a name for himself in iRacing with a reputation as one of the best drivers there, courtesy of well over 600 wins. The NASCAR and iRacing worlds are colliding now, though, with NASCAR banking on an iRacing series to hold fans’ interest while real-world racing remains on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Hill is flourishing in that collision. He claimed victory at virtual Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125, the second race of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series. While the win was a virtual first for Hill in NASCAR, it was his 674th iRacing win.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Hill said “Very exciting times for us, because we just don’t get the recognition on a normal basis. To be on an even playing field is excellent. To be on this platform, the Cup platform, is exciting. The amount of folks that reached out to me has just been tremendous.”

Hill bumped William Byron out of the lead with four laps remaining in the 125-lap scheduled distance and maintained that lead on an overtime restart resulting from a multi-car wreck that included Byron a lap later.

Ryan Preece took second from Garrett Smithley in the final two green flag laps of the race. Smithley, Landon Cassill and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five.

“The race was really exciting,” Hill said. “The last lap basically was a two-lap run to the finish — green-white-checkered. I had to fight off Ryan Preece and Garrett Smithley, two excellent iRacers. They put in a lot of practice. I knew they would be tough to beat.”

Byron led the most laps for the second-consecutive eNASCAR race. He wound up 34th last week at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. At virtual Texas, he wound up seventh after a dominant performance that began with a pole start and included 80 laps led.

Byron led most of the race until a second caution for Anthony Alfredo on lap 39. Pit strategy, then, cost Byron the lead as Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon opted to stay out. On older tires, though, those who stayed out drifted back, eventually falling outside the top-10. Byron retook his lead on lap 45.

Preece and John Hunter Nemechek each led laps between laps 54 and 69 before Byron reassumed his position up front and ran there until pitting under green on lap 89. Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained on the race track until making his green-flag stop just past lap 105, turning the lead back over to Byron.

Earnhardt finished the race in the sixth position. Finishing eighth through 10th were Nemechek, Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch.

The overtime restart extended the race distance to 130 laps. The yellow flag waved five times.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 at virtual Texas Motor Speedway:
1. Timmy Hill
2. Ryan Preece
3. Garrett Smithley
4. Landon Cassill
5. Alex Bowman
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. William Byron
8. John Hunter Nemechek
9. Kyle Larson
10. Kurt Busch
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Parker Kligerman
13. Bobby Labonte
14. Michael McDowell
15. Matt DiBenedetto
16. Ty Dillon
17. Kyle Busch
18. Chris Buescher
19. Jimmie Johnson
20. Chase Elliott
21. Erik Jones
22. Ross Chastain
23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
24. Denny Hamlin
25. Darrell Wallace Jr.
26. Alex Labbe
27. Ryan Blaney
28. Tyler Reddick
29. Austin Dillon
30. Ty Majeski
31. Ruben Garcia Jr.
32. Greg Biffle
33. Daniel Suarez
34. Christopher Bell
35. Anthony Alfredo

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Posted by on March 29, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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