Spring Thunder Down-Under
Making the Series’ first bi-annual trip to Australia, V8 SuperTrucks headed the picturesque Phillip Island. The day started to play the familiar tune of Bobby Zalenski taking pole position at the end of qualifying. However, the track temps were far hotter at a toasty 98°F (37°C) than last year’s brisk 74°F (23°C). The hotter track temps resulted in 5 seconds slower lap times than when the series visited in 2017.
The start of the race was a bit chaotic with several drivers running wide in the opening corners of the race leaving fan favorites like Sven Cammaerts (#66) and Martin Kapal (#64) losing a number of positions in Turn 2. Their mistake would leave them to battle their way back through the field.
In the early laps, Zalenski would be unable to exploit the battle for 2nd and run away with the lead, which resulted in Marco Mogren (#257) applying pressure to the points leader early on. On Lap 10, Zalenski would be able to get back about 5 truck-lengths before coming down pit lane for his mandatory pit-stop. However, on the exit, he would run wide and into the grass on Turn 1 losing valuable time which would hand the lead over the Mogren on Lap 12 and put Erik Blixt (#89) close behind in P3.
Further back in the field there some intense battling. Martin Kapal (#64) won the fans attention as the most exciting driver of the race but the Logan Clampitt (#44) was quite the story. Early in the week, he had not anticipated being able to participate in Round 3 due to a trip which had him on the other side of the United States. In a surprise turn of events, he was able to be ready to race, less than 2 hours before race start. Due to the unique nature of the situation, Race Control left it up to the drivers who already confirmed to make the final decision regarding Clampitt’s participation in Round 3. The drivers unanimously agreed to allow Clampitt to start from the rear of the field. Clampitt almost made it to 5th place by lap 10, but unfortunately, he would get spun by Diogo Melro (#84) dropping Clampitt back down to 10th. Clampitt would climb his way back through the ranks and complete a pass on Melro using the outside line of Turn 11 and would finish 6th as the biggest mover and well deserved hard charger of the race.
With the completion of Round 3, there are 3 drivers who will be battling for the #Road2NASCAR Opportunity. Bobby Zalenski, along with Chaos Crew drivers Logan Clampitt and Jimmy Mullis are the 3 drivers competing to show they have the well-rounded skillset Patriot Motorsports is looking for in their next Development Driver. Zalenski is in the best situation currently leading the Drivers Standings in V8 SuperTrucks, and sitting 5th in the NASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series (#NPAiS). Logan Clampitt is on the bubble, just now in the top 10 of V8 SuperTrucks, and sitting 11th in #NPAiS. Jimmy Mullis has the greatest amount of work ahead, despite being 15th in the #NPAiS standings, his DNF in V8 SuperTrucks at Sonoma last month has left him a challenge for the remainder of the 2018 season.
Next week we head to the famous Twin Ring Motegi circuit which provided some exceptional door-to-door racing last October and expect even more next Saturday. Be sure to catch every exciting moment of the RaceSpot live broadcast on April 21st streamed right here along with the iRacing official youtube channel and at iracing.com/live at 2100 UTC (5pm EDT). See you then!