#Road2NASCAR Driver Spotlight – Bobby Zalenski
After five rounds of the 2018 V8 SuperTrucks Championship, this year's two eligible #Road2NASCAR drivers are continuing to perform at a high level.
Bobby Zalenski and Logan Clampitt are both off to great starts, sitting first and fifth in the drivers standings respectively.
Both drivers are competing for the chance to become a development driver for Patriot Motorsports Group in their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified car.
The opportunity was open to current NASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series drivers as well as top competitors in the iRacing NASCAR Road to Pro Series.
Justin Prince: With #Road2NASCAR, this season could be a bring opportunity for you. How do you feel your season has been going so far?
Bobby Zalenski: I've really just focused on each race like I did last year and just going for the championship rather than think about the opportunity that lies ahead if I finish up front as an oval driver. It's been more about just taking it race-by-race and try to do my best every race. I think that's a good mindset to have to achieve something like that. Just go for the title and you know (you will) be in a good position to get the opportunity (of #Road2NASCAR).
JP: What has been one of the things you've been working on to try and be successful this season on a consistent basis?
BZ: I've just kind of refined and gotten better at practicing. I'm now using more better use of my practice time, but really I've kept the formula the same and just stuck to what I do. I love racing the trucks on road. It's really easy to put some practice time and doesn't feel like a chore. It's fun.
JP: What kind of challenges have you had so far this season?
BZ: Marco (Mogren) has been pretty quick and Sven (Cammaerts) the same. I'm expecting (Logan) Clampitt to get better as the season goes on. But really, the challenges have just been fellow drivers and just trying to stay ahead of them. You got to be on top of your game in this league. I can see these guys. I've really been trying my best to stay ahead of them.
JP: You compete in a lot of different races in different types of cars. How has your experience helped you in the different classes you run, whether with iRacing Rallycross or whether it's on the road courses? Also, how has the V8 SuperTrucks help you with the rest of your races?
BZ: I think these things (trucks) are pretty tough to drive and it's a road course. It should transition to just about anything you can do on road. Plus, I get to learn the tracks I never raced before and then I might go race that track in F1, GT or maybe some other car that I haven't driven before. I kind of already know the tracks even though it's with a NASCAR truck. It keeps me fresh as well, just having every three weeks or so this league with the trucks on road courses. It's always keeping my road racing fresh.
JP: You mentioned Mogren being one of the drivers that is one of the challenges. What other favorite battles have you had this season? Basically, who you consider basically a rival outside of Mogren?
BZ: I guess would be Cammaerts that transfers over from last season when we were battling for the title. Then, intentionally Clampitt later in the season. Like I said, I was with him being his first season, he's only going to get better. We're really close in the NPAiS cars at Watkins Glen and even Sonoma we were pretty close (Clampitt finished seventh at Sonoma in 2017). I know he has the potential to become a rival, but I'd say, Sven ... a friendly rival, but a rival.
Sven Cammaerts challenging Bobby Zalenski for the lead at Nurburgring GP in 2017
JP: What is the track that you're looking forward to the most at this point?
BZ: It was Sonoma before the season. That's my favorite track on the entire sim. But looking forward from here, it would probably have to be Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course just because we haven't gone there before and then it's Indianapolis. It's a legendary track with the Indianapolis 500. Going there should be pretty special.
JP: Clampitt in his interview mentioned that Virginia International Raceway was in his opinion his biggest challenge for a track. What do you think will be your biggest challenge for a track for the rest of the way?
BZ: Yeah, I might have to go with him on that just because I haven't raced there before. I haven't raced Brands Hatch either, but I know I know that track is kind of simple and straightforward. VIR is a bit different.
JP: What kind of racing experience do you have in real life? How much do you think that experience has helped, if relevant?
BZ: I've only raced one year in my life in real-life competition and that's when I was eight-nine years old in 2004. I raced dirt carts on an on a small little oval. That's the only experience I have. I don't know how much that transfers over, but I know it was a lot of fun doing it. I finished second in the points that year and was a great time. But, I'm a totally different driver then of course when I was at Age 9 and I didn't really even know what I was doing then. I've always had a knack for racing and love it.
JP: You definitely change over time in terms of racing style from when you're eight-nine years old for sure. With #Road2NASCAR, how do you feel about the opportunity to be able to have a chance to be able to race for the first time since Age 9 in real life in a NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modified car?
BZ: It's very special. It sounds like a big challenge. I've raced go-karts on a dirt track and this is pavement and a big beast, but it would be a hell of a time. I would be going to have fun and then kind of feel like the differences between sim and real life. That's what I really am intrigued about is just understanding how real drivers feel out there and if I can bring any of my mindset to help me drive in real life.
JP: This month, the NASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series heads off to Sonoma (Zalenski had won last year's Sonoma race). How do you feel about returning to Sonoma in the cup car after racing there with the trucks earlier this season?
BZ: I feel great. Like I said, it's my favorite track. The goal is to have a clean race. That's never a guarantee. I think if I get a clean race, I'll have a great shot at the win again ... I don't want to sound cocky, but that's that's my place. I really want to win that race.
source: Bobby Zalenski
Zalenski, who has won four of the first five races this season in the V8ST, is currently third in the NPAiS standings with one top five and four top 10s. To remain eligible for the #Road2NASCAR program, Zalenski and Clampitt both need to remain in the top 10 for both the NPAiS and V8ST standings.
Zalenski will be back in his Virtual2Reality Chevy Silverado this Saturday, June 9 at 2100 UTC/4 p.m. EST as the V8STC head to Brands Hatch. He will also be competing in his Virtual Racing School Ford Fusion June 12th at Michigan International Speedway at 0100 UTC/9 p.m. EST. Both broadcasts will be streaming live on iRacing.com/live.