Drama filled April with V8 SuperTrucks
April started with a SuperSprint format race at Barber Motorsports park. Overcast skies blanketed the race track in early April. Lots of questions circled whether Sven Cammaerts could produce a second win of the season.
Upon the completion of qualifying, Bobby Zalenski took his first pole position of 2019, besting Dallas Pataska by over half a second! This is pace we haven’t seen from Zalenski since the end of the 2018 season. Sven Cammerts took the outside of the front row, while points leader Dallas Pataska started 3rd.
At the start, Pataska gets a strong run with the drop of the green flag and sent it into the inside of Zalenski. The two came together resulting in a blockage in the middle of track exiting Turn 1. Most everyone avoids major contact except for Jay Steffey who had little place to go and made contact with Zalenski sending the #83 Virtual Racing School Toyota Tundra down the pit lane under the first full-course-caution of the 2019 season. Cammaerts would take the field to green but Erik Blixt would keep the pressure on right from the start,
trying both inside and outside lines at various segments of the course. However, Cammaerts would begin to pull away by lap 8.
Sven would watch his lead disappear on Lap 12, as contact between James King and David Williams
would bring out the second full-course-caution. King’s day would go from bad to worse when Conor Horn (#42) failed to exercise caution under yellow and barreled into the #23, resulting in the eventual retirement of both entries. On Lap 15, the green flag would fly for the final time, and Blixt would make a daring move on the inside of Cammaerts but would be unable to capture the lead. With Pataska right behind and Zalenski in 5th, Blixt was stuck playing defense and would eventually fall to 4th. The battles between Blixt, Pataska, and Zalenski would allow Cammaerts to take his second win in a row with 2.8 second lead.
As the series took to Europe for Round 5, questions arose whether Cammaerts could pull off the Hat-Trick that his fellow Radicals Online driver Dallas Pataska was unable to accomplish earlier this season. Zalenski mentioned that he felt Cammaerts would be strong at Nurburgring GP, and Cammaerts speed was evident early on taking pole position with a 1:54.105, which was 9/10ths faster than Zalenski’s time which placed him on the outside lane of the front row.
Nurburgring GP hosting the second sprint race of the season, which meant drivers would need to care for their truck to finish well. The race started clean, but drivers would start to push each other hard in the early stages, not shying away from contact despite the longer format. David Williams, who has started to come into his own, starting 4th, a career best. Williams would battle it out with Erik Blixt for much of the race. The two were unafraid of making contact. Unfortunately for Blixt, he was unable to manage his incident points and ended up disqualified on lap 20.
Up at the front, Cammaerts and Zalenski would reignite their rivalry as the race approached the mid-way point. Although Cammaerts had a 3 second lead early on, Zalenski was able to work his way back to the rear bumper of the Turn Racing Toyota Tundra by lap 16. When the duo came down pit lane Cammaerts almost lost the lead on entry, drifting the entry lane!
Pataska, who started from the rear of the grid from accruing too many points on his SOR Competition license, spent much of the race working up through the field. Horn, however, made things difficult for the former points leader, as finding an opportunity for Pataska to make a pass was exceedingly difficult. Things would come to a head, after Horn’s attempt to pinch down Pataska backfired sending him spinning with a near-miss with the barrier.
It seemed in the closing laps that Cammaerts may fold under Zalenski’s intense pressure over the second half of the race. But on the final corner, both trucks got sideways, Zalenski on the outside trying to get the power down, did a half-spin costing him all his momentum giving victory to Cammaerts leaving everyone in shock!
Tomorrow we head to Brands Hatch, which has provided quite a bit of wild moments in past seasons. Zalenski took victory, but the 2018 Champion Marco Mogren is expected to return tomorrow. So who will take victory in the UK tomorrow is anyone’s guess! Be sure to tune into the action on the RaceSpot TV broadcast of Round 6 on MAY 11, 2019 starting at 20:00 UDT (4 p.m. EDT)