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Malanga races through field to razor-thin finish in ARCA Mountain 100

Image by Luis F Almeida
oops!

Graydon drives in lead of pack for win

Image by Andy Graydon
Last caution came out on lap 65, and within 20/25 laps Bob Fay (leading here) and Luis Almeida (both bottom right) had half a lap advantage on me (c. 8 seconds), back in P5. Spared my tyres, and 70 laps later I was P2 and 2 seconds behind Luis!
ARCA Mountain 100
ROUND 3
26 Feb 2012
RACING HOST
Andy Graydon
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Image by Andy Graydon
Lap 63, Luis Almeida just nudges the rear of my car under braking. The tyre marks go virtually all the way around the turn as I so nearly managed to save her from spinning around!

26 Feb 2012 — Tom Malanga raced through much of the grid to squeeze Rich Baker out of third place at the finish line by the thin margin of 0.358 seconds in the ARCA Mountain 100 in Round 3 of the Sim Factory ARCA Ultimate Challenge series.

Malanga traded positions back and forth with Rich Baker in a lengthy and unrelenting battle for fifth from the early stages, running within a scrape of each other over a range of 110 laps. Malanga drove the majority leading Baker after originally being engaged by him on the first lap. Malanga fended off an extended attack by Baker late in the action, staying just a turn ahead of him over a solid run of 14 laps. After losing the spot on lap 168, Malanga cleared Baker for the fourth time and into third place on lap 184, and defended it against pressure by Baker another 39 laps toward the breathtaking finish.

Malanga moves up to fourth in the standings, 130 points behind Rich Baker. Malanga has two starts and led 173 of his 424 laps while taking the win once.

Andy Graydon led the pack for 76 laps in a run to first place.

Bob Fay made a last-lap pass and flash across the finish line just 0.343 seconds ahead of Aaron Jackson to take fifth place.

Graydon traded positions multiple rounds with Luis F Almeida in a long and tense battle for the race lead from the beginning, running within a scuff of each other over a stretch of 159 laps. Graydon drove nearly equal parts leading F Almeida after originally being targeted by him on the first lap. Graydon fended off a prolonged attack by F Almeida in the beginning, staying just a bumper ahead of him over a solid run of 15 laps. After losing the spot on lap 208, Graydon passed F Almeida for the 15th time and into first place on lap 211, and defended it against pressure by F Almeida the remaining 15 laps to the conclusion.

Graydon remains in the lead of the standings, increasing the lead over rival Bob Fay to 30 points. Graydon has three starts and led 93 of his 505 laps while taking the win once.

Fay traded positions back and forth with Aaron Jackson in a lengthy and determined battle for fourth from the beginning, running within a couple turns of each other over a stretch of 82 laps. Fay drove the majority pursuing Jackson after catching him on lap 13, coming from as many as three places back. Fay launched an extended attack at Jackson late in the action, staying within a couple turns behind him and gaining ground over an unbroken run of 26 laps. Fay cleared Jackson for the fifth time and into fifth place by the hairline margin at the checkered flag.

Fay remains in second in the standings, 30 points behind Andy Graydon. Fay has three starts and led 122 of his 503 laps while taking the victory once.

Sim Factory ARCA Ultimate Challenge series moves on to Round 4 in a week at Talladega Super Speedway. The series has 12 drivers competing for points in the championship.

Rich Baker led the pack for a lap in a run to fourth place.

Luis F Almeida led the pack for 65 laps in a run to second place.

Baker took the fight back and forth with Bob Fay in a long and tense battle for fourth from the middle stages, running within an apex of each other over a stretch of 63 laps. Baker spent the majority pursuing Fay after originally targeting him on the second lap. Baker launched an extended challenge at Fay in the middle stages, staying within car lengths behind him and gaining ground over a continuous run of 15 laps. Baker cleared Fay for the third time and into fourth place on lap 189, and defended it against pressure by Fay another six laps toward the finish.

Baker remains in third in the standings, cutting the gap to second's Bob Fay to 15 points. Baker has three starts and led three of his 500 laps while finishing as high as third.

F Almeida traded positions back and forth with Andy Graydon in a long and tense fight for the race lead from the beginning, running within a bumper of each other over a span of 159 laps. F Almeida ran nearly equal parts leading Graydon after engaging and passing him on lap 16. F Almeida fended off an extended challenge by Graydon in the middle stages, staying just a couple turns ahead of him over an unbroken run of 37 laps. In the end F Almeida lost the spot on lap 211 and settled into second the 15 laps running to the finish.

F Almeida moves up to fifth in the standings, 10 points behind Tom Malanga. F Almeida has two starts and led 72 of his 425 laps while finishing as high as second.

Aaron Jackson led the pack for two laps in a run to sixth place.

Jackson traded positions multiple rounds with Bob Fay in a lengthy and determined fight for fourth from the beginning, running within a couple turns of each other over a range of 82 laps. Jackson drove the majority leading Fay after being targeted by him on lap 13. Jackson fended off an extended challenge by Fay in the late stages, staying just a couple turns ahead of him over an unbroken run of 26 laps. Ultimately Jackson lost the spot on lap 223 and settled into sixth the lap running to the conclusion, missing Fay ahead by just 0.343 seconds at the line.

Jackson moves up to seventh in the standings, four points behind Jamie Shorting. Jackson has two starts and led 35 of his 275 laps while finishing as high as sixth.

Mario Slezacek logged a lap at the front in a seventh-place run.

Slezacek traded positions with Luis F Almeida in a lengthy and unrelenting battle for third from the beginning, running within a bumper of each other over a stretch of 20 laps. Slezacek spent the majority pursuing F Almeida after initially engaging him on the fourth lap. Slezacek launched a prolonged attack at F Almeida in the beginning, staying within a scrape behind him and keeping pace over a solid run of 18 laps. In the end Slezacek settled into seventh the 26 laps before retiring early.

Slezacek is 11th in the standings for the series. He has one start and led one of his 48 laps raced while finishing as high as seventh.

RESULTS Click driver name for individual report
1 Andy Graydon CT Racing 225 1:10:02.428
2 Luis F Almeida Escuderia Sul-Brasil 225 1:10:05.369
3 Tom Malanga 224 1:10:11.705
4 Rich Baker iPro Race Stockcar 224 1:10:12.063
5 Bob Fay CT Racing 223 1:10:18.287
6 Aaron Jackson 223 1:10:18.630
7 Mario Slezacek 48 DNF
Image by Bob Fay
The start of the ARCA Mountain 100. At around 17 seconds a lap, we didnt have the time to actually look at the scenery.
Image by Andy Graydon
Lap 167. Pitting 2 laps earlier than Luis (green flag stop), and 2 seconds behind. Pit crew did a fantastic job, and as Luis exits pitlane I pass him for the lead. So important to be ahead (to hold him off) as he had lightning speed on fresh tyres
POSTRACE

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5
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6
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ARCA
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ARCA
Posted by Bob Fay at 05:10 PM on Sun Feb 26 CET

Well, after 6 years of trying here at Race2Play, I finally scored a track record! For the record, that wasn't a lap in qual trim, either. I nabbed it right in the last 3rd of the event, with new tires and low fuel. And on one of the most difficult tracks in the ARCA sim. I had a shitty race, but this track record more than makes up for it!

Grats Andy. Well earned victory over a stout charge by Luis.

Great track to highlight the tire model in this awesome sim.

Hang in there Mario. It wasn't you, these cars take a bit more effort to keep them going straight compared to TPSCC and VHR. And one thing I have learned after many seasons driving these things is that you can't force these cars to do ANYTHING. There's no quick and easy way to get it other than practice.

INT
–2.940
FIN
2
Q
2
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+1
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ARCA
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ARCA
Posted by Luis F Almeida at 02:32 AM on Mon Feb 27 CET

I did a great race! my mistake was stay so long on the track, I lost the position to Andy after my pit and I never was able to take his place back... this track is very difficult to overtake and very easy to you make a mistake.

but it was fun! running very close all day!

congrats Andy!!

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1
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1
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ARCA
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Posted by Andy Graydon at 11:17 AM on Mon Feb 27 CET

I was the lap record holder at this track from Qualifying the last time we raced here. But wasn't expecting the same this time. Pre race practice saw guys running very quick laps, and I was concetrating on getting a race set up to go long. And to that end I made changes which enhanced acceleration out of corners whilst not overheating the tyres.

But come Qualifying, it was indeed Pole position - pushed very hard by Luis Almeida who went out late in the session. A tenth off last years Pole, but Bob would surpass that record anyway come a race late stint run on fresh rubber!

So, knowing I had Pole was the first part of the plan in place. The next was to keep a steady rhythm of low 17 second laps - didn't want to go quicker as, for me, that was a surefire way of the Hoosier's going away in terms of performance. But also I didn't want to brake hard - that in turn heats up the front tyres and creates more wear. so I was quite gentle on the brakes, almost rolling it into the corners - but very tight to ensure no inside gap would provide an opportunity for a pass.

I knew this would likely stack the guys up behind me in the early stages of a stint, but had faith in them being able to drive to the car ahead.

Little did I count on Luis Almeida being on my tail for a lot of the time, at different points of the race!!! That made it hard, sweaty stuff from my side, but also immense fun coping with the pressure too:).

100 miles equated to 225 laps, and pre race calculations showed no need to fuel - or maybe just a splash if it went all green.

3 cautions in the race today, on a very tough 0.4 mile short track. Mario Slezacek had two self spins around laps 24 and 50 (meaning he had to park it - but good to see him back). Of note was the pitstop under the first caution where me and Luis were very close exiting pitlane, burning our tyres up to fight for the lead advantager at the restart - I nearly overcooked it and oversteered to the left - just correcting it in time before hitting the inside wall - Luis nearly collecting the outside wall!!

I kept the lead far easier at the 2nd caution stop.

Last caution came out on lap 63 when Luis got into my rear ever so slightly under braking and as I seemed to have the slowest spin ever, I went almost all the way around one turn section creating a perfect tyre mark - finally spinning facing the opposite way on turn exit. No damage, and everyone avoided me. Doing a three point turn to rejoin, everyone pitted under caution again, and the race restarted on lap 69.

As it turned out we therefore had 156 laps of green flag running ahead of us. I restarted in 5th, and the top 4 just left me. It's really difficult to put your head into gear and say to yourself, "you must keep a rhythm, tyre conservation, low 17's" when the gaps are opening up. I noticed Tom Malanga in 6th was also slowly catching me (he'd pitted late and was around 4 seconds back from me last time I remember checking).

But as the laps went by, there reached the point where the guys ahead who had been doing 16's started to have tyre issues. As the gap from me in 5th to Bob Fay/Luis Almeida reached a peak of around 8 seconds (very nearly half a lap), that gap started to remain the same and then come back to me.

Lap 95 (26 laps on my new 'scuff' tyres) I took P4 from Rich Baker.

Lap 105 (36 laps since last pitstop) I took P3 from Aaron Jackson.

Lap 126 (57 laps since pitstop) I took P2 from Bob Fay.

Luis was in the lead still by around 5 to 6 seconds at this stage, but slowly this gap deteriorated. Other guys pitted, but me and Luis stayed out and the gap came down to 2 seconds.

I felt I could go further with ease, in fact probably until the end (confirmed when I did pit that the right rear was the worst for tyre wear, still yellow and over half it's wear left), but as we were about to reach the 100 laps on the same tyres, I decided now was the time to pit and try and jump Luis on fresher rubber.

Lap 165 (96 laps since last stop) I pit without announcing my intention (no traffic around me) - giving me at least 1 lap for Luis to go on old tyres.

Exiting pitlane, I see Luis has pitted too - lap 167. So I have 2 laps to push, not easy on a set of cool 'scuffs'. I was slightly slower (c. 0.7 seconds) on pit entry than Luis, but pitstop and outlap I was 2 seconds quicker. Plus the time I gained on the laps where he was on old tyres, as I came around the turn where pit exit is, my momentum takes me past him as he rejoins right behind me.

This was key for any chance of victory. 58 laps to go, if Luis had come out in front I really do think he would have just driven away from me. I could have pushed more but he was too quick on th einitial period of a stint from what I'd seen earlier.

And so, from lap 169 to lap 212 (43 laps) he was on my tail all the time - if I made one error he was going to be there to take advantage of it. I kept my steady pace, low 17's, good acceleration out of turns (my set up tweaks worked really nicely for this), hugging that turn entry line.

We had one slight contact again, but this time I managed to save it with a bit of lock, but this was tough racing going on out there. Passing those on older tyres wasn't a problem, but as we got further into the stint, some guys pitted again and when they caught us I knew this could be Luis' opportunity.

And so it proved on lap 203. 22 to go, Bob Fay had fresh rubber on and was flying. He passed Luis, but his pass on me took a straight and two turns and Luis jumped at the chance - his nose got inside my rear wheel - very close, but my acceleration was the key to ensure I kept ahead into the next turn. Close call, and still the pressure was applied!

Then we reached lap 212 - 13 to go. I lapped Tom Malanga and as Luis went by him a slight gap opened up. My drop off in times in this last stint was minimal, and over those last 13 laps slowly but surely the gap opened up - to 1 second, then to 2. The heavy use of brakes and power on to try and pass/hassle me lap after lap must have taken it's toll, and I assume his tyres must have lost their grip.

At the finish line I was 3 seconds ahead, a big relief to race to the chequered flag without a car on my tail!!!

Great race again guys on a VERY difficult track. My 'scuffs' worked a treat all night (having replaced my 'stickers' at the first stop and not going back to them again). Never got any chance to check the scenery out with all the action, tactics, and tyre management to look after.

Looking forward to Talladega next weekend, for a completely different type of racing. Hope we can get more ot join us.

INT
–177 L
FIN
7
Q
4
REP
+1
CLASS
ARCA
CAR
ARCA
Posted by Mario Slezacek at 11:40 AM on Mon Feb 27 CET

It was for the first time I had two selfspins in single race. I didn't learn from the first one unfortunatelly and made another stupid mistake.

I noticed this race in the morning only. I made some practice with default setup and it looked fine.
I had good pace but as Bob says - more practice needed.
Grats Bob on track record and Andy on win.
Cya

INT
–2 L
FIN
6
Q
3
REP
+1
CLASS
ARCA
CAR
ARCA
Posted by Aaron Jackson at 11:22 PM on Mon Feb 27 CET

Back in action for some short track racing. I wasn't sure what to expect. After seeing last races lap times. Of course I was informed there where night time laps.

I really just wanted to finish this race with a healthy car. Start of the race when smooth with a few nice cautions to mess things up with. I avoided both Mario's spin and Andy's. For a moment there I thought I was going to get caught up in it but I made it thru safely.

I mostly worked on pacing myself and try to save the tires which was very hard to do. I do know that scuffs were the way to go here. They handled so much better at the end of a run compared to Slicks which overheated so easily.

I hardly payed attention to what position I was in because I didn't want to take my eyes away and hit something, which is very easy to do in this sim, and especially at the track like this.

Towards the end of the race, I found my self just ahead of bob, with the laps coming to an end, the car just got extremely loose under braking. Entirely because I should have kept the scuffs on but I figured with only a handful of laps to go I could push harder on slickers. It ended up being the other way around.

I found that out getting completely loose and backing it into the wall on the final corner and final lap of the race.
I definitely learned some new things about short track racing and will hopefully pay off at the next short track event.

Everyone was awesome in the race. No issues what so ever. What a really good bunch of drivers to run with. I which the field was double the size though. I think some people just don't want to get there hands dirty with this sim and I'll admit it.

I was frustrated before the start of this race, but after seeing how this race could have easily been won by anyone of us seeing after 225 laps we all where within 2 laps of each other on a 17 second a lap track? It all came down to who stayed on there game and Andy did it again, even with his spin.

And how about Tom with his 3rd place after getting a black flag and who wasnt even going to race to begin with? Who'd you pay off anyway? :D

I did have a brain far moment though. Coming into the pit I hit Luis's car coming to a stop in my pit stall. I didn't get any damage but If I did hurt your car any Luis I'm sorry.

Made a pad change just before the race after qualifying and I should have practiced coming into the pits after during warm up and I didn't. Old GTR 2 habit I need to brake.

INT
–2 L
FIN
5
Q
6
REP
 
CLASS
ARCA
CAR
ARCA
Posted by Bob Fay at 12:23 AM on Tue Feb 28 CET

2 more things that hit me as I read other peoples' postrace report. For one, I never even thought to try scuffs. And I'm the one who will try all different shit when I pit. I just stayed with the slicks because that's what I practiced with. For me, slicks were fine, until I wanted to rip off a few sub 17 second laps in a row .Doing that after my last stop saw my tires go off in about 8 laps. It got me a track record, but there were still 20 laps to go in the race!

The other thing that hit me was Aaron mentioning brake pad compound. I knew from the last race here that the brakes heat up to beyond acceptable working condition just as much as the tires did. I had the hardest compound available, the largest brake rotors available, and the brake ducts to max to try and keep the brakes in the car. It is so totally amazing to me that something like brake pad compound can actually even be part of the setup of a sim-car, but also how pronounced something as small as pad compound affects the entire setup of the car in this sim. You just gotta love that shit!

INT
0
FIN
1
Q
1
REP
+1
CLASS
ARCA
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ARCA
Posted by Andy Graydon at 08:45 AM on Tue Feb 28 CET

Brakes were definitely important here. Indeed, it's one of the many tweaks I did on last years race set up - going harder from 1/2 to 2/3 - but also coasting in to turns with only slight brake pressure for the majority of the time - remember, braking hard = more heat in front tyres = more wear. Sure, you go slower not using them as hard....INITIALLY...but then you end up faster in the end on the long runs.

I noticed in replay whilst looking for screenshots (likes please, spent hours on 'em!!!) that hardly ever did my rear brake discs glow orange, whereas a lot (if not all) of the other drivers had them lit up all round the car like a Christmas tree:).

There are so many parameters to think of both before and during the race, to enable you to give a top end performance. I've said this before, but it literally took me 3 years to get a grasp of this aspect in this sim (and now I've won 4 races in the last 11 events). You might have the greatest set up in the world, but you've also got to think about how you end up driving it.

This is what makes it SO enjoyable.


... GALLERY
Image by Andy Graydon
At lap 212 Almeida's tyres finally gave up, and Graydon was able to open up a 3 second gap in the last 13 laps (nose to tail previous 45 laps). What a relief, fantastic under pressure racing and victory after 225 laps of ARCA Mountain.
Image by Andy Graydon
For nearly 40 laps Luis was right on my tail, pushing as hard as he could to get past. I was doing my usual steady pace, trying not to get pressurised into burning my tyres up. This is lap 203 and he manages to get inside me; managed to hold him off
Image by Andy Graydon
Lap 26 Caution and leader Graydon and 2nd place Almeida floor those throttles in a race to get out of pitlane 1st - very important on a track difficult to pass on.
Image by Andy Graydon
Opening laps, the train of ARCA Stock Cars pass the main grandstand at the ARCA Mountain short track. 225 laps to go:).
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