Weeks after claiming the 2019 TQ Midget title on the ATQMRA circuit, Joey Bailey came up big on the sim racing side, taking the win Tuesday night in the Bofanna 75 for the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour at Iowa Speedway. Bailey dominated the majority of the 75-lap feature and survived a number of restarts.
During the two long green flag runs, Bailey was able to keep his No. 55 Modified planted to the inside, riding the bottom yellow line, while his closest competition tried to get it done on the middle and outside lines.
“It was definitely a lot of figuring out, we came a long way from the first lap of practice. Just got really comfortable running the bottom. I think everyone else was starting to have to focus on running the top more, and I was able to keep it on the bottom it seemed like. Short runs are tough, but once the green flag came, I knew we were good,” Bailey said on the Speed51 broadcast.
Bailey’s one mistake on the night came on the penultimate restart, when Mike Christopher Jr. got a superior restart, taking over the lead with 17 laps to go. But, Bailey redeemed himself with a great restart of his own with 11 laps to go, going to the outside of Christopher, with Ryan Lutz making it three-wide on the inside line. Bailey would not look back on the way to his first Speed51 Elite Mod win of the 2019-2020 fall/winter season.
“I was just afraid to jump, it’s such a close edge of jumping the start, and he just got a better start than me, then beat me into the corner with talent. I knew then that the top was going to be good, if you can try to get a run. He was one of the guys that didn’t seem comfortable on the bottom, so the next restart I stayed on the top instead.”
Ryan Lutz, the winner of the first race of the season at Thompson, gave chase over the final 10 laps, but was unable to get close enough to try a move on Bailey.
“I really struggled into three, I wasn’t as good as he was. I think I found something there at the end in the second groove up there on the seam. I don’t know, I think the 55 was just that good, turned well, and had good drive off. Gave it all I got, just came up short,” explained Lutz.
The Speed51 Elite Modified Tour concludes its three-race Midwest big track swing at The Milwaukee Mile next Tuesday, November 26, and Bailey doesn’t see any reason he can’t be a threat once again, as he looks to take the season championship as the tour enters the final half of the 12-race tour.
“I think we got a decent amount of momentum built up, I think we run at least top ten everywhere we go. It’s just pretty much my first full season running here, every track we go to is a new experience for us. Looking forward to it.”
Behind Bailey and Lutz, Christopher was able to hold on to the third position, with Adam Josselyn and Brandon Wilkinson rounding out the top five. Vincent Isabella, Kevin Finn, Richard Hinds, Ken Zeames, and Matt Shinoski completed the top ten.
A full on-demand video replay of Tuesday night's race can be viewed now by clicking here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT