Defending Speed51 Elite Modified Tour Champion Brandon Wilkinson earned his first win of the new season at virtual Langley Speedway. That win came after a gamble at the midway point of Tuesday’s 125-lap feature.
When most of the field pitted under caution at the halfway mark of the event, Wilkinson and a small handful of cars stayed out. Those cars would finish the race on the four tires they had to start the event, and Wilkinson carried those four tires to victory lane.
Early in the race, Wilkinson tried to convince as many drivers as possible to join him in staying out, hoping to limit the number of drivers who would be charging towards him in the closing laps.
“I felt like a mob boss under yellow,” said Wilkinson on the Speed51 broadcast. “I was making deals, Ryan [Blanchard] and I. We knew everything was going to have to fall our way and we were working hard under caution to get people with us.”
Wilkinson had decided going into the race he would be taking the no-tire gamble, and was pleased to see it work out.
“It was something I was committed to early on in the week. I had said it multiple times, but this week felt like the right time to do it.
“It’s one of those things when you come down to the end of it, under 30 to go, if somebody pokes the nose on fresh tires, you’ve got to give the lane. We just had to try to stay out front and fortunately the cards fell into place.”
Michael Christopher, Jr. finished second in the event, one of the drivers who elected to pit near the halfway mark. Without an extended green-flag run during the second half of the race, Christopher, Jr. felt he was unable to truly take advantage of the fresh rubber.
“Missed a lot of wrecks and fortunately we were third at the end but Wilkinson had a good restart,” said Christopher, Jr. “Congrats to him.”
“We didn’t really get a good green-flag run in except for those last two laps. I felt I was faster than him but wasn’t there to make a move. Those guys were surprising when they stayed out, but obviously that was the winning move of the race.
Wilkinson entered the race fourth in series points, but closed the gap on title leader Bryan Narducci who finished ninth. With six races left in the season, Wilkinson plans to keep applying pressure to the title contenders as he hopes to repeat.
“We’ll give it our best shot. If you start putting pressure on somebody, they start to feel it. That’s all we’re going to try to do the rest of the year.”
Joey Bailey finished third in the race, with Evan Nugent and Brad Carpenter rounding out the top five.
The Speed51 Elite Modified Tour will take a week off before returning to action on Tuesday, April 21 at Southern National Motorsports Park. Fans can watch a replay of Tuesday’s race by clicking here.
Fans can view the entire schedule of sim racing broadcasts on Speed51 by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans