Elite Grand National Opener Decided by Last Lap Heroics

The Speed51 Elite Homeplace Beer Company Series for iRacing Grand National cars got underway Monday night for the spring-summer season of 2020, with the Pine Cone Cabin 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Over the 120 laps, the 42-car field was narrowed down to four by the time the leaders got turn three on the white flag, and from there the race was just beginning.


The No. 40 of Tyler Foti held the lead, but the No. 39 of Trevor Elam in second, and No. 29 of Chris James in third were each plotting moves to the outside as Foti held the inside line. Just off four, James made the first move to the outside, with Elam doing the same a split second later. The timing paid off as Elam got alongside Foti with superior momentum. Foti rubbed Elam slightly, but it was in vain, as Foti slid back to third touching the grass after getting squirrelly in the tri-oval.


Afterwards, it was Elam doing the donuts while James took the runner-up over Foti in third.


It was a great way for Trevor Elam to cap a hard night of work in the sim, as he had to come from mid-pack to the front, twice over the night.


“I like to be up front, but the way I qualified both lines were blocked up, and you don’t want to be that guy who goes three-wide on Lap 5 and rush things up. So I just kept to myself and got some help from the yellows. I got to the front early, but ended up taking 12 seconds in the pits to fix damage to my rear bumper because I felt it was slowing me down. So I had to come from 15th again,” Elam said afterwards.


Elam on the last lap did what he could, and it just worked out that his competitors did what he needed to win.


“It ended up being us three or four, I just wanted the 40 to get out a bit of ways to see if I could get a run, and hopefully the 29 didn’t catch on to what I was doing going into three, and he’d just push me by the 40. It ended up happening.”


While frustrating for Foti, who led much of the late running, he was just happy to have held on for the third position.


“I’ve lost too many of these superspeedway races on the last couple of laps from trying to throw blocks and make moves. So I was pretty set on just sticking it to the yellow line the whole way around. I could kind of see them making the move and backing off, but at that point throwing a block coming out of four was just going to take us all out. That was the best I could’ve hoped for, tried to rub him up a little there, but third place ain’t too bad,” Said Foti.


Not only did Elam winning but a rookie to the Series in victory lane, but Chris James made it a rookie one-two up front. It was also a way for James to return a favor from Elam on a previous restart.


“On the previous restart to that when I found myself up there, and when I was hung out to dry, I wasn’t going to leave myself up there. All I could worry about was what was out my front window, try to keep it clean, and try not to cause anything to be there at the end. It’s just another race, I go out there, and do the best I can. Definitely a momentum builder, something we can look forward to in the season.”


Elam is also the first driver to lock himself into the Speed51 Elite Homeplace Beer Series Chase this summer.


Behind Trevor Elam, Chris James, and Tyler Foti, Alek Balvanz held onto to the lead pack to finish fourth. Behind them, the highest real-world driver Justin Bonsignore dodge a last lap wreck to finish fifth. Joshua Adams, Rishav Khosla, Matt Arcara, Chad Frankenfield, and Tyler Riggs all came back around to round the Top 10 after they tangled on the last lap.


Next week, the Speed51 Elite Homeplace Beer Co. Series goes short track racing, with 150 laps on the iRacing version of the former USA International Speedway.


-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT

Elite Grand National Opener Decided by Last Lap Heroics