While Northeast racers were not able to travel to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the Northeast Classic, they convened in the virtual world for the Northeast eClassic. After more than 60 entrants were whittled to a 40-car feature field, Ryan Kuhn dominated the 75-lap event for the victory.
Kuhn, who finished third in American-Canadian Tour points in 2019, took the win in an event featuring ACT Tour racers as well as competitors from the Pro All Stars Series, Oxford Plains Speedway, Thunder Road International Speedbowl and White Mountain Motorsports Park.
Kuhn took the lead on lap 22, and led the rest of the way. While the early laps were dominated by six cautions, a long green-flag run to conclude the event allowed the Kulwicki Driver Development Program semifinalist to cruise to victory by nearly five seconds over Steve Fisher.
“That was a very fun race,” said Kuhn after the race on the Speed51 broadcast. “I loved that long green flag run.”
Kuhn admitted he expected a late-race caution, and saved his tires throughout most of the race in preparation for the yellow flag that never came.
“I was saving for most of the race until about 15 laps to go. I was just hoping there wouldn’t be a late-race caution. All in all, it worked out.”
While Kuhn was excited to pick up the victory, it’s possible the third-place finisher was even more ecstatic. Ray Parent, who won the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire in 2012, was stunned to see his success at “The Magic Mile” translate to the virtual world.
“I’ve got to tell you, I would have never imagined finishing third. I’ve been watching my kids race these things now for a while. They’ve been drilling me for the last two weeks about this race.
“My hands are still shaking. I don’t think my hands shook this much in a real race car.”
Parent admitted he sneaks onto the simulator when he can, but wasn’t overly experienced in the virtual world. However, he embraced the opportunity to race at New Hampshire against many of his former ACT competitors.
“It is, but it isn’t. I’m a closet-case racer. I try to jump on this as much as I can. My kids have accounts, so they get mad if I do something stupid, but this was a good opportunity for me to race against guys on the Tour. New Hampshire was the place, it’s where I won my big race on the Tour.”
Jeff Cote, who set fast time in qualifying, finished fourth, with Jake Johnson rounding out the top five.
Heat races prior to the feature event were won by Jeff Cote, Devin O’Connell, Rich Dubeau, Jonathan Lemay, Evan Hallstrom and Jimmy Hebert. Eight-time ACT Tour Champion Brian Hoar and Joel Hodgdon won consolation races to earn spots in the feature field.
Race fans who missed Saturday’s Northeast eClassic can watch a free replay of the broadcast by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Daryl Canfield / Speed51