Ryan Kuhn accomplished a difficult feat Sunday night during the inaugural Kulwicki Shootout sim race. Kuhn, a 2020 Kulwicki Driver Development semifinalist, beat inaugural KDDP champion Ty Majeski to win the invitation-only event at the virtual Phoenix Raceway.
Kuhn, Majeski and 16 other real-life racers competed in the virtual race, organized in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The event was open to all current and former finalists and semi-finalists for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, with Majeski its first Kulwicki Cup champion in 2015.
Beyond his real-life accolades, Majeski is also one of the most highly-accomplished oval racers in iRacing. Thus, Kuhn defeating him during the 77-lap race on the old layout of the virtual Phoenix Raceway was no easy feat.
“I never thought I’d see the day I would beat Ty Majeski on iRacing, I think that’s the first time ever,” Kuhn said on the broadcast. “I’ve got to thank Kulwicki Driver Development Program and Tom Roberts and all them, they’re doing an unbelievable job. It was a lot of fun for us, I think it was a lot of fun for the fans, it was just a lot of fun.”
Kuhn started on the pole for the 77-lap affair and led every lap on his way to victory. The Massachusetts driver was nearly untouchable throughout the event on long runs, taking the checkered by just under two seconds over Wisconsin racers Majeski and Collin Slife.
With the field in his rearview mirror, Kuhn’s worry went to his tires.
“Tire conservation was big tonight. I was listening to my spotter and he was saying Ty was tearing up the right rear and to save up that right rear,” he stated. “I saved up the right rear and tried my best to save up the right front and I think I did a pretty good job at it and I put it in victory lane.”
Even with a comfortable margin, Kuhn still felt a bit nervous when Majeski took the second spot from Slife. From there, he knew it was go-time.
“It worried me a lot that Ty got in second there, I was like oh man, he’s the guy to beat tonight and he just got into second. I was trying to save a little bit and it was go-time at about lap-50.”
Wisconsin and Minnesota racers Riley Stenjem and Michael Ostdiek rounded out the top five.
Click here to watch a replay of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program Kulwicki Shootout.
While the first-ever Kulwicki Shootout is in the books, Speed51 will have plenty more sim racing coverage in the coming weeks. Click here to see Speed51's full sim racing broadcast schedule.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3