The Speed51 Elite Modified Tour went road racing Tuesday night on iRacing, taking on the short course of Watkins Glen International in the second race of the 2020 Spring season. Putting on a dominating performance among many of the best sim and real-world racers assembled, Horn kept the field at arm's length for most of the 41 laps.
Horn's performance proved to be a bit of a surprise for those who had been monitoring practice times prior to the night’s racing. However, he showed his true speed in qualifying, which proved to be a blessing for Horn when chaos struck on the first lap of the race.
“It was there, I just didn’t have a lot of time to practice in the session," said Horn after the race. "Right after the first race last week I was able to get some practice in to test for the setup for this race. We ran some good times in that test.
"I knew I had to qualify well because Lap 1 junk is common in a race like this, and that proved true. I was able to start ahead of two of my big competitors, who were taken out in that. So that was lucky, plus other strong guys started in the back."
Despite his dominance, it was not a perfect night for Horn, as he slid around the track over the 100 miles, and even lost the lead on a pit gamble by Joshua Banks. He would get the lead back when Banks would pit a second time, but even being behind, Horn was confident he could’ve run down Banks anyways.
“The only trouble was passing some lapped cars and I was really loose on that final turn, same in the carousel. But, it was a fun car to drive, wheeling it around. It was going to be interesting at the finish since Banks took a lot less fuel, he was 15 seconds ahead, and I was asking what I did wrong, but he was short. I was catching him fast and I think I still could’ve come out on top.”
Unfortunately for Banks, there was a miscalculation to his short fill-up gamble, which had him pitting with 10 laps to go, after he and the rest of the field pitted for fuel and tires around the Lap 20 midway point.
“The reason I went back in was because I was a gallon short, I put one gallon less than I wanted to, and I miscalculated while I was doing my run. Unfortunate night, I just didn’t think it through. I was still happy to come out with third even with the struggles we had.”
Banks was unable to fend off early championship contender Ryan Doucette, who backed up his runner-up performance in the season’s first race at New Smyrna Speedway, with another at Watkins Glen. This time around, Doucette had to do things the hard way.
“Biggest challenge was having to come from the back, I qualified decent in seventh, but showed up to practice last second because I thought the race was starting at 8:30. So I had to start at the back for showing up late, but I worked my way up. It was a big challenge, especially considering a lot of these guys are not used to running road courses. I have minimal road course experience on iRacing, so just trying to hold back and not wreck into slower guys early on was tough there.”
Tate Lightle finished the night in fourth, while New Smyrna winner Bryan Narducci slotted in fifth. Defending Speed51 Elite Modified champion Brandon Wilkinson was sixth, with Vincent Isabella coming last on the lead lap in seventh. Jay Kanor, Ethyn Reasoner, and Brad Carpenter rounded out the Top 10.
Race three of 10 for the 2020 Spring season of the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour is set to go green next Tuesday at 7:30pm ET on iRacing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Elite Musket 100. See it live as always here on Speed51.com.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT