The eNASCAR Heat Pro League returned to action this week for some pack racing at Talladega Superspeedway in twin 40-lap races for the Playstation and Xbox gamers.
Kyle Arnold led the way from pole position as the PS4 field quickly went single-file. The pack was clearly more interested in making it to the finish than dicing it up in the early laps.
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With 27 laps to go, Arnold led the frontrunners down pit road for the first set of green-flag stops, but encountered issues that derailed the rest of his race.
As things cycled through, Corey Rothgeb led a six-car pack with the second and final set of pit stops coming.
The lead pack ducked down to the pits with 14 laps to go, holding a five-second buffer on the rest of the field.
Jason Mitchell and Brandyn Gritton joined the pack and make it an eight-car draft as the final ten laps clicked away.
Harbin and Stone were the first to make a move, taking their run to the outside, but they were unable to complete the pass as side-to-side contact stalled their momentum.
On the final lap, Mike Braas was pushing Rothgeb hard as Gritton laid back for a run.
Gritton came surging through Turns 3 and 4 and took his run high. Braas tried to block, stalling them both out and igniting a multi-car pileup as the field scattered towards the finish line.
Rothgeb took the win for Team Penske Esports just 0.056 seconds clear of Braas in second and Harbin - despite a detour through the infield grass - finished third.
Stone and TJ McGowan rounded out the top-five. Gritton ended up sixth.
With Arnold placing last after his pit road drama, Rothgeb vaulted into the championship lead, five points clear of Arnold and Harbin.
Tyler Dohar led from pole for the second race of the evening in the Xbox event.
Daniel Buttafuoco started from the outside pole, but the outside line was a bad place to be on starts.
He quickly faded to the rear of the field and Jordan McGraw filed into second behind Dohar.
With 31 laps to go, McGraw's car appeared to lag out, igniting a multi-car pileup and bringing out the caution.
This field was not nearly as content to run single-file as the PS4 gamers were and continued to race hard until another caution with 24 laps to go when Matthew Heale was sent sideways due to wheel issues.
The leaders still needed to make one green-flag stop despite the cautions, which began with 12 laps to go.
As pit stops cycled through, a single car lost control down the backstretch bringing out the caution flag for the third time and setting up a sprint to the finish.
Justin Brooks was in control and McGraw pushing as everyone tried to position themselves for a last-lap run, but it never came to fruition as Brooks claimed the win for the JTG Daugherty Throttlers.
McGraw was second, Luis Zaiter third, Diego Alvarado fourth and Riley Ogle fifth.
Buttafuoco, who finished sixth, remains atop the championship standings eight points clear of Zaiter and 12 points ahead of Nick Walker.
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