until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Late strategy shocks in NASCAR Heat 4 All Star races

by Matt Beer
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Nicholas Walker and Chase Williamson won the NASCAR Heat 4 All Star races at Homestead Miami, as real life racers Tyler Riddick and Kaz Grala finished outside the top 15.

The All Star event offered a race for Playstation and Xbox contestants, with $2000 dollars on offer to the winner of each and a total prize pot of $10,000.

The second race – for Xbox racers – featured Richard Childress Racing drivers Riddick, a Cup Series rookie in 2020 and a double Xfinity champion, and junior sensation Grala.

It was the most feisty of the two races with a number of cautions halting play, including two massive multi-car accidents that involved the majority of the field.

Cody Kelley was the dominant driver, the #3 ace leading 40 of the 50 laps. Despite his dominance, in the last 10 laps he conceded the lead to long-term race rival Justin Brooks, and then pitted, dropping well out of contention.

Brooks also pitted one lap later, and failed to return to the top 10. But Kelley recovered to fifth with a storming drive in the last five laps.

With Brooks and Kelley out of contention, Diego Alvarado came to the fore, but also had to pit late on and spun entering pit road to add insult to the loss of his victory chances.

That left Walker to take a stunning victory, leading only the final five laps but his strategy reaped a winning margin of over 11 seconds.

Among the late risers on strategy, Jordan Bane took second his #9 car, beating Daniel Buttafuoco and Luis Zaiter.

Grala – the youngest winner in the history of NASCAR at Daytona and an Xfinity driver for Richard Childress – ran as high as the top five, despite using a controller instead of a sim set-up.

But the 21-year-old struggled mid-race and dropped back, eventually finishing 18th. Riddick rarely troubled the top 15 at all and finished 23rd.

Playstation race

Chase Williamson came from nowhere to win the Playstation race, victorious by 3.6s after taking the lead on the penultimate lap as others fuel saved.

The three drivers who dominated the race didn’t even finish in the top 10 after late stops. Williamson didn’t appear at the front of the 50 lap race until the very end.

Instead, Nick Jobes led early but soon after, Brandyn Gritton and Matt Smith came to the fore. The three reunited after pitting at different times, but with eight laps to go Gritton and Smith both had to pit for fuel, ruling them out. Jobes followed and pitted with five laps to go.

Williams was resurgent at the end, passing Brandon Hanna for the victory in the closing laps. Hanna had pitted at the first caution, but the strategy was near-perfect as he only lost second to Maxwell Castro while fuel saving, settling for third overall.

Brandon Paunetto finished just under 12s adrift of the win in seventh, but spun entering pitroad under the green flag stops while leading, costing him a chance at victory.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks