The 12th event of the sixth season of the Monday Night Racing (MNR) league was held on Monday, February 6th at Chicagoland using the NASCAR Trucks. This was the elimination race of the Round of 8 in the playoffs.
After getting taken out with two laps to go last week at Pocono, I found myself in a points hole going into this week at Chicagoland. Joey Padgett was in 4th, with a 7-point difference between him and myself separating me from the Championship 4.
I participated in the league practice race Sunday night and was very happy with my speed. I felt confident that I would be a threat to win on Monday.
I backed up the practice race with a solid 7th-place qualifying effort for the race on Monday. I showed solid speed from the get-go and moved into the top 5 by lap 9. The truck was very fun to drive as the tires wore off. It was a good mixture of loose and tight and it was far from full throttle through the corners, which is exactly how I like cars to feel.
I moved up to 4th as the run continued, and I was consistently one of the fastest trucks on the track. The leaders began to pit and I followed Corey Heim into the pits on lap 33. I made the biggest and most costly mistake that I have made in my history at MNR, I got loose on pit entry and missed the commitment cone. Unfortunately, this gave me a 40-second stop-and-go penalty during my pit stop. This ultimately ended my chance at making championship 4 and defending my championship from Season 5.
It was still early on in the race so I continued on. I periodically swapped between being in the lucky dog spot, one lap down, or two laps down depending on where the pit cycle was. I never gave up and I continued putting down some of the best laps on the track but it was ultimately to no avail. For the first time in Monday Night Racing history, when I needed them the most, there were no cautions in the entire race. One caution would’ve put me firmly back in contention for making the championship 4 and having a good finish, but ultimately luck was not on my side to save me from my mistake.
I finished the race 25th, 2 laps down, and 7th in points standings. A very disappointing result after such an up-and-down season. One more race remains in Season 6, with the NASCAR Xfinity Series cars tackling Homestead Miami Speedway next Monday, February 13th. As part of a Tuesday announcement from the league, the broadcast booth will be joined by NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip for the championship finale. Catch all of the action next week live on Eric Estepp’s YouTube or the Podium eSports socials at 7:35 PM EST.