The Slide Job 300 Checks the Boxes
By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The Slide Job 300 proved to have a little bit of everything as it successfully joined a growing list of eRacr events.
The 300-mile race at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway saw fuel mileage and tire management be key late in the race. Meanwhile early in the race wreck avoidance and track position were important.
Spacestation Racing’s Vicente Salas had the right strategy, turning up the speed in the closing 15 laps. When race leader Michael Guest blew a tire and pitted, Salas was fourth on track. Within 10 laps, he jumped to the lead. The Temecula, Calif. native led the final eight laps to capture the win.
In addition to the varying degrees of strategy, The Slide Job 300 had close racing throughout the field. At one point the star of the show was a four-wide battle between eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers Michael Conti and Blade Whitt, as well as Collin Bowden and Jose Solis Jr.
The Slide Job 300 was the brainchild of Bryan Blackford. The iRacing competitor also promoted the Hard to Drive 300 at the virtual Atlanta Motor Speedway last year. Both events were associated with eRacr, the promoter of the Carnomaly 500, Firecracker 400, and Roval Racing Series.
“It came to mind about 3 months ago when I was testing with a friend,” Blackford stated. “We tried a lot of different car and track combinations. Homestead is always a favorite among the drivers’ so we went for it.
“Idea to reality timeline was about one week. I realized there was a cool opportunity with the Olympic break to have a quick fun special event. It’s a new approach with minimal admin work – which is still many hours but not nearly as much as a premiere event like the Firecracker 400.”
When the Slide Job 300 was announced, only 129 slots were available. The entry list was filled within two days of signups being opened. The entry fees went to the purse for the winners of the qualifying races, as well as the top-three in the bottom split and top-five in second split. The top-15 also earned winnings in the top split.
“I think it really highlights how far the community has come,” Blackford admitted. “Special events like this used to be more difficult to organize, but social media, specifically Twitter, has really changed things for the better. Although this is an enthusiast level event, it filled up in 2 days. 129 spots. That’s pretty cool. I think we can do more events like this that feature a cool car and track combo.
“At the end of the day, people just want the organizers of the event to care and communicate well. That’s what my polls have shown. I really care about the quality of racing and what the drivers think. If we continue doing that, I think drivers will come back. Special events don’t exist without the drivers, and we do our best to remember that when putting these together.”
Although the Slide Job 300 intended to showcase the driver’s ability to slide job each other for position in the virtual NASCAR 2010 Cup Series cars, the racing target proved to be a moving one. Despite several setup changes, the inside line proved to be the best for tire wear while the outside lane was the best for speed. Although the intended slide jobs were few and far between, the racing over all was some of the best iRacing has to offer.
An equipment failure also proved to be a part of the show when eNASCAR driver Jimmy Mullis’ wheel failed. It caused the biggest wreck of the night, sweeping up Dylan Ault, Daniel Eberhardt, Kevin King, Alex Kolonics, and others.