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Auto Club Finish

2019 PEAK iRacing Series Year in Review: 31st–40th

40. Timmy Hill, No. 63, FlipSid3 Tactics
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
0 Top 10s
27.8 Average Finish
60 Incident Points

It was a forgettable PEAK iRacing Series season for NASCAR regular Timmy Hill. He’s no iRacing slouch, but the FlipSid3 Tactics driver scored just two top-20 finishes in 2019, on the two superspeedways.

39. Brandon Hayse Kettelle, No. 80
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
1 Top 10
25.7 Average Finish
114 Incident Points

While 2019 wasn’t a standout year, it was something of a comeback story for Brandon Kettelle, who qualified for several races throughout the 2013 and 2014 PEAK iRacing Series seasons, then finally re-qualified for the series a half-decade later. Kettelle led a handful of laps in a few races this year, but struggled to turn any of it into finishing-position results, save for a sixth-place run at Indianapolis. It seemed Car No. 80 ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time more than once: his 114 incident-point count is the fifth-highest in the series.

38. Logan Kress, No. 31
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
0 Top 10s
24.4 Average Finish
101 Incident Points

The good news for Logan Kress is he can pull those rookie stripes off his rear bumper, having completed his first full-time season in the PEAK iRacing Series, though the bad news is that he’ll need to re-qualify for the series over the winter if he wants a sophomore season.

37. Nickolas Shelton, No. 79, Clint Bowyer Racing
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
1 Top 10
28.0 Average Finish
106 Incident Points

It’s hard to guess what happened to Nick Shelton from 2018 to 2019. Last year, in his rookie season, Shelton scored a victory and made the playoffs. He was selected in the pre-season draft in the first round by Clint Bowyer Racing. In 2019, something didn’t quite work out and Shelton scored a lone top 10 all season — a sixth at Kansas — and finished outside the top 30 in nine of the season’s 18 races. Call it a sophomore slump.

36. Cody Byus, No. 24, Mode Motorsports
0 Wins
1 Top 5
1 Top 10
26.1 Average Finish
110 Incident Points

Series veteran Cody Byus had a less than remarkable 2019 season, though he nearly stole a win in the insane finish at Talladega Superspeedway that put Nick Ottinger in Victory Lane. Still, Byus was drafted by Kyle Long’s upstart team Mode Motorsports, who might have been attracted to Byus’ experience. If he qualifies for the PEAK iRacing Series again next year, he’ll reach the 100 starts mark with a full-time season, something only 13 drivers have done in the series’ 10-year history.

35. Nathan Lyon, No. 4, Letarte Esports
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
1 Top 10
24.1 Average Finish
116 Incident Points

While Nathan Lyon showed flashes of brightness in his rookie season — particularly in the summer months — the result sheet doesn’t show his speed. Lyon’s shining moment was at Bristol, where he led the most laps (118), but, in the theme of 2019, ended up recording a 20th-place finish. His sole top 10 came at Talladega.

34. Casey Tucker, No. 19
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
1 Top 10
27.0 Average Finish
68 Incident Points

Casey Tucker’s fifth season in the PEAK iRacing Series netted just a single top-10 finish (Texas). It seemed he was quicker to pick up the cars’ new aero rules faster than most, if his finishes are any indication, but his results lagged as the season moved forward as other drivers caught up to the No. 19. Tucker will need to re-qualify for the series if he wants a shot at season number six.

33. Adam Benefiel, No. 83
0 Wins
0 Top 5s
1 Top 10
26.6 Average Finish
120 Incident Points

Aside from an eighth-place effort at Charlotte in May, 2019 was a rough season for Adam Benefiel. By all measures, it was a harsh welcome to the series for the rookie, who led the series in indicient points. Still, one has to admire Benefiel’s never-give-up attitude: despite the bad luck, he was running at the finish of all 18 races. He’ll look to rebound in 2020.

32. Taylor Hurst, No. 74
0 Wins
2 Top 5s
2 Top 10s
22.5 Average Finish
103 Incident Points

The 2019 season was something of a roller coaster for undrafted series veteran Taylor Hurst. While he missed two races, he also scored two top-five finishes: a third place at Kentucky — where he started strong and even led laps — and Bristol; plus, series champ Zack Novak credited Hurst for his tireless work on setups. Next year will mark Hurst’s sixth season in the PEAK iRacing Series, where he’ll look to return to Victory Lane should he qualify for the series

31. Eric J. Smith, No. 51, Jim Beaver Esports
1 Win
1 Top 5
2 Top 10s
22.5 Average Finish
112 Incident Points

PEAK iRacing Series rookie Eric J. Smith shocked the sim racing world with an unlikely underdog victory at Auto Club Speedway early in the season, beating championship favorites in a dramatic photo finish — just his third series start. Since then, Smith struggled to remain competitive, scoring just one more top-10 finish during the season (Darlington). Should he return to the series in 2020, he’ll hope to rekindle the early-season magic from Auto Club.

Catch our season review of eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series drivers 21st–30th on eNASCAR.com next week.