Collins dominates early at Nashville; Hennessy returns with victory

24 Jun 2023


Output Racing League was back at Nashville Superspeedway for the final race of the playoff round on Tuesday night. The top four heading in to the event — Harmon, Crouse, Watson and Hernandez — were looking for another strong performance to hold off the rest of the playoff field heading in to the championship round.

Austin Collins took the pole over Harmon, Hernandez and Chris Champeau. Hernandez took advantage of a chaotic start and secured a bonus point by leading the first three laps, but Collins soon powered back to the front and took control of the race, leading through a round of green-flag stops for a total of 78 laps. Crouse, Watson and playoff contender Pizzichemi stayed out longer than the rest with Pizzichemi and Crouse also scoring bonus points towards the elimination battle, but after pitting Collins resumed command.

Farther back in the field, the race heated up with about 15 laps to go as James Watson caught TJ Crampton on fresher tires and battled side-by-side for seventh position, with Watson seeking to gain valuable points to hold off Isaacson, just outside the top 10. The battle allowed Crouse, also on fresher tires, to make up ground and enter the fight, which led to contact on lap 93 as Watson tried to get under Crampton entering turn three, sending Crampton hard in to the outside wall, ending his race and bringing out a caution that Collins and other leaders didn't want to see.

Andrew Hennessy, who made his first start since the season opener at Daytona, emerged from the pits in first, taking only two tires, along with Andrew Perkins, also returning after an extended absence, Andrew Griesbaum and James Watson. The two-tire strategies forced Collins to restart fourth with four fresh tires and only a green-white-checkered looming to make up the lost ground.

As the green flew and the field fanned out through turns one and two, a slow start and older tires for Perkins stacked cars up three-wide behind and led to trouble as Champeau made contact, sending Perkins spinning in front of the field and collecting Collins, along with Crouse, Jonas Marquez and several others.

Hennessy restarted on point for one more attempt at a green-white-checker finish, and was strong enough on two tires to pull away for the win. Watson took advantage of a strong restart to claim second from Griesbaum, with playoff leaders Harmon and Hernandez rounding out the top five.

Strong finishes from Harmon, Watson and Hernandez locked them in to the championship round, while Crouse escaped Nashville with enough points to survive elimination despite getting caught in the late-race incident.

The series heads to Michigan next week, for the championship finale. Catch the action on Aussie Sim Commentator channel and see which of the final four emerges with the title!

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