KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NTT IndyCar Series young gun Santino Ferrucci has proven there’s no vehicle on the iRacing service that he won’t get behind the wheel of.
That driving diversity was on full display Thursday night, as Ferrucci raced to victory in the second round of the IceBox Pickup Throwdown iRacing Truck Series, the Rich Mar Florist 100 at Kansas Speedway.
Leading only the final lap, Ferrucci was in position to strike when the leading duo of Josh Bilicki and Stewart Friesen got together coming off turn four toward the finish line.
Friesen, who used a diving pass entering turn three to pass Bilicki for the top spot, was on the outside coming onto the frontstretch when Bilicki moved up a lane to avoid a slower lapped truck on the inside.
The pair made contact, with Bilicki spinning into the outside wall off Friesen’s left-front corner and Friesen losing all his momentum as a result of the collision.
That left Ferrucci free to rocket to the inside of both Friesen and Bilicki within the last 150 feet, stealing the victory in his No. 18 SealMaster Toyota Tundra by a scant .188 seconds at the checkered flag.
It marked his first win in IceBox Pickup Throwdown iRacing Truck Series competition and was a welcomed improvement after back-to-back runner-up finishes during Wednesday Night iRacing’s IROC Invitationals on FS1 earlier in the week.
“Man, this feels good,” a jubilant Ferrucci said. “I was trying to get around Josh (Bilicki), but Josh was really quick and holding his own, even though I had better tires. Truck racing isn’t really my thing; I’m just here enjoying it … but I just couldn’t get around him and that let Stew (Stewart Friesen) get around me.
“I started watching them racing really hard and was hoping that they’d touch each other the right way to where they’d slow up and I could get around them,” he tipped. “I just got lucky and it happened!”
Friesen was able to get his truck righted and finished second, while Bilicki crossed the line third in a cloud of smoke, sliding sideways in his No. 33.
“That was a heck of a race. I had to use my fast repair after getting wrecked around lap 60, so I got tires and raced my way to the front,” Bilicki explained. “I knew Christian (Eckes) was going to be really fast too, but he got wrecked there coming to the front and that left us up there with Stewart and those guys for the finish. I felt I held them off there pretty well, at least until that last lap.
“It was a lot of fun, though. In real life I don’t often get to race against some of the guys I was up there with tonight, so it was neat to mix it up with all of them and we just missed out on the victory.”
Christian Eckes, who won the first IceBox Trucks event one week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, was fourth and Ryan Vargas completed the top five.
Austin Theriault finished sixth, followed by Harrison Burton, Hermie Sadler, Natalie Decker and Sheldon Creed.
Thirteen trucks finished on the lead lap, with attrition whittling the field of 33 starters down in a big way after 14 caution flags slowed the pace for 55 of the 100 laps. Five drivers exchanged the lead five times.
Brett Moffitt qualified on the pole, but was a victim of two of the earliest crashes in the race and was out of action after completing just a quarter of the scheduled distance Thursday night.
The IceBox Pickup Throwdown iRacing Truck Series continues May 7 at the virtual Michigan Int’l Speedway.
1. Santino Ferrucci , 2. Stewart Friesen , 3. Josh Bilicki , 4. Christian Eckes , 5. Ryan Vargas , 6. Austin Theriault , 7. Harrison Burton , 8. Hermie Sadler , 9. Natalie Decker , 10. Sheldon Creed , 11. Tyler Hill , 12. Jordan Anderson , 13. Matt Mills , 14. Todd Gilliland , 15. Spencer Boyd , 16. Kaz Grala , 17. Jason White , 18. Ron Capps , 19. Josh Reaume , 20. Brennan Poole , 21. Tommy Joe Martins , 22. Ryan Truex , 23. Stefan Parsons , 24. Anthony Alfredo , 25. Bayley Currey , 26. Howie DiSavino , 27. Angela Ruch , 28. Derek Kraus , 29. Austin Wayne Self , 30. Ty Majeski , 31. Chase Briscoe , 32. Tyler Ankrum , 33. Brett Moffitt .
Lead Changes: Five among five drivers
Lap Leaders: Brett Moffitt 1-4, Christian Eckes 5-20, Bayley Currey 21-44, Christian Eckes 45-70, Josh Bilicki 71-99, Santino Ferrucci 100.
Laps Led: Christian Eckes 42, Josh Bilicki 29, Bayley Currey 24, Brett Moffitt 4, Santino Ferrucci 1
Caution Flags: 14 cautions for 55 laps
Margin of Victory: .188 seconds
Time of Race: One hour, 36 minutes, 44.594 seconds
Average Speed: 93.030 mph
Pole Position: 23-Brett Moffitt, 31.519 seconds (171.325 mph)