LunatiK ARL NASCAR Trucks : Race 4 Martinsville

Posted by Kalum Rangel August 14, 2021 in LeagueOval

After an exciting race prior in Charlotte, NC the Apex Racing League Truck Series was back in action this past Thursday. With racing resuming just south of Martinsville in Ridgeway, Virginia. Martinsville Speedway, or the “Paperclip” as it is dubbed has been home to racing since its open in 1947. At a mere .526  miles it is not only the shortest track in the Gander Mountain Truck Series, but the second shortest track on the calendar behind only Eldora Speedway the dirt track. Heading into the day, Andrew Navarro maintained a 1 point lead over rival driver Norbert Leitner, with teammate Bradley Wilson 16 points behind. When the dust settled on qualifying Andrew Navarro sat a top everyone with a 19.586 edging his league rival by .089 sec. Bradley Wilson continued his great qualifying with a P5 start just .163 seconds behind Navarro. With the memory of the caution free Charlotte race in the back of the racers minds, they strapped into their virtual cars and began the race.

As with most races at Martinsville the caution flag didn’t take long to come out, after only 5 laps of green flag racing EvoSR driver Mark Hutchison was doored into the inside wall on the backstretch blocking the track and causing the first yellow flag of the night. During the 1st caution LunatiK Racing drivers sat in P1 and P5. When we went back to green flag racing Andrew Navarro was able to use the restart rules to his advantage, getting an excellent restart gaining a .7 second lead heading into turn 1. But, it didn’t last as Kev Copeland was given a bit of extra help in turn 2 and the second caution of the night came out on lap 10. Bradley Wilson remained P5 and Andrew Navarro still leading them to green in P1. The third caution of the night came out at lap 16 proving once again, it would be one of those nights. On the restart of the 3rd caution Bradley Wilson was able to make his Toyota Tundra stick to the bottom lane and passed the 18 of Wolf to move up into 4th place. The 4th caution of the night came out on lap 22, with the LunatiK Racing drivers restarting P1 and P4. On the restart of the 5th caution of the night, Bradley Wilson was able to make another great move and moved himself up into the final podium position. After the move from Wilson at the restart of the 5th caution, the LunatiK Racing drivers didn’t see too much action until the yellow flag at the end of lap 53, we were back under yellow for the 6th time with Navarro still leading and Wilson in 3rd. Heading into the yellow flag pitting on lap 55 only 5 trucks stayed out, dropping Navarro down to P5 and Wilson down to P6. With 2 rows of trucks on older tires ahead of them Bradley Wilson tried to make a move to the inside of the 37, but couldn’t quite clear his nose and was spun up into the wall and the 7th caution of the night came out. Luckily, with 1 fast repair in this league Wilson’s night wasn’t completely over, but he would have to climb back from the back all the way down in P20. The halfway point of the race came under yellow with the LunatiK drivers sitting in P5 and P20. Both Navarro and Wilson were able to take advantage off the 7th restart with Navarro moving up 3 spots into P2 and Wilson avoiding a large pile up in the back straight and moving from P20 to P12. With fresh tires against his rival Leitner, Navarro was able to get up the inside and make the pass for the lead, but before it could go official the 8th caution of the race came out and Navarro was dropped back down to 2nd place again. Bradley Wilson continued his movement up the field gaining another 5 positions and sitting in P7 for the 8th restart of the race. With fresh tires on the restart Navarro was able to complete the pass on the outside of Leitner to regain the lead, but green flag racing was short lived as the 9th caution of the night came out on lap 74. Bradley took the opportunity at the yellow flag to take a new set of tires and some damage repair and restarted P13 with Navarro still leading them to green. At the start of Lap 80 Navarro was able to get a great restart and put a truck between him and Leitner. Wilson was able to make up 4 spaces and quickly jump into P8. At the 85 lap and 10th caution Leitner decided to pit and change from 85 lap tires to a new set, dropping him from p3 down to p12 and staying on the lead lap in the race. The 10th restart saw Wilson restarting in 6th and Navarro in 1st. The 11th caution came out into turn 1 as Bradley got into the back of a truck trying to make a move to the inside. On the 11th restart Navarro started in the lead and Wilson started in 4th. Wilson was able to make a nice move on the restart and regained the third position. Even with 20 lap older tires, Max Wolf in the 18 was able to hold Bradley off from 2nd place. While Bradley was trying to battle into the 2nd place position, Leitner had been making moves through the field and overtook Bradley with 14 to go. With 14 to go, and on 30 lap older tires Navarro held a 3 second lead over Leitner with 1 truck between them. With 11 to go Leitner locked up the rear tires braking into turn 1 and spun the 18 of Max Wolf bringing out the 12th caution of the night. With just 5 laps to go on the restart Navarro made the decision to stay out on 60 lap tires to fight against a charging Leitner. With Leitner restarting on the outside of Navarro, but Wilson restarting in 3rd place directly behind Navarro the teamwork needed to be at an all time high. On the 12th restart with only 5 to go, Bradley and Andrew were nose to tail pacing through turn 3, when the green flag dropped Bradley and Andrew’s team work paid off and both had an excellent restart pushing Leitner down to 3rd place and battling for the coveted 1/2 a feat they haven’t been able to replicate since Daytona. With 3 to go the only thing on Bradley’s mind was making the truck as big as possible, a tough task with how new Leitner’s tires were in comparison. Then, with just 8 turns to go Bradley couldn’t maintain traction and slipped down to 4th place behind Leitner and Smith. In the end Navarro was able to hang on and win his 3rd race of the season, increasing his championship lead to 7 points.

The LunatiK drivers still sit atop the team championship with a 50 point lead over wannaBEE SRT. The league takes a quick 1 week break before resuming racing on the 26th of August with racing at Auto Club Speedway. You can catch all the action at Apex Racing Leagues YouTube and Twitch channels.