Timmy Hill races to the win in NASCAR virtual race at Texas Motor Speedway

He may not have any top 10 finishes in 96 starts in the NASCAR Cup series, but Sunday Timmy Hill was on top of the virtual world.

Timmy Hill won Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway, the second race in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.

The Maryland native held off Ryan Preece on a two-lap overtime finish after the races fifth and final caution winning by 0.050 seconds.  Behind Preece, Garrett Smithley came in third, with Landon Cassill and Alex Bowman rounding out the top five.

“The race was really exciting.” Hill said.  “The last lap basically was a two‑lap run to the finish, green‑white‑checkered.  I had to fight off Ryan Preece and Garrett Smithley, two excellent iRacers.  They put in a lot of practice; I knew they would be tough to beat.

“After the white flag, I knew how tough it was to pass into three and four, I knew if I could hold them off going into turn one, I could almost coast and drive to a victory.  That’s all I was focusing on the final lap.  I held those guys off in one and two, got a good run in three and four.

“The last lap was just one I will definitely remember for a while.”

William Byron won the pole just prior to the race and led 80 of the 125 laps and was leading with five laps to go. Hill was able to get to Byron in the closing laps and moved him out of the way to grab the lead. The final caution of the day came with two laps to go after a spin deep in the field setting up the two-lap shootout.

While Hill has never won, or even finished in the top 10 in the NASCAR Cup series in the real world, he is an experienced iRacer with 674 iRacing wins over the course of 1,677 starts. Hill finished third in the Pro Invitational Series opener last weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, bringing him to 1,205 top-five performances overall.

While many of NASCAR’s top drivers were racing on simulation rigs costing tens of thousands of dollars, Hill’s rig was attached to his desk, cost less than $300 and is twelve years old.

“I bought this wheel 12 years ago when I was branching into NASCAR,” Hill said.  “It cost me 300 bucks back then.  It’s been a great wheel.  Hats off to Logitech.  Actually, this wheel is obsolete.  If I were to break it, I would have to get a different type of wheel.  They’re on a whole different model now.

“I’m used to it.  It’s my favorite.  If it ain’t broken, I typically don’t fix it.  It’s neat to beat up on these guys with these big, massive, expensive setups.  I think for the viewers, it’s neat for them because they can understand that they don’t have to spend that huge dollar amount to get into iRacing.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth, Byron seventh, with John Hunter Nemechek, Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch rounding out the top 10. Anthony Alfredo, Alex Labbe, Ty Majeski and Ruben Garcia Jr. made the field via the qualifying race.

Next week, the Pro Invitational Series will take on the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 5 (1 p.m. ET on FOX/FS1/FOX Sports App). It will be another chance for the virtual racing world to be shown on a nationwide broadcast network.

“It’s only going to become bigger and grow more,” Hill said.  “I think the competition is definitely there.  I think its potential to grow is as much as it can.

“With this trial that FOX is doing with NASCAR and iRacing, it’s getting more of an audience involved.  It’s introducing people to virtual racing a little bit more.

“I don’t know what will come from this.  I think the possibilities are definitely there.  I’m excited to see how it could grow.”

eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series Race Number 2 Race Results: March 29, 2020

Texas Motor Speedway

Total Race Length: 130 laps

1. (10) Timmy Hill, No. 66 Toyota, 130.

2. (7) Ryan Preece, No. 37 Chevrolet, 130.

3. (12) Garrett Smithley, No. 51 Chevrolet, 130.

4. (5) Landon Cassill, No. 89 Chevrolet, 130.

5. (20) Alex W Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet, 130.

6. (2) Dale Earnhardt Jr, No. 8 Chevrolet, 130.

7. (1) William Byron Jr, No. 24 Chevrolet, 130.

8. (3) John H Nemechek, No. 38 Ford, 130.

9. (27) Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, 130.

10. (30) Kurt Busch, No. 1 Chevrolet, 130.

11. (15) Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Ford, 130.

12. (4) Parker Kligerman, No. 77 Toyota, 130.

13. (6) Bobby Labonte, No. 19 Toyota, 130.

14. (11) Michael McDowell, No. 34 Ford, 130.

15. (16) Matt DiBenedetto, No. 21 Ford, 130.

16. (24) Ty Dillon, No.13 Chevrolet, 130.

17. (19) Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, 130.

18. (18) Chris Buescher, No. 17 Ford, 130.

19. (25) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, 130.

20. (28) Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet, 130.

21. (22) Erik Jones, No. 20 Toyota, 130.

22. (33) Ross Chastain, No. 6 Ford, 129.

23. (31) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, No. 47 Chevrolet, 129.

24. (17) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, 129.

25. (29) Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Chevrolet, 129.

26. (32) Alex Labbe, No. 90 Chevrolet, 128.

27. (26) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Ford, 128.

28. (13) Tyler Reddick, No. 31 Chevrolet, 128.

29. (8) Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, 128.

30. (34) Ty Majeski, No. 45 Chevrolet, 122.

31. (21) Ruben Garcia, No. 27 Ford, 122.

32. (35) Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, 121.

33. (9) Daniel Suarez, No. 96 Toyota, 110.

34. (14) Christopher Bell, No. 95 Toyota, 88.

35. (23) Anthony Alfredo, No. 33 Chevrolet, 39.

Race Statistics:

Average Lap: 40.366 seconds

Caution Flags: 5 for 21 laps

Lead Changes: 16