Richmond, VA. Tuesday night lights kicked off the 2018 season for the Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series as drivers took to the .75 mile Richmond Raceway for the #Back2Cup 200. With the increased race length and fuel cell sizing for the 2018 seasons, drivers would be tested on their ability to adapt and survive within the allotted 200 laps.
Open qualifying was held for the #Back2Cup 200, with 21 racers earning the right to grid among the roster of 15 locked-in drivers (based on the 2017 Xfinity Series point and participation standings). Scott Eckrich (88) secured the top starting spot with a lap time of 20.676s.
Using the top-starter advantage, Eckrich pulled away at the wave of the green flag. He would lead unchallenged until lap 20 as the first caution would fly for a solo car spin involving Lee Stapes (64) losing traction off turn 2.
Brian Yaczik (55) would benefit from the break in action. Using pit strategy to gain the lead for the following restart he would hold the top spot through lap 44. Alex Giese (77) would then trigger the next caution, washing up in front of Zack Calloway (2), ensuing contact and a spin with multiple victims. Yaczik would lose the lead to Eckrich in the pits and be subject to the pressures of Nick Kohan (57) for the next 40 laps of racing.
Kohan would get his first break under caution resulting from Edward Bray (66) and Scott Smith (21) getting together, leaving pit road as the race leader. Eckrich would challenge Kohan, pressuring heavily until the caution flew once again at lap 106. On pit road, Eckrich would take the lead back from the 57, but ultimately marred his chances for victory with a speeding penalty issued by the race officials.
With less than 90 laps remaining, Kohan would lead without challenge until caution on lap 159 would again reset the field. Once green, Jeff Ward (90) was able to work around Yaczik for 2nd and set his sights on Kohan with 20 to go.
Danny Rodgers (02) would spin on lap 184 to trigger the final caution, in which Kohan would line up 2nd next to Jim Foose (42), who elected to stay out during the final yellow, with just over 10 laps to go. At the drop of the green, he would clear Foose. Jeff Ward would follow, making multiple attempts to pass Kohan’s Toyota.
At the end of the night, it was Nick Kohan leading 106 laps and crossing the finish line first. Jeff Ward (90) would finish second after starting 36th, followed by Drew Carroll (85). Notably, Brian Yaczik took 4th with 24 laps led and pole-sitter Scott Eckrich would finish 11th after leading 66 laps and rebounding from a pit road speeding penalty. In all, 22 drivers finished on the lead lap.
Leaving Virginia, the point standings match the finishing order, with Nick Kohan on top of the standings by 7 points over Ward. Aside from Yaczik and Eckrich, Foose would also receive a bonus point for leading 4 laps.
Next week, the ASRS Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series will swing into Kentucky for the Kentucky 180 presented by Tim Knott. Race time is 21:05 EST and will be broadcast by series’ affiliate Prime Time Racing TV.
Race broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRMQH_YqoH8