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Champions Battle In iRacing Challenge

Preece Top-Finisher Among Title Winners
By Shon Sbarra, NASCAR
December 11, 2013 - 7:33pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Fans and champions competed side-by-side in the first NASCAR Home Tracks Champions Challenge presented by iRacing.com Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

NASCAR fan and occasional iRacing competitor Ricky Hardin, of Fort Mill, S.C., edged NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece to win the final event that was competed in NASCAR Sprint Cups Series Generation-6 cars on the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It was a lot of fun to race against these guys,” said Hardin. “To be completely honest, the key for me was starting up front and being able to stay there. iRacing is something I enjoy doing as often as I’m able.”

Preece recorded the fastest lap en route to his runner-up finish.

“It was a fun time to relax and enjoy ourselves,” said the Berlin, Conn., driver. “iRacing is really a great tool to get the feel of a track you haven’t been to before or stay sharp during the offseason.”

NASCAR iRacing.com world champion Tyler Hudson, of Houston, Texas, finished third in the championship race.

Throughout the afternoon, all of the NASCAR touring and weekly series champions – Dylan Kwasniewski (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), Derek Thorn (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West), George Brunnhoelzl III (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour), Ander Vilariño (NASCAR Whelen Euro Series), Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1), Rodrigo Peralta (NASCAR Toyota Mexico Series), Lee Pulliam (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) and Preece – raced on ovals and road courses around the world.

The unique experience was held on the iRacing simulator pods at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. iRacing.com is the world’s premier motorsports racing simulation which allows drivers, race fans and gamers alike to hone their skills and enjoy the thrill of the racetrack from the comfort of their home.

Conveniently located in Uptown Charlotte, N.C., the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

The event is part of a weeklong series of special activities in the Charlotte area for drivers and track representatives leading up to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards on Friday, Dec. 13, and the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards on Saturday, Dec. 14. Both ceremonies along with a Red Carpet pre-show will be streamed live on www.nascarhometracks.com. Coverage will get underway at 5 p.m. ET each evening.

Later Wednesday evening, the series champions will be honored at a special dinner affair in The Hall of Honor inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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NASCAR fan and occasional iRacing competitor Ricky Hardin (middle) won the NASCAR Champions iRacing Challenge finale over runner-up Ryan Preece (right) and third-place Tyler Hudson. Scott Hunter/NASCAR