Updated: Jul 28, 2019
Justin Botelho takes the checkered at GEICO 80 at Talledega Superspeedway!
[Above] Justin Botelho #20 crosses the finish line ahead of Chandler Parsons #007 on lap 83
As we headed into Week 8 of the Norse Force Racing League Valhalla Series - Season One, Drivers had to change up their training regimen to a full-throttle diet as restrictor plates were bolted on, and the middle-pedal would see a lot of neglect. This week was sure to be an exciting battle as 27 drivers emerged from their pits and took their positions at the line.
The Pace Car led the field around until dropping onto Pit Road, the pack roared across the Start/Finish to begin Lap 1 . Leading the field is Zach Nichols #44, Matt Kemp #48, Josh Crane #16, and Eric Roice #72.
Talledega Superspeedway is known for it's lengthy start as drivers have to build up to optimal velocity in the first lap. By the end of Lap 2 Drivers had formed a tight pack and were working to keep a consistent line through the turns. By the end of Lap 2, The outside line had pulled ahead with Matt Kemp #48 and Josh Crane #16 using the draft as efficiently as possible to take the lead.
By Lap 4 the Drivers were settled into their grooves and the real racing started. Heading into Turn 1 on Lap 4, the plot thickens as we go Three-Wide through the turn. The Bottom Line had pulled back ahead running the shorter line with Zach Nichols #44 in First, and Eric Roice #72 in Second. Still working the (now middle) line, Matt Kemp #48 works with Justin Botelho #20.
By the end of Lap 4 the alliance formed in the middle between Kemp #48 and Botelho #20 proved effective as they continued to inch ahead and maintain the lead into Turn 1.
Rolling through Turn 3 in Lap 2, Jonathon Hernandez receives contact from Eric Roice #72 and it was just a tad too much to keep straight through the turn. This would bring out the first caution of the night.
We are still trying to determine how Roice #72 managed to recover from the wreck (above) and resume driving with the condition of his car being next to undriveable. unfortunately for Roice, Norse Force Racing does not opt for Quick Repairs.
In Lap 16 the intensity began to rise as racers worked to dig deeper and gain an edge to pull ahead as the middle and inside Duos fought for position. Justin Botelho #20 was now on the Inside Line drafting with Chandler Parsons #007 while Matt Kemp #48 partnered with Josh Crane #16.
By Lap 32, Botelho #20 had fallen back to 10th, but continued to drive with determination and maintained his Will-To-Win. For now he would pace with the pack as new leaders took the front. Chandler Parsons #007 and some No-Name iRacing Rookie #11.
On Lap 38, another caution would flip the field unexpectedly. As the field paces under caution, new leaders take position up front with Matt Forthun #35, Jonathon Hernandez #88, and Chris James #82. Pretty Impressive that Hernandez was spun out early on 36 laps earlier.
Jumping ahead to Lap 48, another caution comes out and we have a new leader, Jonathon Hernandez #88 is in First.
. . . until he pitted and was back down to 7th. Jarrett DeHetre #24 now leads the field on lap 50 under caution.
After the restart on Lap 51, Drivers wasted no time in pairing up to move ahead and work their way up in the field. Back in the lead is Justin Botelho #20 drafting with Bryan Harris #7 on the outside with Jarrett DeHetre #24 in Third and Jonathon Hernandez #88 in Fourth.
A caution on Lap 52 would leave Jarrett DeHetre #24 in the Lead, Josh Crane #16 in Second, Chris James #82 in Third, and Justin Botelho #20 in Fourth.
Moving into Lap 60, the Valhalla Cup Drivers were feeling the pressure to make more aggressive moves as the race suddenly became a Three-Wide affair. There were too many position shuffles to cover in this Recap.
That decision to go Three-Wide at one of the fastest Oval tracks the Valhalla Cup Series hosts proved to be a gamble for multiple drivers in Lap 60 as sparks, metal, and rubber fly as the pack sets into the Tri-Oval.
Justin Botelho #20 would move into 1st under Caution, but under instruction of his Pit Crew Chief he headed into Pit for some Sonoco Racing Fuel and Four Fresh Good Year Tires moving him back into 4th when he rejoined the field.
Matt Forthun #35 and the Hoodless Wonder (Tyler Logan) #5 lead under Caution in Lap 62
In Lap 65 after the Green, Justin Botelho #20 drafted by Bryan Pizzichemi #78 work the outside to overtake current Leader Matt "The Vikinglord" Forthun #35 and Jonathon Hernandez #88 on the inside line.
The next 11 Laps would be back and forth game of inches as Botelho #20 and Forthun #35 maintained their contest of speed and passing into the 77th Lap, the majority of leading pack Drivers wrapped up through the Start/Finish.
Justin Botelho #20 would remain in First entering the caution, and the Lead Pack Drivers would again, undergo a complete change-up. As the Pace Car turned into the Pits ending Lap 81, the Drivers prepare for the final bout at Talledega Superspeedway. The new Leading pack includes Justin Botelho #20 in First, Jonathon Hernandez #88 in Second, Mark Striker #077 in Third, William Parrish #14 in Fourth, and Chandler Parsons #007 in Fifth.
The Race would go Three-Wide again in the final lap and a wreck did take the leading pack out with the exception of Jason Botelho #20 and Chanlder Parsons #007 who took it home to take First and Second in the Norse Force Valhalla Series GEICO 80 at Talledega Superspeedway.
[Above] Justin Botelho tears through the infield waving the checkered flag celebrating with his fans after the win.
The Norse Force Racing League Staff, Officials, and Administrators congratulate JBo on a great Win at Talledega and express our appreciation for all of the Norse Force League Members who register and participate in the Valhalla Cup weekly.
*Due to scheduling conflict the post race interview had to be rescheduled but we are working with JBo's team to get his input and thoughts on his win at Talledega. More to follow soon*