Damien Leininger held on with the help of some late race yellows to become the 10th ERSCA winner in just 12 races. With the playoffs on the horizon, this certainly makes things interesting. He was joined up front by his RRM teammates as Josh Adams, Nick Masse, and Chris Wright were all contenders at some point. The late race yellows allowed several drivers on the playoff bubble to sneak in solid finishes and gain more points. Tate Lightle was P2 in points going into Pocono. However, he left early as he uncharacteristically spun out entering the front stretch in the opening laps. With all that in mind let’s dive in to the events of the FanDuel Mazza 175.

RRM Dominated Pocono

Gerald Campbell (31), Vincent Isabella (middle), and Johnny Thomas (right) go three wide through the tunnel turn at Pocono during the FanDuel Mazza 175.

Pocono, or as its affectionately known, the Tricky Triangle is one of the toughest tracks in stock car racing. No turn or turns are the same. I say this as there is some debate whether its three turns or six, but that is a tangent for another time. RRM led virtually the whole race. Josh Adams sat on pole, Wright and Masse led early on, and Leininger delivered the finishing blow. As I mentioned before, the late yellow flags helped some playoff contenders. Robert Hill Jr. was able to slide up to P4 officially and is now in the top ten in standings. Adam Pettet also squeaked out a top 5 and moved up to the twelfth position, a gain of five spots. With each race, these top 5 and top 10 finishes will become even more valuable. Expect tensions to rise proportionately with those drivers on the bubble.

Who Will Tame the Lady in Black?

Marshall Stanley (foreground) and Vincent Isabella (4) make it through one of the last cautions relatively unscathed.

Darlington is one of the most historic and prolific tracks in America. Don’t let it’s southern charm fool you, it eats tires for every meal. To win at “The Lady in Black” you have to manage tires. Which also means keeping all four of those tires going the same direction. Both can be an issue at a track labeled “Too Tough to Tame”. With the aforementioned points battle heating up, drivers like Johnny Thomas and Vincent Isabella need to keep the momentum to hold their positions. Dylan Thomas, Brandon Key, and Adam Pettet are lurking around the bubble. Chris Wright also sits just outside the top ten, but with a win to his credit. Any of these drivers could be playoff contenders. Which is why you should tune in next week as the names I just mentioned will be battling it out for playoff spots next Monday.

Top Ten Power Rankings

  1. Scott Crump
  2. Nick Masse
  3. Tate Lightle
  4. Damien Leininger
  5. Josh Adams
  6. Chris Wright
  7. Johnny Thomas
  8. Vincent Isabella
  9. Dylan Thomas
  10. Robert Hill Jr.

Victory Lane: Damien Leininger

“I honestly thought I had no shot after struggling thru practice and qualifying. Once the race started I just found some speed in the car especially thru turn 2. The middle of the pack was very sketchy being 4-5 wide at some points. I got lucky on the pit strategy that put me in front of my teammates before that caution. From that point it was just hold on and bring home the best finish possible and as the cautions kept happening it just ticked off enough laps for me to bring it home. I got to thank Puck Puck Pass Podcast for coming onboard this season and all my RRM teammates Brandon,Chris,Josh,& Nick for helping this season. Look forward to keeping this roll going into the playoffs!”

Damien Leininger on his Pocono victory.

 If you just want to see more ERSCA content, you can find all my race recaps on our Racing page. If you’re more of a visual learner, you can also check out SYM TV on youtube and watch all the race replays! Also, check out Damien’s sponsor and my favorite hockey podcast Puck Puck Pass Pod!

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Trey Farley

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