Fast Forward Esports held its first charity race on Wednesday, November 13th with the running of the Salute to Veterans 225. The 150-lap race attracted a plethora of iRacers to the virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway to complete for a chance at the $87 winner’s purse and an opportunity to benefit The Gary Sinise Foundation. Broadcast by our friends at LSRTV, this dash in the desert did not disappoint. The race was jam-packed with admirable racecraft and thrilling side-by-side battles.
After topping the speed chart in practice in his #90 Ford, Daniel E. Eberhardt secured the pole position in qualifying with a lap time of 30.130 seconds. Malik Ray rolled his #21 Toyota off in the second starting spot with a time of 30.181. Andrew Faryniarz rolled off in the third starting position in his #88 Chevrolet. Rounding out the top-5 were #38 Justin Champagne and #23 Dylan C. Jones.
Right from the drop of the green flag, Malik Ray, Daniel E. Eberhardt, and Andrew Faryniarz put on a stellar battle for the lead. These three battled for much of the race, which was slowed on lap 15 for the first of three yellow flags when the #14 of Jade Bell and the #86 of Patrick Gaspar tangled out of turn 4, collecting the #25 of Rocky Boyd III, who ended up tumbling onto his roof.
The green flag flew again on lap 19 with Andrew Faryniarz in command of the restart. Mailk Ray restarted in second and Kyle Kammer’s #5 restarted in third. Green flag racing continued until Shane Parish and made contact with the outside wall on the backstretch and collected John Furnas, whose #28 car spun and made hard contact with the outside retaining wall on the entrance of turn 3.
Lap 43 had Malik Ray leading the field to the restart. What followed was the longest green flag run of the evening, including green flag pit stops. Galen Gidman was overtaken by Malik Ray on fresh tires and pit stops cycled back around, and Malik Ray and Andrew Faryniarz resumed their longstanding battle for the lead. This battle continued until Faryniarz rubbed the wall, seriously damaging his #88 car. The close quarters side-by-side racing between the #21 and the #88 and the bumpy racing surface caused the two to get together, sending Faryniarz up into the wall.
By lap 119, Faryniarz had fallen back to P4 due to the damage, and Ray had stretched out a an 8-second lead over Eberhardt, who had recovered nicely from a near spin earlier in the race. However, the caution flag flew once more when Emmanuel Wolf spun his #15 car on the frontstretch right in front of the leader Malik Ray.
The field came down pit road for the final time ahead of the final restart with 26 laps to go. Andrew Faryniarz took the occasion to repair his damage from the previous contact. Malik Ray led the field to the final restart, followed by Galen Gidman and Daniel E Eberhardt.
As the race wound down, it became evident that the victory would come down to either the #90 of Eberhardt or the #21 of Ray. Eberhardt stayed on Ray’s back bumper until three laps remaining, when he bobbled a bit and lost a considerable amount of time to the trailing cars of Galen Gidman and Kyle Kammer.
The three battled for the second position, with Eberhardt beating Gidman and Kammer for the spot. But it was Ray pulling out the win and taking the checkered flag in the Salute to Veterans 225!
Congratulations to Malik Ray on the victory!
Fast Forward Esports is pleased to announce that $250 has been donated to The Gary Sinise Foundation as a result of this event. We are honored to support an organization such as this in gratitude for the veterans who sacrifice so much for our freedoms.
1. Malik Ray #21 – 67 laps led – $87 P1 Winnings
2. Daniel E. Eberhardt #90 – 18 laps led – $29 P2 Winnings
3. Galen Gidman #1 – 5 laps led – $14.50 P3 Winnings
4. Kyle Kammer #5 – 1 lap led
5. Eric Stanford #20
6. Oskar Jensen #41
7. Justin Champagne #38
8. Andrew Faryniarz #88 – 59 laps led
9. Darren Cole #11
10. David Washington #19
11. Noah Maiuri #33
12. Tony Boyd #52
13. Emmanuel Wolf #15
14. Jade Bell #14 (Active Duty Military – Entry Fee Return Offered but Declined)
15. Paul Turner5 #4
16. Rock Boyd III #25
17. Shane Parish #18
18. Dylan C Jones #5
19. Jake Froemke #63
20. Zeeshan Deura #10
21. John Furnas #28 (Veteran – Entry Fee Waived)
22. Justin Michael #87
23. Patrick Gaspar #86
24. Robert Montgomery2 #49 – $14.50 Randomly Drawn Finisher Winnings
25. Troy Smith5 #13 (Did not start)