Friday, June 9, 2023

David Schildhouse Keeps Cool in Crazy Phoenix Race, Scores Monday Night Racing Win in Next Gen

David Schildhouse Wins
David Schildhouse scored the win in the Sim Seats 125 at Phoenix Raceway in the No. 20 Chevrolet Camaro. Photo Credit: David Schildhouse

When you look at the final box score for the Monday Night Racing Rowdy Energy Pro Series Sim Seat 125 at Phoenix Raceway, it’ll show David Schildhouse started from the pole, led a race-high 55 laps and won the race. But a lot of factors transpired between green flag and checkered flag, which led to the 38-year old driver scoring his second win of the season.

The action got crazy behind Schildhouse on lap one as Robby Lyons got into Will Rodgers, which caused a 10-car pileup including Gabe Wood, Kyle Busch and others.

For the two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Busch, it was a tough night. he was involved in another accident later and would go on to finish 18th.

Rajah Caruth went to the lead on lap 9 as he got around Schildhouse for the lead. It looked like the 19-year old driver, who will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in 2022, was destined to score a big win.

On lap 45, Parker Kligerman rocketed to the second position and began to pressure Caruth for the lead, but then on lap 58, Kligerman made contact with Caruth, which nearly sent Caruth spinning.

While Caruth gathered the car up, Schildhouse once again pounced as he passed both Kligerman and Caruth to retake the lead.

Schildhouse would hold onto the lead until Caruth got past him during a caution flag pit stop with 46 laps to go. Once again, Caruth was back in the catbird seat for the win.

On the ensuing restart, Brandonbilt Motorsports General Manager Collin Fern got around Schildhouse for second, and he would begin to hound Caruth for the lead, much like Kligerman did previously.

And just like in the battle with Kligerman, Caruth would end up getting turned by Fern with 36 laps to go. This incident would doom Caruth’s chance at victory, and Fern would be assessed an End of Line penalty by race control for causing the incident.

Caruth, who led 49 laps on the night would finish a disappointing 32nd.

Schildhouse would opt to pit under this caution, which would hand the lead of the race over to Ford Martin.

A massive collision involving Garrett Smithley, DJ Cummings, Anthony Alfredo, Parker Kligerman Justin Melillo, Brad Perez and more would erupt with 30 laps to go.

Somehow in the chaos, Alfredo was accidentally booted from the game server by race control, which ended the real-world NASCAR driver’s night.

Under this yellow, Martin, who had stayed out on old tires, opted to pit, which gave the lead to Anders Krohn.

Krohn would benefit from several cautions in the closing laps to hang onto the lead for a bit, but with 13 laps to go, Krohn got very loose and Schildhouse went to the outside to snag the lead again.

As Schildhouse went to the lead, Krohn got into it with Lyons, which caused another caution.

On the ensuing restart with eight laps to go, Schildhouse got an incredible start on NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Vargas, and Schildhouse, an Ohio-native, would not relent as he cruised to the win.

Schildhouse said that he put in extra time on the sim heading into Monday’s race and it paid huge dividends in the race.

“This is the hardest combination that we have done all season long and I put in about two hours of practice after I got done working for the day, because I knew it was going to take a pretty monumental effort to come out here and beat these guys on Monday Night Racing, and damn it we did,” Schildhouse exclaimed on the Podium eSports broadcast during his victory interview. “For the second time this season, we have won!”

Vargas, who was sponsored by Get Wet Sports in the race, came home in second, just under four-tenths of a second behind Schildhouse.

“I’m so stoked to do this. This is really the first time I brought on a sponsor for eSports and gaming,” Vargas said of Get Wet Sports.

For Vargas, the runner-up finish, a week after his win at Knoxville, was incredible as he messed up in qualifying, which led to a next-to-last start on the starting grid.

“It feels really good,” Vargas said of the second-place finish. “I have always enjoyed racing Phoenix on iRacing. I knew we were fast. We were fastest in practice, I was tracking to be on the pole in qualifying, but I clipped the wall on the exit of turn 4 on my lap and spun it on the next one, so I had to start next to last.”

Max Kennon came home in third, while Collin Fern and Gabe Wood finished fourth and fifth.

Ford Martin, Matt Stallknecht, James Bickford, Parker Kligerman and Gary Sexton rounded out the top-10 finishers in Monday Night’s Race.

Schildhouse, with the win, becomes the first two-time winner in Season 4 of the Monday Night Racing Rowdy Energy Pro Series, which means he now has six Playoff Points heading into the Series Playoffs. But Schildhouse isn’t satisfied. He wants more.

“It means to me that I want more,” Schildhouse stated. “There’s never enough Playoff Points for me. I wanted more the moment I crossed the start finish line at Daytona and got three right there.

“So, to have six, to have twice what anybody else has right now, like I told you at Daytona, this road to this championship goes through me. If they want it, they gotta pry it out of my hands because right now, I have all 10 [fingers] wrapped around it in my possession. They’re going to have to do something special to take it away from me.”

For Schildhouse and his followers, who are nicknamed ‘The Schildren’ it was a big night.

If you missed the live broadcast of this event, Podium eSports has the race available for viewing here:

Here are the Final Results for the Sim Seats 125 at Phoenix:

  1. 20 – David Schildhouse
  2. 6 – Ryan Vargas, -0.391 sec.
  3. 21 – Max Kennon, -1.527
  4. 86 – Collin Fern, -1.536
  5. 50 – Gabe Wood, -1.824
  6. 07 – Ford Martin, -4.431
  7. 41 – Matt Stallknecht, -5.157
  8. 29 – James Bickford, -5.316
  9. 75 – Parker Kligerman, -5.667
  10. 13 – Gary Sexton, -5.842
  11. 93 – Garrett Miller, -6.441
  12. 53 – Justin Melillo, -7.370
  13. 47 – Anders Krohn, -7.594
  14. 26 – Chris Wilner, -7.644
  15. 57 – Seth Eggert, -8.011
  16. 63 – Boris Cook, -8.420
  17. 91 – Cole Irvin, -8.443
  18. 51 – Kyle Busch, -8.782
  19. 27 – Michael Massie, -9.353
  20. 60 – Brad Perez, -11.259
  21. 24 – Will Rodgers, -15.389
  22. 52 – Garrett Smithley, -18.423
  23. 25 – Stefan Wilson, -3 Laps
  24. 11 – Steve Auffant, -6 Laps
  25. 12 – Brandon Brown, -7 Laps
  26. 84 – Kase Kallenbach, -7 Laps
  27. 46 – Steven Ellis, -10 Laps
  28. 99 – Mark Rebilas, -10 Laps
  29. 19 – Robby Lyons, -11 Laps
  30. 4 – Brett Baldeck, -11 Laps
  31. 10 – DJ Cummings, -16 Laps
  32. 44 – Rajah Caruth, -17 Laps
  33. 5 – Anthony Alfredo, -31 Laps
  34. 64 – Drew Welker, -99 Laps
Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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