A 42-race stretch without a victory. A teammate looking for three wins in a row. Chevrolet dominating the series. Michaels always finishing in third place. Michigan’s own Brian Yaczik put an end to three of these streaks, winning Tuesday evening at Atlanta — and proving that Ford can be First on Race Day.
The 163-lap Raise Hell, Praise Gael 250, sponsored by GamingGuyL on Twitch.tv, was clean and green for most of the night.
Mahan Speed Laboratories You (Almost) Finished Last Pole Award winner Steve Haring got the race under way in his #13 Chevrolet, but Woody Mahan himself took over the top spot in his #84 Ford going into turn 1. Mahan paced the field for the first 24 laps, until his Loud Pedal Motorsports teammate, Drew Carroll, replaced him atop the scoring pylon.
After the first round of green flag pit stops, momentum shifted to the GRAAFix LC Motorsports side of the LPM Group stable. Jeff Ward and his #9 team executed a perfect stop, while Mahan and Carroll were sidelined by penalties for a commitment cone violation and speeding, respectively. Ward began to pull away, stretching out an advantage over his nearest rivals Danny Gutierrez and series points leader Mike Rasimas.
But Rasimas proved that the long game is his strength. The driver of the #68 GRAAFix eSports Ford reeled in Ward, taking over the top spot on lap 79 and pulling a gap of nearly 4 seconds through subsequent pit stops. Rasimas led 48 laps and appeared to be in position to score his first PGRL win — until a yellow flag flew with less than 20 laps remaining.
Under the yellow, Rasimas, on worn tires, elected to pit. Brian Yaczik, who ran quietly in the top five much of the night, decided to stay out. Yaczik had hit pit road much later than Rasimas during the previous green flag cycle, and his crew hoped his relatively fresh rubber would be enough to hold off the charging pack.
It was. Yaczik got a great jump on the field on the ensuing restart, survived a second caution, and was out front when the yellow flew for the third and final time of the evening, ending the race and collecting dominant driver Mike Rasimas. By capturing the checkered flag, Brian Yaczik ended a winless drought dating back to November 2020 at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Tuesday’s race also marked the first time Yaczik celebrated in Victory Lane with his son, having become a father early last year.
While Yaczik beat Rasimas, put a stop to his own streak, and prevented Scott Eckrich and Chevrolet from securing another PGRL win, he could not keep all the Michaels off the podium. Michael Strohl put in another consistent performance to finish 2nd, becoming the series co-points leader on the strength of his league-leading average finish (4.4). A Michael also finished in the third position for the fifth consecutive PGRL race, with Michael Chrobok claiming his first podium in the series.
Hype Motorsports driver Grant Brown made his series debut and finished a respectable 9th, advancing 25 spots from his starting position and claiming the race’s Hard Charger bonus. Casey Campbell, while admirably using a backup simulator on a hotel Internet connection, fell victim to a mechanical failure. Campbell will roll off from first position next week as the recipient of the Mahan Speed Laboratories You Finished Last Pole Award.
The Pretty Good Racing League heads to the Circuit of the Americas for its inaugural road course race, the CPC Productions 120 presented by GRAAFix eSports on Tuesday, March 22. The Virtual Grip Network will have all the action covered live beginning at 8:50pm ET.