Sim500 Digest | December 19th, 2022 – Kevin Inglin
Daniel Faulkingham will fondly remember the bright blue sky of the Phoenix sun and the exact moment where he has become the 2022 NC811 Cup Champion.
After a dominating season, he won in dramatic fashion, streaking down the backstretch on the final lap and executing a move in the final corner of the season to slice under the 2021 cup champion Josh Parker to win the season finale and cement his name in the record books.
For Daniel, there is no more of a storybook end to the quest for a championship than to win it with flair by banging doors, beating fenders, and sliding sideways in an almost dead heat across the line.
From the beginning of the championship run, Daniel exhibited a posture that he was not going to lose the 2022 NC811 Champioshi[ this year. After three years of coming up short, he overcame a difficult race at Las Vegas in the stretch to charge back and take the championship in a style that was not to be denied.
While his nearest competitors had to settle for second and third, just about everyone in the garage could tip their cap to acknowledge Daniel Faulkinghams stellar season.
As to the NC811 cup drivers in 2022, Daniel was at the head of the class. Daniel made it look easy when pulling down an astounding 13 wins in 33 events against arguably one of the strongest fields of talent outside of the NASCAR Pro Series.
Faulkigham was consistently fast every week, and whether it was as short track, a superspeedway, or something in between, 2022 proved that he upped his game across the board. Where he had weaknesses in seasons past, they were not evident as the season wore on. He was legitimately in contention to win every race of the season, but this is the NC811 Cup series and the depth of the talent in the ranks meant he had to work for it.
His nearest rivals in the championship were bookends on the experience ladder. David Comstock, a veteran of sim racing, had an exemplary season. On the other side Bentley Glaser in his first full season with Sim500 in the NC811 cup series, was fast, clean, and unassuming all season long and made the most of his finishes where it counted, making him a legitimate threat to take the title in the season finale.
While Faulkingham's stats overwhelmed the narrative, David Comstock and Bentley Glaser had marquee seasons of their own. Comstock pulled down two wins and consistent streaks of top 10s throughout the season, keeping him in the top three in points all season long. As to Bentley, he pulled down the most top tens of any driver on the season, even better than Faulkingham, with twenty-four top tens out of 32 races.
Looking past Daniels's double-digit wins, others were in the wings with strong campaigns of their own.
2020 champion Brian Macklin had a respectable season with four wins but was not a factor in the championship playoff.
Byron Daley garnered three wins on the season and had sixteen top-fives of any driver. What was more impressive, and possibly infuriating for Byron, was that six of those were runner-up finishes to Faulkingham. With that many wins, someone had to finish second, and Byron rang the bell a half dozen times in the 2022 campaign.
It is easy to concentrate on the drivers who made headlines for the championship run, but it is equally rewarding to hit some of the season highlights.
Proving that you can race cleanly and still manage to have a very competitive season Tommy Rhyne logged the most laps for the season. At 3527 laps of the total 3954 on the season, he netted fourth in the final season standings behind Faulkingham, Glaser, and Comstock.
After a long winless drought, Mike Kelley had a solid campaign and finally ended his quest with a rewarding win at Talladega in October. Mike finished fifth in the championship and was followed by his teammate Scott Simley who gave a good accounting of himself, making the championship rounds and finishing top ten in points.
When one examines the win column in the NC811 cup, putting aside Faulkingham's dominance, many familiar names already mentioned are in the mix. There are a handful of others that got to bask in the spotlight at stops along the way.
Chad Coleman showed he is still one to beat on any given Monday after winning California in March and Talladega in April.
Eric Arnold runs upfront enough to be a threat throughout the season, and he pulled down the win at the spring Martinsville race in April.
2022 marked a change in venue for the Atlanta speedway. The reconfigured oval now races like a superspeedway, and it was only fitting that a driver whose inane ability for this style of racing secured the win with Richard Beasley taking the Tide-Ride to the checkers, holding off Kevin DA-Brown for the victory.
Looking back at some of the season's dynamics, a handful of remarks are to discuss. This year marked the debut of the NEXTGEN car in the Cup series. There was a lot of angst and speculation about how the car would perform in the sim, what changes, pros or cons it would bring, and in the end, the lack of noise about it being a factor likely means that it has coalesced into the norm.
Some of the physics did change racing dynamics, especially when it came to the dreaded broken toe links. Drivers could be a little more physical with the car, but if you banged a wheel in the course of some on-track incident, hard enough to break it, it meant a lengthy stay on pit road for repairs – just like the real world. If you had taken a poll at the end of the season, it seems that there would be mixed reviews, but all in all, the NextGen car was an acceptable piece and will likely serve the drivers
well, for seasons to come.
The support from the driver pool is as high as it has ever been and there is a nice balance of veterans, long-time supporters and up-and-coming drivers.
There are core drivers that don't steal the headlines but are there plugging away each week to get the best finishes they can muster. This list is just some of the names that were out there in 2022, enjoying the racing and having a good time:
Doug Roth, Stoney Benfield, Ron Hollifield, Charles Woods, Gerald Livingston, Doug Sigmon, Ed Burrell, Jeff Rhyne, Anthony Calantoni, Mike Montessi, Glenn Campbell, Justin Fuller, Donnie Lia, Shannon Wood, Kevin Inglin, Randy Yokum, ever-popular Brian Wertman, Justin Monds, and well the list goes on and on. These drivers virtually strapped in week in and week out and were joined by a host of others, with Sixty-Six drivers taking a green flag this season; two-thirds of them making at least double-digit starts on the season. Sim500, and especially the NC811 Monday night racing group, is a home for a tight nit community. Sim racers are a loyal group and show great appreciation for the sponsorship that comes to the league.
A sincere thanks to NC811, VA811, and other call before you dig programs.
Thanks to TranService Trucking for the continued support.
Thanks to Jeff Ford at the Ford Entertainment Group
And to other entities that contribute: Race City Sports Memorabilia and T&A Motorsports.
To the 2022 broadcast partners: Captain eSports, LSRtv, OSRN, and VRN, making us all look good.
It would not be right to close without thanking those that help behind the scenes:
To Randy Yokum and others who help with the website's fantastic work.
To the admins who are the engine to keep each night going, week after week.
To those who help other drivers with tips, tricks, gear, and other unnamed assistance in being part of
To those who host and support the one-off special races, and charity events that take place throughout
the years (Thank you)
And last but not least, to series director Joey Gattina. The passion and commitment to grow the dream, to bring in friends to the community, and to make it even better than it is, is exemplary. In reflection of what it is, Sim500 is special, and we owe a lot of thanks for our enjoyment to Joey's quest to make it the place to race.
Thanks, sometimes aren't enough.
It was a great first season working with Ann Rushing, Brian Morehouse, and Steve Moore with North Carolina 811 this season. Our 2022 Champion, Daniel Faulkingham, is a great champion and will represent NC811 to the fullest.
To Daniel Faulkingham:
We wish Daniel the best in his quest for pro and can now turn to our 2023 campaign.
It is time to recharge, but you can keep as busy as possible, given that winter is in full swing.
An even better racing experience is already planned for 2023, as we are proud to announce North Carolina811 returning as the title sponsor for the premier cup series at Sim500. Soon enough, the start of a new season will come in February.
Enjoy, be safe, and we will see you in Daytona for another exciting season of NC811 Cup Series racing.
REMEMBER TO KNOW WHATS BELOW "CALL 811 BEFORE YOU DIG"
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR