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I would like to officially introduce you to the 2018 “Mario Andretti‘s” of the Majors Series on iRacing. After a grueling and diverse 14 race, ten month grind, these four men best embody the spirit of Mario Andretti himself. Race anything, anywhere, anytime and kick your butt doing it. These... are your Champion Drivers of the Year.

International Region / Josh Noack

Josh is a nineteen year old driver from Australia and racing for @Kinetic. He is the only one of the four champions to miss a race having started in 13 of the 14 races. He had the second most wins across all regions with four. Taking home victory at the; World 600, 2.4 hours of Spa, Pocono 500 and Bathurst 500. In the end he carried his region by the largest margin of anyone, a 233 point gap to 2nd place and he accrued more points in the series across all regions than any other driver.

European Region / Pete Harrod Pete is a thirty one year old driver hailing from the UK and racing for @Team MAD. Pete “the handsome” is also “Pete the shy”, as we rarely hear a peep from the man who just seems to go about his business, turning fast lap after fast lap, staying out of trouble and under the radar. His record this season is a match for his persona. He started all 14 races (earning the Iron Man Award), but won zero. He is this seasons version of Matt Kenseth, a picture of consistency amassing seven Top 5’s and almost no “bad” finishes. Pete had the closest championship fight of all the winners as he held off Team Buschfink driver Teemu Toika by just 20 points and the result was not confirmed until the checkered flag in the final at Myrtle Beach.

Atlantic Region / Mike Kelley

Mike Kelley is a fifty year old driver from the Great Plains Club and is team owner / driver for Turn 1 Heroes. Mike is the only Legends Division driver (50+) to win the overall drivers championship this year. Mike took home the checkered flag at the Copper World Classic and the World 600 and finished in the Top 5 a total of eight times. He also claimed the Iron Man Award by starting all 14 races.

For the championship Mike had a fight on his hands and it only got tougher as the year went along. His main rival? Turn 1 Heroes teammate Riley Thompson. As the season wore down the difference truly came down to who made the fewest mistakes, as costly errors at Suzuka and Bathurst cost Riley a better shot at the title heading to the final. In the end Mike had the pace and the consistency to bring home the title.

Pacific Region / Blake Reynolds

Blake Reynolds is a 19 year old Texan driving for Ridin’ Shotgun Motorsports. Blake is the most dominant driver in the Majors Series history with 13 race wins in his career. Ironically, this year, his first championship season, he was limited to just one win which came at the Daytona 500. That does not tell the whole story though as Blake amassed a series high TEN Top 5’s while competing in all 14 events. 2018 is the first year Blake has won the Iron Man Award and it is no wonder that he also secured his first title.

The Pacific Region was a year long,epic battle of two rivals as Kinetic (and fellow NPAS driver) Christian Challiner brought the fight to Blake in earnest. Christian seemed to mimic Blake’s results from years past, as he accumulated six wins, but had just enough misfortune and (crucially) one missed race. At the end of the day, all those things combined would result in Blake taking the championship by 60 pts.

Congrats on a mammoth achievement!

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With just two rounds to go in the season, the finish line is coming into view. After 12 rounds all four regions are still undecided, but all four leaders have a chance to clinch the Mario Andretti Championship this week at Bathurst.

International Region -

It looks very likely that we will be crowning a champion as Josh Noack can clinch with a 29th or better at Bathurst. In fact, by simply starting the race everyone except Duane Burns is eliminated from contention.

European Region -

Three drivers are still alive for the crown. Pete Harrod can clinch with a win at Bathurst or by finishing 10th or better at Myrtle Beach in the final. Only Teemu Toika and Markus Niskanen are still alive, they need to win out and get some help.

Atlantic Region - Deep into the Japanese Grand Prix it appeared that the final two races would be a Turn One Heroes battle royale for the title, but it was not to be. Riley Thompson faltered in the closing stages and Mike Kelley added enough gap that he is now fully in control of his destiny. A win at Bathurst will seal the championship, but failing that, he only needs a 7th or better at Myrtle Beach to keep that control. Riley is still in contention, but only just.

Pacific Region -

Similar to the Atlantic Region, everything has been amping up to a Reynolds vs Challiner heavyweight match to close out the season. Christian has been slowing chipping away at Blake's lead and with a good race at Suzuka he could have been close to level. Misfortune struck and Blake did everything he could to take advantage.

Reynolds can now clinch his first Mario Andretti Drivers Championship in style by winning the Bathurst 500. Even if he comes up short, he will just need a 15th or better at Myrtle Beach to be assured of the title.

Four drivers on the championship doorstep, will they walk through it??

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