The return of the Motor Racing Outreach Better Half Dash, and its first running as an iRacing event, took place as part of a special edition of FS1’s NASCAR RaceHub on Thursday, and it was McCall Gaulding who would take the checkered flag on the Texas Motor Speedway Legends oval. The girlfriend of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Zane Smith was one of the quickest drivers throughout practice leading up to the event, won her heat race to claim the third starting spot on the grid, and led every single lap of the feature race.
“When I asked MRO to be in the Better Half iRacing Dash, I spent three nights out of the week watching (Zane) train with Josh Wise in the Chevy simulator, and I was like ‘I want to do that so bad!’” Gaulding said after the race, admitting that she had a chiropractor appointment on the books after the sheer amount of time she spent practicing for the event. “Once they told me I was able to join, I spent hours—literally, Zane had to pull me off of this thing every night. So now I’m paying the consequences of lower back pain, but it all paid off!”
The race, organized at Charlotte Motor Speedway with bandolero cars from 2011 to 2017, allows the women of NASCAR to get behind the wheel and raise money for charity. The front row of the starting grid was reserved for the two competitors who solicited the most donations, with JR Motorsports co-owner and vice president Kelley Earnhardt Miller scoring the pole with more than $20,000 raised, and Tammy Rice, wife of Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice and runner-up in the last real-world Better Half Dash, starting on the outside of the front row.
In spite of some first-lap chaos, the race went caution-free most of the way. Gaulding would take the lead from Earnhardt Miller right away, and they’d run 1-2 for much of the race until Julia Piquet, girlfriend of Daniel Suarez, would find her way into second in the closing stages. A major pileup that blocked off most of the track caused the only caution of the event, and Gaulding got away from another frenetic restart that saw Earnhardt Miller and Marissa Briscoe, wife of Chase, make contact as both were looking for a strong launch to make the winning move.
Full results from the Better Half iRacing Dash at Texas Motor Speedway were as follows:
|1||3||21||McCall Gaulding||US Legend Cars||38||38||16.185|
|2||4||99||Julia Piquet||US Legend Cars||38||-0.848||0||16.196|
|3||6||12||Jenna Petty||US Legend Cars||38||-1.197||0||16.332|
|4||2||11||Tammy Rice||US Legend Cars||38||-2.611||0||16.780|
|5||9||25||Kristin Labonte||US Legend Cars||38||-5.970||0||16.277|
|6||7||22||Jennifer Self||US Legend Cars||38||-14.733||0||16.536|
|7||1||38||Kelley Earnhardt Miller||US Legend Cars||37||-1 L||0||16.439|
|8||10||14||Marissa Briscoe||US Legend Cars||37||-1 L||0||16.653|
|9||5||23||Kennedy Gaulding||US Legend Cars||37||-1 L||0||16.359|
|10||11||15||Karissa Flores||US Legend Cars||37||-1 L||0||16.758|
|11||8||20||Morgan Bell||US Legend Cars||36||-2 L||0||16.579|
|12||13||17||Megan Smith||US Legend Cars||34||-4 L||0||16.761|
|13||12||8||Alexa De Leon||US Legend Cars||34||-4 L||0||17.470|