Brittannie Denney was always known for her smile and magnanimous character.
On January 11, she passed away from unknown circumstances.
The former Prescott resident was honored during the Feb. 25 running of the Dixie Vodka 400 on IRacing at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
IRacing is the leading online racing simulation used by many professional racers for training, including NASCAR, Formula One, Indy Car, and more.
The Prescott Times’ own Ryan O’Hara, who has 76 IRacing victories, including 21 in the Cup Series, ran the late Dale Earnhardt’s all-black paint scheme in honor of Denney.
O’Hara, who qualified fifth, went on to win a race-high 95 of 267 laps en route to another trip to the virtual winners’ circle.
“This is for Brittannie,” he stated after the win. “Nothing will ever bring her back, but to win this race in her honor means a lot, and I wish nothing but the best for her family during this difficult time.”
Sergio Abella finished second despite starting in the 30th position. Rounding out the rest of the top five were Daniel Weber, Robert Carroll, and Aaron Chapman.
“Sergio gave me some chills there late,” O’Hara admitted. “The handling on my car was really going south there at the end.”
O’Hara, who scored his second victory at Homestead, said that he implemented the setup — literally — at the last minute.
“I honestly didn’t have much time to practice,” he revealed. “And in those few laps, it drove horrendous.
“But I knew that we just had to be patient. The goal was to win for Brittannie, and that’s what we accomplished.”
But pitting off sequence eventually put O’Hara in clean air, where his No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro powered to the front and stayed there for the remainder of the race.
“Dirty air really changes the way your car drives,” he added. “When we took those two right sides to get to the lead, it was money.
“And when the caution came out there late, we all pitted together. I knew from there we were going to be tough to beat.
And Abella, who hails from Uruguay, has 229 career victories on IRacing.
“Anyone who can come from deep in the field like that and score a top five at a track like Homestead, that dude is dangerous,” O’Hara said.
The 27-year-old also said that he plans on running the commemorative scheme in honor of Denney for the rest of the season. A year ago, O’Hara ran the same scheme in memory of multiple family members who passed away.
He went on to win the Coca-Cola 600.
“It doesn’t make sense to run the scheme just once,” he said. “Brittannie meant so much to us, and we will miss her very much.”