Sim Racing

Goke wins the final race in the Dallara, circa 2011

Week Twelve of the 2014 Season 2 IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Twin Ring Motegi in the Empire of the Sun. A total of 23 sim-racers would tackle the track throughout the week. The story of the week would be handling, and the final official series race in the IndyCar Dallara Circa 2011.

Brandon Trost (Pennsylvania) qualified on the pole, with Georg Naujoks (DE-AT-CH) on his outside. Jon Goke (International) started third, with Denis Garese (France) and Connor Cross (Ohio) rounding-out the top five starting positions.

At the green, both Trost and Goke had excellent  jumps as Naujoks laid back on the start. Although Trost and Goke quickly opened-up a five car length lead on Garese, their lead would be short-lived as TM Hauser (DE-AT-CH) got loose off of Turn Four. Hauser tried to chase his car down the track and drove right into the path of Christopher Demeritt (New Jersey). Demeritt had nowhere to go and slammed into Hauser, sending both spinning head-on into the inside wall, ending their race on Lap Two. None of the remaining sim-racers elected to pit so early into the race.

Racing Game

Hauser and Demeritt make an early exit.

Both Trost and Goke enjoyed excellent restarts as Garese spun his tires and nearly slammed into Naujoks. Garese’s misstep easily gave Trost and Goke a seven car length lead before they even reached the first turn. Goke, seeing this as an opportunity, passed Trost for the lead a lap later and began pulling away.  In the leaders’ wake, Garese, Cross and the rest of the field settled into a single file line as they tried to run down Goke.

The race remained unchanged until Goke prepared to lap the ill-handling Dallara of Scott W. Smith (Atlantic). As Smith yielded to Goke, he got loose and spun behind the leader. Smith ricocheted off the inside wall and slammed the outside wall, bringing-out the caution. This time everyone elected to pit as they could easily make it the rest of the way on fuel. Goke comfortably beat the field off of pit road as Trost nearly spun exiting his pit stall. Trost’s misfortune cost him a spot as Garese beat him off pit lane. Luckily for Trost, Garese headed back down pit road with two to green.

Motorsports Game

Smith pinballs off the walls on the front straight.

Goke had a good restart even though he and those behind him spun their tires. Cross followed Goke forward and cleared Trost by Turn One. Cross then attempted to pass Goke for the lead before spinning coming off Turn Four. Although Cross was somehow able to keep off of the inside wall and regain control of his Dallara, the incident triggered yet another caution with Cross the only competitor who elected to pit.

Practice makes perfect, or so they say, so it was no surprise to see Goke make an excellent restart as the following Matt A. Kingsbury (Connecticut) spun his tires and nearly clobbered Trost. The understandable hesitation by Trost allowed Goke to open up an extensive lead while Kingsbury dropped back to fifth before regaining momentum.

The field quickly returned to the single file follow-the-leader mindset . . . except for Cross, who slowly worked his way back up through the field after the restart. Cross had climbed back up to the top five with just under 20 laps to go when he attempted to pass Garese for fourth on the inside and — once again — had to save his car off of Turn Four. Meanwhile, Goke continued to extend his already massive lead, a lead that was extinguished when the caution flew once again with only eight laps remaining. Cross had (again) gotten loose off of Turn Four, and nearly saved it before spinning head-on into the inside wall.

Motorsports Simulation

Every trip through Turn Four was an adventure for Cross.

Goke made a fine restart as the race came down to a green-white-checkered finish and went on to easily win the 2646 Strength of Field (the highest SoF of the week) by 0.296 seconds over Trost. Naujoks finished third, with Garese fourth and Kingsbury rounding out the top five finishing positions. The only other winner throughout the week was Philippe Lambert (France).

This was not only the final race of the season, but the final official race for the IndyCar Dallara Circa 2011. Cross won the 2014 Season 2 IndyCar Oval Series Championship, scoring 1267 points. Trost finished second in points with a total of 1118 points. Erick Davis (Canada) finished third in points, with Kingsbury fourth and Vick Caudill (Michigan) rounding out the top five points positions.

Sim Racing

Turn Four ultimately proved Cross’ undoing.

Cross and Ron Meier Jr. (Midwest) tied for the most wins throughout the season with eight victories apiece. Cross participated in the most races with 30 starts and scored the most top five finishes with 19. He also completed the laps throughout the season: 2,573 laps. Meier Jr. scored the most poles throughout the season with 13 and topped the lap-leaders during the season with 899 laps led.

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