Week Three of the 2014 Season 3 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. A total of 156 sim-racers took to the track this week, with cautions, handling and tire conservation just some of the storylines throughout the week of sim racing.
Mitch McCracken (Indiana) started in the pole position with Tim Holgate (Ohio) starting second ahead of Niles Anders (Plains) and Randy Crossno (California) with Brandon Trost (Pennsylvania) rounding out the top five starting.
McCracken had an excellent start, easily clearing Holgate by Turn One and proceeded to build a five car length lead over the second place Dallara DW12. McCracken’s lead would be short-lived however, as a wreck in the back slowed the field on Lap 4. Matt Lambertson (Pennsylvania) broke loose attempting to pass Daniel Olszewski (Ohio) on the outside, over-corrected and slammed into the outside wall. Lambertson’s car bounced into the path of Rob Unglenieks (Michigan) who had nowhere to go. Ditto Dave Jinks (West). Both sim-racers slammed into Lambertson destroying their Dallaras. Ray Kingsbury (Connecticut) slammed on the brakes and slid into the wreck, yet miraculously received no damage.
McCracken, Holgate, and Trost all made excellent restarts on the subsequent green. A half lap later, Trost dived low on Holgate and McCracken, making it three-wide in Turn 3. A prudent Holgate lifted, ceding second to Trost, and preserving his car for later in the race. Once again, the green flag run was shortened as Connor Cross (Ohio) spun from the sixth position although, amazingly, the rest of the field managed to miss the rotating Dallara and he was able to stop the car before reaching the inside wall.
McCracken had a good restart, beating Trost into Turn 1. Trost drove-in hard, broke loose and, as he chased the car from the third lane down to the apron, it snapped back up the track. Joe Branch2 (Indiana) T-boned the wayward Dallara, sending Trost up the track and clipping Crossno. Michael Armstrong2 (Indiana) was powerless to avoid Branch and was propelled into a barrel-roll down the track.
Once again, McCracken had a good restart, clearing Holgate into the first turn. Undaunted, Holgate stayed on McCracken’s gearbox and took the lead a lap later. Holgate slowly opened a sizeable lead, only for another caution to erase it when Kingsbury spun exiting Turn 4. Kingsbury was able to keep it off the wall, only to spin the tires and slap the wall and damage his sidepod trying to catch-up to the rear of the field, with everyone ducking onto pit road for service in response.
Holgate had an excellent restart, easily gapping McCracken and Anders. The field remained single-file, trying to get into a rhythm, until Adam Dock (Texas) spun off Turn 2. Dock was able to keep his DW12 Dallara off the wall but, initally, was unable to get his car in gear triggering another yellow. This caution insured the competitors all had the fuel to go the rest of the distance as everyone but Brendan Lichtenberg (Midwest), and Jon Hall (California) pitted. Lichtenberg used his lead to good effect, making a good restart as Hall fell through the field. However, Lichtenberg’s stay at the front would be short-lived as Holgate and Anders soon demoted him to third Yet again, the green flag run was cut short by a wreck, this one unfolding when Erick Davis (Canada) made a last second move on Olszewski and clipped his left rear. The contact sent both sim-racers spinning into the outside wall.
Once again, Holgate had an excellent restart to gap Anders while Lichtenberg was slow on the restart in third. Lichtenberg, who was on old tires, and quickly dropped through the field. Yet again, as the field struggled to find a rhythm, the caution flew. For a second time Dock broke loose, and was unable to get the car in gear. This time however, he needed a tow to the pits and lost three laps in the process. Several drivers including Holgate ducked onto pit road for fresh tires, while most of the field stayed on track. The field wouldn’t even complete a lap on the ensuing restart before Kingsbury spun off Turn 4.
This time everyone had a good restart, with no one gaining a real advantage. However, for the second restart in a row, the caution would wave before the field could complete a lap. Vick Caudill (Michigan) drove into Turn Three deep and tagged the back of Hall’s car, sending Hall spinning into the outside wall and flipping Caudill. This caution set-up the field for a two lap shootout to the finish.
Both Anders and Cross had good restarts, clearing Holgate by Turn One. In the scramble behind them, McCracken snuck up to third while Lichtenberg and Holgate got together battling for fourth. The contact sent Holgate spinning, and slowed Lichtenberg. Matt Pawelski (Pennsylvania) had no time to react and slammed into Lichtenberg as Cary Bettenhausen (Indiana), Kingsbury, and Crossno all snuck by the chaos.
Anders won the caution-filled race by 0.310 seconds over Cross. For his efforts, Anders earned 233 points in the 3688 Strength of Field, the highest of the week. McCracken finished third with Bettenhausen fourth and Kingsbury rounding out the top five finishing positions. A total of 17 sim-racers took a trip to victory lane throughout the week.