Week Two of the 2015 Season 1 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval sent the series to Iowa Speedway. A grand total of 203 sim-racers took on the 7/8s mile speedway throughout a week in which cautions, handling, lapped traffic, pit strategy, tire wear, and single-file restarts were just some of the storylines that played-out.
Erick Davis (Canada) started on pole with Vick Caudill (Michigan) on his outside. Chuck Eisenbarth (Ohio) started from the inside of Row Two alongside Rob Unglenieks (Michigan) with Matt Pawelski (Pennsylvania) rounding out the top five starting positions.
Davis had an excellent start and easily led Caudill and Eisenbarth into Turn One. Eisenbarth looked low on Caudill and quickly fell back behind Unglenieks and alongside Pawelski who subsequently pushed high off of Turn Four and nearly collided with Eisenbarth. Paul Jennings (Carolina) saw an opportunity and jumped below Pawelski on the front stretch, easily clearing Pawelski and getting underneath Eisenbarth as well. Eisenbarth took a wide entrance into Turn One, believing he would clear Jennings. Not. Eisenbarth barely caught the nose of Jennings’ Dallara DW12, sending the two sim-racers spinning into the outside wall, with Hermann Pfander (DE-AT-CH) spinning as well as he and the rest of the field dived onto the apron to avoid wreckage. Joe Hassert (Midwest) was the first to duck onto pit road as the front runners remained on track.
Davis had an excellent restart, easily gapping Caudill by several car lengths into Turn One. However, Caudill quickly caught and passed Davis. As most of the field settled into a single-file line, Pawelski looked to the inside of Dave Judson (Ohio), hit the apron and pushed up before falling back in line. At the same time, Jonathon D Goke (International) and Adam Dock (Texas) were battling for seventh, with Goke on the inside racing Dock hard into the third turn. Goke fell back behind Dock on the front stretch before finally making the pass in Turn One. Back up ahead, Judson spun off of Turn Two on his own and smote the inside wall. However, Judson’s spin did not bring out the caution. Ryan Norton (Florida), meanwhile, slowly worked his way up from sixth to second, as he passed Pawelski, Unglenieks, and Davis one-by-one.
The top five continued to pull away as Goke fell back into the clutches of Dock. Dock easily regained the lead when Goke fought to control his car off of Turn Four. Goke continued falling back as Gary Borkenhagen (Midwest) easily caught and passed the struggling sim-racer. Two laps later, Goke slowed, attempting to pit, before spinning on the transition between the apron and the racing surface. Seth Eggert (Carolina) barely avoided the rotating Goke as the caution waved. Goke drove his car onto pit road and parked his car. All of the remaining sim-racers elected to pit.
Caudill emerged from the pits in the lead, then made an excellent restart to gap Norton by several car lengths entering Turn One. His lead proved short-lived, however, as Norton quickly ran him down and easily regained first place . Caudill fell in line behind Norton while Davis and Unglenieks battled for the third in their wake. Davis repeatedly looked low on Unglenieks, only to be unable to make any forward progress and fall back in line. Davis’ persistence eventually paid-off as he cleared Unglenieks, only to find their roles to be reversed as Unglenieks looked low to regain the third spot. Unglenieks easily cleared Davis, only for Davis to cross back over in an attempt to reclaim the third position. The battled raged side-by-side for the next fifteen laps before Davis eventually fell behind Unglenieks. The field became spread out as Norton caught the tail-end of the field.
The field remained relatively for the next fifty laps, until Lap 83 when Unglenieks spun trying to get off the track for what would have been a green flag pit stop. Although Unglenieks was able to keep his car off of the wall, the caution waved as — after allowing the tail-end of the field to drive by — he attempted to rejoin the action and spun head-on into the wall.
The field elected to pit under this caution, with Davis earning a black flag for passing under yellow entering pit road and Norton and Caudill emerging in the lead. At the green Norton gapped Caudill by nearly ten car lengths entering Turn One, only for Caudill to quickly run him down and sweep past into the lead.
As the battle for the lead intensified, Davis’ race went from bad to worse when he spun off of Turn Four into the inside wall. The hit was hard enough that Davis flipped into the grass, but did not bring out the caution. Thus Norton remained in Caudill’s tire tracks, waiting for his opportunity. But with the laps counting down and tire wear increasing, Caudill slowly pulled away from Norton. Exactly the opposite occurred behind them as Borkenhagen slowly reeled-in Pawelski for fourth and, by the white flag, was only a car length behind.
Caudill won the 3634 Strength of Field, the highest of the week by 1.118 seconds over Norton. Caudill earned 226 points for his win. Dock finished third with Borkenhagen just edging out Pawelski for fourth by only two thousandths of a second.
The hard charger of the race was Norton, who for the second week in a row, did not qualify, started twelfth and gained ten positions to finish second. Eisenbarth had the tough break of the race as he started third, and finished fourteenth, a loss of eleven positions after crashing out early.
The remainder of the week saw a total of 27 sim-racers take a trip to victory lane with Dan E Kendall (Illinois) scoring a week high eight wins before the series departed the Hawkeye state for a virtual-trip south to the Lone Star state and Texas Motor Speedway for Week Three.