The Skip Barber Racing School Premier Series headed to the Midwest for the 10th week of racing action at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. There were more than 50 sim racers this week battling it out over the course of four official races. Mid Ohio proved to be a very exciting track on the schedule, as the 13 turn, 2.4 mile configuration provided an interesting shift in the points with just three weeks left in the season. Christian Aranha still retains a narrow points lead heading into the final week of competition and it is up to the championship contenders — led by Jan Niesiolowski — to step it up now if they want a shot at winning the series championship.

The 10:00 GMT race had the lowest strength of field of the day (2415) , but that did not take away from any excitement or result in a shortage of intensity. Niesiolowski started on the pole, but lost the lead on Lap 18 to Ian Bevan, who never looked back. Bevan took the checkers on Lap 30 ahead of Marco Corti and Wade Hayward, with Niesiolowski settling for fourth position.  Bevan earned 151 points for his win and Hayward earned 132 points for his third place finish, while Corti and Niesiolowski later dropped their points from this online race.

The first split of the 20:00 GMT race saw Stuart Adcock edging-out championship series leader Aranha by a mere 3.5 seconds en route to his victory. Adcock lead the final 23 laps after taking the lead from the pole-sitting Aranha. Xavier Busoms rounded-out the podium 6.241s off of Adcock, who earned 160 points for his victory.  Busom collected 135 points for his third place finish while Aranha, like Corti and Niesiolowski before him, discarded his points from this 2582 SoF race.

Close competition was the name of the game at Mid-Ohio.

The second split was a clinic run by Niesiolowski. Mathmatically, a true challenger to Aranha in the hunt for the championship, Niesiolowski needs close to a win every week in order to match the consistent Aranha.  He started on the pole of the 2698 SoF split, and led all 30 laps to take checkers by 3.019s over Corti with third place finisher Kurt Krumm a further seven seconds adrift.  The win gave Niesiolowski the most points for the week –166 — while Corti earned 152 and Krumm added 138 points to his total.

The 2:00 GMT split was stacked with 17 cars with drivers vying for as many points as they could get.  Aranha even made a cameo appearance in this timeslot!  However, Curtis Fung that was the fastest in the 2602 SoF, and stole the pole position from Aranha.  Fung went on to lead the first two laps of the race before the pressure from Aranha got to him. Fung forfeited the lead, and unfortunately for him, his race when he went off the road.  Aranha had troubles of his own and slipped down to fifth, and it was Andrea Ventura who capitalized on the erstwhile leaders’ troubles to lead the remaining 28 laps.  Aranha rebounded to take second place while Duncan Coppedge rounded-out the podium.  Ventura earned 163 points for the win. Aranha and Coppedge earned 152 and 142 points respectively.

“Frustrating,” said Aranha.  “Looks like Jan is somehow in a good position to still win the championship if I don’t do well at VIR.  More points for his split and I didn’t win my race(s). After drop weeks at the moment I only have a four point lead.”

Indeed, although Aranha holds a 149 point lead over Niesiolowski with one week remaining, the true points picture is much closer when factoring Niesiolowski’s drop week. Krumm, Adcock, and Corti round- out the top five in points heading into the season finale.  As the Skip Barber Racing School Premier Series kicks off the month of August, drivers will be doing so in grand fashion when they tackle daunting Virginia International Raceway in Danville, VA.

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