Sim Racing

Double victory: Cross takes the win and the title.

Week Eleven of the 2014 Season 2 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Iowa Speedway. Only 47 sim-racers participated in races during the week. The story of the week was the ability to keep up with the front runners.

Scott Beck (California) started on pole with Philippe Lambert (France) on his outside. Kristian Maansson (Scandinavia) qualified third ahead of Hermann Pfander (DE-AT-CH) with Georg Naujoks (DE-AT-CH) rounding out the top five starting positions.

Beck had an excellent start as Lambert laid back coming to the green. Although Beck broke to a five car length lead by Turn One, it was not to last as Lambert easily ran him down and took the lead on Lap Five. Just after Lambert completed the pass, the caution waved for a wreck between Ricardo Rossi (Brazil) and Xavi Iborra (Iberia). Iborra ran into the back of Rossi, turning both Dallara IndyCars around. As Iborra slid down the track he clipped Kyle Orso (Illinois), launching Orso and ending his race. Connor Cross (Ohio), Naujoks and Christian Kern (DE-AT-CH) were the only ones who elected to pit under the ensuing caution.

Racing Game

Iborra clips Orso, ending both of their races.

Both Lambert and Pfander had an excellent restart, easily clearing Beck by the frst turn. Beck immediately attempted to get back around Pfander, eventually getting underneath him. At the same time, Cross was working his way back up through the field. At first he followed Robert Grosser (DE-AT-CH) then passed Rossi before passing Grosser himself. By the time Cross worked his way around Grosser, the three leaders had pulled away by nearly fifteen car lengths. As Cross set about bridging the gap, Lambert slowly began pulling away from Beck and Pfander. As the laps continued to tick down, Lambert continued stretching his advantage over Beck and Pfander as they battled for second.

Lambert finally gave up the lead when he pitted on Lap 72, only for the caution to wave as he entered his pit box. Attempting to pit, Rossi slowed then inexplicably turned back up the track and stopped in the middle of the track, facing the wrong direction. Rick White (New England) made an evasive move at the last second, nearly sliding up into the wall. Kern, however, had absolutely nowhere to go and slammed head-on into Rossi, instantly destroying both cars.

Motorsports Simulation

Rossi and Kern perform some aerobatics.

With all of the leaders pitting for fuel under the resulting caution, Lambert stayed on track regain the lead lap. After being waved by the pace car and catching-up to the rear of the field, it looked as if Lambert would have his work cut out for him.  But just as he latched on to the tailenders, Richard Sebastian (Ohio) — himself trying to catch-up to the back of the field after rejoining the race some 73 laps down — slammed into Lambert. The impact demolished both cars, but somehow did not delay the green flag or trigger another caution.

Racing Sim

Sebastian eliminates Lambert under caution.

As the chaos unfolded in the rear of the field, Beck and Cross had an excellent restart with Pfander lagging behind Cross on the outside lane. Cross was not about to let Beck pull away and immediately started trying to find a way past. Lap after lap Cross looked low, pulled up to Beck, but wasn’t able to do anything with him. After lapping Iborra, Cross found himself stuck on Beck’s outside and attempted a crossover move into Turn Three. Cross pushed up the track and barely made contact with Beck’s left rear tire, damaged the Dallara’s left rear suspension. Beck attempted to limp around to the finish until his Dallara finally succumbed to the damage two laps later when he over-steered off of Turn Two, overcorrected and slapped the outside wall before coming to a stop, bringing-out the final caution of the race.

With Pfander again laying back a full row coming to the green, Cross had a free run on the restart andgapped both Pfander and Grosser by several car lengths into Turn One. Although Pfander cleared Grosser on the outside exiting Turn Two, he was never able to close on Cross who took the 1968 Strength of Field win by 0.357s and earned122 points for his second win of the week.  Rounding-out the top five were Grosser and Naujoks with Connor Uhlman (Midwest) a lap down in fifth.

Other winners throughout the week included Ron Meier Jr. (Midwest) who won twice, Lambert, and Zachary Trull (New Jersey). Cross clinched the championship with his win as he laft Iowa Speedway with a 250+ point gap over his closest competitors with only one week of sim racing remaining in the season.

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