Sim Racing

Cross (1) crosses the finish line nearly a lap ahead of the third-placed Trost (2).

Week Six of the 2014 Season 2 IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. A total 58 sim-racers took to the track this week. The stories of the week would handling and be the ability to keep up with the leaders.

Brandon Trost (Pennsylvania) started on pole, with Matt A. Kingsbury (Connecticut) starting on his outside. Connor Cross (Ohio) started third, with Ricardo Rossi (Brazil) fourth, and Aaron Kitterman (Illinois) rounded out the top five starting positions.

Trost, Kingsbury, and Cross all had great starts as they easily gapped the rest of the field by Turn One. As the leaders continued stretching their lead, further back in the pack Niall McBride (UK and I) understeered and slammed the outside wall. Two cars back, Ronald Remund (Northwest) followed suit and also slapped the wall with Scott W. Smith (Atlantic) nearly following McBride and Remund into the fence. Smith was lucky enough to avoid the wall, but clipped McBride’s damaged car, damaging his own front wing. Even with the carnage in the back of the field, all three sim-racers were able to avoid bringing out the caution flag.

Racing Game

Chaos in the back as the wall sucks-in car after car.

Meanwhile back up front the three leaders continued extending their lead. However, technical issues forced Trost to relinquish the top spot to Kingsbury, with Trost slipping to third as the lead trio opened-up a twenty plus car length lead. The extensive lead by the top three allowed Trost and Cross to swap the second and third positions multiple times.

As their lead continued to grow, disaster nearly struck when Kingsbury hit the apron and got loose. The leader’s loss of momentum resulted in  Trost rear-ending him, damaging his front wing. In an attempt to avoid slamming into the leaders Cross slid up the track and brushed the outside wall, luckily without incurring any damage. All three were able to gather their Dallaras back up and continue without losing much time to the rest of the field although the leaders closed back in on each other, Cross got loose off of Turn Two, losing ground to Trost and Kinsgbury.

Motorsports Simulation

Kingsbury nearly loses it.

Further back in the pack Smith attempted to run down Kitterman for fifth, finally catching him on Lap 35. Smith attempted to use the draft to slingshot past Kitterman but the draft only made him understeer into the outside wall, destroying his car. Smith limped onto the apron and to pit road, preventing the caution flag from waving.

The leaders continued stretching their advantage over the next fifteen laps. On Lap 51 Kingsbury, like many others throughout the race, understeered and tagged the wall but luckily escaped with minor suspension damage. Kingsbury wisely pulled aside and allowed both Trost and Cross to pass.

Trost and Cross continued to pull away when Kingsbury pitted on Lap 55. Cross cleverly allowed Trost to gap him as the two pitted the next time around when, upon entering pit road, Trost locked-up his brakes, spun and earned a black flag for his unsafe pit entrance. Trost then backed down pit road, nearly colliding with Rossi before finally turning around and pulling into his pit stall. Trost’s misfortunes allowed Cross to open a massive lead after pit stops.

Sim Racing

Trost makes an unconventional entrance to pit road.

After leaving pit road Trost re-entered the track, fighting to stay on the lead lap in front of the new leader Cross.  But before he could get up to speed Cross lapped him with 35 laps to go. Trost immediately pulled back underneath Cross and reclaimed a lead lap position. This cycle repeated itself 15 laps later with the same results. As Cross tried for the third time to put Trost a lap down, he got loose off of Turn Two, giving Trost the opportunity to put some distance between himself and the leader. Although Cross duly reeled-in Trost and made another bit to lap him with 15 laps to go, he got loose again and, judiciously settled-in to follow Trost to the finish of the caution-free race.

Cross won the week high 2335 Strength of Field by 15.097 seconds over Kingsbury. Trost finished third, 24.125 seconds behind, and the last car on the lead lap. Rounding out the top five, albeit a lap behind were Rossi and Kitterman, who finished fourth and fifth respectively. Cross earned 138 points for his race win, one of two wins Cross earned throughout the week, although strangely, it was not the highest points earning throughout the week. Other winners throughout the week included Kyle Orso (Illinois) who also won twice, Miguel Angel Martinez (Iberia), Ron Meier Jr. (Midwest), and Michael Armstrong2 (Indiana).

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