Week Four of the 2014 Season 3 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Twin Ring Motegi in the Empire of the Sun. Only a mere 52 sim-racers would tackle the track throughout a week of sim racing marked by cautions, handling and passing opportunities that were few and far between.
Tim Holgate (Ohio) started on pole, with Christopher Demeritt (New Jersey) on his outside. Miguel Angel Martinez (Iberia) slotted into the inside of Row Two with Randy Crossno (California) and Niles Anders (Plains) rounding-out the top five starting positions.
Holgate had an excellent start, easily opening up a sizeable gap by Turn One, only for Demeritt to catch-up by the middle of the backstretch. Demeritt swung low, using his momentum to pass Holgate who drifted low to take a defensive line entering Turn Three. Demeritt held his line as Holgate continued drifting low. The two made contact, sending Holgate straight into the outside wall in Turn Three. Holgate barrel-rolled after hitting the wall, bringing out the first caution, and ending his race before he even had the chance to complete a single lap.
Demeritt cleared Martinez by the start-finish line on the restart. With Demeritt doing a disappearing act, Martinez, Anders and Crossno quickly began battling for the second position. Crossno aero-pushed in Turn One behind Martinez and lifted to keep from sliding up into Anders. Anders then used this opportunity to slide between Martinez and Crossno and get to the inside of Martinez to take second. Martinez attempted to cross-over and underneath of Anders, allowing Crossno to get underneath him in the process.
While the squabble for second continued, Demeritt pulled away. The field quickly began spreading out after Anders took second and began to slowly run down Demeritt as the leaders then began to catch the tail-end of the field. The lapped traffic would help Demeritt one lap, then hinder him and help Anders the next. Traffic continued to play a factor as Steve Hudak (West) broke loose after being lapped for a fourth time, slapping the wall hard exiting Turn Four, albeit without triggering a caution . . . initially. Hudak attempted to limp around the track and back to pit road, only to miss the pit entrance. Hudak then stopped on track, instead of causing a wreck, and brought out the caution. Everyone elected to pit, knowing it would allow them to make it the full distance on fuel, with Demeritt easily beating the field off of pit road and maintaining his lead.
Demeritt had another good restart, easily clearing Tim Doyle (Atlantic) by the start/finish line. Half a lap later, Doyle attempted to dive underneath Demeritt in Turn Three before sliding up the track. Before the field could even complete a lap, the caution flew. Jeremy Burris (Carolina) drove in to Three too deep and hit Kevin Ellis Jr (UK and I), spinning Ellis. Ellis was able to keep his car off of the wall, and both sim-racers were able to avoid any significant damage.
Demeritt easily gapped the field when the green reappeared as Crossno was slow on the restart behind him. Doyle again attempted to dive underneath Demeritt in Turn Three, only to slide up the track. Again. Demeritt then began pulling away from the field. Again. Demeritt’s lead quickly evaporated as Martinez aero-pushed off of Turn Two and slammed the wall. The impact sent Martinez’ Dallara DW12 back across the track, head-on into the inside wall, resulting in the caution.
Once again, Demeritt had a good restart, easily clearing Doyle by the start-finish line. Doyle, yet again, tried to dive under Demeritt in Turn Three and failed. No matter: Once again the caution flew before the field could complete a lap as Georg Naujoks (DE-AT-CH) got into Paul Jennings (Carolina) in Turn Three. The impact sent both cars spinning, Jennings into the outside wall, while Naujoks rotated in the middle of the track before clipping Andrea Gatti (Italy), damaging the latters’ side pod.
Practice makes perfect and Demeritt had another great restart as Doyle spun his tires and slapped the outside wall. Both Crossno and Vick Caudill (Michigan) passed Doyle on the inside before the line. Caudill received a black flag while Crossno miraculously did not. Demeritt quickly opened up a gap over the rest of the field only to see his efforts negated by a caution flag. Doyle spun attempting to avoid slamming into Gatti, setting up a one lap shootout to the finish.
Demeritt had a great restart, clearing Anders and Crossno by start/finish. leaving Anders, Crossno, and Connor Cross (Ohio) battling for second. This allowed Demeritt to pull away to the finish while Crossno and Cross cleared Anders off of Turn Two in search of the final podium spots.
Demeritt duly won with 0.458s to spare over Crossno with Cross third ahead of Anders and Naujoks. Demeritt earned 153 points for his win in the 2440 Strength of Field, while Holgate would go on to take the highest Strength of Field at Motegi, one of two wins during the week, which had a SoF of 2636. The only other winners throughout the week were Anders and Scott Beck (California).