An interesting first week of short oval racing just ended at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the dominant duo of Tim Doyle (Club Atlantic) and Niles Anders (Plains) winning 2/3 of all online races between them. Both drivers are well proven IndyCar oval specialists who showed again that oval racing is more than just turning left. As expected (some would say as feared), the “vintage” surface of the one mile oval (opened in 1990 and partly repaved in 2005) was anything but “flat out” to drive. Over the years some small unevenness and bumps have developed on the inside line of the turns, presenting drivers with a difficult decision: setting up the car to the short but tough way around the inside or make it fast for the smoother but longer high line.
The two most successful sim racers already much experience at this track and opted to go the long way around the turns. Obviously they did very well, since Doyle was able to score ten victories and Anders eight. However, many drivers tried the opposite approach and produced a lot of smoke, small parts and skid marks on track. On the other hand, the choice of setup philosophy opened the races for exciting position fights and attracted many drivers. Gary Borkenhagen (Midwest) was one of the drivers who chose to try the low line. He was partly very successful but also had some tough brakes while kissing the wall. The mix of those two completely different racing styles gave a great picture for the spectators while drivers of the following cars often were scared in the hope the driver of the car on the low line won’t lose it…
Again the races on Saturday 19:30 GMT and 21:30 GMT were the favorite time slots for most of the IndyCar drivers and drew four strong grids. Every interested driver who likes to have races with big competition or just big fields is very welcome to reserve those two races on the calendar with a big red cross. Also highly recommended is the race planner – and not only for this session.
Since this was the first official week at NHMS, Anders is now the holder of the world record for the fastest race lap with a lap time of 22.581 seconds. And you can guess who comes close behind . . . race winner Doyle. Additionally, Anders took the honors for the time trial world record with a lap time of 22.500 seconds, leaving no doubt who had the fastest car that week.
In the point standings Ryan Field (Massachusetts) was able to expand his advantage over runner-up PJ Stergios (New England) to a 50 points gap (308 to 258). Close behind in third are Felipe Mafra (South America) and Scott Michaels (England), both with 255 points.
Everybody who likes to see some impression from the current season is very welcome to have a look at the flickr group. And if you have a nice screenshot or artwork you like to share this is the right place to show; also newcomers are always very welcome.
iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Season 4 2010 @ flickr.com
The next week bring the series back to road course racing. “The roots of Sonoma” are well known for good wine from California but also for its famous hilly IndyCar and NASCAR track: Infineon Raceway. A “new track layout” will take a step away from the official IndyCar variant and skip the tight chicane as well as the also very tight “short cut” before start finish. Also the hairpin is changed to a wider and faster version. All in all this “long” called version produces a very different racing experience with a much faster and more fluid layout. Everybody who likes demanding road courses will probably love racing here while many drivers will already know this from their experiences at Sonoma in the Star Mazda Series. What’s more, this week can be used as a preparation for the Star Mazda series which is racing on the same track and layout one week from now.
Week 3 season 4 2010 Infineon discussion thread: