The ITSR Power Series hit back-to-back 2.5-mile ovals in Indianapolis and Pocono, with the first race decided by attrition and pit strategy, and the second won with great long-run speed.
At Indy, the pole position went to defending series champion Tim Johnston with a fast lap of 186.440 mph. Johnston led the opening 10 laps before the race’s first caution, which saw Brian Motisko take the lead thanks to a two-tire change on pit road.
During a turbulent first half of the race, the Brickyard looked more like the Junkyard, as three more cautions flew before Lap 40. During that time, several drivers took turns in the lead. Former Indy winner Kyle Taraska led briefly, followed by Daniel E. Eberhardt, then Brian Motisko took another stint at the front before Matt Delk grabbed the lead on Lap 39.
Amid a round of green-flag pit stops, another caution came out on Lap 55, which shuffled the field once again and put Eberhardt and John Higman Jr. out front. Higman took the lead on Lap 74 but was soon challenged by Kentucky winner Chad Dalton, who claimed the top spot just four laps later.
After another round of green-flag stops, Dalton held the led over Higman as the race entered the final 10 laps. However, the race’s seventh and final caution bunched-up the field once again. When the pits opened, Higman and four other drivers stayed out while Dalton pitted for four tires.
On the final restart with five laps remaining, Higman pulled ahead of Johnston and kept a one-second gap back to Dalton, giving him his first career Power Series victory. Behind Higman and Dalton, the rest of the top five included Marcus Napier, Johnston, and Kyle Guerry.
The next week at Pocono, sim racers prepared for one less corner than Indy but plenty of straight-line speed. Casey Pierce topped the speed charts in qualifying with his lap of 53.881s.
Pierce led the opening laps before the race’s first caution flew on Lap Five. On the restart, the inside line checked-up behind leader David Correia, causing a chain reaction of contact throughout the field. That left only a handful of undamaged cars, and when the race’s first long green-flag run began, the trio of Dalton, Taraska, and Johnston stretched a big lead over the rest of the field.
Two quick cautions between laps 50 and 60 brought the field back together, and a wreck on the Lap 59 restart spelled the end of Taraska’s chances. Dalton held the lead and began pulling away on the race’s final restart on Lap 64, but Johnston reeled him in as the final round of green-flag pit stops neared.
Johnston emerged with the lead after the stops, but Dalton stayed within half a second as the laps wound down, using the draft to save fuel. With three laps remaining, Dalton made his move and took the lead, giving him his second victory of the season. Johnston, Delk, Terry McCuin, and Matt Murphy rounded-out the top five.
Dalton’s pair of top-two finishes at Indy and Pocono brought him to within six points of championship leader Johnston. Those two drivers, who worked together driving a prototype for iRacing Today Motorsports in the 24 Hours of Spa, will now square off against each other and the rest of the field as the series goes road racing at Watkins Glen.