Week Six of the 2014 Season 3 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Homestead-Miami Speedway. A grand total of 144 sim-racers participated in online races throughout a week where aero-push, cautions, handling, and pit strategy were the dominant storylines.
Tim Holgate (Ohio) started on pole with Daniel Olszewski (Ohio) starting on his outside. Starting third was Danno Brookins (Florida), with Brandon Trost (Pennsylvania) fourth, and Niles Anders (Plains) rounding out the top five starting positions.
Holgate had an excellent start, ditto Trost who passed both Olszewski and Brookins by Turn One, with holgate sprinting to a seven car length lead by the exit of Turn Two. The top three soon consolidated into single file as the Brookins and Anders battled for fourth. The field quickly began to became spread out as passing proved to be difficult due to the turbulence and aero-push off of the Dallara DW12. The turbulence created a sort of ‘bubble’ effect in a car’s wake, making passing incredibly difficult.
Meanwhile, Holgate continued increasing his lead over Trost and the rest of the field. Even lapped traffic failed to slow Holgate’s rapid pace when he reached the tail-end of the field on Lap 22. Amazingly, 30 laps into the race most of the field continued to ride in the same position that they had started before the quietly fast race took a strange turn when Dave Jinks (West) swerved into the outside wall on the front straightaway. Jinks attempted to limp his badly damaged Dallara DW12 only to pit two laps later and ultimately retire from the race.
Green flag pit stops started on lap 50 as Ray Kingsbury (Connecticut) was the first to call for service. Marcel Gagne (Canada) also headed for the pits, but locked the brakes entering pit road and clipped the end of the pit wall, damaging his sidepod. The entire top five pitted a lap later, leaving Nigel Marneef (Benelux) in the lead. By the time the pitstops cycled through, Holgate had added another two seconds to his already massive lead. The running order remained virtually the same with Marneef the only sim-racer to make any significant gains, jumping from sixth to third after pit stops.
The field continued to be run in spread out on track as lapped traffic continued circulating the track as well. It seemed as if nothing was going to slow the pace of the race. although passing continued to be difficult as a result of the aero-push effect of the Dallara DW12s. Case in point: As Brookins attempted to pass Anders with only eight laps to go, he pushed up and clipped Anders. The contact sent Brookins into a four-wheel drift through the center of Turns One and Two. Momentarily able to regain control, Brookins spun exiting Turn Two, bringing out the yellow despite keeping it off the wall and going down a lap in the bargain. Next the race took another strange turn, as the lead lap cars moved up past those not on the lead lap when Anders spun after contact with Brookins under caution.
Holgate had an excellent restart, with only four laps to go, easily clearing Trost by the start-finish line. Entering Turn One nearly the entire field broke loose. The top three easily held onto their cars but Olszewski slid down into Erick Davis (Canada), with the contact sending both sim-racers down into the grass, then back up into the rest of the field. Anders and Matt A Kingsbury (Connecticut) just barely snuck through the melee but Joe Branch2 (Indiana) slammed into Olszewski as Davis clipped Ray Kingsbury. Matt Lambertson (Pennsylvania) also plowed into the wreck, having nowhere to go. When the dust settled, five mangled Dallara DW12s were scattered around Turns One and Two.
Holgate won the 3488 Strength of Field race, the highest of the week, earning 218 points for his win, as the race ended under caution. Holgate led all but four laps in the 100 lap race. Trost finished runner-up with Marneef third ahead of Matt A Kingsbury while Anders rounded-out the top five.
In other IndyCar action at Homestead, a grand total of 17 sim-racers got to take a ride to victory lane during the week. Holgate won the most races, in fact each and every one of the three races he participated in throughout the week. Holgate nearly had a perfect week, leading all but 67 of the 300 laps of sim racing.