Week Eight of the 2014 Season 2 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Michigan International Speedway. A season high 188 sim-racers participated in online races throughout the week. Fuel conservation, drafting and pit strategy would be the stories throughout the week.
Kyle Orso (Illinois) started on pole with Brandon Trost (Pennsylvania) on his outside with Brendan Lichtenberg (Midwest) and Brandon Traino (New Jersey) on Row Two, and Dave Jinks (West) rounding-out the top five starting positions.
Orso had a good start, clearing Trost by Turn 1. The field slowly fell in line with the lead draft stretching all the way back to eleventh. This didn’t last long as Lichtenberg passed Orso for the lead, and Pablo Donoso (Hispanoamérica) in fifth began to lose the lead draft. As Erick Davis (Canada) and Matt A Kingsbury (Connecticut) passed, contact between Matt Kingsbury and Donoso sent the latter spinning into the path of Jinks. Seth Eggert (Carolina) checked-up to avoid the wreck and Mike Owen (Australia/NZ) hit Eggert from behind. Eggert nearly spun, while Owen slammed into the wall. Eggert got away with minor rear wing damage, while the race was over for Donoso, Jinks, and Owen on Lap 5. Most of the field elected to stay off pit road, with Mark Shaffer (West) the first to pit.
Lichtenberg had an excellent restart, as he and the top four were able to break away from Davis, Matt Kingsbury, Ray Kingsbury (Connecticut), and the rest of the field at the green. As Davis and Matt Kingsbury struggled to keep the leaders’ draft, Eggert slowly fell behind, leading both Jarrett Bolyard (Pennsylvania) and Ray Kingsbury. Connection issues for both Traino and Trost allowed Davis and Matt Kingsbury to rejoin the lead draft but, unfortunately, the connection issue forced Traino from the race.
Green flag pit stops started on Lap 42 as Eggert and Ray Kingsbury elected to short pit in an attempt to gain time on the leaders. Lichtenberg pitted two laps later, only to get busted for speeding entering pit road. As the leaders pitted, Orso hit the grass and spun, nearly collecting Davis. Trost also got nailed for speeding, giving Davis and Matt Kingsbury a two car break away. Eggert and Ray Kingsbury’s gamble moved them up from sixth and seventh, eight seconds behind the leaders, to third and fourth, and just under four seconds behind the leaders.
With a sizable gap, Matt Kingsbury started battling Davis for the lead, constantly hounded him on the outside, trying to find a way around. Upon catching the slower car of Keith Cassell (Indiana), Davis elected to try to draft behind Cassell. Kingsbury saw his chance and made his move, crossing over and underneath Davis on the backstretch. Davis attempted the same move on Kingsbury in Turn 3 only to push up the track and slam into Cassell. The impact sent both Dallaras sailing skyward, and brought out the yellow flag, allowing the entire field to catch up.
The Kingsbury brothers had an excellent restart as Eggert missed a shift. Bolyard, seeing an opportunity, dove through the middle, between Shaffer, and Eggert, to jump up to third. Eggert continued to drop as both Trost and Lichtenberg blew past as well. Shaffer and Bolyard attempted to use their momentum to pass Ray Kingsbury, with Shaffer moving beneath Kingsbury as Bolyard came from behind. Instead of checking up because he had nowhere to go, Bolyard ran into the back of Ray Kingsbury. The impact caused Bolyard to spin directly in front of Trost who ricocheted off Bolyard and into the catch-fencing. Lichtenberg similarly had nowhere to go and drove through Bolyard and literally under Trost, miraculously escaping any damage. Bolyard then spun back down the track and into the path of Ric Cassell (Indiana) who, having committed to the inside to avoid the initial wreck, slammed into Bolyard.
A miscue on the pace car’s positioning changed the race from a one lap shootout to yellow-checkered finish. Matt Kingsbury took the win in the 2297 Strength of Field, his first of two wins throughout the week and one that earned him 146 points. Completing the Double Kingsbury, Matt’s brother Ray came home second, with Shaffer third, Lichtenberg fourth and Eggert fifth.
There were a grand total of 19 different winners throughout the week of sim racing with Ron Meier Jr. (Midwest) and Orso winning four races each, and Eggert and Trost winning three races each. Meier won the highest SoF of the week, with a 2874 SoF.