Sim Racing

Lichtenberg takes a green-white checker win at MIS.

Week Ten of the 2014 Season 1 IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Michigan International Speedway. A season high 123 sim-racers participated in online races throughout the week. Fuel conservation and fuel strategy were the stories throughout the week.

Brandon Traino (New Jersey) started on pole with Terry Matthiensen (California) starting on his outside. Brad Sanford (Texas) qualified on the inside of Row Two along side Troy Eddy (Atlantic), with Randy Crossno (California) rounding out the top five starting positions.

Traino had an excellent start as Crossno spun his tires, holding-up those behind him. Matt Cooke (Canada) also had an excellent start as he jumped from sixteenth to eleventh by the time the field reached the back stretch. The race quickly became a single-file, follow-the-leader freight train up front as several of the sim-racers realized how close the race would be on fuel. The top eleven broke away from the others as they battled behind for twelfth. The single file racing was fluid as Cooke, moved his way forward and both Eddy and Brendan Lichtenberg (Midwest) slipped backward. Lichtenberg then followed Cooke back up to sixth before passing the Canadian, and joining the squabble for the lead on his own. As the leaders battled, the second pack, led by Ray Kingsbury (Connecticut), caught back up to the lead pack. By Lap 26, Lichtenberg settled into third for the time being. As Lichtenberg settled, Cooke moved-up to challenge Michael Armstrong2 (Indiana) for the lead.

Racing Game

Pack racing at Michigan.

Green flag pit stops began on Lap 41 as Armstong2 led Traino, Lichtenberg, Kingsbury, Ron Meier Jr. (Midwest), Gary Borkenhagen (Midwest), and Josh Ringer (Florida) down pit road. The rest of the field prepared to enter pit road the next time by. However, as Matthiensen slowed, he was rear-ended by Crossno, sending the Californians spinning into the outside wall. Crossno drove out of the spin, and down towards pit road. As the caution flew, many decided to drive through the grass instead of risking a penalty entering pit road. Rob Unglenieks (Michigan) made contact with Crossno attempting to avoid pit road, further damaging Crossno’s Dallara.

Racing Game

Chaos erupted during pit stops on Lap 42.

Already on pit road, Cooke and Eddy elected to pit. Chuck Eisenbarth (Ohio) elected to roll through pit road, only to spin into the inside wall exiting the pits, ending his race. Dave Jinks (West) ran out of gas during the resulting caution, and took a tow back to the pits. The caution allowed everyone who elected to go through the grass to come down pit road. Borkenhagen, believing he was short on gas, came back down pit road from the tail-end of the lead lap, and fell a lap down. Connor Cross (Ohio) then assumed the lead as the pit stops jumbled the field.

Both Cross and Matt A. Kingsbury (Connecticut) had an excellent restart as they nearly caught Sanford sleeping. As the leaders drove away, Eddy, Borkenhagen, and Armstrong2 all came down pit road to serve various black flag penalties. Only having a stop-and-go, Eddy re-entered the track and nearly spun in front of the leaders. Sanford, not content on running third, made his wait past Matt Kingsbury and passed Cross for the lead on Lap 52. Cross would battle his way back by Sanford as Lichtenberg re-entered the fray on Lap 56. Not even a lap later, Sanford, got loose in Turn Two and spun in front of Traino. Traino wheel-hopped off of Sanford and slid into the outside wall, with Sanford following  him into the barriers. The ensuing caution ensured that everyone would make it to the end on fuel.

Motorsports Simulation

Traino looks skyward.

Cross rocketed away from the field on the following restart, opening up a brief four car length lead on Matt Kingsbury. The gap allowed Matt Kingsbury to catch-up and battle Cross for the lead. Their battle was brief as Lichtenberg passed both Cross and Matt Kingsbury for first two laps later. Cross continued dicing with Lichtenberg until he eventually understeered in Turn One, enabling Cooke to join the contest for the lead. The battle became even more hectic as Meier Jr. joined in, shooting through the middle.

The dog-fight up front brought the field closer together.  Literally. Vick Caudill (Michigan) drove up to the back of Matt Kingsbury in Turn One, giving him a little nudge. Kingsbury got out of shape and chased his car down, and then back up the track. Caudill attempted to pass him on the outside, and wheel hopped him, sending  Caudill bouncing into the outside wall. Caudill rebounded and clipped Unglenieks, turning him into the outside wall, ending both of their races. The resulting caution set-up a six lap sprint to the finish.

Racing Game

Caudill and Unglenieks wreck.

Lichtenberg had an excellent jump on the restart, opening up a six car length gap on Meier Jr.  Undaunted, Meier Jr. clawed his way back to the front to catch Lichtenberg, only for the caution to fly once again. Contact between Caudill and Borkenhagen had ended Borkenhagen’s race, and brought out the final caution. This caution setup a one lap sprint to the finish. Lichtenberg once again had an excellent restart, and beat Meier Jr. back to the line by 0.041 seconds. Cooke finished third, with Cross fourth ahead of and Ray Kingsbury.

Lichtenberg earned a week high 238 points in the 3797 Strength of Field, the highest of the week, and the first of his two wins during the week. A total of a dozen sim-racers scored wins during the week with Brandon Trost (Pennsylvannia), and Seth Eggert (Carolina) earning the most victories throughout the week with five and three wins respectively.

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