Martinez takes the win at Homestead.

Week Eight of the 2014 Season 1 iRacing.com IndyCar Oval Series sent the series to Homestead-Miami Speedway. A grand total of 42 sim-racers participated in online races throughout the week. Drive-off of Turn 4, pit strategy, and restarts were the stories of the week.

Matt A. Kingsbury (Connecticut) started in pole position with Randy Crossno (California) starting on his outside. Starting third was Erick Davis (Canada), with Georg Naujoks (DE-AT-CH) fourth, and Connor Cross (Ohio) rounding out the top five starting positions.

Kingsbury got off to a good start, gapping Crossno and Davis by several car lengths entering Turn 1. Crossno understeered exiting Turn 4 a lap later, giving-up the second spot to Connor Cross. Meanwhile, further back in the field, TM Hauser (DE-AT-CH) drifted up the track and made contact with Ray Kingsbury (Connecticut). This forced Kingsbury wide and into the outside wall, causing some tense moments for Miguel Angel Martinez (Iberia) and others behind them. The field began spreading out as handling issues in Turns 3 and 4 separated the field before a caution on Lap 18 bunched the cars and slowed the progress of the race.

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Matt Lambertson takes flight

Contact between Matt Lambertson (Pennsylvania) and Denis Garese (France) sent Lambertson sliding. Matteo Bortolotti (Italy) rear-ended Lambertson, flipping Lambertson violently. Ricardo Rossi (Brazil) then slammed into Bortolotti, sending both of the sim-racers into the outside wall, ending their race. The resulting caution set up two different strategies as Rob Unglenieks (Michigan) and Martinez both stayed out.

Unglenieks led the field to green as Martinez had a slow start, allowing Matt Kingsbury to pass, and holding-up Cross. The field remained mostly single file during the run as Unglenieks and Martinez battled for the lead. Martinez was on top of that battle when it was cut short as Hauser understeered into the Turn 4 wall. Hauser’s Dallara slid along the inside wall, and pulled off onto the infield road course section of the track in an attempt to avoid a caution. The yellow lights blinked nevertheless, with the entire field electing to stay out rather than pit.

Mebarki, Fortin and Kingsbury crash.

Martinez spun his tires coming to the green, keeping the field close together. The green flag run would be brief yet again, as Hakim Mebarki (France) and Mathieu Fortin made contact and spun into the outside wall. Ray Kingsbury, already limping from the earlier damage, slammed into the wreck with nowhere to go. Once again the caution set-up different strategies as everyone but Philippe Lambert (France) and Garese pitted.

While the two Frenchmen made an excellent restart, Martinez had a slow start, holding-up the entire inside line behind him. Cross quickly passed Lambert and Garese as he made his way to the lead while the Frenchmen fell back through the field on their worn tires, with Garese slipping to tenth within four laps of the restart. Both Gary Borkenhagen (Midwest) and Crossno attempted to pass Garese, entering Turn 1 three wide on Lap 49. The ensuing contact between Borkenhagen and Crossno sent Crossno shooting-up into the outside wall. Crossno slid back down the track, and into the path of Seth Eggert (Carolina).  Eggert slammed into Crossno, damaging his own car, and destroying what was left of Crossno’s. Yet again, the caution set up two different strategies as Cross, Martinez, Matt Kingsbury, Lambert, Joe Branch2 (Indiana), and Davis stayed out while the back of the field pitted.

Not the way Randy Crossno and Seth Eggert wanted to finish.

The top four started to save fuel, allowing Unglenieks to reel them in and, when Martinez got loose off of Turn 4, the Micigander made the pass for third. Unglenieks and Martinez continued to battle over the course of the next few laps allowing the top three to break away yet again. The breakaways wouldn’t last as sim-racer after sim-racer struggled on exit of Turn 4. Martinez, tired of simply riding around, passed Branch, Kingsbury, and Cross on the outside of Turn 3 with 30 laps to go.  Four laps later, the caution flew again as Unglenieks made contact with Loïc Boussiquet (France), sending Unglenieks spinning into the outside wall.

Martinez got an excellent start as he, Cross, and Branch gapped the rest of the field. A battle between Cross and Martinez allowed Matt Kingsbury and Davis to catch up. The battle for the lead went on until three laps to go when Cross got loose off ofTturn 4, allowing Martinez to break away. Branch eventually worked his way past Cross as both Cross and Kingsbury fell off the pace. Cross got loose (again) off of Turn 4 coming to the white flag. Davis had nowhere to go and wheel-hopped off of Cross and into the wall ending Davis’ race.

Martinez crossed the line for the win with Branch 0.539 seconds behind. Cross finished third, with Matt Kingsbury fourth, and Cam Stark (UK and I) rounding out the top five finishing positions. Martinez earned 182 points for his win in the 2872 Strength of Field race. The highest Strength of Field race was 2893 won by Matt Cooke (Canada).

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