NASCAR has changed the schedule this season and now Atlanta is the second race. Last year the Sprint Cup did not visit Atlanta Motor Speedway until the 25th race of the season. As I was unable to run here in the NASCAR iRacing Series Open series in 2014, there is little past data for me to work with. Last season in the Fixed I was taken-out by a car I never saw that bounced off the outside wall and came down into me. My car was taken to the hauler after just 21 laps and I was scored in 24th by race end. In 2013 my race went very well here and I scored my ALL-TIME BEST finish in a Sprint Cup car coming home second. I never had any issues with the Fixed setup here and felt good about the 20 laps I ran last season before my early exit. I feel good about this race and, for me, Atlanta is a track I don’t have any issues with. I do expect this to be one of my better finishes all season.
To get a feel for this season’s car and track I ran the Open using the HOF Setup and the Fixed this week. The setups are, well for my driving style, good on entry and tight in the center then loose off. Maybe I am not driving the line the setup was designed for. The real issue came about 30 to 35 laps into the runs. The tires go away, as the right front just takes a beating. The car then plows through the corners and I found it gets loose in the dog-leg at this point. So I expect the first yellow to fall around lap 30 give or take.
“How slow will the laps from 40 to 50 be on tires that are gone?”
As a fuel run is 50+ laps I don’t expect anyone to hold out for a full run as tires will be a much bigger issue. Also, with the race distance at 162 laps you only need to run 41 laps to make even pit runs. The advantage to running 50 laps over 40 each run is that your final run would only be 12 laps on new tires. The question you will have to ask yourself is “How slow will the laps from 40 to 50 be on tires that are gone?”
Here is what I found in my open race: The right front at the end of a full 50 or 52 laps was super worn (40-40-50) and I could not hold any speed in the corners. As always, yellows may also play a part on when to pit, but both the Open and Fixed the races were very clean. A few cars had issues on the back, but ended-up below the inside line and did not bring out the yellow.
Happy sim racing to all of you