Since my last blog we’ve been on an oval stretch in the 16th Street Racing League. I love road racing but my true passion lies with oval racing… ESPECIALLY short track racing. There’s no better feeling than trying to drive the car as deep into the corner as possible and then coming out the other side in front. This week we were at Milwaukee, a personal favorite of mine, for a 100 laps on the 1 mile oval.
Milwaukee is a unique track in that it’s not only short but it’s also flat. This makes setup super important for a successful race. On some of the flat out ovals you can ride around in the draft and try to make a late break for the lead in the last few laps. This little oval inside the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds is a whole different ballgame. To win you have to be fast from the first lap to the last.
Tuesday night was a pretty standard night for our league. We had 25 cars show up including IndyCar driver Will Power, IndyCar team owner Larry Foyt, and ALMS competitor Simon Pagenaud. Milwaukee is all about the line you take through the corner and with it being such a wide track with so many different lines it can make negotiating around cars quite difficult. Because of this getting a clean lap in practice was a challenge but I was confident I had a good car for qualifying and even better for the race.
Qualifying started and on my first lap I quickly moved up to the pole position. Unfortunately, I got a little over confident and over drove the car going into turn 1 on my second lap and I crashed ending my qualifying efforts. Sadly, my lap time on my first lap wasn’t fast enough to stick around up front and I ended up starting in 14th position right next to Will Power.
Short ovals are always a tough race for our league. The tight corners and multiple lines usually make for many yellows and things were no different this week. From the start I settled in and focused on trying to avoid the many crashes we have in the first 50 laps. I managed to miss the first two “big ones” and was running in 8th position by lap 39 when another caution came out. As we were coming to the green on lap 42, two cars near the front made contact causing the field to bunch up. I got on the brakes and managed to find the one lane that was open. Unfortunately a driver on the outside got collected and shot across the track flipping me over on my lid and ending my day.
Ryan Murray showed in the remainder of the race that he has really stepped up his game on the ovals. He led 42 laps before oval master Tim Doyle took over the lead. Tim managed to stay out front and keep the super-fast Yang Ou behind him. Yang finished just .7 of a second behind Tim as well as ran the fastest lap of the race with a 22.299.
Next week we move on to Richmond for the second time this season. However, this race will be just a bit different. iRacing recently released the capability to run night races at Richmond and we will be doing just that this coming Tuesday. If you have iRacing I encourage you to join and spectate (another new iRacing feature) next Tuesday as we usually put on a pretty good show around the tiny oval in Virginia.
Click here to view the full points standings and our remaining schedule.