This past week the 16th Street Racing League headed to Pocono for 80 laps around the massively and oddly shaped oval. Pocono is one of the more unique ovals we go to. It’s massive at 2.5 miles but shaped like a triangle. It presents many of the same difficulties that Indianapolis presents. You have to really find a nice balance between straightline speed and handling in the corners.
Once the practice room opened we had 27 cars enter. It’s tough to look at practice times in our league races and determine where you’re at in terms of race pace. Often times you’ll have drivers running qualifying setups who get pulled around by the draft resulting in an unrealistic super fast lap. It’s important, especially on the big ovals, that you spend time running around in groups of 5-6 cars so you can get a good feel for how your car will handle in the draft, where you need to lift to avoid pushing up into someone, etc. This can be frustrating as often times it causes accidents but it’s good practice in general.
Qualifying started about an hour and a half after practice began and Indiana driver John Paquin continued to show his pure speed on the ovals. Qualifying with a fast lap of 40.782 he took the pole once again. Scott Manifold, Tim Holgate, Yang Ou, and Ryan Murray rounded out the Top 5. Panther blogger Neffry Aawg started 11th while Tony George Jr started in 15th position.
The race took off and it was quite evident it was going to be a battle between John Paquin and Yang Ou for the top spots. An early caution on Lap 12 saw most of the leaders pit. Ryan Murray and Pat Dotson elected to stay out inheriting the lead. On lap 21 the caution came out, once again, as Neffry Aawg had an unexpected spin collecting himself and Tony George Jr.
Green flag racing returned and Ryan and Pat both ran for about 17 laps before they were forced to make green flag pit stops. After their pit John Paquin took over the lead once again and looked to run off with the victory. Ryan Murray made his way back towards the front after his stop and began a closely fought battle with Tim Doyle.
Upfront John Paquin was doing his best to keep the super fast Yang Ou from taking the leadbut on lap 47 Yang managed to get by. Tim Doyle and John Paquin spent the remainder of their race trying to catch Yang. Through some form of wizardry Yang was able to get better fuel mileage than the rest of the field and it ultimately granted him the victory.
John Paquin, Tim Doyle, Ryan Murray, and Daniel Olszewski rounded out the Top 5. The hard charger award goes to youtube sensation Arni Sribhen who started 24th and passed 13 cars on his way to an 11th place finish (if you’ve never heard of Arni, search youtube for “Arni the Insider”).
This week we head to Road America. I can’t say enough about this place. If you’ve read my previous blogs you can probably gather that I love fast, sweeping, wide, road courses with loads of elevation changes (ie: Laguna Seca). Road America is just that. I’ve never visited the track in real life but everything about the place is awesome.
Check back next week for another recap!