Archive for the ‘ iRacing ’ Category

iRacing.com championship performance

Posted on: September 7, 2011 | Comments(6) | Fans, iRacing | By: DPhillips

Yang Ou on-track at Infineon Raceway

Yang Ou at Infineon Raceway

Yang Ou secured the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier road racing title like a true champion, leading from lights to flag in the top Strength of Field race at Infineon Raceway.  Taking his ninth win of the season, Ou crossed the line 18.7s ahead of Andre Boettcher with Aleksi Elomaa a further 23 seconds back just ahead of PJ Stergios.

Ou’s domination of the online race came as no surprise, given than fact that he claimed his 11th pole position in a dozen outings with a sizzling lap of 1:15.593, more than .3s quicker than Boettcher’s best.   In fact, only Ou and Boettcher broke into the 1:15s as Elomaa gridded third with a best lap of 1:16.715.

“The race went well,” said Ou.  “I was very conservative on the first stint, because I hadn’t done a full fuel run to check the tire wear. Even so, the car started to get sideways quite easily due to the big elevation changes in most of the turns, and when accelerating out of the hairpins as well. I started to pick up the pace a bit in the second stint knowing that it will be shorter so I won’t have to save tires as much as the first run. I crossed the finish line and it feels like one of the shortest road courses this season.  Maybe it was, or maybe it’s just because of the fact that Sonoma is a great track for the IndyCars, it is tons of fun to race here.”

Ou’s championship-winning performance netted him $500 and the first place trophy.  In concert with the fact that he is in the driver’s seat in the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier oval series, Ou also has the inside track on the overall iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier championship and the $1000 and airfare, hotel and VIP tickets package for two people to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the weekend of Oct. 16.

“I’d like to thank my fellow competitors Aleksi, André, PJ, Santiago, Joao Pinho and many other skillful road course drivers for making it a fun and competitive season in the iRacing IndyCar Road Premier Series,” said Ou.  “A nd well done for their great driving!”

The second race saw Raymond Mooney come from seventh on the grid to earn the win in his first appearance in the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier road racing this season.

A Brand new name in IndyCars

Posted on: August 30, 2011 | Comments(10) | iRacing | By: DPhillips

Monica Clara Brand’s name may not be quite as familiar to IZOD IndyCar Series fans as those of Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, Sarah Fisher and Danica Patrick, but she has much in common with them.

Like Fisher and Patrick, she has qualified on the pole for a race  . . .  30 by actual count.  And, like Patrick, she has finished in Victory Lane.  Brand has more than 25 wins to her credit from Michigan International to Iowa to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Monica Clara Brand's Dallara IndyCar

Monica Clara Brand

What distinguishes Brand’s racing career from those others is that all of her success has come in a digitized Dallara on the virtual racetracks of iRacing.com.  In fact, the 34-year-old resident of Bucharest, Romania, has never even attended a IZOD IndyCar Series race, although she would dearly love to.

Check out more about iRacing.com

“Of course, attending the Indy 500 in person is one of my dreams,” says Brand, an administrative specialist. “But, factoring out money and time, I would fly over to attend every race.  Just picking out a few races outside the Indy 500, I think I would very much enjoy Texas, Long Beach and Las Vegas.”

Currently ranked third in the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Premier Series (oval) standings behind Yang Ou and PJ Stergios, Brand could fulfill her wish of attending a race were she to capture the overall iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Premier Series title and the accompanying prize package, which includes a trip to the IZOD IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Monica Clara Brand

Monica Clara Brand

However, as the statistics show (and Brand readily admits), her forte is the speedways and the bull rings of sim racing rather than the road courses.

“Although being European my background is road racing, I’ve come to love oval racing through iRacing, at first the short ovals with the SK/Tour Modified and Late Model cars, and then through the IndyCar Dallara on the bigger speedways,” she explains.  “What I like more about ovals is that the competition is tighter and the risk and reward feels so much sweeter. On road courses, many times can get pretty lonely and it’s only you versus the track while on ovals, no matter your speed, you always have quite a few cars around you that you can race close with. That’s a bigger thrill, for me at least.”

There’s more to Brand’s success in iRacing than the thrill ride of arcing a virtual Dallara into Turn 1 at Indy at 220-plus mph.  Like all her successful competitors, Brand has become quite atuned to the myriad of chassis, tire and aerodynamic tweaks necessary to get the most from her IndyCar – all readily accomplished with a few clicks of her computer’s mouse, with some help from her friends and teammates at Ludicrous Racing.

“To me, the Dallara is the most complicated car to set up on the entire iRacing service, especially for ovals,” she says. “Normally I take my last season setup for a given track and turn laps until I get comfortable again with the track and setup. I then start to change things to improve it in search of that ultimate speed and lap time. Sometimes it’s that simple and sometimes I rely on my team mate Niles Anders’ setups. It’s not hard for me to admit that he’s got this car figured out a lot better than me. We then start testing together along with my other team mates to see which change is better and what works for who.  All in all, I put at least four to six hours and sometimes even double that amount into testing before I turn a single race lap.”

iRacing: Texas Showdown

Posted on: June 17, 2011 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: DPhillips

A wild showdown at the Texas Motor Speedway has come to an end for Round Five of the IZOD INDYCAR Premier Series-Oval series. The fast one and a half mile track provided high speeds and three wide online racing, resulting in quite a show. Drivers not only wanted to win, they wanted a Texas-sized win.

iRacing at Texas Motor Speedway

Predictably, the action was plenty fast when the IZOD INDYCAR Premier Series visited Texas Motor Speedway.
This weekend’s qualifier king was John Paquin, with a stunning lap of 23.738s. With limited races, the best of the best drivers came out to show their teeth to the newcomers and old dwellers. The strongest field (SOF) was a 2056, and the checkers that race were taken by this week’s point leader Aleksi Elomma. The Flying Finn lit-up the IZOD Premier Series this weekend. He had one win in two starts, two top fives, an average third place finish, and gained 129 championship points. Elomaa moved up into the second spot in the overall championship standings, and hopes to be in contention when the championship finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway comes around.

iRacing at Texas Motor Speedway

How close was it? Apart from Matteo Bortolotti’s “runaway” win over Austin Benson by 1.450s, the margin of victory averaged .123s — and three races were decided by .075s or less.
Although Elomaa was number one this week, Yang Ou kept him on a tight leash.  Yang headed into Texas as the points leader, and left as the points leader. Yang has been very tough to beat this season, and was even harder to beat at Texas. Yang was perfect this weekend, he had one win in his only start, one pole, and gained 128 championship points. If the SOF had been just a little greater, Yang would have knocked Aleksi off his throne. Yang will be a tough man to beat for the championship, but drivers like Jason Hurst, keep Yang watchful over the standings.
Jason Hurst, resides in the Midwest region, and wants to make a run at this IZOD championship. Hurst has lurked around the top of the points this season, but had never really come on to the scene like he did at Texas.  Like Ou, Hurst was perfection personified in the Lone Star State. He won in his only start, got a pole, and helped his championship run with 127 points. With a strong win, look for Hurst to challenge the best in the waning weeks of the season.  In addition to Elmoaa, Ou and Hurst, the week’s winners included Paquin, Mike Larsen, Ryan Terpstra, Adam Martin, PJ Stergios, Tomas A Klopp, Austin Benson, Matt Delk, Matteo Bortolotti and Thiago Moya.
Win, lose or DNF, the IZOD INDYCAR Premier Series drivers leave Texas in their rear view mirrors and pack-up for the Milwaukee Mile. Texas’ three wide, 220 mph racing will be missed, but will not be forgotten. Ou hopes he can hold off drivers like Hurst and Elmoaa at the Milwaukee Mile. Remember it only takes one race to jumble up the standings in the IZOD Premier series, and it only takes one race to get back in the championship hunt. The short track racing shall be fun and interesting to watch, but the Milwaukee Madness will be nothing like a Texas showdown.

A Win-Win Proposition

Posted on: April 12, 2011 | Comments (1) | iRacing | By: DPhillips

Will Power’s win at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday may have been his first of the 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series, but it was not his first victory of the season.  In February, Power scored back-to-back wins at Summit Point Raceway in a Pontiac Solstice.  And if you think Oriol Servia is still looking for his first win of the year after top ten finishes at St. Petersburg and Barber Motorsports Park, think again: Servia notched a win in Legends Cup competition at South Boston Speedway back in January.

iRacer and IndyCar Series competitor Will Power

Will Power on track in Barber

If that sounds confusing, consider that Power and Servia are members of iRacing.com, the world’s foremost online race simulation service.  They’re not alone.  A growing number of IndyCar Series regulars belong to iRacing, including Justin Wilson, JR Hildebrand, Vitor Meira, Danica Patrick, Mike Conway, Simona de Silvestro, Rafael Matos, Takuma Sato and Tomas Scheckter.

So too does Simon Pagenaud, who pinch-hit for injured Ana Beatriz last weekend, and wheeled the Dreyer and Reinbold Honda Dallara to an eighth place finish in his IndyCar debut.

Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud in the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing #24

Pagenaud is no stranger to high-powered open wheel cars, of course.  He and Power were teammates in the 2007 Champ Car Series and, since then, he has enjoyed considerable success in sports car racing, winning the American Le Mans Series prototype championship (with Highcroft Racing) and the Spa 1000K (with Peugeot) last year.  And if driving a Honda Dallara, Panoz Cosworth, HPD ARX-01e and Peugeot 908HDI at the highest levels of the sport qualifies him as an all-rounder, consider Pagenaud’s iRacing resume.  In his most recent online events, the Frenchman raced a Honda Dallara, VW Jetta TDi, SpecRacer Ford, NASCAR Late Model, Legends Ford and Skip Barber F2000 everywhere from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway and Lime Rock Park to Oxford Plains, South Boston and Stafford Motor Speedway.

Like most professional iRacers, Pagenaud uses the service for professional and recreational purposes.

“iRacing is good training,” he says. “It’s good to be able to race against other good drivers online. It brings you the kind of pressure you can have on a race weekend when you race against real people. It’s the same as the real world where you only get one chance: if you crash, you’re done! Just like real.

“Also the car models are very close to reality, and the tracks are very, very close to reality as well. So it’s a good training device for us drivers. I use the Formula One car mostly because its downforce level is very close to the prototype cars, but I love the IndyCar also because it’s the kind of racing that I love. And I also race NASCAR a few times because it’s good fun.”

All of the more than 40 tracks available on iRacing are laser-scanned to within two millimeters of accuracy.  That means if there’s a crack in the pavement entering the first turn – whether it’s the Milwaukee Mile or Infineon Raceway – you’ll feel it; and if there’s a severe bump, you’ll not only feel it, you’ll have to adjust your line accordingly.

“Accuracy is the most important thing,” says Wilson. “In the iRacing simulation, the corner spacing and radii are exactly right. Bumps, camber changes, curbing, changes in surface all have an influence on the optimal line, and iRacing has that level of detail. It’s great for learning tracks and cars, but even if you already know a track, you can refresh yourself, so you’re not spending the first session getting up to speed. You can attack straight away.”

Justin Wilson

IZOD IndyCar Series competitor and iRacing Member, Justin Wilson

Small wonder Hildebrand logged a few hundred laps at Phoenix International Raceway in iRacing’s virtual Dallara before his “try-out” test with Panther Racing last fall; or that, having never driven at Barber Motorsports Park before, Servia got to know the track forwards and backwards before last month’s pre-season test there with Newman/Haas Racing.  Likewise, Power logged a ton of laps on iRacing’s version of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before his first race there last year . . . and started from pole position.

“All the tracks on iRacing are spot on,” he says.  “If you practice iRacing on a track you’ve never driven before, you will know that track when you drive it in a real car.  (But) it’s also a lot of fun. There’s a huge variety of different cars and tracks, from short tracks and speedways to the great road courses; Legends, Formula One, Solstice, MX5, IndyCar, Sprint Cup . . . the diversity of different styles of racing is fantastic.”

And you’ll never know who you might meet in your next iRacing event . . .

“You’re racing against real people on iRacing,” Power continues. “The other day I passed a guy at Lanier Speedway in a Legends race and he came on the voice chat and said, ‘Is that you Will? It’s me, Oriol [Servia].’  When I told him it was me, Oriol said, ‘If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have let you past so easily!’”

Ladies and Gentlemen Start Your Computers!

The names Richard Crozier, Joao Vaz, Klaus Ellenbrand and Klaus Kivekas may not be as familiar to IZOD IndyCar Series fans as, say, Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, Will Power, Justin Wilson or Takumo Sato.   But they are IndyCar champions in their own right, champions of an IndyCar Series that – like the IZOD IndyCar Series itself — draws an elite group of racers from across the country and around the world to compete on America’s finest speedways and road courses in their Dallara-Hondas.

iRacing INDYCAR Premier Series

Crozier, Vaz, Ellenbrand and Kivekas are among the very best of a rapidly growing number of racers who compete online, racing meticulously-modeled cars on precise replicas of tracks like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway and the Milwaukee Mile through iRacing.com Motorsports Simulations.

iRacing.com was founded by financier and Boston Red Sox principle-owner John Henry and motorsports simulation pioneer Dave Kaemmer in 2004.  Henry and Kaemmer set-out to create the world’s most authentic online motorsport simulation as a source of entertainment and training for racing fans, competitors and computer gamers around the world.

Four years of development went into iRacing.com before the service was introduced to the public.  That time was devoted to improving the existing technology replicating the motion-producing forces associated with moving vehicles as well as working with auto makers and race car constructors to create exact virtual race cars.  The young company also visited race tracks across North America, Europe and Australia using laser scan technology to not only recreate their every twist, turn and straightaway, but the cracks and undulations of the pavement to an accuracy of a single millimeter.

iRacing INDYCAR Premier Series

Another area of focus was the development of web site technology enabling hundreds of online racers around the world to compete – simultaneously – in different race cars on different race tracks.  Still another consideration was the creation of a sanctioning body to administer the iRacing.com competition, as well as a license system that discourages reckless driving in a sport lacking the financial and physical deterrents inherent in real world racing.  Finally, iRacing developed a method of measuring the proficiency of its individual members that automatically groups drivers by skill levels for individual races and season-long championships.

In the two and a half years its virtual doors have been open to the public, iRacing.com has attracted more than 25,000 members including dozens of professional drivers like Power, Wilson, Tomas Scheckter, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Alex Gurney and Joey Logano.

On any given day, iRacing stages hundreds of online races from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Mid-Ohio, Infineon and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in everything from Mazda MX5s and Sprint Cars to NASCAR Sprint Cup Impalas, IZOD IndyCar Series Dallara-Hondas and Formula One Williams-Toyota FW31s.

What’s more, hundreds of private online racing leagues use the iRacing system.  One of them — the 16th Street League – was founded by Brian Simpson and Tony George, Jr. and features IndyCar regulars Wilson and Scheckter racing against regular folks whose names are unfamiliar to even the most rabid IndyCar fan.

iRacing sanctions online IndyCar racing of several varieties.  The iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series follows the service’s standard four twelve week seasons per calendar year while the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Premier Series consists of 16 races over 32 weeks.   Just like the “real” IZOD IndyCar Series, the iRacing series crowns an overall champion as well as road racing and oval champions, with the IZOD IndyCar Premier Series champion winning a cash prize and a trip to the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Each May also concludes with the World Tour of iRacing Indianapolis 500, one of a series of events honoring some of the world’s great motorsports events including the Daytona 500, Belgian Grand Prix, Brickyard 400 and Petit Le Mans. The 2010 iRacing.com Indianapolis 500 saw nearly 800 iRacers competing in more than two dozen races – simultaneously . . . and more than two dozen iRacers gulping down some milk with Franchitti on Memorial Day weekend.

INDYCAR goes official on iRacing

Posted on: February 18, 2011 | Comments(2) | iRacing | By: Brian

For those of you who have followed along with my posts about iRacing you have an extensive knowledge of my own series, the 16th Street Racing League.  It’s an awesome league with opportunities to race against real life racers as well as some of the best sim-racers in the world.  Unfortunately, I can only admit 43 people every season to compete with us and it’s purely a competition for pride.

iRacing.com presents the INDYCAR Permier Series

This coming Saturday all of that will change.  iRacing recently announced their brand new iRacing.com IZOD INDYCAR Premier Series. This series will closely mimic the real life IZOD IndyCar Series.  Both road and oval courses will be featured, allowing members from all over the world to compete against each other in a live format.  The overall winner and top finishers will be crowned at the of a 16 race season, scheduled to take 30 weeks to complete.  Bi-monthly results will be posted and featured HERE on INDYCAR.COM.  And just like in the real world the series will feature a road champion, an oval champion, and an overall champion.

IZOD IndyCar Series action on iRacing at Indy

This Saturday, February 19, marks the start of the 30 weeks of racing.  The races will begin every 2 hours in a 24 hour period, providing drivers in every time zone with an opportunity to participate.  All the races will be on Saturdays to maximize participation, giving 12 possible races in one single day!

The schedule is designed to mirror the actual INDYCAR schedule as much as possible with the currently available tracks on iRacing:

2011 Schedule: 16 Races, 8 Oval Races, 8 Road Races

  • Michigan 2/19
  • Phoenix 3/5
  • Laguna Seca 3/19
  • Barber 4/2
  • Watkins Glen 4/16
  • Homestead 4/30
  • Mosport 5/14
  • Indianapolis 5/28
  • Texas 6/11
  • Milwaukee 6/25
  • Sebring 7/0
  • Road America 7/23
  • Mid-Ohio 8/6
  • New Hampshire 8/20
  • Infineon IRL 9/3
  • Las Vegas 9/17

To be eligible for the series you must, obviously be a member, have a C license with a minimum of 4.0 safety rating, or a B license of any safety rating.

Now comes the absolute best part of this new series… PRIZES

The overall champion will be the driver with the highest calculated point total over the course of the 16 race, 30 week season.  There is only one division in this series.  The overall champion will win airfare, hotel acommodations, $1000 cash and a trophy.  They will be flown to the final race in the real-world IZOD IndyCar Series to be presented the trophy on stage in front of the introduction ceremony crowd.

Additional Prizes:

Road Premier Series Champion:
-$500 cash
-Road Premier Series Trophy
-Certificate
Road Premier Series 2nd Place:
-$250 iRacing credit
-Certificate
Road Premier Series 3rd Place:
-$250 iRacing credit
-Certificate
Road Premier Series 4th Place:
-$100 iRacing credit
-Certificate
Road Premier Series 5th Place:
-$100 iRacing credit
-Certificate
Oval Premier Series Champion:
-$500 cash
-Oval Premier Series Trophy
-Certificate
Oval Premier Series 2nd Place:
-$250 iRacing credit
-Certificate
Oval Premier Series 3rd Place:
-$250 iRacing credit
-Certificate
Oval Premier Series 4th Place:
-$100 iRacing credit
-Certificate

Oval Premier Series 5th Place:
-$100 iRacing credit
-Certificate

Head over to iRacing.com now, sign up, and get to racing!

Every season in the 16th Street Racing League we finish at the greatest race track in the world, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I decided to make this our championship round because Indy is without a doubt the most difficult track we race around.  Turns 1 and 3 are completely different from each other.  Passing is difficult and at times a bit scary in the corners.  The closing speed here can really catch you off guard.  Speaking of speed, that’s what it’s all about here.  Drivers spend months working on setups for Indy, not just for the 16th Street Racing League, but for general Indy races on iRacing as well.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway on iRacing

IMS on iRacing

For whatever reason, Indy is a point of pride for almost each and every sim racer.  It’s extremely difficult to pull off a win here (much like in real life).  There’s so many things that can happen to make it impossible to cross the line in first position.  You’re virtually always in traffic and it’s extremely easy to misjudge a corner entry and bounce it off the wall on exit.  Pit entry is tough, pit exit is tough, and 100 laps around here (which is how far we run in 16STRL) is tough.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some decent results at Indy but no wins.  I’ve been able to pull off a 2nd, a 5th and a 17th.  I’m very excited for this season’s Indy.  I’ve been practicing more than usual and I have a setup I feel supremely confident in.

This race should be quite interesting in terms of how our championship is shaping up.  It’s come down to two drivers who are both mega fast on ovals.  Yang Ou and Tim Doyle.   Tim has been racing with us from the start of our league and has had some very nice results at the speedway.  A 3rd in his first outing was followed up by a 2nd and an unfortunate 25th.  Yang has only run one Indy 250 with us but he finished a strong 2nd place in his debut.  Two-time winner Niles Anders will be in attendance tonight to make an attempt at becoming our first three time winner at IMS.

I’ve been hinting at the fact that we’d be broadcasting some of our events this year and I’m proud to let you know that TONIGHT we will be broadcasting our Indianapolis 250 presented by ThinkGeek.com live via the Web Racing Network!  This is going to be huge (literally, we run a larger grid than 33 at the speedway)!  We’re expecting a lot of our professional drivers to turn out and give it a whirl.  I encourage you to tune in and get an taste of what iRacing is all about.  If you’re not familiar with us (how could that be possible?) check out the video below so you can get an idea of how we operate (and what’s made us popular).

I’ve also embedded the player in here so that you can watch our race live tonight.  The broadcast starts at 9pm EST and you can view it here as well as 16thStreetRacing.com and WebRacingNetwork.com.  Enjoy and wish me luck!

16th Street Racing League: Road America

Posted on: December 14, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

Last Tuesday, the 16th Street Racing League cruised into Road America for 35 laps on the historic road course in Wisconsin.  Road America is legendary.  Fast, wide, sweeping, and promotes the bravest of driving.  I absolutely love it when we get to come to this track during our seasons.

This event, like all our others, had no shortage of controversy.  Yang Ou continued to show his complete dominance on ovals and road courses in practice.  He set a fast lap of 1:46.583 a full 6 tenths faster than the next driver.  Very impressive to say the least.  The rest of the top five consisted of the usual front runners, Bryan Heitkotter, Ryan Murray, Pat Dotson, and  John Paquin.  Real life Road To Indy driver and up and comer Corey Lewis would finish practice in the 6th position.

As you can probably imagine, the speed around here makes coming up on slower cars extremely difficult.  As a result, qualifying is a chore.  You really have to try and time it so you can get by the slower cars in the slower corners so you’re not having to make drastic moves in the super high speed corners where there’s no room for error.  Yang Ou, once again, proved he’s a master at finding that fast lap everyone searches for.  He took the pole with a 1:46.360, two tenths faster than his practice time and seven tenths faster than the next car.  Ryan murray, Bryan Heitkotter, Pat Dotson, and Tim Holgate completed the Top 5 positions.  Corey Lewis would start in 7th position.

The race didn’t even make it to turn 3 before disaster struck.  Yang Ou, Bryan Heitkotter and Ryan Murray ran down into the tight hairpin left that is turn 3 when Yang made a mistake under braking.  He ran wide on exit clipping a quite massive bump on the track that pitched his car sideways.  He then shot across the track making contact with Bryan and Ryan.  Both Bryan and Ryan thought they were both going to be able to continue on.  Only one of them was right.  Bryan made it roughly one more lap before he ended up in the tires, unfortunately taking Tim Doyle with him.

The remainder of the race was a heated battle between Pat Dotson and Tim Holgate.  Ultimately Pat would win the race having lead from flag to flag for a flawless victory.  Tim Holgate would finish second while, miraculously, Ryan Murray would finish in 3rd position despite his first lap incident and driving a car with a seriously bent suspension.  John Paquin and Robert Bohanek would round out the Top 5.  Cary Bettenhausen put up a good showing with a 6th place position while Road To Indy driver Corey Lewis finished a disappointing 12th position 15 laps down.

This week we head to Texas Motor Speedway.  Anyone who has ever seen a race at Texas knows it’s all about speed… hot nasty bad a** speed.

Most of the time when we head to 1.5 mile ovals where it’s flat out the racing can get a little frustrating as it’s hard to move forward.  Texas is like being on a bungee chord… up and down all night long.  Stay tuned until next week for what I’m sure will be an exciting and drama filled recap!

16th Street Racing League: Pocono

Posted on: December 7, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

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.

John Paquin leads the field into turn 1

John Paquin leads the field into turn 1

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.

Neffry Aawg spins infront of Tony George Jr

Panther Racing's Neffry Aawg spins collecting 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.

A great shot of Turn 1 at Pocono

Tim Doyle and Ryan Murray go wheel to wheel

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.

Yang Ou takes the victory

Yang Ou takes the victory again!

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!

16th Street Racing League: Cold tires burn

Posted on: November 30, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

Last season when we went to Watkins Glen I didn’t make it past lap 5 even though I would say I had a great car.  This  track is one of the more popular tracks on iRacing and I don’t want to say it’s one of the “easier” tracks because it certainly isn’t but for whatever reason just about anyone who races on iRacing seems to say that Watkins is one of their better tracks.   This has both positive and negative effects on our racing.  The racing gets tighter and as a result you really have to focus on where you’re at because you spend most of the race in traffic.   As it does in real life, Watkins created some pretty awesome racing…

Practice this week was pretty standard in terms of road course racing.  I ran a few laps with my qualifying setup at the beginning of practice and  spent the remainder of the day working on my race setup.  iRacing has made some changes to the aero package and tire model since we last raced here and it we’d all knocked a second off our lap times as a result!  It certainly made driving that much more exciting.  I managed to piece together a 1:31.632 which was 6th quick in practice.  Yang Ou was the fastest in practice followed closely by IZOD IndyCar Series driver Will Power, Firestone Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman, and Ryan Murray.

We headed into qualifying and I immediately launched out of the pits.  I knew my best opportunity to put together a great lap was early in the session.  I ran out of the pits just behind Ryan Murray and set a nice gap,  giving myself some clean track.  After a few laps I was able to hammer down a 1:31.486.  It was faster than I had gone in practice which was good but it was still quite frustrating as my “optimal” lap time was a 1:31.061 which would have placed me in 5th position.  Instead I would start in 8th.  I seem to be pretty solidly in the 6-9th starting positions on most road courses which is ok but I’d really like to gain that last .8 of  a second to move up solidly into the top 5.  Yang Ou would once again take the pole with Ryan Murray, Bryan Heitkotter, Marc Payne, and Will Power rounding out the top 5.  Firestone Indy Lights competitor Martin Plowman would start 6th position while IndyCar Series driver Tomas Scheckter, who showed up last minute for qualifying, would start in 15th position.

Surprisingly the race rolled off with no problems in turn 1.  This track is notorious for lap 1 turn 1 incidents.  The first corner is pretty fast and there’s multiple lines so people tend to get brave.  This round we made it through.  The first few laps are always a bit hairy.   Everyone is trying to shuffle through other cars and get settled in.  You’re spending 55% of the time driving in front of you and the other 45% in your mirrors making sure no one is going to make a last second move.  Once everyone got into the flow of the race I had one of the  greatest battles I’ve had on iRacing to date.  Martin Plowman, Tim Doyle, and I went nose-to-tail for upwards of 12 laps.  Tim was faster than me on the straights but I would pull right up to his gear box in the corners.  Martin seemed to be all around faster than us as both Tim and I had to work quite hard to stay with him.  After about 7 laps I got a great run coming off turn 1 and made a move to the inside on Tim.  Tim raced me cleanly and let me bye.  I was now focusing on catching Plowman who had legged out a nice gap after Tim and I had been exchanging positions.  For about 4 laps I pushed as hard as physically possible and I was slowly gaining on Martin.  On lap 14 as we came out of the last corner of the boot Martin’s rear-end stepped out on him and he spun around giving me the position and a nice clean track to run on.  I knew I had Tim behind me but with the ability to now focus  on running nice clean laps with no one in front I knew I could put together a nice gap.

I pushed my fuel as far as I could and on Lap 18 I had to pit.  I was sure to try and lay down a quick in lap so that I wouldn’t lose too much ground while I was on pit lane.  I entered in 5th and came out in 7th.  Not too bad  as I knew many others still had to pit and if I could save fuel over the course of this next run I might be able to just make it on one stop.  By lap 21 I had picked up the positions I had lost and I was back in 5th position.  Unfortunately disaster struck.  As I was coming out of what would be considered the “toe” of the boot cold tires got the best of me and I spun around.  I managed to hold the brake and keep from hitting anything, however, I was sitting in the middle of the track blocking the entire racing line.  I looked down at my relative timer and I saw that the next closest driver was about 2 seconds away.  I, incorrectly, thought this was enough time to jump the motor and spin the car around to get out of the way.   As soon as I  dropped the clutch and the car started to roll the lap car of Todd Bettenhausen came around the corner and struck my right front tire.  Totally my fault which makes it that much more frustrating.  Todd luckily was able to continue on but my day was over once again.

Yang Ou continued his campaign for the championship and took home the win.  Ryan Murray, Bryan Heitkotter, Andrew Kristensen, and Courtney Terrell rounded out the top 5.  Martin Plowman finished in 6th position while Will Power and Tomas Scheckter finished 20th and 26th respectively.

This week we roll off to a track IndyCars haven’t raced at in 20 plus years.  Pocono!

I’m extremely excited for this event.  This track is tough and most importantly FAST!  We’re going to have alot of cars (30+ from what I can tell) so it should be a hard fought battle.  Check back next week for another recap!