Archive for the ‘ iRacing ’ Category

One of the greatest features of iRacing is that as a league administrator you have the ability to create your own schedule.  The 16th Street Racing league is a unique blend of tracks in that we go to places the IZOD IndyCar Series is currently attending, has attended, or has never attended.  It creates a pretty diverse and, in my mind, “ideal” schedule.

This past week we were at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  NHMS will be making its return to the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule in 2011 and, being that I absolutely love short track racing in the Dallara, I felt it was important we include this track in our schedule.  New Hampshire is incredible!  It’s a very unique track in that you can’t run the bottom and you have to train your eyes to see the apex as the middle of the track and not the yellow line.  I’m a big fan of running on the high side but unfortunately it’s the slowest way around the track at most places.  At New Hampshire you really have to hang the car out on the high side, come off the throttle just a touch, and mash right back to the gas coming off… all while trying to be sure you don’t kiss the wall on exit.   As you can probably imagine setup is super important here.

Practice, as it is at most short tracks, was treacherous.  Lots and lots of spins.  I did my best to get out and get some time running with cars in traffic to see if I needed to add in some front wing to compensate for understeer when behind cars.  I finished practice in P6.  Overall, I felt I had a good car for the race and was quite confident going into qualifying.

The style of lap you run here in qualifying is quite a bit different than race laps.  The line is different and it’s much more aggressive.  You turn in extremely late, wide-open on the throttle, until the car starts to understeer, lift off about 1% throttle and get right back to it.  I hit the perfect line on my second lap and actually went flat through turns 1 and 2!  I hadn’t done that before and I was SURE I was going to be up front.  I put down a 22.593 which was good enough for 7th position.  Not quite the blazing lap I thought it was but still pretty decent.  Yang Ou once again took the pole position.  Tim Holgate, Pat Dotson, Tim Doyle, and Bryan Heitkotter rounded out the Top 5.  Martin Plowman would start right behind me in P9 while Will Power would start in 13th position.

Racing here is always a little bit scary.  You really have to drive in your mirrors and be sure no one is trying to dive underneath you.  If someone gets under you and you squeeze them down to the yellow line it’s pretty much a guarantee that they will spin, taking you and others out of the race.  My plan was to let those by who were in a hurry and try to settle in and be there at the end.

The field comes to the green

Yang Ou and Tim Holgate lead the field to the green

From lap 1 on I knew I was in some trouble.  Following behind 6 cars gave me WAY more understeer than I had anticipated.  I immediately started putting more and more weight-jacker into the car trying to get it to turn.  For whatever reason it never came in.  I was having to come completely off the throttle and coast the car into the corners just to miss the wall.  I was trying to hang around hoping for an early yellow so I could pit and add some front wing to the car.  On lap 10 I moved up to the high-side to let Vincent Sciuto get by.  He must have taken an awkward line through the corner and started to push up the track.  His gear box just barely clipped my front nose, causing my car to snap loose,  I saved the car but made a slight kiss of the wall.  This contact bent my suspension and then sent me across the track where I collected Martin Plowman.  My day was over before it started.  Thankfully I didn’t take out Martin as he somehow made it through the wreck undamaged.

Ryan Murray's view of the first accident

A view of the wreck from Ryan Murray's onboard

The race went on to showcase some great battles between Yang Ou, Tim Holgate, Niles Anders, Tim Doyle,  Pat Dotson, Ryan Murray, Andrew Kristensen, Giorgio Ponti, and Panther Racing blogger Neffry Aawg.

Yang Ou leads Tim Holgate and Tim Doyle

Yang Ou leads Tim Holgate and Tim Doyle

Through a combination of great pit strategy, a super-fast car, and some good clean racing Niles Anders was able to pull away with the victory.  Tim Holgate, Pat Dotson, Ryan Murray and Andrew Kristensen rounded out the Top 5.  Blogger Neffry Aawg put together his best finish to date with a 7th place.  Real life drivers Will Power and Martin Plowman finished 22nd and 11th respectively.

Niles Anders takes the victory

Niles Anders takes the checkered flag for the win.

So far this season we’ve had 5 different winners in 5 races.  It really shows just how competitive this league has become.  It’s been fun to see everything develop… we’ve gone from being a league with about 15 drivers weekly to fields pushing 30+.  I hope to continue to see things grow and get more competitive (although I’m going to need to practice more!) .

We WILL be having some races broadcast for everyone to watch later this season.  I’m not able to give specific details but rest assured everyone will be able to watch AT LEAST one of our races this season (iRacing member or not).

This week we head to Watkins Glen for 136 miles around the hilly New York road course.  This place is great and we always have a big turnout for this event.  Watkins produces some great racing due to it’s super fast corners and wide track.  Look for an exciting (and hopefully victorious) update next week!

16th Street Racing League: Fast and close

Posted on: November 16, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

As I said last week, Road Atlanta is one of the more difficult race tracks we go to during the season.  It’s a super fast, super twisty, and very narrow course.  Passing is pretty much impossible as there are really only 3 clean passing zones on the entire track.  Patience truly is a virtue around here and the lack there of ended quite a few of the front runners races.

I seem to be having one of my best seasons on the road courses this year.  I worked on my setup for a couple days prior to our race and was feeling confident I would have a decent showing going into practice.  I was amazed when I ended our practice session with a 1:08.952 just under a second behind the leaders placing me in 7th place.  This was quite the improvement considering last season my best lap was a 1:10.6.  Heading into qualifying I was excited to get started.  I knew it was going to be difficult to put down a clean lap with 31 cars on track and I thought if I could  manage to get a fast lap posted I might be able to gain a few more positions on drivers who were slowed by other cars.  The fastest I managed to go was a 1:09.096, not as fast as I had been but pretty respectable.  I watched with anticipation as the qualifying timer ticked down.  With less than two minutes left three drivers posted lap times better than mine.  So, unfortunately, I was pushed back to 9th place.  I would start just behind Highcroft Engineer Ben Bretzman and in front of Firestone Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman.  IZOD IndyCar Series runner-up Will Power would start in 7th position.

Once again the pace lap was scary.  This place is NARROW.  While there’s no cork-screw to drive through like at Laguna Seca the esses are equally as challenging.  Thankfully all 31 cars made it around to take the green.  Yang Ou led the field to the green with Ryan Murray (P2), Andrew Kristensen (P3), Pat Dotson (P4), and Bryan Heitkotter (P5).

Yang Ou leads the field into turn 1

Yang Ou leads the field into Turn 1

I settled in and started to focus on how I was going to pass Ben Bretzman who was just in front of me.  Ben was faster through a few corners than I was but I gained on him coming off the last corner and going into the first corner.  I can’t explain how difficult it is to remain patient in races like this.  More than a few times I contemplated lunging underneath Ben and going for the pass.  I managed to convince myself it was a better idea to hang back, put the pressure on and hope he makes a mistake.

Will Power leading Ben Bretzman and Brian Simpson

Will Power leads Ben Bretzman and Brian Simpson through the esses

On lap 4 Will Power, who was running just in front of Ben, spun giving both Ben and I a position.  I figured I didn’t have to worry about Will too much as when I passed him he was off in the grass.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.   Within two laps Will was all over me.  I was trying to focus on Ben to be sure I didn’t make a mistake and take him out but at the same time I was driving in my mirrors as Will closed on me substantially in every single braking zone.  I tried to be sure I left the inside open when he started to get close, that way if he made a move he could either get by or if he missed the corner I would be able to avoid him.  This went on for about 4 laps before Will spun again coming off the last corner.

Will Power spins coming off the last corner

IZOD IndyCar Series driver Will Power spins in the last corner

I was able to relax again and focus on putting pressure on Ben.  After about three laps Ben made a mistake and spun off allowing me to take his position.  I now had a nice gap in front of me so I could work on putting down consistent quick laps.   On lap 12 leader Yang Ou spun off at the exit of esses and collected second place driver Ryan Murray.

Yang Ou spins into Ryan Murray

Yang Ou and Ryan Murray make contact

While Ryan managed to keep running he gave up the lead to Andrew Kristensen. I was running quite well and had moved up to 5th position by lap 16.  Unfortunately, I started getting the low fuel warning.  I had made a mistake and not filled my car up prior to the start so I was going to have to stop early.  This worried me even more as I wasn’t sure a full tank would make it from there and I was concerned I was going to have to make a second stop while everyone else was on a one stop strategy.  I had a nice gap so I only lost two positions coming out of the pits putting me in 7th place.

I pushed as hard as I could for the next 15 laps and by lap 32 I was up to 6th place.  Disaster struck the next lap as leader Andrew Kristensen made contact with Tim Holgate going through the chicane, effectively knocking Andrew out of the race.

Kristensen spins off and into the barrier

Leader Andrew Kristensen spins off into the barrier

This accident enabled me to slip into 5th place with 8 laps to go.  I was becoming increasingly worried about my fuel.  I had a nice gap on the next car behind me so I went into fuel conservation mode.  I started lifting early going into corners, coasting in as late as I could, and short shifting through the gears on exit.  It seemed to be working although it was going to be close.  To make matters worse on lap 37 I spun off and brushed the wall just slightly bending my front suspension.  Miraculously the car still handled decently and since I was conserving fuel I didn’t have to press the issue too much.  I managed to limp the car home and finish in 5th place.  It’s not a win but with how competitive the road courses are in our league it’s very satisfying.  Last season I was crashed out of this race two laps in so finishing was quite rewarding.

Bryan Heitkotter took home the win with Tim Holgate (P2), Pat Dotson (P3), Ryan Murray (P4), and myself rounding out the top 5.  Firestone Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman finished in 7th place while Will Power finished in 18th.

The lead pack gets racey

Heitkotter, Kristensen, Holgate, and Dotson

This week we head to New Hampshire.  A new track for the IZOD IndyCar Series this coming 2011 season but this will be the second time the 16th Street Racing League has run here.  New Hampshire is a ton of fun.  Short track racing in IndyCars is incredible.  New Hampshire is particularly challenging as you can’t run at the bottom at all.  If you venture down there you have about a 98% chance of spinning.   We should have another full field so it should be a carnage filled event!

Last Tuesday the 16th Street Racing League was at Michigan International Speedway for 100 laps around the 2 mile oval.  Michigan is in one word, AWESOME.  It’s big, wide, and super fast.  The IZOD IndyCar’s are perfectly suited for here.  You can run flat out in multiple grooves and if you hook up with the right cars you can really run some people down.

Coming into this race I was extremely excited.  I knew I had an incredibly fast car that was going to be a threat to win the race.  It’s crazy how realistic iRacing can be.  The setup on your car is so important that it can literally destroy your chances in a race.  You have to find the happy medium between a fast car and a car that handles well.  Sometimes you have to take a hit on one side or the other and this past week my car was mega-quick but handled a bit “funny.”

I spent most of practice grouping up with 4-5 other cars to see how my car handled in the draft.  It took me a bit to get used to the handling as I had understeer on corner entry, oversteer in the center, and understeer on exit.  As you can imagine, this kept me on my toes.  If I was on the bottom entering the corner I had to come off the throttle a bit to keep it underneath the car next to me which was then quickly followed by counter steering as the back end slid around in the center.  All in all, after practice I felt like I was in for a good race.  If I could get out front I knew I was going to be FAST.

We run two lap qualifying on the big (2 mile plus) ovals so you really have to be on it right from the moment you exit the pits.  I managed to string together two pretty solid laps and finished with a fast time of 31.830 seconds putting me in 4th position.  John Paquin continued to show his oval prowess with a quick time of 31.725, which was good enough for the pole.   Scott Manifold (P2), Tim Holgate (P3), and former Nationwide Series and current USAC driver Billy Wease (P5) completed the first few rows.  From first to fifth the time split was only .108 of a second!

The field comes to the green

The field comes to the green for 100 laps

The race started out great.  Everyone gave each other a ton of room and we had no problems.  I picked up one spot at the start and by lap 2 I was up to second place.  Billy Wease got loose coming into turn 2 on the fourth lap allowing me to sneak by and take the lead.  Once I got into the clean air my car really hooked up.  I managed to stay out front for 37 laps.  The downside to leading is you burn a lot more fuel.  As lap 42 approached I had to pit.  Billy followed me into pit lane so I was confident I would be ok as I had someone to draft with after my stop.  Billy and I raced off pit lane and I was coming out just a touch ahead.  I moved over to the left to give him more room as he was getting a little too close for comfort.  My mistake… there’s a massive bump at the exit of the pits and when I hit it around I went.  Rather than try to correct the car and risk slamming into Billy I turned with the spin, spun the car around, got it pointed straight and took off.  I got back to the race track in 21st place.  It was painful and I knew I had some work ahead of me.

Panther Racing's Neffry Aawg battling with Ryan Murray

Panther Racing blogger Neffry Aawg chases Ryan Murray and Scott Manifold

John Paquin also spun on pit road during his stop which would prove to be my lucky break.  He pulled back onto the track just behind me, we hooked up, and started gaining on the lead pack.  By lap 56 I was back in 6th place with about a 2.5 second gap between my group and the leaders.  Once again, leading a group of cars hurt me.  I had to pit quite early compared to some drivers, a few even made it to the end.  I came in on lap 85 to get tires and fuel.  I came out in 16th place with 15 laps to go.  It was time to get moving.  I started running as hard as I could and by lap 94 I had moved back up to 8th place.  I was passing cars on the outside all by myself and it was a blast.  Absolutely some of the most fun I’ve ever had on this sim.  On lap 95 I came off turn 4 on the outside of Highcroft Racing engineer Ben Bretzman.  I had been going wheel to wheel with this group for about 3 laps.  As we came across the start finish Ben and I touched wheels sending us both into the grass.  I came so close to saving the car.  I actually got it pointed straight and thought I was going to be ok.  If pitwall would have been about 6 inches to the left I would have made it through.  Unfortunately I clipped the wall, flipped over, and shot up the track bringing out the first yellow of the race.  I felt bad for multiple reasons.  I had taken out Ben and I thought the race was going to finish under caution because of my mistake, snatching away a potential win from the guys up front.  Luckily we got a green-white-checkered.

Ben Bretzman and Brian Simpson spin on lap 95

Brian Simpson and Ben Bretzman make contact on lap 95

As the field came to the green it was Tim Doyle in the lead, with Vincent Sciuto, John Paquin, Billy Wease and Kevin Cress following closely behind.  Tim got a great start and hauled the car off into turn 1.  It looked like he had the win secured.  Just when it seemed that way Vincent Sciuto and John Paquin got a big tow going down the backstretch.  This was shaping up to be great finish.  As they came off of turn 4 Tim hugged the bottom, Vincent tried to stay in his tow while John Paquin took his own line and tried to go around on the high side.  As they crossed the start/finish it was Tim Doyle out front, Vincent Sciuto in second, and John Paquin in third.  The top three were only separated by .098 of a second!  Quite the finish!

Less then a tenth of second among the top three!

Tim Doyle takes the win in a close finish with Vincent Sciuto and John Paquin

This week we move on to Road Atlanta.  This is probably one of the most difficult road courses we go to.  It’s a fast, narrow, and twisty track with very few passing zones.  With 30 cars in the races there can be some big disparities in speed.  It can make the race pretty nerve racking as you’ll close in on drivers who are going 40-50 mph slower through a corner than you may be going.  All these factors make winning (and surviving) the race all that much more rewarding.   Check out these highlights from our last race at Road Atlanta:

This past Tuesday the 16th Street Racing League headed to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for 45 laps on the 2.238 mile historic road course.  Laguna is an incredible race track.  It has some of the fastest corners and most extreme elevation changes you will find at any road course, especially in the United States.  The “cork-screw,” made famous by Alex Zanardi and his legendary move “The Pass” when CART ran here in the 90’s, is one of the most difficult and iconic corners in all of motorsports.

We had a total of 25 drivers show up to give it a go around this twisty California race track.

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150 Miles of Carnage

Posted on: October 26, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

It has become our league’s standard for our races at Phoenix to have quite a few cautions at the start and then generally a long green flag run.  This seasons opener at the one-mile oval in Arizona was no exception.

We had a decent sized field of 28 drivers show up to take to the track and practice showed (with multiple crashes) that this was going to be a race of attrition.  Qualifying was as close as ever with the top three drivers being seperated by less than a tenth of a second.  Yang Ou started the season off with bonus points by taking the pole with John Paquin, Tim Holgate, Tim Doyle, and Larry Foyt filling out the rest of the top 5.  I made a small mistake in qualifying which slowed what should have been my fastest lap resulting in a disappointing 10th place starting position.

John Paquin

John Paquin

Lap 1 of the race didn’t last very long as the caution came out before we’d even made it down the backstretch.  I assumed it was going to be a long race and settled in, preparing myself for multiple cautions.  When we went back to green flag racing Firestone Indy Lights driver James Davison and Firestone Indy Lights Manager of Business Development Tony George Jr.  made it three-wide as they took an aggressive line to my inside.  I lifted and let them through.  As we came back around the next lap James’ car began to understeer resulting in a late spin.  I was about 8 inches off Tony’s gearbox and tried to pick the correct line through.  Unfortunately James came back across the track and collected me ending my race on lap 7.  A disappointing result as I felt I had one of the best cars on track.

Sciuto

Dan O and Niles Crash

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Back to racing…iRacing

Posted on: October 19, 2010 | Comments (0) | iRacing | By: Brian

We last left you at the Milwaukee Mile with four races left in our season. Those last four races tightened up our championship, yielded two first time winners, and displayed continued dominance by one of our new drivers.

Richmond was a hard fought battle by all of our drivers but overall showcased Yang Ou’s true dominance. Yang is a driver who was well known and successful in IndyCar leagues on rFactor (another Race-Sim) and has continued to show his winning ways since his move to iRacing. Yang won the race by 3 seconds and led every lap.  Ryan Murray continued to show his ability on ovals is increasing with a strong second place finish. Tim Doyle, Kyle Krisiloff, and Bryan Heitkotter rounded out the Top 5.

Richmond under the lights

Richmond under the lights

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iRacing around the Milwaukee Mile

Posted on: August 16, 2010 | Comments(2) | iRacing | By: Brian

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.

Will Power out in front

Will Power and friends at Milwaukee

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.

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Since my last blog entry things have really taken off for the 16th Street Racing League. Our race this past Tuesday truly showed how much our internet exposure these past few weeks has raised our stock.

Tuesday evening started out like all of our other race nights. I opened the practice room at 7PM (EST) and 10-12 of our regular drivers immediately showed up to begin testing. I stepped out to dinner for about 40 minutes and I was completely shocked when I returned. WE HAD 33 CARS! We’ve never had that many on a road course and the only race we’ve had more cars was our PSRTV.COM broadcast event at Michigan International Speedway.

Ryan Murray, 16th Street Racing League Champion (Spring 2010 Season), showed he was as strong as ever on the road courses during qualifying. Ryan took the pole with a blistering 1:31.653 followed closely by his teammates Tim Holgate and Bryan Heitkotter. Very impressive considering IndyCar drivers Will Power (P4), AJ Foyt IV (P15), Larry Foyt (P19), US F2000 points leader Sage Karam, and former Nationwide Series racer Kyle Krisiloff (P11) all showed up to race around the Glen with us. Qualifying was no easy task with so many cars. I felt like every time I would get a good lap going I would have to slow to avoid another car, throwing my flying lap away.  I never really got a great lap in and qualified a disappointing 13th position with a 1:34.057.

For many, the race was over quickly. As we took the green flag Sage Karam misjudged the closing rate on the cars in front and ran into the back of Kyle Krisiloff sending himself, Kyle, and Tim Doyle into the fence and ending their day before turn one (a close call for me as I started directly behind Kyle).

Crash!

Crash!

Car Cam

My Car Cam- Close call!

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iRacing revealed

Posted on: June 21, 2010 | Comments(11) | Drivers, New Media, iRacing | By: Brian

Ever wanted to go wheel-to-wheel in an IZOD Indycar Series Dallara?  Dreamed of passing Tomas Scheckter on the outiside in turn one at Indianapolis?  Wondered what it would feel like to be chased around Watkins Glen by Justin Wilson and Will Power?  Yearned to fight for a championship and clinch it in the last race?  Well… I’ve experience it all and you can too.

If you’re an avid gamer or hard-core IZOD IndyCar Series fan chances are you’ve heard of iRacing previously.  If not, allow me to educate you.  iRacing is in one word… INCREDIBLE!  It’s an internet based racing simulator where any member can hop in and race cars ranging from a Pontiac Solstice to the famed Honda powered Dallara IndyCar on race tracks spanning from the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

iRacing Action

iRacing Action

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