Simon Pagenaud stayed out of trouble through an exciting iRacing event from a virtual Michigan International Speedway to claim victory from back in the pack. He used pit strategy along with clean driving to move up through the field right at the end of the 85-lap race.
The iRacing veterans once again qualified well with Marcus Ericsson taking pole and Will Power on the front row, followed by Felipe Nasr and Scott McLaughlin in third and fourth.
Starting up front proved to be a major advantage because before the field of cars even crossed the starting line, mayhem broke out and IndyCar’s first iRacing round from an oval got off to a start that was perhaps a bit too exciting for some.
365体育备用网站Slight miscalculations from the midfield led to a large crash that ended up collecting at least a dozen competitors. The ensuing caution gave the drivers involved a chance to use their single fast repair that they were allowed and rejoin at the back of the pack. A few other drivers also chose to pit in an effort to switch up their fuel strategy; a move that proved to be key later on.
365体育备用网站Pagenaud, who raced the virtual race from his home in a full fire suit, was one who benefitted from this strategy. He gained position after position in the final laps as many of his competitors came in for a splash of fuel.
“We didn’t have the pace in qualifying,” said Pagenaud after his victory. “We decided to go for option B, which was basically saving fuel and trying to conserve tires as well. We had some good pace as well with saving fuel.”
“It was very, very stressful. It’s the most stressful I’ve been in a racecar, quite frankly. There’s a lot going on in the headset. I had two people talking plus the spotter.”
Pagenaud was joined on the podium by McLaughlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. All top three finishers were able to forego a pit stop in the closing laps to move up into the top spots.
McLaughlin has been very consistent and has now found his way to the front of the field for all three iRacing events. Even though points are not officially awarded for these events, all the drivers are taking them seriously and McLaughlin’s consistent finishes have placed him at the top of the field.
365体育备用网站The Australian Supercars champion was already on a path to an IndyCar career at the start of this year, with a race drive planned for at least one round in 2020, but these online performances will surely do nothing but help his future prospects.
Earnhardt Jr., who was running his first IndyCar event of any sort, set out with the goal of having fun and not causing any problems. He certainly achieved that with some great fuel saving throughout the race and found himself near the top with a well-deserved third place finish.
The NASCAR veteran’s car took some minor damage in the initial crash and he decided to save his fast repair in case there were more crashes later on. That resulted in the car wearing tires unevenly, but his fuel-saving strategy proved to be much more important.
“Wanted to save our quickfix that would repair a lot of damage on the car,” recounted Earnhardt Jr. after the race. “Ended up running out of gas as soon as we crossed the finish line. A lot of luck involved.”
365体育备用网站Except for the big clash at the very start of the race, the action stayed clean. Drivers were able to race side by side and trade positions with utilization of the slipstream proving to be a key tactic.
Multiple drivers had trouble entering the pits under green, and there were a few small spins and even crashes as they navigated the tricky entry. Felipe Nasr was one who lost out due to this trouble, falling from a top-five position all the way down to a 21st place finish by the end.
365体育备用网站A lot of drivers will look to bounce back, and the top finishers will look to maintain their momentum, when IndyCar returns next Saturday for the fourth round of the iRacing challenge series.