The Classic IndyCar Series recently visited Mid Ohio in iRacing. With an emotional start to the race, the show must go on. Here we have the full race report.
The Classic IndyCar Series in iRacing recently visited Mid Ohio, with the championship hunt still kicking, every point matters at this stage.
Before the race started, a lap of honor for Rod Carpenter a league member of CIS took place, who passed away early in September.
CIS Defending Champion Lucas Laville has the full race report
CIS returned last weekend to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, for a pivotal 89 lap, 200 mile race, for the first time since the 2019 season.
Stakes were very high for that race, as the battle for the championship continues to develop between the top 3 drivers.
The pressure was especially on for championship leader Ethan Agan (Simulation Racing Council), who was hit by a rear-of-grid penalty, and had to find a way to make his way through from 21st on the grid of the 22 car field.
On the other end, Josh Chin (Team Chimera) and Lucas Laville (Vortex SimRacing), who were 2nd and 3rd to start this race respectively. On pole, was Willi Schwabauer, who had all but locked the Rookie of the Year honors before this race.
The Iconic Motorsports driver was however looking to get his maiden career CIS win.
The race start was also marked by the tribute to lost CIS driver Rod Carpenter. The 66 year young rookie lost his life on September 8th. League owner Robert Grosser was driving Rod’s livery and number for that event.
Before the start, the whole field drove a very emotional slow pass in front of Carpenter’s parked IR-05 around the start line, as a last homage.
The race start went very smoothly, as no notable incident was recorded early on, and the field could settle down. There were very nice battles all through the field during the first stint, lead by Agan.
He managed to race into the Top 10 in less than 25 laps. The hardest part of his comeback drive was still ahead of him however, as the faster drivers prove way harder to move around.
Agan, Jamie Wilson (Team Chimera) and Jan Hoffman (Vortex SimRacing) met each other quickly, and stayed in a 3 car fight for most of the race.
Front wing changes, unforced mistakes and fuel saving were the key words in this group, as well as further back in the field, and ultimately those who kept their nose clean were the ones coming ahead of battles most of the time.
Issues did happen, however. While racing for position with Wilson, Agan locked up the rear tires coming in the turn 2 braking zone, and went straight into the British driver, who ended up flipping multiple times, and had to retire after coming to a rest in the tire wall on his roll hoop.
Upfront, Schwabauer and Chin stayed together and left the rest of the top 5 (Laville, Grosser and Wood), who were driving on their own. They swapped the lead a few times before the rounds of pit stops, but it was fuel and tire strategy that prove determinant in the result of this race.
Drivers tried various moves, over or undercuts on fuel and tires to try to get by their competition, as passing was difficult on this tight and twisty course.
Chin tried to make his fuel runs shorter to benefit from the tire changes each time, while Schwabauer ran the straightforward “fill it up and run it dry” strategy, and kept his tires on the last stop.
With fresh rubber and some traffic-free laps, Chin was able to close a 5 second gap to induce a battle for the win in the last 5 laps.
Disaster struck with 2 laps to go, when Schwabauer spun out of the slow section in turn 5, and with Chin having nowhere to go, both drivers came together and got severely damaged.
The resulting suspension trouble meant the Iconic Motorsports driver, who led for a field-leading 72 laps, had to retire, coming to the pitlane on the white flag. Chin managed to hang on, managing the gap created to then 3rd place Laville, and ultimately won the race by 4.2 seconds over the Frenchman.
Schwabauer was classified 5th as the first car one lap down. Rest of lead lap cars were last podium finisher Robert Grosser, and Andrew Wood. Both drove a quiet but solid race.
Points damage was limited to the best of his ability for Ethan Agan, after he came home with a 6th place finish.
With these results, standings up top are even closer, and with 2 races to go and drop weeks coming into play, the battle could come down to the last few laps of the season finale Indy 500. With 333 points, Agan leads Laville by 11 and Chin by 37, so everything is still to play for.
Behind them, the battle for 4th is also very interesting, as 6 drivers are gathered in 33 points.
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