Welcome to week 33 – three races this weekend. MotoGP comes to Silverstone in England, NASCAR is in Atlanta, and Indycar is at the Auto Club track in California. Sebastian has the links you need to make your picks at http://themotorracinggame.wordpress.com/2013-week-thirty-three-guide-and-links/. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Scores from week 32:
F1 Belgium, WRC Germany, NASCAR Bristol, Indycar Sonoma:
At Spa-Francorchamps the top two F1 championship leading drivers, and so-called team-mates, collided on lap 2, which put Lewis Hamilton out of the race (classified 19th at the finish), and left Nico Rosberg struggling to make up lost time, which he eventually did to finish second, behind Daniel Ricciardo who took full advantage of the Mercedes mistake to claim victory. Valtteri Bottas got past Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the race to take third place, with Raikonnen fourth. Fernando Alonso had trouble of his own, which included both a collision that left slight damage to his car and a 5-second penalty when his crew were slow clearing the grid; he finished 8th.
Thierry Neuville unexpectedly won the German WRC event. It was unexpected for a couple of reasons. First he had a major crash during shakedown, and basically destroyed the car. But the Hyundai team managed to patch it back together overnight to get him to the start of the event. As expected Sebastian Ogier took the early lead on Friday, but on the last stage went off into the vines and couldn’t get back to the stage – he was out. Then on Saturday when he restarted under Rally 2 rules, he had a massive sixth-gear crash on the first stage, and he was done for the event; fortunately no injuries to him or his co-driver. No points for all of us who picked him. His team mate Jari-Matti Latvala then had the lead, and quite comfortably so. He only needed to cruise on Sunday, but he too crashed out on the first stage of the day; again no points for any of us. That gave the lead to Chris Meeke. But he too crashed. Finally Neuville was left to take the victory. Danno Sordo inherited second at the finished, and Andreas Mikkelsen took the final podium position. Behind him were Elfyn Evans who came home ahead of his Ford team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, with Mads Ostberg behind them in sixth place.
NASCAR was at the short track in Bristol for a night race. As usual with these short-track races there was lots pushing and banging, and with the race starting in daylight and ending under the lights, there were car setup changes that the teams had to manage. Joey Logano managed the chaos and the setup changes the best, to take the victory over his team mate Brad Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was having a good race until he got caught up in one of the wrecks. Needing extensive repairs, he did manage to get back out on track, but ultimately finished in 39th place, 224 laps down.
Lots of crashes and miscalculated fuel mileage dominated the Indycar race at Sears Point, with Scott Dixon and his team staying out of trouble and getting the fuel calculations right to take victory over Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud. Will Power had the lead for a while, but he seemed to misjudge a fresh set of tires when he spun after a change. That put him back into 20th place, but he managed to battle back through the field to finish 10th.
Congratulations to me and my sixth outright win of the year, with three ties. Clearly my pick of Thierry Neuville made the difference. I’ve been picking the Hyundai for a while in WRC, so sooner or later the pick was going to pay off, and it turned out to be this week. No changes in the standings, but with Chris missing the week, the gap to Drewe has shrunk quite a bit …