Welcome to week 27 – just two races this weekend. NASCAR goes road racing at Watkins Glen in New York, and ALMS visits Road America in Wisconsin. Sebastian has the links you need to make your picks at http://themotorracinggame.wordpress.com/2013-week-twenty-seven-guide-and-links/. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Tony Stewart has broken his leg so do not pick him.
Scores from week 26:
WRC Finland, NASCAR Pennsylvania, Indycar Ohio, DTM Russia:
In the 60 year history of Rally Finland, only four winning drivers were non-Nordic. Frenchman Sebastian Ogier became the fifth over the weekend with a decisive victory. It could have been a lot closer, since there were only 11.4 seconds between the top four at the half way mark – after one and a half days of stages. But then Ogier’s rivals started having problems, and one-by-one they dropped back, leaving Ogier well ahead. Second place stayed close through to the end with Thierry Neuville and Mads Ostberg swapping positions after almost every stage, with usually less than a second between them. Only a mistake by Ostberg at the end handed Neuville the second step on the podium, with Ostberg having to be satisfied with third. Mikko Hirvonen had a double puncture on stage 12, and never recovered enough to challenge for the podium, finishing fourth. Dani Sordo was not competitive, posting slow times on almost every stage, but still managed fifth largely through the attrition of several drivers who were ahead of him at one point or another. One of those who were ahead of Sordo was Juho Hanninen who was fifth until he broke the car’s suspension, leaving him in 32nd place at the end of the event. Jari-Matti Latvala also suffered a broken suspension, but early on in stage 2. He lost a lot of time trying to struggle through to service, but could not make it. Then with a 10 minute penalty for resuming on Saturday under rally’s restart rules, he was positioned in 86th place! But having a WRC car helped him climb the leaderboard quickly, so by the end he got 17th.
It was a close finish in the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway with Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne swapping positions a couple of times after late cautions, with Kahne coming out ahead by just 1.4 seconds. Jimmie Johnson looked strong at the beginning but wrecked his car after he had a tire go down – he finished 13th. Among our other picks, Kyle Busch was 8th, Tony Stewart was 9th, Carl Edwards was 11th, and A.J. Allmendinger was 33rd, 58 laps down.
In Indycar a three-stop pit strategy was the order of the day for success, and the top three drivers were on such a strategy with Charlie Kimball coming out on top for his first career victory in Indycar. Simon Pagenaud was second and Dario Franchitti a distant third. In fourth place was the first of the drivers who opted for the unsuccessful two-stop strategy – Will Power. Greased Lightning unfortunately picked A.J. Allmendinger who was not racing in Indycar this weekend.
In the inaugural DTM race in Moscow, Mike Rockenfeller came out on top after a clean race. For Bruno Spengler the race was not so clean after he got bumped by Miguel Molina early in the race, causing damage to his BMW and leaving him struggling for the rest of the race, eventually finishing 19th, one lap down.
On a personal note, I was pleased with a respectable second place at the SCCA’s National event in Pittsburg this weekend, in my Spec Racer Ford. It was a small field, but the National caliber drivers are a tough bunch to race against regardless of how many are competing, and I bested them with fastest lap of the race on Sunday.
Congratulations to me and my sixth win of the year. Sebastian and I only had one pick different – Sebastian took Jimmie Johnson, whereas I took Ryan Hunter-Reay, so Sebastian finished not too far behind my winning score. But Rubbergoat and I had a lot of picks different, yet it was Rubbergoat who was closest to taking the victory from me, being only 5 points behind, and taking second place this week. Staying away from NASCAR seemed to be the right choice for the week. No changes in the standings …