Welcome to week 32 – four races this weekend. WRC resumes in Australia; Chris Meeke replaces Dani Sordo at Citroen for this event, so I’ve made that temporary change in the pick list. MotoGP is at Misano in Italy. DTM is at Oschersleben in Germany. And NASCAR starts their “Chase for the Cup”, the first of 10 races to decide the Sprint Cup champion, at Chicagoland in Illinois. Sebastian has the links you need to make your picks at http://themotorracinggame.wordpress.com/2013-guide-and-links-week-thirty-two/. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Scores from week 31:
F1 Monza, NASCAR Richmond:
Sebastian Vettel extended his F1 championship lead by winning F1 in Italy in dominant fashion. The battle for second in the race was a lot closer, with championship contender Fernando Alonso coming out ahead of Mark Webber. The other championship contender Lewis Hamilton started way back in the field, so actually had a good drive to finish in 9th, although in post-race interviews he clearly wasn’t happy with that performance. All of our picks finished in the top 10 with the exception of Kimi Raikkonen, who finished 11th after contact with Sergio Perez at the start which forced a pit-stop for a new front wing.
NASCAR had their last race of the “regular” season, and there was a lot of controversy. For those picking Carl Edwards it was a controversial win. On the last restart of the race with three laps to go, Edwards appeared to jump the start. He clearly crossed the start-finish line first, which is a no-no since he did not have the lead. But NASCAR judged that Paul Menard’s aggression, which included banging into Edwards in the lead up to the line, was sufficient cause to deny Menard the right to be first at the line in the restart. The fact that there was a restart was controversial. Clint Bowyer spun with seven laps to go when Ryan Newman had the lead, which was what he needed to bump Martin Truex Jr. out of the chase contenders and put himself in. By spinning, Bowyer, who is Truex’s teammate, caused all of the leaders to pit, and when Newman came out of the pits he was fifth with insufficient time to get back to the front. Hence he is now out of the chase and Truex is in. But one more move was needed – Joey Logano needed to finish two places ahead of where he was in the race before the Bowyer spin, to get the points to finish the regular season in tenth and bump out Jeff Gordon, which Truex also needed. So after the spin Bowyer came into the pits and spent a long time in there, along with Brian Vickers who came into the pits under green for no apparent reason. This gave Logano the two spots he needed, finishing in 22nd, and getting him and Truex into the chase instead of Newman and Gordon. Jeff Gordon himself had benefited earlier on when Jimmie Johnson went into the wall under suspicious circumstances promoting Gordon into a position which could have got him into the chase. So lots of shenanigans in the last race of the regular season. Our picks finished: 1st, Edwards; 2nd, Kurt Busch; 11th, Harvick; 14th, Kahne; 17th, Keselowski; 19th, Kyle Busch; 22nd, Logano; 25th, Bowyer; 40th, Johnson.
Congratulations to our joint winners, Drewe and RubberGoat. It’s Drewe’s first tie to go along with his two wins, and Rubbergoat’s second tie, with 4 wins. Picking Carl Edwards seems to have made the difference, who greased lightning also picked and so finished close behind. No changes in the standings, but RubberGoat inches ever closer to Sebastian …