Welcome to week 41 – three races this weekend. WRC is in Spain for what’s referred to as the only “true” mixed surface rally; MotoGP is in Malaysia; and NASCAR visits the short track at Martinsville in Virginia. Sebastian has the links you need to make your picks at http://themotorracinggame.wordpress.com/2014-week-forty-one-guide-and-links/. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Scores from week 40:
MotoGP Australia, NASCAR Talladega, DTM Hockenheim:
Marc Marquez has had a string of miserable races recently and the race at Phillip Island was no exception when he crashed out with just nine laps to go, while in a comfortable lead. Up to that point Valentino Rossi was the best of the rest, so Marquez’s error handed the Italian the win in his 250th top-series race. Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, struggled with his tires and looked like he was headed for a third place finish when Cal Crutchlow who was ahead of him crashed out on the final lap, giving Lorenzo second place. There were lots of crashed during the race, two of them caused by riders riding into one another causing the retirement of Andrea Iannone who ran into the back of Dani Pedrosa, and Stefan Bradl who ran into the back of Aleix Espargaro. With Pol Espargaro solo crashing late in the race, Bradley Smith finished third – his first podium finish of his career – giving Yamaha a sweep of the podium positions. Behind Smith, Andrea Dovizioso finished fourth after being only one of two riders to emerge upright from the crash fest group of six riders.
In NASCAR four drivers were eliminated from the Chase leaving eight. Brad Keselowski (who, as expected, got away with last week’s rampage with only a fine by NASCAR) needed to win at Talladega to avoid being one of the four, and he duly won the race to stay in. It was a close finish with two green-white-checkered finish attempts needed to end the race. Jimmie Johnson was another one who needed to win to stay in the Chase, and while he was close to the front in the closing stages, he found no friends to help push him at the end, and slipped down to a 24th place finish at the end and out of the Chase. Another of our picks, Joey Logano, who had already secured his way into the next round of the Chase with a win two weeks ago, finished 11th. The other three drivers eliminated from the Chase (besides Johnson) were Dale Earnhardt and Kasey Kahne, both of whom needed to win, and our pick Kyle Busch, who was collected in a crash, which if he’d avoided, he would have made it into the next round. So the eight who go on to the next three races before the contenders are cut to four, are: Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Gordon who avoided elimination by just 3 points (3 positions on the track).
At the final DTM race at Hockenheim the Audis swept the podium with Mattias Ekstrom beating Mike Rockenfeller and Jamie Green. Green had the lead for much of the race, but lost it when a caution caused the safety car to come out with six laps to go. At that point he had switched to hard tires whereas Ekstrom and Rockenfeller were on softs, so when the race restarted Green had no chance. Paul di Resta also finished on soft tires but couldn’t get around Green in the short sprint to the finish. Championship winner Marco Whittmann was the best of the BMW drivers finishing fifth. Of our other picks, Bruno Spengler finished 13th, Christian Vietoris finished 15th, and Edoardo Mortara finished 22nd after crashing out.
Congratulations to Sebastian and his twelfth win of the year with one tie. Clearly it was picking heavily in DTM and avoiding the MotoGP carnage that gave him the dominant win. Drewe’s second place score was enough to overhaul Chris for third place in the standings…