Welcome to week 25 – three races this weekend. F1 is at Silverstone in the U.K., NASCAR is back at Daytona, and Indycar is at Pocono in Pennsylvania. Sebastian has the links you need to make your picks at http://themotorracinggame.wordpress.com/2014-week-twenty-five-guide-and-links/. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Scores from week 24:
WRC Poland, MotoGP Holland, NASCAR Kentucky, Indycar Texas, USCC Watkins Glen, DTM Norisring:
The WRC visited Poland for the first time since 2009, but it didn’t go well for the organizers who were criticized for “dangerous” dust on the early super-special stage, and had two stages cancelled due to poor road conditions (excessive spectators were also mentioned). Nor did it go well for Poland’s Robert Kubica who rolled (again) and finished down in 20th. Most competitors had issues, with SS14 being particularly damaging, causing problems for 6 drivers, with Mads Ostberg getting the worse of it with a roll and out of the rally – no points for those who picked him. Jari-Matti Latvala suffered a broken strut on that stage, but got through it, and the next stage, to get to service and repairs. Being able to continue he clawed his way back to a fifth place finish. Ahead of him at the finish was Mikko Hirvonen, who didn’t have any notable problems, but didn’t drive well (probably because it was a fast rally that favored the tuned engines of the factory cars), but managed fourth with the attrition of most of the others. Clear at the front for virtually the whole rally was Sebastian Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen, who traded the top spot repeatedly for three days, until Mikkelsen lost his brakes on Sunday, and left Ogier with a comfortable win.
Marc Marquez is now eight for eight in MotoGP after winning in Assen. With a mix of rainy and dry conditions the race was interrupted with pit stops that caused problems for some, particularly Jorge Lorenzo who pitted too late for slicks and suffered the consequences with a 13th place finish. Rossi too was indecisive with his pit stop, causing him to have to drive through the field to finish a decent fifth given where he started. Dani Pedrosa had no such problems and finished third, but he never challenged the two front runners, Andrea Dovizioso who had the lead for quite a while, and Marquez who at the end rode away from Dovizioso for the win.
Brad Keselowski took the uncommon double at Kentucky’s speedway, claiming pole position in qualifying then taking the win in the night race. It’s his second win of the year, so he’s now a sho-in for the Chase. Our only pick Jimmie Johnson had a reasonably good race, finishing 10th.
Indycar had a double-header in Houston. Carlos Huertas was the surprise winner of race one, taking the victory through a combination of conserving fuel which meant he had one less pit stop, and some luck with crashes at the end of the race which helped his fuel conservation. Our two picks, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves finished 7th and 9th respectively. Simon Pagenaud took the win in race two, beating his teammate Mikhail Aleshin. Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth, and Helio Castroneves retired just after the half-way point, finishing classified in 21st place. In the combined results Hunter-Reay was 6th and Helio Castroneves 17th.
An extremely close race in the USCC 6-hour event at Watkins Glen with the #90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette taking the win by just 0.8s over the #42 Oak Racing Nissan-Morgan, with the latter complaining on the radio of the unfair straight-line speed that the Corvette used to pass the Nissan-Morgan in the closing laps. The two Action Express Corvettes also finished on the same lap with the #5 coming in ahead of the #9. The #10 Wayne Taylor Corvette was fifth. Our other pick, the #01 Ganassi Racing Ford-Riley finished 30th.
Like Keselowski in NASCAR, Robert Wickens in DTM took both pole position in qualifying, and went on to take the race win at the Norisring. And similar to MotoGP and Indycar (race 1), there was a mix of rainy conditions and dry conditions to mix things up. Our pick Bruno Spengler finished down in 11th place, seemingly due to a poor decision to wait until changing to slicks, since only then did he start showing good pace against the other drivers.
Congratulations to Sebastian again – his seventh fifth win of the year and two in a row and by a whopping 40 points. For Drewe, Greased Lightning, and me, the Ostberg pick was particularly damaging, not only leaving us in Sebastian’s wake, but giving Sebastian the lead in the standings …