Welcome to week 19 – three races this weekend. F1 is in Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix; NASCAR stays in Charlotte with a regular race following last week’s All-Star race at the same track; Indycar is in Indianapolis for the Indy 500. Picks can be made at: http://www.roadracetracks.com/motorracinggame.shtml.
Scores from week 18:
WRC Portugal, Moto GP Italy, NASCAR Charlotte (All-Star race):
The WRC Rally Portugal was another rally of attrition, and like the last two rallies, the attrition plus the road sweeping that Sebastian Ogier had to do being first on the road, opened the door for yet another winner. This time it was Kris Meeke, despite having missed the two previous rallies. After shaking off the rust, everything went pretty much perfectly for the Brit, giving him a comfortable win at the end. Ogier held second for most of the rally, but two punctures on the last day meant the hard charging Andreas Mikkelsen was able to overhaul him for second place. Dani Sordo felt his Hyundai was ill-handling, and couldn’t match the pace of the top three, giving him a fourth place finish. But he was well ahead of Eric Camilli who had his best ever result with fifth, and just beating out Jari-Matti Latvala who suffered numerous problems over the weekend. The another big gap to Mads Osberg who wasn’t on pace, and also suffered a number of mechanical problems. But Hayden Paddon probably had the worst weekend, when, after a roll, the bushes caught fire on the hot exhaust, and then burnt the car to a shell (so no points since he did not finish).
It was a great battle for the win at the Moto GP event in Mugello, Italy, between Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez. After many exchanges of the lead, eventually it was Lorenzo that beat Marquez across the line by less than 2 thousands of a second. Pole setter Valentino Rossi was in the mix early on, but his engine expired on lap nine, leaving him classified with a 17th place finish. Behind the leading two a good three-way battle ensued at the end of the race, with Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa, and Andrea Dovizioso exchanging positions numerous times, eventually finishing in that order. Maverick Vinales started on the front row of the grid, but could not recover from a bad start, finishing in sixth place.
The NASCAR all-star race in Charlotte added a twist this year to try and spice up the finish. The top 11 cars all had to pit with 13 laps to go, with the rest of the field not permitted to pit. In theory it would be exciting in the final laps to see if the cars with the fresh tires could get around a bunch of cars with old tires. But the format went wrong for NASCAR when race leader after the second segment got that position by skipping a mandatory pit, and incurred a one-lap penalty. Problem is, that forced most of the rest of the field to also be a lap down, which meant when the final laps began, those on new tires only had two cars to get around, which was of course, easy. It was still an exciting finish through, with Joey Logano and Kyle Larson and side-by-side with a couple of laps to go. Then Larson hit the wall and the Logano went on to the victory ahead of Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Carl Edwards in fourth.
Congratulations to iomracer and his sixth win of the year with one tie, and five wins in a row. Picking the first two in WRC was key. No changes in positions in the season long standings…