Choice and Consequence
The past two rounds had drivers not only battling for position on track but in the championship as well. Rounds five and six were the last rounds eligible to drop. While most drivers still in contention for the championship drove both rounds, others had elected to use their drops and see where they stood for the final rounds.
Sven Cammaerts (currently 2nd)
Sven as clearly brought things together over the past few rounds of competition. The Belgian had
secured a 2nd place finish at Circuit de Spa. Last month at Nürburgring GP, Sven played an overcut pit strategy, and took the lead away Bobby Zalenski. Sadly Cammaerts had chances of victory dashed after being black flagged for speeding off pit lane, leaving him to finish 5th. Despite difficulties in July, Cammaerts was able to snag an 8 point lead over Víctor Lobato.
Víctor Lobato (currently 3rd)
At the end of Round 4, Víctor Lobato was 3 points behind Zalenski for the points lead. Circuit de Spa was not the race Lobato was needing. A spin coming out of raidillon had Lobato losing valuable time, leaving the Spaniard to come home 7th. Lobato felt safe with his lead over Cammaerts and took Round 6 as his second drop of the season. The move turned out to be a mistake as Cammaerts was able to snatch away 2nd place in the Championship. Expect Lobato to racing strong in the final 3 rounds of the season.
Martin Kapal (currently 4th)
The Czech driver has been known for his consistency and strength battling in traffic. These strengths were apparent after the lap 1 incident at Circuit de Spa left him in 16th, way behind the field. Kapal was able to climb his way back to his starting position of 6th. In contrast, Nürburgring GP proved quite the challenge. He was unable to set a qualifying time, but captured a top 10. Although Kapal has gained 2 positions in the championship standings since Round 4, he has competition lurking behind.
Daniel Thompson (currently 5th)
Eyes have been on Thompson this year as he's grown as a driver since the 2016 season. Although he's secured two podiums this season, his 3rd highest finish was 9th in Rounds two and four. He's two points behind Kapal in the Championship standings. Thompson tends to have more speed but struggles more in traffic. Can Thompson improve his ability to pass in traffic, and get the edge he needs against Kapal.
Jake Robson (currently 9th)
Robson's season started off with a rough start finishing 21st in the season opener at Interlagos. Over the course of the year, Robson has begun to come into his own. At Circuit de Spa he took 4th place, and at Nürburgring GP he was about to snag 5th place until contact with fellow TFR Driver Georg Gruber. The contact DQed Robson leaving him to finish 11th. The final 3 rounds will be crucial as he's tied in points with Clifton Cockrell (8th) and Sergio Real (10th).
Sergio Real (currently 10th)
Real’s has quite the challenge ahead of him for the final 3 rounds this season. At the end of Round 4, Real sat comfortably in 3rd, however choosing to spend his drops in rounds 5 and 6 have not been ideal, as he’s fallen to 10th position. He’s tied for the most top 5 finishes and has run in the top 3 on more than one occasion. The question will be if Real claw his way back into the top 5.
With Round 6 in the books, the one drop round for the Teams Championship (OCM) has taken effect. The big change came from JIM Racing Team Yellow (JIMY) electing to use their drop in Round 6. This allowed Torque Freak Racing Sunset (TFRS) to snatch 4th away. Currently, TFRS has a 41 pt. lead over JIMY. TFRS now looks to chase down Peak Peckers, currently 3rd, which has become a solo effort by Bobby Zalenski. If Zalenski's teammate Matt Bussa returns it could change how the teams standings evolve over the last 3 rounds. Right now Off Camber Motorsports continues to lead the championship, however Torque Freak Racing Corkscrew (TFRC) has narrowed the gap from 42 pts after Round four to 19 points. As the season begins to draw to a close, the tension begins to rise, and there's still plenty to race for in the teams championship.
Checking Back and Looking Ahead
At the beginning of the season, RaceSpotTV's Jake Sparey stated that "... If you start taking liberties in this series it will soon turn against you as quickly as you thought you had pace, to begin with.". His foresight has certainly rung true. Things have paid off for drivers who have stayed consistent this season. Road has maintained their lead in the Road vs Oval Championship, and Toyota has stood against the odds, and currently leads the Manufacturer Championship over Chevrolet.
Now we look to return to Watkins Glen International's Boot Circuit. This is a favorite, it's familiar with both sides of the iRacing service and produced some great racing last year. We'll see what happens on August 27th. Be sure to tune in.