Long awaited victory for Sven Cammaerts at IMS Road Course

Strycharz and O'Leary during Warm-up

September is the second and final a doubleheader month of the 2018 season, with the first race taking place at one of the most iconic homes of motorsport – Indianapolis Motors Speedway. However, unlike what you may be expecting, Round 9 would take place using the Road Course layout from the late 2000’s. This means drivers would hit in excess of 180mph approaching Turn 1 creating one of the most exciting and promising overtaking spots on the circuit.

Zalenski entering T10 at IMS

Qualifying seemed to be progressing as usual, and when Bobby Zalenski took to the circuit, it seemed the expectation was he would once again start on pole position. However, with the updates to the trucks just days before the race, it proved to be a greater challenge for the defending champion who would start the race from 5th place! When qualifying ended it was Sven Cammaerts (#66) who would take pole position with a 1:23.4, half a second faster than Zalenski!

The first dive into turn one was plenty of excitement with several drivers jumping several positions. Zalenski tried to make a move on the inside but was unable to gain any ground. However, Logan Clampitt cut too far across the inside rumble strip gaining a slow down penalty, falling from 3rd to 17th! This left Clampitt with an uphill battle the rest of the race.

As the race continued, Clampitt would charge his way through the field, by Lap 4 he would complete passes on both Justin Kruithof (#46) and Martin Kapal (#64) which would put him back into the Top 10. The passing was impressive but on Lap 9 Clampitt would make one of the most impressive overtakes of the race. He would dive behind James King (#23) into turn 1, making a cross-over in Turn 2. This move would allow Clampitt to run the outside line side-by-side King through turns 3-5 taking the position in Turn 6 when Clampitt would be on the inside line, moving up into 7th.

With Zalenski had worked his way up to 3rd, who was a second faster than the leaders on lap 11. When Cammaerts (#66) Marco Mogren (#257) drivers started down pit lane on lap 12, Zalenski opted to try an overcut on lap 13. However Zalenski was not able to close enough time on his previous laps and would fall back to 4th.

Cammaerts and Mogren stayed nose to tail to stretch out the gap on the battle for 3rd, but on Lap 18 Mogren makes his first peak considering a pass for the lead looking down the inside approaching turn 1. However every lap Cammaerts would have the better drive out of Turn 11, keeping Mogren from being within striking distance into turn 1. On the final lap, Mogren knows he’s faster than Cammaerts in the first section before the infield straight, and looks to the inside of Turn 6. Cammaerts goes defensive holding the inside. Mogren gives the #66 a shot, hoping to push Cammaerts wide. However, Cammaerts keeps his truck on the inside line enough to keep the #257 of Mogren behind.

As the Black and White flew at Indianapolis, with both Radicals Online’s team and privateer entries claiming the podium. Thankfully for Zalenski, this was the final round eligible for dropped points, so he was able to maintain the majority of his point lead going into the finals that start this weekend.

We now enter the finals, which is the final 3 rounds of the season where every race counts, there are no drops, so a mistake from this point forward could dramatically change the championship. To kick the finals off we will be visiting the comeback kid of Motorsport circuits, VIRginia International Raceway (VIR). This is a special round as drivers will be competing on the legacy version of the circuit with the famed Oak Tree! Be sure to join us on September 22nd for the RaceSpot Broadcast of Round 10 on the iRacing eSports Network.

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