Scott McLaughlin renewed his battle with Alex Palou from the first race of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, finishing season two with a win at Sebring International Raceway.
With four laps to go, McLaughlin shit his Team Penske #3 car up the inside of Palou in the final corner, the two racing side by side down the front stretch until the Australian made the move final in turn three. Palou was unable to catch him.
Palou started the race on the pole and would lead the first lap, but he was quickly overtaken by Sage Karam. Coming to take lap two, Robert Wickens of Arrow McLaren SP tangled with Road to Indy featured driver Benjamin Pedersen in the final corner, with Wickens taking the brunt of the collission. Wickens would finish the race one lap down in eleventh while Pederson, who competes in Indy Lights, finished eighth.
On lap five, Simon Pagenaud went off-track in turn three, and smashed the tire barriers. Marcus Ericsson had multiple spins during the event, his first coming onto the backstretch on lap eight. Dalton Kellett also ran into issues, as his internet disconnected on lap eleven. The trio of unfortunate drivers would finish thirteenth, twelfth, and fifteenth respecitvely.
On lap twelve, Karam would relinquish his lead to pit, and would run into misfortune. He was run wide exiting the pits and after such a dominant stretch, would put him out of contention for a second straight win. This would hand a dominant lead to Palou who would hold it until McLaughlin overtook him for the win.
RC Enerson of Top Gun Racing would come home with another strong finish, a contender in all three events of Season Two, scrapping with Enzo Fittipaldi for a top five finish once again. He would round out the podium with a third place finish.
Braden Eves traded his Road to Indy machine for the bright pink #60 of Meyer Shank Racing this week, and put up another strong performance as he has consistently done in these events. on lap two, he had contact that sent him off track in turn three and down to seventh place. He fought back very impressively to fourth place.
Eves hand-wrote a letter to team owner Mike Shank, who went to the same High School as Eves, to form this partnership. Maybe in the future we will see Eves in a MSR car in real life, and not just iRacing.
With two laps to go, Fittipaldi ran into trouble, allowing his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR teammate James Davison to finish out the top five. Fittipaldi would recover to sixth.
The real winner of this event however might be Conor Daly of Ed Carpenter Racing. Daly was upset that the fan vote did not send the series to Kentucky Motor Speedway, and was not able to find speed in the early practice sessions. After putting “Might finish last” in his Twitch livestream title, Daly came home with a ninth place finish.
How did he celebrate, you ask? Lean Cuisine tortellini, as chosen by the Twitch chat.
The NTT IndyCar Series season will officially begin on 18 April 2021 at Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
IndyCar iRacing Challenge Season 2 Race 3 Results
|1||3||Scott McLaughlin||AUS||Team Penske|
|2||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 0.801 sec|
|3||75||RC Enerson||USA||Top Gun Racing||+ 0.896 sec|
|4||60||Braden Eves||USA||Meyer Shank Racing||+ 8.257 sec|
|5||53||James Davison||AUS||Dale Coyne Racing w/ RWR||+ 12.495 sec|
|6||52||Enzo Fittipaldi||BRA||Dale Coyne Racing w/ RWR||+ 48.714 sec|
|7||21||Nikita Lastochkin||RUS||Ed Carpenter Racing||+ 49.162 sec|
|8||17||Benjamin Pedersen||DEN||Road to Indy||+ 49.701 sec|
|9||20||Conor Daly||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+ 1:31.055 sec|
|10||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||+ 1 lap|
|11||6||Robert Wickens||CAN||Arrow McLaren SP||+ 1 lap|
|12||8||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 1 lap|
|13||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||+ 3 laps|
|14||98||Sage Karam||USA||Andretti Autosport||+ 9 laps|
|15||14||Dalton Kellett||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||+ 18 laps|