The DOM-GNL (German NASCAR League) simracing championship is still in swing, with Robert Graf‘s simFlight liveried car still in the thick of it – as is usually the case with oval racing, sometimes more in the middle of the thick of it than others!
Just to keep things interesting, one of the races reported in this group is Watkins Glen – yes, that’s right, if you know the track… It’s a previous host of the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix and proof that if you ask them nicely, Stock Cars do turn right, as well as left!
Last time out, Robert asked for some feedback regarding the style of his reports… We know people are reading them, so what are your thoughts? Click “Read more” to read Robert’s reports and feel free to use the comments box below for feedback.
Real life intervened. It was just a birthday party, but you know I do have real friends. So I still have to race at Indy.
Actually, I don’t like it. It’s very hard to get the car right and the track really can catch you off-guard at any corner. Despite that I have finished rather well there (a 5th place last time). So, hopes were high and the start of the race went well for me. Lots of yellows on this one, I managed to get good runs on the restarts and on race half time found myself in 5th, my teammate Peter right next to me. We were discussing options on how to get to the front and on the restart in lap 48 I wanted to get everything out of that V8. So, i pushed hard, when suddenly, right at the line, the car went off to the left and into the wall, no warning at all. The engine was dead afterwards. Watching the replay, my error became obvious. Being quite adrenaline-filled I had shifted down into 1st instead of up into 3rd! I left the race and tried to find a hole to hide in. And since this was a restart, it’s 4 penalty points for an unforced caution.
#21 Watkins Glen:
For this one the main goal was to finish at least 50% of the race without incidents. Mind you, the DOM races road courses without yellows, so no pauses there. I had a tough time controlling the car after it hit the curbs and never could get the necessary 25 laps out of the tires, which you would need to stay somewhere near the leaders. So I went for an extra-safe setup from my teammate Matthias. Normally, I don’t take his sets, the are way to tight for my style. But better safe then sorry. Race started well, everbody kept cool the first laps, till the field had sorted itself. I was running 16th when my closest call came, Stefan Schmidt shot right across the track before the final turn and I missed him by inches (see picture). I kept a steady pace on the first stint, not very fast, but consistent. Making no errors whatsoever, I collected some drivers that did. By the time of the frist stop after 25 laps I was running 13th.
On the start of the second stint I pushed hard, running personal records to see what the car was capable of. But it was no use, I couldn’t catch up with the guys in front. So I went back to the strategy that had worked well in the first stint. Slow, but steady! After the second stop, on lap 50, I was running 11th. Then someone in the front let go his chance for a TOP10 finish and I was 10th. Running behind my teammate Klaus and way in front of teammate Matthias (who gave me the set, remember?) I pushed, but gained only little. With 10 laps to go, I already wanted to start cruising to the finish. But what if someone else in front would mess up? Or worse still, I would mess up because of going slower then normal? I stayed sharp, cathing up in tenths per lap to Klaus. And it happened, with two laps to go, Klaus flew into the sandtrap in the inner loop. I passed him on the last lap and made it into 9th.
So this was perfect. A TOP10 at a track I don’t particularly like, redemption for last weeks blunder, 1 penalty point off my score. And now my team DIHL Happy Children Racing is 3rd in the standings.