Robert Graf‘s simFlight liveried #51 Chevrolet Impala in the iRacing DOM (German NASCAR League) is well into the ‘repeat loop’ of tracks now as the season gets ever closer to the finale. It’s been a far from smooth rookie full season for Robert, but he’s still putting in the finishes and adding up the points.
Want to see how he got on at Charlotte? Click “Read More” to see his race report.
Charlotte has always been tricky for me. Gone are the days were you would hit the throttle midturn, coming out of the turn in a nice 4-wheel drift. With this Imapala you have to coast into the turn applying half throttle and only near the exit you go to full throttle again. Otherwise you will roast your right front early and won’t make it to the 55-60 laps on a green run. Given that explanation, hopes were low, I’m just no “tire whisperer”. But with adapted driving style the laps were at least consistent, alltough I was 2 tenths of the pace.
Starting last I gained a couple of positions quite easily and came up behind Sebastian Lohse and Holger Kluener, they seem to be the people I race most of the time. Holger had an ill handling car, nearly losing it a couple of times. Sebastian was quicker obviuosly, but couldn’t find a way past. In lap 10 I went for the outline, side-by-side with Sebastian and, as soon as I got the “clear” I drove in deep to catch Holger. Not deep enough, just as the spotter said “outside”, we touched and Holger spun into the wall (see picture). My overeagerness ended the race of teammate Rene Sowada and Jörg Sonntag’s as well.
After that my motivation was low, I felt really empty. Not able to concentrate I hit the wall in lap 16 out of turn 2 and spun into the inner wall. Damage was light, but with the necessary pitstop I was 1 lap down afterwards, despite the 2nd yellow that came out just as I pitted. Now my motivation was completely gone and I had another problem. Before the race I had eaten a yoghurt, which, I guess, was not that fresh anymore. So while my stomach grumbled away, I felt quite dizzy and could hardly keep my eyes open.
On lap 80 I did come in for the 3rd pitstop and nearly overslept to get going again. I was counting laps continously, urging myself on after coming that far. I had some close encounters with the wall out of turn 2, but was able to stay in the race. The car helped, I had adjusted the crossweight a bit to the loose side, so it quite drove itself round the corners. I just had to be patient on the throttle. On lap 142 I went in for the second pitstop under green and settled for the final 40 laps. I tried to relax my stomach somehow and keep my eyes on the track. It didn’t work all the time, but I made it to the finsih with 2 laps down in 12th place.