Simraceway Sunday Race-Offs Week 37
The newly presented in Simraceway competition Auto Club Speedway, opened the doors of its sports car course and hosted the beautiful Renault Megane Trophy, composing the 37th version of the Simraceway Sunday Race-Offs. Needless to say, the success of the Skillquant based events was proved once again on the challenging - and a bit unknown - paths of the California located racetrack. As usual, the Skillquant group of 500-700 launched the action and the finish was nothing less than breathtaking. Everyone's hopes for the dramatic battles to be continued among the rest of the Skillquant groups were confirmed.
Skillquant Group 500-700: Photo finish for the win reassures the competitiveness of this class
A total of 12 drivers managed to post a laptime in the Race to the Weekend event - the Sunday Race Off qualification event, from which a maximum of 14 drivers qualify for the race on Sunday in their respective Skillquant group - and all of them automatically qualified for Sunday's event. Wackypie occupied the leading position of the Race to the Weekend event, with a laptime of more than 1 second faster than second place. However, in the Sunday's Qualifying session he posted the third quickest time and consequently started from the third position, while Racecarfan and supercar1 made up the first row of the grid. James38 qualified in fourth place and sat alongside wackypie on the second row, but they both had nobody behind them, because only those four drivers actually turned up for the race.
The race session was 5 laps long, a relatively short one; nevertheless, as the field was charging to the finish of this sprint race, the battles were growing more and more. In fact, even after the green lights, the top 3 went three-wide heading into the first chicane, following the long throttle session of the oval speedway. Supercar1 held the lead, but wackypie passed Racecarfan and surely appeared as a threat to steal the win from supercar1. However, Racecarfan took advantage of some mistakes by wackypie and retook the second position, while they were coming into the oval section. In the closing stages, supercar1 saw his lead being cut down massively by Racecarfan, who managed to get close to supercar1's bumper. He tried to get the win in this last crucial lap and the even more crucial last oval part, were the drafting effects were taking place. Supercar1 was given a little push on the back bumper by Racecarfan, which ended Racecarfan's chances of side-drafting him and getting the win. Wackypie completed the podium and james38 passed the line in fourth - but last among the participants - position. Meanwhile, a happy supercar1 was celebrating his win and Racecarfan wasn't disappointed with a solid second place finish. They all renewed the appointment for the next week and promised that they will be even more competitive, launching Sunday's race programme.
Skillquant Group 700-800: Mika67lb fails to dominate, rookie keyboard racer Kyalami surprises, as rugbymanbscr rushes to the win and bad luck spins wiktorioss out of contention
Due to his Race to the Weekend best lap time and his pole position time in the Qualifying session before Sunday's race, mika67lb was undoubtedly the favorite to win this 7 lap race and succeed in a '3-peat'. However, rugbymanbscr had another opinion and gave it all in order to get this win away from mika67lb. He showed his intensions from the start, having a great launch from the outside lane and managing to get the lead later in lap 1, despite mika67lb was the first to enter and exit the first tricky chicane. Definitely tricky, especially on lap 1, caused much banging behind the two leaders, who also didn't avoid the banging betweem them. After a sort of mayhem there, Kyalami, a keyboard racer, found himself in third place and behind him, wiktorioss, a fast and experienced racer in Simraceway, unfortunately spun in lap 2 and then couldn't clear the battles with riba88 and clark10. In the front, mika67lb took the lead from rugbymanbscr, when rugbymanbscr made a mistake and went out for a small trip in the grass, trying to turn around the long right hander on lap 4. Mika67lb lost the lead quickly and rugbymanbscr was now dedicated to it; he seemed really devoted to keep it and bring home an important victory for him.
And he eventually achieved to give himself this confidence boost, by claiming the win in this Skillquant group. Mika67lb didn't succeed in making the famous '3-peat', but brought home a second place finish. Kyalami surprised everyone, not only because he is a keyboard racer, but also because it was his first appearance in a Sunday Race-off event, and he went up to the podium, managing to hold off gymwhaley - who had a stable and calm race - in the end. Wiktorioss, who had an eventful race with many incidents, finished fifth, while riba88 and clark10 finished sixth and seventh respectively. VKS8 and sienayr failed to complete the 7 laps of this race and quit early after having trouble.
Skillquant Group 800-900: Nowitzki410 avoids the crashfest, takes convincing win. Poleman CrasHMF fights hard for a podium place
Following a tight battle in the Race to the Weekend event, led by LionHeart88, the Qualifying session before the race of the Skillquant Group 800-900, was expected to be tight as well and indeed it was. CrasHMF took the pole with nowitzki410 in second. RRL_Danny and zandokanana occupied the second row of the grid and kenz 247 completed the top 5. Race to the Weekend winner LionHeart88 was nowhere to be found in the top 5 though, which opened the door for many drivers to get the overall event win.
The start of the 9 lapper was eventful; even before the first chicane, the carnage had already begun. Nathanalfa desired to move to the inside lane, without knowing that fourbangr75 was already there. Consequently, fourbangr75 couldn't do anything about that, so nathanalfa spun out at the apron but didn't keep his Megane under control and he returned back to the circuit, heading straight into the wall and hitting it at high speed. Fortuantely, he didn't collect another driver as everyone was able to go by, but received a stop/go penalty. However, it was on the way to the first chicane where the serious wreck happened. Krasse_Action sent ingange into butragueno44 and wrecked RRL_Danny as well. He received a stop/go penalty too. Butragueno44 and ingange hit each other, not on purpose, trying to make their way through after the accident, but it is LoneWolfGAM who deserves the "Hero of the race" award. LoneWolfGAM initially avoided nathanalfa, who was rejoining the circuit straight into the wall, and didn't crash on him. That was a good save, but an awesome one was coming at the chicane. While all of this wrecking, started by Krasse_Action, was going on, LoneWolfGAM followed the inside lane and didn't make any contact with anyone, although he was so close to do so. He found himself unscathed after the first couple of corners, a situation which everyone would like to find themselves in. Zandokanana braked really late at the chicane in order to take the lead but he was either going into the back of CrasHMF or onto the grass at the exit. He chose to do the second one. As a result, he lost many positions.
At the front, CrasHMF surrendered the lead to nowitzki410. Furthermore, he surrendered second and third to fourbangr75 and kenz247 respectively. Devilbevin who also barely missed the first lap crash was pressurized by Krasse_Action for fifth. Butragueno44, S.Shcherbak, zandokanana, RLL_Danny and LoneWolfGAM completed the top 10, as the field was approaching the end of lap 2. At the same time, nathanalfa was quitting the race after the disappointment at the first lap and Krasse_Action was serving his stop/go penalty. Halfway thorugh, kenz247 made a mistake at the exit of the first chicane and gave his third position to CrasHMF. Nowitzki410 and fourbangr75 were doing a solid job at the front, with the gap between them being stabilized. Only two laps to go and zandokanana searched a top 5 finish. He jumped from sixth to fifth by overtaking butragueno44. Meanwhile, S.Shcherbak was under pressure by a fast RRL_Danny for seventh place and behind them LoneWolfGAM kept ninth away from devilbevin, who was fifth earlier, but spun and lost many positions. Into the last lap, zandokanana spun and eventually finished seventh, but the primary battle was for third. Kenz247 had retaken the third place from CrasHMF and CrasHMF strongly wanted to overtake and get up to the final step of the podium. As hard as he tried, he only managed to get to the back bumper of kenz247 at the finish, so he finished fourth and kenz247 joined nowitzki410, the winner, and fourbangr75, the second place man, at the podium. Butragueno44 achieved a top 5 finish in fifth, with S.Shcherbak in sixth and zandokanana in seventh. LoneWolfGAM finished eighth and devilbevin ninth. He was the last one to pass the finish line.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Race-Off: Wonderful side-by-side finish for the win between bil79 and BastianGraber. LolinFOX gets wrecked early, Ragster uses patience to get on podium
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X road car was used for the supporting race of the main event. Known for providing close racing and tight battles, the Evo X Race-Off came with a slight difference this week as far as the exact track configuration is concerned. The track was, as in the main event, Auto Club Speedway, but for the Evo X race a different configuration was used - the interior course. Techical, narrow, challenging and not too grippy, it was ready to host a race that featured a road car, mostly infamous due to its understeery properties. Nonetheless, it is exactly this car and track combination that brings the best kind of racing up to surface.
Having done so many races in the Evo level (and not only there), Ragster made good use of his experience to initially lead the Evo field in the Race to the Weekend Evo event, as he posted the quickest laptime. The rest of the drivers were really close behind him, though. Nevertheless, it was surprising for everyone to see that the rookie in the Race-Off series, titaneichel69, could set a pole time, ahead of regular Race Off - and in particular, Evo X Race Off - stars, like LolinFOX who was second on the grid, kingdaeho and BastianGraber who sat on the second row, and the Race to the Weekend winner Ragster, who completed the top 5. We would normally expect the positions 1-3-5 to have the advantage in comparison with 2-4-6, but this was not the case on this racetrack, as the inside line of turn 1 was accesible to starters of positions 2-4-6 and so on.
As the green lights came out, it was a disastrous start for titaneichel69, the pole sitter, contrary to LolinFOX's great launch. LolinFOX took advantage of the circumstances and led at turn 1 and behind him it was Bastian Graber, who started fourth. Kingdaeho, titaneichel69 and Ragster were in the top 5 as the field was completing the first lap of the 14 laps distance. LolinFOX tried to break away quickly and early on in the race, but he didn't achieve it. Instead, he felt a lot of pressure by BastianGraber, who managed to overtake him as they entered lap 3. Meanwhile, the polesitter titaneichel69 dropped a lot of places, promoting Ragster up to fourth and bil79 up to fifth. But in front of them, it was calamity. Kingdaeho got into the back of LolinFOX, not on purpose, but due to LolinFOX missing his apex a little bit, which upset kingdaeho's car. Kingdaeho immediately apologized but did not avoid the drive through penalty, given by the live marshall. He could have avoided getting into the back of LolinFOX if he had reduced his speed at that point; moreover, it was a strong hit, which, on the one hand put LolinFOX out of the race, and on the other hand suggests that kingdaeho never lifted off the throttle to avoid the incident. All in all, two race favorites saw their races being destroyed. Behind, Lukesky80, nascar24fan and fourbangr75 were waiting for such opportunitities and they eventually grabbed this one to move up a place or two. Rookie ORC_Michouw was in eighth at that point, titaneichel69 another rookie in ninth and BgG286 in tenth. However, he made a mistake and saw B13A6 get into the top 10.
Therefore, at the halfway stage, BastianGraber was leading, bil79 was in second, having get past Ragster who was now third. Lukesky80 and nascar24fan completed the top 5. Meanwhile, ORC_Michouw was battling fourbangr75 for seventh, but found himself spinning as he got into left door of fourbangr75. Titaneichel69 almost replicated this incident on the next lap fighting with fourbangr75, but he managed to hold on to it. However, with 5 laps to go, the battle for the race win already started to heat up. Bil79 had caught BastianGraber, bumped him a bit to state that he was there, made his move to overtake and eventually achieved it. BastianGraber tried to catch back bil79 and he succeeded in doing that as well.
They went side by side on the straight with 2 laps to go and BastianGraber took the chance to overtake on the inside line of the first right hander. Entering the last lap, BastianGraber had a slight advantage, but it looked good to bring home the victory. But bil79 didn't give up. He came back to BastianGraber's bumper and as they entered the last, tricky corner, bil79 gave him a nudge which upset the car of BastianGraber a bit and influenced his entrance/exit of the corner. However, BastianGraber looked like he had a slightly better exit than bil79, who followed the inside lane, while BastianGraber was forced to the outside. Side-by-side they were coming to the line and bil79 took advantage of the side drafting effects, barely beating BastianGraber by only four hundreds of a second, that is one fifth of a car's length. Ragster avoided any bad manoeuvres during the race and got on the podium, using his invaluable experience in such races. Lukesky80 and nascar24fan missed the podium, but should be happy with their top 5 finishes. Despite his drive-through, kingdaeho managed to finish sixth, while B13A6 finished seventh in the other red Evo X. Behind them, fourbangr75 - who did double duty this weekend, as he also drove in the Megane race - brought home an eighth place finish and rookie polesitter titaneichel69 finished ninth, collecting many experiences. Bandito was the last one of the top 10 finishers, but BgG286 and ORC_Michouw followed him in eleventh and twelfth respectively. Unfortuantely, LolinFOX received a big hit earlier in the race, quit and was scored in thirteenth place.
Skillquant Group 900-1000: Exedian nails it to the line, matrox_213 and dimagico show quality, Chris007 impresses from reserve. Daniel_C charges late, while youngster Johndaniels needs more luck
Since he received his brand new G27, Johndaniels has always been a threat for the top of the leaderboards, at least in Race-to-the-Weekend style events. He realized his hopes of topping this Race to the Weekend, posting the fastest lap time. However, the field was closer than ever before. The top 10 were separated by less than 3.5 tenths of a second (0.323 to be precise) and nobody could feel safe about ensuring their Race to the Weekend position through the 11 laps of the competitive Race session. During Sunday's Qualifying session, dimagico set the pole time and azbest was second fastest. Dimagico was ninth in the Race to the Weekend event, while azbest was sixth, something which confirms the high level of competiton and raises the excitement of the tight battles all over the field. Race to the Weekend winner Johndaniels set a time enough to put him on the third place of the grid and matrox_213, eighth in the Race to the Weekend, sat alongside Johndaniels on the second row. Mrjones_83 lapped the track in a fifth place pace, while Exedian completed the third row of a tight field. The drivers of this Skillquant group are really capable of putting down some fast laptimes and have proved that they can extend their good performance to a long period of race time.
As the lights went green, Johndaniels, who started behind dimagico, got a great start and came close to dimagico, but in order to overtake, he would have to make a three-wide manoeuvre on the inside and on to the apron, something which is not allowed, therefore he backed out of it wisely. Azbest had a good start as well, trying to take the lead round the outside at the initial oval section, but dimagico held on to the lead by braking late on the inside. Johndaniels tried to take second away from azbest, but azbest was devoted to taking the lead away from dimagico. Azbest made his move on the inside of the - last on the interior course - infamous, long right hander and overtook. Johndaniels also tried to overtake dimagico on the outside of the first chicane, but the duo made light contact and Johndaniels could not keep the wheels straight and the throttle open, surrendering second, third and fourth place to dimagico, Exedian and scjeremy respectively. He tried to take fourth place back from scjeremy and managed to get alongside him on the inside lane of the exit of the infamous right hander on lap 2, but found himself spinning out on the grass, following a contact between him and scjeremy. Meanwhile, Exedian was making a pass for second place, moving dimagico down to third and final podium place at that moment, and was immediately attacking azbest for the lead of the race, as they entered laps 3 and 4. Chris007, a man who came into the race as a reserve, and MadMax66 had moved up to fourth and fifth, after the incident between Johndaniels and scjeremy. Chris007 also achieved to overtake dimagico for third place on lap 4. Dimagico was now leading a tight group for fourth place, as Exedian was attacking azbest for first. He managed to complete the pass on the exit of the first chicane on lap 5. Dimagico's group included Madmax66, matrox_213 and Daniel_C, three strong drivers that were ready to shine at the second half of this race.
Azbest retook the lead but Exedian was close behind and attacked back. Matrox_213 jumped into fourth place and was ready for a late launch to the front; dimagico would now see his mirrors full of the yellow Megane of MadMax66 who wanted to grab fifth place. At the same time, with less than four laps to go, Exedian made a successful move on azbest and took the lead back, while azbest saw some kind of lag dropping him to sixth position. With three laps to go, this meant that Exedian was on the lead, followed by the race's surprise Chris007, who joined as a reserve, while matrox_213 was on the final podium spot. Dimagico had to defend his fourth place from MadMax66, while azbest and Daniel_C were ready to take advantage of any opportunity to finish on the top 5. MadMax66 outbraked himself in the infamous long right hander, giving fifth and sixth place away to azbest and Daniel_C. Matrox_213 wanted to make a late charge for second place, but it looked like Chris007 had a fast enough pace to keep him to second. Daniel_C desired to do the same, in order to get in the top 5, as the racers entered the eleventh and final lap of the race. He made a great move on the inside of the 'double'-apexed left hander, after the first chicane, and overtook azbest for fifth. It was a close call, but both managed to keep their cars straight. Meanwhile, we could already see some drops of champagne into Exedian's car, as he flashed his lights and passed the finish line to win this race. Reserve Chris007 finished in a surprising second place and Race-Off star matrox_213 occupied the final podium place. Dimagico held on to fourth and Daniel_C completed the top 5. Azbest finished sixth, MadMax66 seventh, the fast but unlycky Johndaniels in eighth position. Final finisher, scjeremy, passed the line in ninth, while Mr_Jones83 completed the top 10, but 3 laps down to the leader, having quit earlier on. Arckeo72 had also quit, scored in eleventh place. Therefore, 'the curse of the polemen' continued in this race, because the poleman did not manage to win the race oce again. Would this be changed in the final race (Skillquant Group 1000-1100) of the schedule? This remains to be seen.
Skillquant Group 1000-1100: Gamepad racer vanPanther wins it, as he avoids chaos at the first chicane. Fellow gamepad racer Stuntmanmike24 crashes out, many Race-Off stars fail to keep their nose clean
The final race of the schedule was to be a dramatic one for the majority of the Sunday Race-Off stars who participated in it. Open-wheel specialist GriVi proved that he can excel in every type of car, as he topped the Race to the Weekend leaderboard with an amazing time. But less than 1 tenth of a second behim him was pumaaa, a former $2000-event winner which featured the Megane about 18 months ago. Gamepad racer Stuntmanmike24 posted the third fastest time and multiple overall Simraceway Sunday Race-Off winner acerockolla was fourth fastest. The top 5 in the Race to the Weekend leaderboard was completed by Shadowbounty. However, the whole leaderboard was full of stars, as Launger, shaun24, RedlineRacer85, vanPanther, GCortese49, AGO6, JMOO1, Germany20007 and spaggiari all qualified for Sunday's Race-off. All of them are popular drivers and the vast majority of them have been multiple overall winners and/or overall podium finishers, with great experience and great talent in the highest level. Their Skillquant level over 1000 is just a further proof of their skills. GriVi was definitely on fire, as he set the fastest time on the Qualifying session on Sunday and started from the pole. Pumaaa was second fastest and completed the first row. Shadowbounty and StuntmanMike24 were on row 2, while GCortese49 and vanPanther sat on row 3. Launger and shaun24 occupied the fourth row, with AGO6 and RedlineRacer85 sitting ninth and tenth on the grid respectively.
Pumaaa got a great launch and cleared GriVi, who was on a three-wide situation with StuntmanMike24 and Shadowbounty. But as they headed into the first chicane, it was calamity. StuntmanMike24 got into Shadowbounty, both spun, and Launger who was behind both of them, could not avoid the incident and spun around as well. The spinning car of StuntmanMike24 caught the back of pumaaa's car and pumaaa was leading there but found himself spinning. VanPanther got through all of this carnage and led at the end of the first lap, with spaggiari in second place, AGO6 in third, shaun24 in fourth and GCortese behind him in fifth. RedlineRacer85 had moved to sixth and JMOO1 to seventh. Former leader pumaaa put pressure on JMOO1 for seventh, but in front of them RedlineRacer spun at the exit of the chicane and almost collected JMOO1. Pumaaa overtook JMOO1 for sixth and left him behind in seventh. Germany20007 was eighth, StuntmanMike24 ninth and Shadowbounty completed the top 10. Eleventh was the Race to the Weekend winner and pole sitter GriVi, who got caught up in the first chicane's wreck as well. At lap 4, GCortese49 wanted to take the fourth place away from shaun24, but GCortese49 spun at the infamous long right hander, the last corner of the interior course. Pumaaa got held up there and surrendered fifth place to JMOO1. Shadowbounty made a three-wide move work in one of the last left handers of lap 4 and he moved up to seventh, leaving StuntmanMike24 in eighth and Germany20007 in ninth. Germany20007 overtook StuntmanMike24 for eighth place on lap 5. Behind them, RedlineRacer85 was recovering from his earlier spin, in tenth place. Meanwhile, StuntmanMike24 managed to fight back for eighth and take it away from Germany20007, but it only lasted for a little bit, as StuntmanMike24 made a mistake in the last sector of lap 6 and crashed into the wall; consequently, he retired from the race, as spaggiari in second place started gaining on leader vanPanther, while the field was entering the second half of this breathtaking race.
With 6 laps to go, the gap between the two leaders had stopeed being reduced and the battle for fifth had now fired up. JMOO1 was under pressure from pumaaa and Shadowbounty was ready to join this battle group for fifth as well. VanPanther was keeping his lead safely, spaggiari was second and AGO6 third, with shaun24 in fourth. In the battle for fifth, Shadowbounty made a mistake and lost contact to JMOO1 and pumaaa who were still close. At the same time, shaun24 started gaining time on AGO6 for third place and an attracting podium finish. Shadowbounty was pressurized by Germany20007 for seventh, after his earlier mistake, but he defended his inside line on the first chicane with 3 laps to go. The gaps at the front were pretty much stabilized, but it was obvious that the battle to watch would be for third place, between AGO6 and shaun24. Shaun24 wanted to start a launch at the final lap, but AGO6 seemed to be fast enough to keep the final podium spot. Germany20007 had overtaken Shadowbounty for seventh, but for AGO6 it was a disaster. He crashed into the tyres on the inside part of the last left hander before the oval section, despite not being absolutely under pressure by shaun24. He managed to recover from his spin and finished sixth. VanPanther crossed the line first and won this race, with spaggiari and shaun24 following him onto the podium after the dramatic spin of AGO6 in the final lap. JMOO1 finished fourth and pumaaa fifth. First one outside the top 5 was AGO6 in sixth place and behind him, Germany20007 in seventh and Shadowbounty in eighth. RedlineRacer85 and GriVi completed the top 10. GCortese and StuntmanMike24 were scored as eleventh and twelfth respectively, but they had both quit earlier in the race due to either spinning or crashing.
So, that was it for the Sunday's action and the Simraceway Sunday Race-Off Week 37, congratulations to everyone and many thanks to SRW_Cossacco for organizing the event, NoFearc for streaming the races live, Liam Jenkins for providing live commentary and of course, to every racer for the action that they bring up to surface on the race track!