By: Spencer Neff
April 11, 2020 | 3:10 PM
For the second straight race, Team Penske clinched the top two spots on the podium. With smart fuel strategy, Simon Pagenaud beat teammate Scott McLaughlin by 13.4059 seconds to win the Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway.
Drivers’ Choice Provides Excitement
For Round 3 of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, the venue was designated as a “Drivers’ Choice”. Soon after last week’s race at Barber Motorsports Park, that venue was confirmed to be the virtual iteration of the famed 2-mile oval.
Although the IndyCar Series has not raced at michigan since 2007, the return of MIS was met with praise from across the sport.
Following multiple hectic practice sessions early this week, the intensity was likely to carry over into the 85-lap event.
As the 31-car field began the race, a multi-car crash broke out in the middle of the field behind pole sitter Marcus Ericsson. Among the drivers whose races were ended prematurely in part due to the crash were Oliver Askew, Scott Dixon, Colton Herta and Marco Andretti.
Despite the ominous start, things settled down for the remainder of the afternoon. After a disappointing finish last weekend, Watkins Glen winner Sage Karam battled from ninth to the lead in his Dreyer and Reinbold Racing. Among the many challengers was Team Penske’s Will Power.
Shortly after making his way to the front, Carlin Racing’s Felipe Nasr spun on pit road mid-race.
With cautions at a premium, fuel mileage became the name of the game. As Power and Karam began fading back, several new faces made their way up front.
As the laps dwindled, the Andretti Autosport tandem of Zach Veach and Ryan Hunter-Reay took command of the race. After Kyle Kirkowood ran the first two rounds, Hunter-Reay made his debut in the series. Unfortunately for the duo, the fuel proved not to be enough.
With five laps to go, 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud took hold of the race lead. After stretching his fuel, the 2016 IndyCar Champion became the third winner in as many races.
Following his win at Barber, Scott McLaughlin made it a Team Penske 1-2. In third, NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. made an impressive debut in the series.
We’ve reached the halfway point in the six-race iRacing IndyCar Challenge. Right now, McLaughlin leads Pagenaud and Power by 15 in the points standings. Next Saturday, the fourth round will be held at a venue to be determined.
For the April 18 event, it will be a “Random Draw” for the location. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com and our social media platforms for the latest on. the IndyCar Challenge and the NTT IndyCar Series.
Header Image By Team Penske eSports