In a dominant performance, Powerslide Motorsports’ Hugo Olsson won the Open-Wheels 500 Mile Race presented by Mitchell Transmissions on Sunday.
Finishing 1.857 seconds ahead of teammate Adam Blocker, Olsson joined 2019 pole sitter Yang Ou as the only Scandinavian club winners of a major iRacing Indianapolis 500 race.
After four cautions early on – double the amount from last year’s inaugural running – the race saw an extended green flag run to end the 200-lap event, with just 12 total laps being run under caution.
The 33-car field was led to the green by Apex Racing team with I5G and Broken Aero driver (and 2019 race winner) Michele Costantini.
Into Turn 1 on the second lap, Brazilian driver Wilson Neto mounted a challenge to Costantini for the lead. From there, the top two continued their battle for the lead.
On Lap 6, the first caution of the day came out as Tim Doyle and Andreas Eik collided on the front straightaway, with Eik tumbling down the pit lane. Both drivers’ days had come to an early conclusion.
Under green flag conditions once again, Costantini and teammate Christopher Demerritt scooted away from Neto – until the second caution period of the day slowed the race’s progress. Further back in the back, Henry Bennett and Chad Simpson crashed on on the front straightaway, with Ou getting collected as well.
After review from the stewards, it was determined that netcode was the leading factor that contributed to the accident.
Following the Lap 33 restart, Olsson had found his way to the front. Once the sequence of green flag pit stops were completed, Costantini was back out front of the field to lead contenders Olsson, Demeritt, and Blocker.
During this time, the race continued under green until Dakota Dicienzo crashed in Turn 1 on Lap 74, knocking the Total Downforce with Team Talent Racing driver out of the race. Upon further review, it appeared that netcode interference with Iconic Motorsports’ Logan Simmons was the cause of the contact with DiCienzo.
Although Costantini led the field off pit road during the ensuing pit stops, Marco Brasil inherited the lead after staying out on old tires. It would be a decision that later thwarted the chances of both Brasil and another contender – Demeritt.
On ensuing restart, Brasil struggled mightily with the rest of the field on fresh tires. He managed to survive the first lap under green flag conditions, but slid up the track in Turn 2 on the second lap and made contact with Demeritt’s No. 144 Honda. It put the New Jersey driver in the wall – ending his day – while Brasil would be assessed a 30-second stop-and-hold penalty on the next green flag as a result of avoidable contact.
After the Brasil-Demeritt incident, the race wouldn’t see another caution period – which meant plenty of green flag pit stops and runs through lapped traffic would likely determine the result of the race.
While making his Lap 111 pit stop, Olson missed his pit stall to hand the lead back to Costantini. Fortunes would be reversed on the next green flag pit cycle, though.
During his Lap 142 pit stop, Costantini made contact with Oliver Silva at the entry to pit lane, sending Silva spinning while the Italian driver tried to maintain control of his car. As a result of the contact, Costantini was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact – in addition to his pit lane speeding penalty.
That signaled an end to Costantini’s bid for a second consecutive victory in the Open-Wheels 500’s two-year history.
From there, it was Olsson who executed the final two pit stops while holding off his teammate to take home the victory.
After starting 30th and finishing 31st last year – completing just 78 laps as an independent racer – Olsson earned his first major 500-mile race victory on iRacing.
This concludes an exciting month of November and the 2020 Open-Wheels 500 presented by Mitchell Transmissions. Thank You to all our sponsors and supporters for your part in making this event a special one – particularly Mitchell Transmissions, the Majors Series and Majors Garage, Pit Lane Parley, RaceSpot TV, and all of the competitors who made the second edition of this event even better than the first.
Onward to 2021!