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Updated: May 22, 2021

Speedway, Indiana 2021 marked the Majors Series Ninth Indy 500, and in all 202 drivers competed in six splits.

Although there were plenty of cautions (13 cautions on average), only one of the six race ENDED under caution. In a stat of mind blowing proportions, the race that ended under yellow was only the 5th closest finish at the line! The six races had a margin of victory of just 1.077 seconds... COMBINED!! That, is unreal.


International International Pro / Sport had the most cautions with 20, but most of those were in the first half of the race, when the dust settled the two championship protagonists dueled to the end and Cam Dance just edged Thomas Hinss by .003 seconds which was TIED for the closest finish (get the hell outta town). Cam ended his "losing streak" at ONE and now has five victories on the year (9 all time). In sportsman, Julian Mukhi grabbed his first Majors Series win by finishing 5th in the combined Pro / Sport split.




European Euro Pro had the 2nd most cautions with 18 and also ended under yellow. That said, the race was a heavy weight battle of Indycar Pros all day. Henry Bennett would lead a race high 58 laps before getting swarmed on the final restart and coming home 3rd. Series veteran Riley Thompson kept it clean and was in the mix all race, but he too would get shuffled to 5th in the closing moments. Pete Harrod stayed out of trouble and was opportunistic at the end coming home 4th and in doing so, closed the gap on Tim Claessens to just 2 pts for the Championship. In the end, Tim Matzke would just nose ahead of Thomas Geissler as the yellow light was illuminated, sealing the deal and winning him the Indy 500.


European Sport closed out the race with a long green flag run, (too long for some) and the fuel game didn't go their way. One by one drivers stopped for gas or made an untimely mistake and this all paved the way for Adam Facciponti to claim another victory over Thomas Peterson.


Americas


So far this season Evolv and Forge have been going at it hammer and tongs, in fact the last two races they have literally scored the same points and remain separated by just 6 points on the season. I mention that because in the Indy 500 a different team grabbed the spotlight. Defending team champions Kinetic, locked out the TOP 6 spots in the race (three from team 1 and 3 from team 2) . Even more impressive??? Christian Challiner was not among those six.


The team race has now expanded to three strong as the defenders aren't letting go so easy.


As for the Individual results, Americas Pro was also decided by just .003 seconds with Josh Chin taking his maiden victory in the series, just edging out Jason Brophy. Everyone in the top 5 would cross the line within one second, and 3rd thru 5th were; Andrew Z Wood, Austin Espitee and Liam Quinn.

Americas Sport 1 had perhaps the craziest finishing sequences I have ever seen. A caution came out with 36 laps to go, everyone came down the lane to pack it full, knowing that even just one more caution would be enough to get them home. Ernie Ludwig had a hunch, and took a chance... with 34 laps to go while still under caution, Ludwig decided to come down the lane again and top off the tank.


Fast forward 32 laps and all the other lead lap cars were forced down pit lane, leaving just Ernie and his right foot to try and ease his way home. Those last laps he dialed it back and he dialed it back some more, but it just wasn't enough as he ran dry coming out of four allowing Michael Chinn and Bryson Schutte to catch him, but the drama wasn't over as both Chinn and Schutte had to squeeze between Ludwig and a lapped car to make it to the finish.

Finally, Americas Sport 2, claimed the honor of fewest cautions with only SIX all day. The long green flag runs would separate the field and only two drivers would finish on the lead lap, with Christopher Hickman leading a mammoth 171 laps while holding off Rodger Schank for the victory. Don Dolson would complete the podium as the only car 1 lap down.


Next up... Le Mans for the 100th Race in the Majors history!


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The allure of the Ring is incredibly strong. Everyone wants to master it, everyone wants to conquer it, but really... nobody does. In total 183 drivers took the grid in an attempt to tackle the green hell. Some survived, some, did not. The Gentlemen's Sim Racing Club sweeps sportsman in International. Three classes, three class wins and Brad Klenk, JM Thomas and Jake Manhire hold the top 3 spots in the standings as well. This team in their first season of the Majors has gapped the field nicely with MFR White a distant second.


In International Pro, Cam Dance's reign of terror is over (at least temporarily) as his win streak ends at four. Thomas Hinss and Harald Stadler each claimed class wins and are determined to keep Cam within arms reach.

Euro Sportsman saw; Adam Facciponti, Brian Boomsma and Eric D Feick claim class wins. Adam now has four wins in four starts in his stellar return to the Majors.


Euro Pro the class winner are unsurprisingly also the top 3 in the standings; with Dallas Pataska, Pete Harrod and Tim Claessens leading the way. Each has at least two wins on the young season and it feels already like the Championship is going to be a nail biter.

Americas Sportsman is as close as can be with the top 5 drivers with 6 points! Three of those earned class wins this weekend; Justin Garec, Joey Haynes and Chris Sherburn. The Sportsman team race is equally compelling with (defending champs) Forge leading the way, but with Sector 5, High Class and Vengeance hot on their heels. This battle is going nowhere.


Americas Pro saw Christian Challiner end his two race win drought, but he wasn't able to build up anymore of a lead as 2nd place runner Andrew Waring was able to take a class victory as well. James Walker got the last class win, his first win in the series and it was critical as Forge maintains a slim six point lead on Evolv.





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Nobody said it was going to be easy...


Two hundred and twenty five drivers in seven splits took on the grueling 500 mile race in support of our friend John King. Yes there were cautions, even too many, but the racing was unmarred and quite often it was great.


Here are a few comments from the post race survey... "Had an absolute blast. Would love to see these at new Daytona again or even Talladega." "My favorite Majors race yet" "For me, running the 1987 cars, turn the majors Daytona 500 from yet another iracing Daytona 500 to something special. Something that had me more excited then I have been for a long time for a sim race. Hope like anything that it's run like this in 2021" "Wasnt looking forward to the cars at first but once I had some seat time they were a blast to drive. Took alot of skill to control them good unlike the newer cars."


While the cars were different and the racing was different the outcomes were not so much! In Pro our three regions all saw repeat winners from Round 1. Cam Dance, Tim Claessens and Christian Challiner all notched their 2nd wins in a row and are now 2 for 2 on the season.


2019 Champ, Cam went winless in 2020 and just came up short in the championship, he is altering the formula early this year. Tim Claessens is returning to the series in a big way notching his first 2 Majors wins and significantly bolstering the Grizzly TFR team's chances at a team title. Something they are trying to wrest from rival Bombshell. For Christian winning is nothing new. He now has multiple wins in all four season he has competed and has added to his record total with a historic 25th win. Of those 25, this one might be the most special as a Daytona 500 win has eluded him to this point and of course he was racing with good friend John King on his mind.


Actually, we were all #RacingforJohn. I hope we did him proud.






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