This week the NTT Indycar Series headed to Twin Wing Motegi for the next instalment of the Indycar eSeries. All eyes were on Supercar’s star Scott Mclaughlin coming off a win and a 2nd place finish in the last two rounds.
Other drivers to watch were Kyle Busch who has left his Toyota Camry for a brief period to jump aboard the Dallara IR18 along with the usual suspects such as Pagenaud, Power, Rossi, Karam amongst others.
The race promised to be good after Mclaughlin took out the practice race a few days prior. While it was set to be a one-way street through T1 and T2 it would then come alive at the opposite end of the track as there were 2, sometimes 3 viable grooves heading through T3 and T4 making for some great passing opportunities.
As the green flag dropped on Twin Ring Motegi, Wickens led the field away from Power who looked aggressive on Lap 1 of 133. As the field ran down the backstretch on Lap 3 lead by Harvey, Wickens and Power collided sending Wickens barreling down the pack. Unfortunately for Chilton, he was the unlucky part in this altercation as Wickens checked up in front of him resulting in him being turned from behind.
On Lap 4, the first caution was called after a multi-car pileup on the backstretch. Askew took the green and the field quickly become a single file as they settled in for the Firestone 175.
As the laps ticked by it become apparent who the front runners were as Power, Harvey and Dixon battled it ou with Mclaughlin in pursuit. On Lap 42 the first round of green flagged stops began. Mclaughlin was the first to blink in the front trio on Lap 48. Power and Dixon stayed out till Lap 52 proving strategy was already at play with only 61 laps remaining in the Firestone 175. By Lap 57 the round of pitstop had been completed and order was restored at the front, the only change, Mclaughlin had now jumped Dixon and was up to second.
Mclaughlin looked strong early in the run but began to lose tires as Dixon, now in second, closed back in on Power coming into the last quarter of the race. With 39 to go Dixon made his move on Power for the lead into T3. Power responded strongly as the pair diced for position for the next couple of laps.
With 30 to go the last round of green flag pitstops started. This wouldn’t prove to have any great significance as the field remained where they were. With 10 to go Power and Mclaughlin were battling hard for the lead. Going into T3, the lapped car of Askew tried to unlap himself as Power and Mclaughlin were side by side, Askew slide up the track and took out both leader, effectively ruining both of there races.
Power stayed out with damage as McLaughlin pitted. Power then defended extremely hard for Team Penske teammate Pagenaud as he attempted to overtake Power for the lead making contact multiple times. While this was playing out at the front, it was letting Dixon, P3, reel in the leaders as the finish came ever closer.
With 6 to go Power had lost contact with the leaders as Pagenaud and Dixon were to decide the win amongst themselves. With 1 to go Dixon lunged to the inside through T1 coming extremely close to touching Pagenauds left rear. This hurt Dixons run onto the back straight handing the win to Simon Pagenaud who took the checkers after a thrilling 113 laps at Twin Ring Motegi. The top 5 at the finish were as follows, Pagenaud, Dixon, Power, Erricson, and Wickens who recovered from the early incident.
Round 4 of the INDYCAR @iRacing Challenge did not dissapoint. Highlights from Saturday’s Firestone 175 at virtual Twin Ring Motegi available now. #INDYCAR // #INDYCARChallenge@FirestoneRacing // @motegi_english pic.twitter.com/9oVDTRxfUU
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) April 19, 2020