Jonathan Greenberg has had no shortage of highs so far this season. Ahem. But he’s also been no stranger to lows. At Lime Rock Park he accidentally collected the rear of Hayden Szuch‘s car. At Laguna Seca he spun out of the lead of the race at the Andretti hairpin. But this week, at Tsukuba, he came out, enthusiastically, on top.
Some might say the real story of this race is Chukwuma “Chuma” Onubogu’s furious rise to the podium at Tsukuba, delivering on his pre-season promise to keep his head down, make laps, and bag points. The Stewards have taken note of Chuma’s perseverance with great satisfaction.
Day Sabotaged by a Beverage in Heat 1
It was Michael Day who qualified fastest, putting himself just .062 faster than Greenberg in the same car. Day and Greenberg battled all race long for the win in Heat 1, but just as the white flag was flying Day coasted to a stop on the front straight, leaving a puzzled Greenberg free to gallop to the win.
So why did Day stop? He revealed in a post-race statement that he was defeated in heat 1 by his own beverage.
Said Day, “I drank a sip of beer on the straight, set the bottle down, and it just started overflowing. I guess the tap on the bottom made it fizz…” Day managed to salvage a second place finish in heat 1, but denies the suggestion that he purposely sandbagged to avoid the Solstice.
Series points leader Ryan Flannery also suffered in heat 1, racking up two pit lane penalties on Lap 5 which saw him plummet to the bottom of the results.
Carter Kundinger fared slightly better in heat 1, though he qualified a full minute off the pace in the Solstice, but that might have been because he chose to complete his qualifying lap in reverse.
If you were wondering whether you can do a qualifying lap in reverse in iRacing and have it count, the answer is, “yes.”
Heat 2, The Heatening
In the reverse-grid madness of heat 2, Greenberg and Day once again battled to the lead of the pack, with Kundinger and Flannery dropping through the field like stones. In Flannery’s case, that was largely due to getting punted off track by Scott Lovett’s car in turn 1. They took Hayden Szuch with them off track as well.
By the end of Heat 2, cars on track all looked like partially crushed soda cans, with Skip Barber drivers rebounding off Patrick Wilmot‘s MX5 like tennis balls off a tank. Benjamin Warren gave Wilmot’s car a nudge on lap 14 that sent Wilmot pointing the wrong direction.
Onubogu also had a little coming together with Fred Hazelton’s MX5 which cost them both time.
In the end, it was once again Greenberg on the top step, followed by Day, and a solid performance by Thor Tulloh.
Standings and Full Replay