Team Oppo returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this time in a much larger and slower Chevrolet SS than the nimble Indycar of May.
Last time we checked in on Team Oppo we nearly won the iRacing Indianapolis 500. Saturday, Team Oppo was back on the track this time for the iRacing Brickyard 400.
The iRacing Brickyard 400 is part of the NASCAR iRacing Series which follows the NASCAR schedule. Most races are 50% distance, but 4 races of the year are full 100% length; the Daytona 500, Coca Cola 600, Brickyard 400, and the fall Talladega 400.
Rolling into the track Team Oppo was dealt a heavy hand. Ranked 32 out of 36 cars I looked through the field a noticed names I had seen before....
Yeah, 2 World Championship drivers and several other drivers able to qualify for Pro. This was going to a challenge.
Practice supported that. The World Championship drivers were running over a second faster than I could. I knew that on the long run I would be better, but were we going to get there.
I decided not to qualify. I was ranked 32 of 36 cars and with the class of the field that I was in, I knew that it would be better to crawl from the back rather than be a rolling chicane.
The race began and the field pulled away. Whether it was nerves or lack of talent, I just couldn’t get into a rhythm. At one point we were 1.5 seconds behind the rest of the field. Then as the tires wore on, we started catching them up.
Unfortunately we never got to see the fruition of the strategy as the caution came out. Bantor under caution began and we learned that our tire wear was far superior to our competition thanks to my lack of talent.
Like our Indy 500, the strategy was to hang out back and try to pick and claw our way to the front using strategy. Then I screwed up...
It just wouldn’t be a Team Oppo event with bwp240 without screwing up at least one thing. In the 500 it was fuel strategy, in this one it was kissing another car.
I saw the 16 slide across the grass and toward the track. I tried to dive underneath but the car jumped right on the rumble strips and hit the spun car in the RF. Upon seeing the replay, I made a stupid decision.
The damage seemed rather light. It was about 3 minutes of pit repair and the car was fixed; however, it was permantly broken. Whatever was hit damaged the engine and aero and the car was down on power on the straightaway. We were losing about 1 second per lap which mean it was about 45 laps before the leader would catch us an put us a lap down.
Thankfully there were very few cars 1 lap down, which means even if we had lost a lap, we would still have a chance albeit a small one.
To speed this up, I am going to say laps were run, pits stops were made, and miles were clocked.
Let’s rejoin the action with 6 laps to go. After running 25th all race, a combination of competitor problems, attrition, and dumb luck results in us sitting in 13th place. I knew the task ahead was going to be really difficult.
Of we go sailing into Turn 1 blocking our competitors behind us. Sure, we would have lost out on the straightaway, we were doing good in the corners. Besides it was 5 Laps to go. There is no giving up now. Then some cars ahead touched.
The track was launched into chaos. What was once forward is suddenly spinning as I was clipped in the right rear. One pirouette later and we were pointed in the right direction. After the dust settled we found ourselves in 6th place.
It was a 1 lap shootout to the finish. The flag was dropped, we held our own and came home in 7th place.
There are 3 things that help drivers do well in motor races speed, strategy, and attrition. This one was definitely a battle of attrition. The car was knocked out of a win just past the quarter distance mark in the race. However, Team Oppo never gave up and salvaged a excellent finish in one of the hardest splits on iRacing.