Last round we saw the Champ finally find the top step of the podium in 2016, as Taylor Hays bested Sean Fite in the pits to secure his first win of the season, while Fite held on for second, his first career IronMan podium. Rounding out the three boxes was none other than the point leader himself, as Adam Nagao worked up to 3rd overall and his 4th podium of the year.
The penultimate round of the 2016 CalSpeed IronMan championship could be the ultimate round in the title chase, as Adam Nagao looks to seal the deal on the championship tomorrow afternoon. He’ll be looking to back up his win on this same track back in the winter, and with it be crowned champion. He’ll have plenty of competition, as his closest rivals and toughest competitors are all in attendance to make his life difficult, many going for their own hardware and accolades. Will Adam be able to do it? We take a little closer look at the 7th round in the championship, one that is certainly going to be an exciting one!
Round #7; Tecnico…
Round #7 has the IronMan drivers see their first time returning to a track already run on the schedule, having run Tecnico in the second round of the championship. It is not a huge departure from Classico CCW that they ran last month, as everything after Scandi and through Contino onto the back straight is the same. That said, the middle section that is unique to this track holds its own challenges. The Tecnico Hairpin is notorious for catching drivers out on the left foot, followed by the infield sweeper that leads into the fast right-left section up through Scandi, and is also very line specific and on the edge. Aptly named, this place is certainly a driver’s track, and is also deceivingly difficult to complete passes. Indeed there are many times we see drivers make an attempt and get side-by-side, but as one corner spills into the next, they find themselves on the wrong side of the preferred line.
Back in February for round #2, this place hosted a contest between Adam Nagao and Jon Kimbrell, that also saw bits from Sean Fite and Marcin Balazy through the course of the 60-minute race. Fite lead early but would be caught by Nagao, while Kimbrell and Balazy worked together to close the gap. The eventual four driver breakway would then turn to three as Fite would fall off the back, and finally it was down to two as Balazy lost time in the pits and traffic. The mano-e-mano showdown would see Nagao come across the line first, picking up his second career win in the process…
The Overall Championship: Will Nagao clinch his first CalSpeed Overall Title?
Adam Nagao is on the eve of possibly winning his first CalSpeed Championship. Last year’s champ Taylor Hays is his closest rival after six rounds, but with a 48-point lead and no finish worse than 6th this season, Nagao is certainly in the driver’s seat. If he manages to lead a lap then a 4th or better is what he’ll need to do, but if he can get on the podium then he’ll earn a title with his trophy. Aside from that, our number crunchers will be keeping an eye on where everyone is running especially Nagao and Hays; Nagao just needs to keep from losing more than 20 points to his rival tomorrow to clinch it…
For Hays’ part, he has to be going into the event with the same goal as usual: win the race. But if things go sideways for him, he may start to turn his thoughts to securing 2nd from the rest of the chasing pack, as he too has a shot to clinch his spot on the podium. However, unlike Nagao who only has to worry about one driver, Hays has to worry about four, as 3rd through 6th all have a mathematical shot at stealing the second step away. Gaining 20+ points on 3-4, and 10+ on 5-6 will see Hays seal the deal, but that is asking a lot of the racing gods.
The fight for the final podium spot is the one that is wide open, as Spring holds just 2 points over Morse, and is further hounded by Fite, Mark Connell, and Jon Kimbrell for the final piece of hardware. I leave Bravo out as he will be absent from this round, but that is little comfort for anyone looking to take home third. There is a lot of talent in this group, and just about anything can happen. No, the fight for the podium will certainly go down the the final race of the year; the question is, who will have it going in?
Current Overall Standings Top 10 (Drop)
The Summer Championship: Hays brings home Round #2, ties for point lead…
While the Overall Title could be sewn up this weekend, the Summer Series is just heating up, as we enter the third round with a tie for the championship. While Steve Spring led the most laps en-route to the win in the first round, Taylor Hays did the same last month to square things up at 105 a piece. Sean Fite’s second place last round gains a boost by his laps led bonus, leading all drivers in the second half of the season, and he is only one to lead a lap in both round’s 1 and 2 of the Summer Series. The next two in the top five don’t have bonus points to their name to help out in the standings, but they have been very consistent. In fact, if you look at the total points in the Summer Series thus far, Nagao, Morse and Spring all total 180 in their finishes, with the latter the only driver to lead laps of the bunch.
While we won’t see a championship clinched tomorrow, this race will certainly be exciting as it will set the stage for the final title decided in this series…
Current Summer Standings Top 5
Round #7 Provisional Starting Grid