For the first time since March, the CalSpeed Ironman Series headed back in the forward direction, and for the first time this year, took on a repeat layout. This time, Nuotivo welcomed the full field of 30 IronMan drivers, and with a near full invert from round #6, the blend of fast sweeping corners and hard braking zones made for some interesting racing…
Denis Shakovski would lead the field away for the start of the 60 minute contest, his shot at the pole spot making it the seventh different driver in as many races to give it a go. Unlike some of the prior pole sitters however, Shakhovski would make his beneficial starting position count, holding on to the top spot for 10 laps before finally losing the lead to Chris Fox, who unfortunately would see an unscheduled stop see him slip down the order a little shortly thereafter.
With the exodus of Fox, Sean Fite would slip into the lead, and from there would be the controlling force through the next half hour, leading all the way until just past the 40-minute mark. Unlike what is typically the case, it was not actually pit stops that would see him relinquish the lead, but instead would be a charging Evan Karp coming up to steal it away, clocking fast lap in the process. Elsewhere however, the strategies differed on how to get to the front…
Starting mid pack, the Demoss pair of Max and title contender Ayrton would be the first to duck down pit lane, electing to jump in right from the start and attempt to leapfrog as the rest came in. Round #6 co-winner Evan Lawrence aimed to join them, by a pit lane penalty followed by a blend penalty after eliminated any hopes he had of back-to-back hardware. They would get linked up with fellow hardware contender Sam Hunt on lap 4, but by about a third distance, it became apparent that wasn’t the strategy to go with, as Diego Morales would exit the pits in front of them, having started a few spots astern.
Back out front the Karp/Fite duo knocked down quick laps at the front, but only for a few as Karp with give up the spot only four circuits after getting it, ducking down pit lane with bonus points in hand. Fite would follow suit just four laps later as well, handing over the lead to another driver who marched through the field, Chase Nickells. Fite had benefitted from a top 10 starting spot, with Karp and Nickells working up from 15th and 17th starting spots respectively. And while Karp was content with heading in, Nickells went the opposite way of the strategy, staying out until the final five minutes.
It turned out to be the right call; Karp and Fite both lost drafting partners with the earlier pit, and worse, had to start fighting with other traffic, while Nickells clicked off solid lap after solid lap out front. The difference? He not only ate up the 2.5 seconds he was down prior to the leaders pitting, he came out more than 3 seconds ahead when all stops were settled. It was one of the strongest leap frogs for the win ever in the series, earning Chase Nickells his first career win, with Evan Karp settling for 2nd after a leapfrog of his own late over Sean Fite who settled for 3rd.
Round #8 of the CalSpeed IronMan Series is already sold out, and will kick off the Sunday portion of the Classico Grand Prix Weekend, SUNDAY August 15th!
IronMan Series Round #7 Top 10 Results
- Chase Nickells
- Evan Karp
- Sean Fite
- Jose da Silva
- Alyssa Yauney
- Chris Fox
- Diego Morales
- Diego Alvarado
- Dmitry Korotkov
- Paulo Franca