Tecnico played host to the penultimate round in the Ironman championship, and from a spectators point of view, was one of the most exciting races we’d seen all year. The ebb and flow of the race from come-rs and goers, and the varying strategy’s, made for a very interesting event. The twists didn’t end on track either, as the race would end up being decided at the scales, with Adam Nagao coming up just short, awarding the win to Jon Kimbrell for the second round in a row. David Kelmenson would pick up second after holding off the challenge from Taylor Hays, whose podium finish saw him secure his first ever CalSpeed IronMan Championship.
When the green flag flies for tomorrow’s final round in the 2015 campaign, drivers will once again head off in the counter clockwise direction and through ‘Bypass’, but the next corner they come to will be Short Beach for the first time this year. Grande Counter Clockwise offers up a great mix of high speed, but also hard braking zones; drafting and working together will be just as important as well timed passes.
And though the overall title has been decided, the fight for the rest of the overall podium, as well as the Summer Sub-Championship is still yet to be decided. The final round for the Ironman Series is sure to be an exciting one, and the twists to the story have started even before the start to the race…
The Overall Championship: Connell looks good for 2nd; fight for 3rd has opened up…
Taylor Hays earned his first championship last round, and with his strong run, Mark Connell also looks to have all-but secured P2; his 40 point advantage on 3rd place means he must have a throw away race, and Steve Spring must win. Either way, Connell will be bring home hardware, as he is mathematically locked into the top three.
What is far from decided or locked in is the third position, although the aforementioned Spring does have the advantage in this fight. A twenty point lead over fourth is strong, but given the fact he doesn’t have a strong throw away to fall back on, the possible threats to his second career podium run in this series in definitely in jeopardy.
Tied for 4th and posing the biggest threat to Spring are Charles Eichlin and Chris Huerta, two drivers that have been able to run at the sharp end of the field all season long. Eichlin had a pair of podiums to kick off the year, but hasn’t been able to find that magic since. For Huerta, he has only finished outside the top 7 once in the past seven rounds, with a pair of fourths included in the tally. All three have what it takes to score the win (something Spring did in the season opener), it will just be about putting it all together.
And the way the math works out, 3rd could actually get snagged from much further back in the standings, but a lot of things will need to happen for it not to be one of the three drivers just mentioned. Still, we’ll have our calculators at the ready just in case…
Top 10 Overall Standings:
|6||Jose da Silva||427||50|
The Summer Championship: More questions than answers heading into the Finale…
This championship already has two eyebrow raising twists to it:
1) Point leader and winner of the past two rounds Jon Kimbrell is not on the entry list.
2) Nor is 2nd place in the standings as well as Winter and Overall Champion Taylor Hays
The way the math works out on this one, the title was going to go to one of the top three only going in, but now it is squarely on the shoulders of third place runner, Sergio Bravo; who IS on the entry list. What it all boils down to here is Hays’ throw out race, which is a 3rd place finish, and what he will keep after tomorrow given he is not on the entry list. This spells out what needs to happen for Bravo to win the Summer Championship: He must at least either finish third with the most laps led, or finish second or better; essentially he must score 95 points or more. Needless to say, the ball is in Bravo’s court…
Top 5 Summer Standings:
Round #8 Story lines…
Not having two of the biggest names in the series entered is certainly the biggest storyline, especially with the Summer Championship implications. But besides that, and the podium fight in the Overall Championship, we have a couple other things to keep an eye on.
Firstly is the track; Grande CCW has been in place all week, but the conditions are far from ideal. The horseshoe section has not been used since June, while other sections of the track haven’t been used in over a month. The lack of grip will throw a curveball at the drivers to be sure, and we could see a little more importance given to kart adaptation this weekend, especially in corners like the rarely used Short Beach.
Next is pole sitter Adam Nagao, who is in a really good starting position to do the deed he missed last round, and that’s pickup that first IronMan win. Being light at the scales killed what was an awesome day, and he will certainly have a fire lit under him once the green flag flies.
Provisional Starting Order:
|Driver||Rd 7 Finish||Rd 8 Start|
|Jose da Silva||13||13|
|Don Diego Veloria||N/A||29|