By Max Davies
The revered 5-time Formula One World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio said it best back in the 1950s when he declared that among his many tools, the overriding ones were speed and consistency. The latter being a simple tactic that has been employed by all of his contemporaries like IndyCar multiple champion Scott Dixon. Similarly, it is one that all aspiring drivers should adhere to - be it virtual or real-life: “To be first, first you must finish…”.
If ever a ‘dip-in-the-ocean’ comment summed up the shenanigans of the current Dark Horse IndyCar iRacing Series for its two title contenders heading into the final round Joe McAdory and Charles Teed, this is it.
There have been 8 races to date and with seven different winners, the key to the success of the #4 and #27 pilots respectively has been - aside from their natural speed, their total focus on consistency. For although each has only won once, both have posted podium finishes repeatedly whilst the form of their rivals have fluctuated like the cold barren waters of the Alaaskan Bering Sea.
Tomorrow, these two giants of the series who are separated by a mere 11 points, will contest the 9th and final race of the inaugural series with over fifteen other iRacing lunatics in the captivating, bucking bronco-style DW12 IndyCars around the superbowl of speed that is the Chicagoland Speedway for 100 laps.
With close pack racing and lap speeds in excess of 220mph, these single seater monsters make their stock car cousins of NASCAR look more like Driving Miss Daisy driving down Route 66 in an old Model T Ford back in the early 1900s. There is no debate, they are difficult to drive in traffic, there is no room for error and while mistakes are punished with a visit to the outside walls, patience and timing will often win the day - just ask McAdory or Teed…
Heading into the final race, both men are determined to win the title but after connection problems robbed him of a decent finish last time out in Michigan around the 2 mile Superspeedway, McAdory (Currently second in the series standings) is aiming to finish on a high and hope lady luck decides to have her final dance of the season with him instead of Teed.
“It’s been a fun season full of ups and downs, triumphs and frustrations, changes and adaptations” declared McAdory. “Thursday, I expect to start in the rear, per my early conservative strategy, avoid early accidents, then move to the front. I’m not racing for a good finish. I’m racing to win.
Like McAdory is towards him in every race, Teed is also complimentary of his rival but confident that having the lead in points heading into the final round, using the same tactics he has employed all season long will see him win the day.
“From very early in the season, I became very focused on McAdory,” Teed says. “He’s always there at the finish and forced me to modify how I run my race. This week I expect him to be there again and I will be racing very hard to stay with him. He’s a hell of a good driver.”
Who will ultimately claim the title come Thursday evening? It is clearly 50/50 and can you expect it any other way given how the season has gone so far? No you can not.
Can you expect plenty of white knuckle, bite your fingernails to the bone, hard-core racing? You bet you can.
Of course, only one will claim the championship but you can rest assured that no matter who that may be, the ultimate winner has been the Dark Horse IndyCar Series and all the drivers competing.
The sense of community and subsequent advice/assistance to rookies, respectfulness and general camaraderie is second to none and that is nothing to say of its professionalism. This is a league that will continue to grow from strength to strength and with Season 2 only round the corner, there is much to look forward to.
But first, to Chicago IL, and a date with destiny for either Teed or McAdory…