The penultimate race of the 2018-19 season took place in upstate New York at Watkins Glen. A first time visit from the SBMRL meant that there was some question over how the race would play out. The first order of business was determining the track configuration, and the league decided to include both the Inner Loop chicane and the Boot.
The grid lined up as follows:
P1 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – The Stig (SB)
P6 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P7 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)
Bubba had a fast start with the rest of the field getting off the line cleanly, but soon found himself bumping into other cars as he jockeyed for position. The front four fought wheel to wheel through the first few corners until Sheila was able to pull ahead slightly. As she did so, the back half was right on their tails with the lone exception of Jaap.
The Inner Loop chicane was where Bubba and Rask caught up with Sheila again, and the three of them battled back and forth throughout the second sector. Delilah and the Stig also started to make a move on Launch, with Whiplash and Jaap falling behind the others.
Into the Boot they went, with Sheila finding herself unable to keep up with Bubba and Rask. The Force Ravenswood pair continued to push, and caught up with Sheila at the Toe. The Stig, meanwhile, found his car responsive and flew down the sole of the Boot with such speed that he caught up with the front runners at the Heel.
Delilah wasn’t far behind, making a move of her own at the Heel. She managed to get by both red cars and take the fight directly to Bubba. Like Stig in the Boot, Delilah found speed through the final two corners and then flew down the pit straight.
Jaap was the other big mover in the third sector. He pulled off a similar feat to the Stig’s and earned a few places as a result. The difference was that the Stig went through the third sector slowly while Jaap pulled off the same feat that Delilah did, flying down the pit straight. In the span of half a lap, Jaap went from last to second.
Despite getting passed by several cars while pitting, Launch was able to catch up with them shortly. Delilah was in the lead, with Jaap in a solid second place, but behind them, Launch, the Stig, Rask, and Bubba all pursued.
As the field came out of the Esses and into the back straight, a few drivers were able to change things up. First was Rask, who found enough speed on the straight to catch Jaap at the Inner Loop. The other driver to make a strong move was Whiplash, who hit the Esses just right and was up to fourth place after the straight.
Delilah was able to pull away in the second sector, putting a couple of corners between herself and the battle for second place. Jaap and Rask fought back and forth through the Boot with neither able to get an advantage, while Whiplash settled into 4th place. His teammate, Bubba, was less fortunate. Having fallen to the back of the pack, he made a hard charge through the chicane and was heading through the Outer Loop when Launch bumped him. The collision was enough to know Bubba out of the race.
Delilah continued her charge through the third sector and no one would get close as she easily took home her second win of the season. Jaap and Rask fought neck and neck until the final corner, where Jaap was able to take advantage of fresher tires and pull away.
The other four cars were well behind Rask, led by Launch and Whiplash. The Stig and Sheila were right behind them, however, and just like in the battle between Jaap and Rask, the final order would come down largely to tire freshness. Sheila, having pitted for new rubber, was able to take the most advantage, followed by the Stig.
While Whiplash was able to come out of the corner ahead of Launch, his engine wouldn’t respond to the need for speed. This allowed Launch to finish just ahead of him in 6th place.
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||6||1||1|
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||7||4||2|
|Rask Sjofar (SB)||3||5||3|
|Sheila Dinkum (RM)||1||7||4|
|The Stig (SB)||5||3||5|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||2||6||6|
|Bubba McQueen (SR)||4||2||8, def|
Delilah’s victory is her second in three races and the second of the year for Force Ravenswood. It’s her fourth podium of the year and puts her just 5 points behind Whiplash for the driver championship lead.
Jaap’s second place finish makes it 3 consecutive runner-ups for him and 5 podiums on the year. He sits 7 points back of Delilah. Rask’s 3rd place finish moves him up to 5th place in the driver standings. He has 3 podiums this year, with one appearance on each step.
Bubba’s DNF means that he’s now in danger of finishing last, a position currently held jointly by Launch and Sheila.
At a team level Sprite Racing couldn’t have had a worse result. They had a very healthy lead that has now dwindled to 10 points over Force Ravenswood. Largely propelled by Delilah’s strong form of late, the white, green, and orange cars sit 7 points ahead of Scandinavian Blitz and Regency Motors, who are tied.