Category Archives: Race Recaps

Japan Recap

The long summer break is over and the SBMRL opened up the league’s 5th season with a cracker of a race in Japan. Before getting to the details of the race, though, it’s always worth taking a few moments to review the changes around the league as far as the teams and drivers go.

The big question of the offseason was whether or not Sprite Racing would be fielding a team again this year. With Whiplash having won the driver’s championship last year and Bubba McQueen finishing in last place, the team only managed a 3rd place finish in the team standings. In the end, the team folded, with Whiplash getting picked up by Regency Motors to replace Sheila Dinkum. Regency Motors, having finished last in the team standings after never losing, was certainly eager to get a quality driver into the fold to help return to glory. Both Scandinavian Blitz and Force Ravenswood return the same lineup for this year.

Filling the void left by Sprite Racing will be Switch Motorsports, who will be racing in the dark blue livery traditionally associated with Red Bull. Mario will be driving with a blue rear wing and dark teal helmet, while Luigi will have a purple rear wing and light blue helmet.

Japan Race

With the offseason changes out of the way… let’s get to the race! Qualifying for SBMRL races normally uses the reverse order of the current season’s league standings, but for the first race, that’s not the case. Instead, qualifying for the first four grid slots was done through dice rolls. The final four slots were filled by reverse order of the teammates in the first four. When all was said and done, Launch Bornado was on pole with the Stig making up the other half of the front row.

P1 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P2 – The Stig (SB)
P3 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P4 – Mario (SM)
P5 – Luigi (SM)
P6 – Whiplash (RM)
P7 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P8 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)

2019 grid, lined up for Suzuka

Former champ, the Stig, got off to a hot start by timing the lights perfectly, getting a quick edge up on Launch right from the get go. The rest of the field found themselves closely packed through turn one and the Esses.

While the Stig was able to get a leg up at the start, Launch was smoother through the Esses and carried more momentum into Degner. That allowed Launch to get far enough ahead to be at the hairpin when the Stig was only just working his way through Degner. As he moved on from there, the rest of the field clashed at the spot he had just vacated, with 6 cars all wheel to wheel through the corner.

The pack fights for position

Over the first laps final sector, Launch pulled away from everyone in 130R. The Stig wasn’t able to handle Spoon cleanly, and that allowed Mario, Whiplash, and Delilah to all catch up with him. Mario, the Stig, and Whiplash all had the pace to keep ahead of the others and found themselves neck and neck in the chicane while Launch pitted for new tires.

The Stig’s brakes, however, had been heavily abused over the first lap and he wasn’t able to rely on them coming out of the corner. Instead, he found himself spinning on the pit straight rather than diving for fresh rubber.

The Stig spins out and misses the pits

The spinout lost the Stig enough time that Jaap, who opted not to pit, was able to pass him on the pit straight. Jaap’s new teammate, Whiplash, was able to get out of the pits quickly and establish himself in 2nd place early on the second lap, but Mario and Jaap weren’t far back. Behind them, Delilah had caught the Stig while Luigi closed in. Rask was well back at this point, pitting well behind the rest of the field.

Launch’s clean first lap was a distant memory as he began to struggle in the second sector on lap 2. He couldn’t find the right rhytm in Degner or the hairpin, which was something that both Mario and Whiplash did. Both challengers then passed Launch on the way into Spoon, and Jaap was closing in as well.

Bird’s eye view of Mario and Whiplash getting to Spoon before Launch

At this point, the Stig and Delilah were running in 5th and 6th, respectively, with Luigi close, but Rask a long way back. We’ll come back to them in a minute, but for now, Mario and Whiplash were in a drag race through 130R on their drive to the chicane and the victory.

Mario found the power he needed while Whiplash got the braking all wrong. While Launch was able to get close to Whiplash, neither could catch Mario who would win in his first time out.

Mario takes the win

While Whiplash was able to hold off Launch, and Jaap nearly reeled him in for 3rd place, but in the end, Launch got his podium with Jaap just behind.

The first four finishers were well ahead of the second half of the pack, and a large part of that was their inability to replicate the skilled driving of the others. None of the Stig, Delilah, or Luigi were able to make the run from the hairpin to Spoon smoothly. As a result, Rask was able to make up a lot of lost ground.

Slow out of Spoon, as Rask tries to catch up

Delilah was the car to charge forward out of this group, and Rask made his move at 130R to pass his teammate and Luigi. They ended up finishing 5th and 6th. While many observing were wondering if the Stig would even finish the race, he fought bravely through the second lap. Unfortunately, Luigi passed him at the final corner and he came in a distant last.

Delilah holds off Rask, while the Stig is about to be passed

Final Results

Mario (SM)441
Whiplash (RM)622
Launch Bornado (FR)113
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)334
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)865
Rask Sjofar (SB)786
Luigi (SM)577
The Stig (SB)258

Mario’s win on debut makes it two straight years that we’ve had a rookie win their first race, with Rask winning at Road America last September.

Whiplash didn’t finish in 2nd place at all last year en route to winning the driver’s title, but it’s his 9th podium and best first race of a season that he’s had. Launch’s podium is his 18th, as the SBMRL’s career podium leader extended his lead over Jaap.

At a team level, Mario’s win was enough to give Switch Motorsports a 1 point lead over Regency Motors after they put two cars in the top 4. Force Ravenswood isn’t far back, but Scandinavian Blitz is an early hole with less than half the points of any of their rivals.

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Barcelona Recap

A beautiful day welcomed the SBMRL to the Circuit de Catalunya for the final race of the 2018-19 season. After 9 months of racing the season’s champions were soon to be decided with one final race for glory. For one final time, the SBMRL grid lined up as follows:

P1 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P4 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P5 – The Stig (SB)
P6 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P7 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)

The cars lined up and the lights went out and all but one car came off the line cleanly. Jaap found himself sitting still on the grid as the rest of the field began their race around him. He quickly found gear, but not before Delilah and Whiplash put him squarely in last place.

At the front of the field, Sheila, Launch, and Rask moved to the front of the pack as Bubba dropped back. The first sector saw the three front runners battling back and forth until Launch and Rask pulled out a narrow edge over Sheila’s yellow Regency Motors car. The real mover and shaker, though, was Whiplash. The season’s top driver continued to show the form that put him in the driver standings lead, charging past Delilah and Bubba to get in the fight for 4th place with the Stig.

Launch in the lead, Whiplash up to 4th

The Stig, feeling the charge, stepped up his race in the second sector. He caught up with Sheila and left Whiplash behind in his quest for 3rd place. With Rask at the front in a duel with Launch, Scandinavian Blitz was looking quite racy.

Rask leading in the third sector

At the very back of the field, the trio of Bubba, Delilah, and Jaap struggled along. Jaap, who’s season had been on the upswing after three straight second place finishes, looked spent. However, it was Bubba who would soon find himself out of the race. Pushing hard around the final corner of the first lap, he heard a pop and his engine had gone. Just like that, a second straight DNF to finish the year.

By this point, the front runners were already into their second lap, but to rewind for a moment, as Delilah and Rask came around the final corner, Delilah had a slight edge. In an effort to keep ahead of her rival, she skipped the pits and drove on down the straight, while Rask opted for fresh rubber.

The Scandinavian Blitz pit crew was up to the challenge, and Delilah wasn’t even into the first corner when Rask was coming out of pit lane. At the same time, Sheila and the Stig were heading in, with Whiplash trailing them.

Launch up front, but Rask is already out of the pits

Rask caught Delilah in short order, and found the fresh set of tires was more than up to the task of pulling away from her in the first sector. The Stig came out of the pits in 3rd place, and Whiplash caught up with Sheila at the first corner to round out the midfield. Jaap and Delilah puttered along at the rear.

As had been the case for most of the race, there were never any real challengers to Rask and Launch up front. Unlike the first lap, the two front runners lost touch with each other and Launch wasn’t able to mount any additional challenges to Rask. The two had rather uneventful drive to the finish line.

Rask starts to pull away

The Stig’s hold on 3rd place was a bit more tenuous, and it begins with the battle for 4th. As the midfield began the second lap, the Stig was ahead when Sheila was caught up by Whiplash. This arrangement, the Stig in front with Sheila and Whiplash fighting each other would last through the first sector until Wurth. It was there that Whiplash got the Stig within reach, and there that Sheila lost touch with both of them.

The Stig and Whiplash get distance from Sheila

What none of them fully gathered, was that behind them, Delilah was charging. The corner after Wurth is Campsa, and while Whiplash struggled here, Delilah caught him and Sheila. In fact, Delilah was charging with such speed and skill that she soon found herself in front of not just Sheila and Whiplash, but the Stig as well.

As a brief aside, Jaap’s exploits on the second lap are best left to the simple assertion that he did finish the race. The less said about his efforts to get there, the better.

The third sector, then was all that remained in the season for the four cars still hoping to claim 3rd place. Having seen Delilah’s aggression in the second sector, the Stig proceeded to tackle the third sector in kind. He charged through Banc Sabadell to get ahead of the group.

Launch rounds the final corner as the Stig, Sheila, and Delilah jockey for position

Delilah moved in front again in Europcar, with the Stig and Sheila each just a car length back. Whiplash had faded, leaving just these three to fight it out. As they rounded New Holland, the final corner, Delilah was ahead by just a nose over the Stig. Sheila was right there with them, and it would be a drag race to the finish.

The fight for 3rd place!

That drag race would see the Stig pass Delilah on the pit straight to put two Scandinavian Blitz cars on the podium for the second time this year. Sheila carried speed down the straight as well, but Delilah was ahead by just enough to pip her for 4th.

Final Results

Rask Sjofar (SB)421
Launch Bornado (FR)212
The Stig (SB)543
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)764
Sheila Dinkum (RM)135
Whiplash (SR)856
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)677
Bubba McQueen (SR)388, dnf

Rask’s victory gives him bookend wins on the year, having taken the season opener at Road America. After struggling through the middle part of the season, it’s a nice way to end it and leaves him 3rd in the driver standings, ahead of his more experienced teammate.

Launch’s podium extends his SBMRL record to 17, now two ahead of Jaap. It’s only his 3rd of the season and his best finish this year, in what can only be described as a bit of a disappointing year. He finished down in 6th place, the first time he’s not been in the top 3.

The Stig edging out Delilah for third means that he gets his fourth podium of the year. However, there are much bigger implications as well. With Whiplash’s poor showing in the race, finishing in 6th place, Delilah ended up just 1 point shy of taking home the driver’s championship. Had she edged out the Stig for the final podium spot, she’d have won it. Instead, Whiplash backs into the win.

The Stig and Delilah’s finish also determined the team championship. By earning 3 more points for the race, Scandinavian Blitz won the title over Force Ravensood by those same 3 points.

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Watkins Glen Recap

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.

Wheel to wheel in pursuit of Sheila

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.

The Stig crashes Bubba and Rask’s party

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.

Delilah about to leave Bubba behind

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.

Coming through the Esses

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.

Launch ends Bubba’s 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.

Sheila gets ahead to take 4th place

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.

Final Results

Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)742
Rask Sjofar (SB)353
Sheila Dinkum (RM)174
The Stig (SB)
Launch Bornado (FR)
Whiplash (SR)
Bubba McQueen (SR)
428, 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.

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