Texas has a reputation for hot weather, and while it isn’t always hot in October, Austin lived up to that reputation during the SBMRL’s visit. The track hosted the SBMRL for the 5th time, having never had a repeat victor. Switch Motorsport, who took a surprise victory in their first ever SBMRL race to start the year, was looking to continue that form and keep the track’s history of having a new driver atop the podium alive.
With just one race in the books, the grid lined up as follows:
P1 – The Stig (SB)
P2 – Luigi (SM)
P3 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P4 – Whiplash (RM)
P5 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P6 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P7 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P8 – Mario (SM)
A clean start saw the field heading uphill to the blind left at the end of the pit straight. The field bunched up quickly, with Luigi and Jaap leading everyone through Turn 2.
Launch would join Luigi and Jaap at the front as the three pulled slightly ahead. At the back, Mario was struggling to keep up with the rest of the field, who had nothing to distinguish them.
Down the back straight, Jaap was able to pull slightly head and get a leg up in Turn 6. Behind him, Whiplash and Rask also found speed to burn, joining Launch and Luigi in the battle for second place. Whiplash was forced to back off in Turn 7 as the others were blocking up the corner, and it really threw his drive off for the third sector.
At the front, Jaap had a measured drive through the third sector, operating smoothly and without mistake before diving to the pits for fresh rubber. The same cannot be said for Luigi, who suffered body damage while battling with Launch and Rask in Turn 7. The result was that he fell back to the pack that contained Delilah, the Stig, and Whiplash.
As the field rounded Turn 10 and headed for the pits, Mario was the only car not on the pit straight. Jaap was just coming out of the pits and starting his second lap when everyone but the Stig pitted. Launch’s pit crew was able to give him a jump and he was soon battling his former teammate for the lead. While Rask and Delilah were not far behind, the Stig wasn’t able to find the speed he needed on the pit straight as his gamble did not pay off.
The first sector of the second lap was characterized by a trio of battles. Jaap and Launch at the front, Rask and Delilah for 3rd place, and Whiplash, Luigi, and the Stig fighting for 5th. Mario was just hoping to catch anyone at this point.
While the battle at the front was white hot in the first sector, Launch got through Turn 5 smoothly and then flew down the back straight. Jaap, however, was not to be denied. He flow down the straight like a man on fire and made up a tremendous amount, catching Launch at Turn 6 to ensure that the third sector would truly be a fight.
Mario’s travails at the back of the pack took a bit of a boost when he caught the also-rans around Turn 5, however his engine simply refused to give him the boost he needed down the back straight and he never had much hope of catching anyone as a result. However, the battle for 3rd place took on a whole new dimension when Whiplash and Luigi joined the fun at Turn 6.
Coming out of Turn 7, Jaap edged ahead of Launch for the lead, while both front runners gave everything they had. They continued to push, wearing through tires on every turn. However, it was Jaap who managed to stay just ahead, with a frustrated Launch even clipping the rear of Jaap’s before he finally won the race.
Among the group of challengers, it was Whiplash who was making the most dramatic move. Having run as low as 7th for much of the second lap, he now found himself all the way up in 3rd. Delilah continued to push, while Luigi had red cars in both of his mirrors.
While Delilah strived to keep Whiplash behind her through the final three corners, Luigi was getting passed. First it was the Stig around the outside in Turn 8. Then it was Rask around the inside of Turn 9. Luigi simply didn’t have the pace to hold them off.
The battle for 3rd place would come down to a drag race between Delilah and Whiplash. Delilah was in front coming out of Turn 10, but Whiplash was right behind. Slip streaming behind Delilah toward the finish, Whiplash pulled past with a last second plunge to the right, and crossed just ahead to claim the final podium spot. A pair of similar drag races would take place between the pair of Scandinavian Blitz drivers for 5th and 6th as well as the pair of Switch Motorsports drivers for the final two spots, but neither team was satisfied with their result.
|Jaap Snellrijder (RM)||5||1||1|
|Launch Bornado (FR)||6||2||2|
|Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)||4||5||4|
|The Stig (SB)||1||3||5|
Jaap records the 8th win of his career, to break free from a tie with the Stig as the SBMRL’s winningest driver. It’s his first victory since the final race of the 2017-18 season in Barcelona. It also puts him back atop the driver standings.
Launch’s second place finish gives him two on the year and extends his record for most career podiums to 19. Interestingly, the only other time that Jaap and Launch finished on the top two steps of the podium was Jaap’s Barcelona victory just mentioned. Whiplash’s 3rd place gives him 10 career podiums, and means that he and Launch switched places from Suzuka.
From a team standpoint, Regency Motors now have a healthy 15 points advantage on Force Ravenswood. Scandinavian Blitz’s struggle in the first two races this year are a marked contrast from last season, as they sit in last place.