A week after a pit road incident prevented Dan Geren from earning win number one of the season, the team #nailedit driver was able to avoid disaster late in the race and hang on for his first win of the season in the U.S. Armed Forces 150 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"Oh man, that was incredible, I was telling the guys, I was shaking all race," Geren said from the virtual victory lane. "I was so happy just to get a pole last week at Kansas, then I backed it up with another pole this week, don’t know how I did it. Then to lead the most laps and get the win, I...I could...wow."
In a race of attrition, up front was the place to be Wednesday night, and that’s where Geren spent most of his night. The Iowa driver led 86 of 100 laps.
The biggest threat to Geren came on lap 93, when James Krahula, a winner last week at Kansas after Geren and Joe Hassert wrecked entering the pits, made a move off turn 2.
Krahula’s car went below the white line, and as he re-entered the racing surface, Krahula’s car made contact with Geren’s. The Texan went sliding on the apron before gathering his car just in front of a pack of four others.
Miraculously, nobody wrecked or suffered serious damage. Krahula was penalized after the race for aggressive driving, dropping him from sixth to 16. He is appealing that penalty.
Geren’s teammate, Ian Adams, finished a season-best second. Series point leader Jake Wright was third.
"To bring the car home second, it’s much better than we’ve been running," Adams said. "I’m real happy with this finish."
Several major accidents impacted the final results. Joe Hassert made early contact with the wall after starting from the rear, the result of a penalty. He retired on lap 9, and finished 30 in a 31 car field.
The first caution didn’t come out until Mark Nobert spun on lap 47. After pit stops, a restart on lap 51 saw the first big crash.
After Adams was slow to get going, Jason Galvin made a move to the outside, going from eighth to fifth. But exiting turn 4, Daniel Roeper tried to split Galvin and Dylan Lee. Roeper’s car pushed up into Galvin - Roeper said after the race he had a connection issue - and Galvin’s car careened off the outside wall, back into Tony Lurcock. Vincent Bluthenthal was also involved in the aftermath.
All three cars retired.
The biggest wreck came on lap 66, as tires wore and fuel loads lightened. Michel de Jonge pushed into the turn 2 wall while in an eight car pack. The seventh place car came down into Roeper, and the big one ensued.
When the smoke cleared, several fast cars were junk. Ricky Hardin, Korey Conner and Michael Gray joined de Jonge and Roeper in retirement. Tommy Rhyne was also involved.
The final caution flew on lap 84, as Mark Goodwin spun, setting up the final dash.
Ultimately though, nobody had anything for Geren.
Pierre Daigle and Jason Robarge rounded out the top five. After the Krahula penalty, sixth through 10 shook out as follows: Tony Showen, Tommy Rhyne, Brandon Limkemann, Ronald Hacker and Jorge Anzaldo.
The 55 minute race had five drivers swap the lead seven times. Four cautions slowed the pace for 16 laps.
Wright now leads Krahula by 155 points in the season standings, but that lead could grow if Krahula’s penalty is upheld. Joe Branch, Daigle and Geren round out the top five.
The iRacing.com-based virtual IndyCar Series take an autumn break before heading to Chicagoland Speedway on Wednesday, November 11th for The Big Joe Cam Anniversary 150. The race can be seen live on Global SimRacing Channel at 10:45 p.m. EST.