Denes Clinches iRacing eSeries with Iowa Victory

Phillippe Denes clinched the Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires in style this evening by winning the 10th and final race of the season. Denes, from Carmel, Calif., representing the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires defending champion team RP Motorsport USA, shared the honors at a virtual rendition of Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, with Andre Castro, from New York, N.Y., who headed an impressive sweep of the podium for Legacy Autosport in the first of two 20-minute races.

With his eSeries championship title, Denes takes home a valuable prize from SimMetric Driver Performance Labs, the Official Sim Partner of the Road to Indy. With an on-site mobile simulator presence at all Road to Indy events, SimMetric will be providing Denes with a complimentary 30-minute simulator session at each race event on the 2020 schedule.

Team principal and fourth-generation racer Louis “Mike” Meyer, from Pittsboro, Ind., edged Michael Meyers, from Lizton, Ind., to second place in Race One, while DEForce Racing team principal David Martinez, from Monterrey, Mexico, finished second in the finale. Max Kaeser (Miller Vinatieri Motorsport), from Keystone, Colo., completed the podium in Race Two.

The entry for the final weekend of Season Two was smaller than previous events – but for a good reason – as several teams were instead testing in real life today at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

But the smaller field didn’t mean the racing was any less intense. Far from it. Nor did it interrupt the form of iRacing veteran Denes, who duly claimed his third SimMetric Driver Performance Labs Pole Award in the last four events.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race winner Toby Sowery (Belardi Auto Racing), from Cambridge, England, started second and was immediately involved in a frantic scrap for the lead on the banked, 0.875-mile oval.

A dozen cars were still embroiled in the lead battle after 18 laps, with Denes, Sowery, Kory Enders (DEForce Racing) from Sugar Land, Texas, Singapore’s Danial Frost (Andretti Autosport) and Castro all taking turns in the lead. Surely, it couldn’t last. It didn’t. Lap 19 saw Juncos Racing teammates Nate Aranda, from Albuquerque, N.M., and Artem Petrov, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, make contact, along with Canadian Nico Christodoulou (DEForce Racing).

Several others incidents weeded out a few others, but the final stages still boiled down to a thrilling scrap between Sowery and Castro, with Meyer, Myers and former iRacing Mazda MX-5 Cup champion Glenn McGee (FatBoy Racing) from Tampa, Fla., also in the mix.

Castro grasped the lead from Sowery with four laps to go, then managed his pace – and line – to perfection to emerge with the win, his third of the season. Sowery looked set for second, only for Meyer to get a run as they headed onto the back stretch for the final time. Sowery attempted to defend but unfortunately made contact with Meyer, who was on his inside, heading into Turn Three. Meyer maintained control to secure second place, with Myers following him home in third. It was the first podium result for both.

McGee finished hot on their heels in fourth, with Sowery limping home a disconsolate fifth. Denes was the first unlapped runner in sixth.

The nightcap race saw Kaeser on pole position by virtue of the top 10 finishers from the opening race being inverted for the start. Martinez started alongside, followed by Christodoulou and Jacob Loomis (BNRacing), from Corinth, Texas.

Denes took only 10 laps before moving from fifth on the grid into the lead. The action again was hot and heavy, although while the first race had been relatively uneventful, this one most emphatically was not. Instead, a series of incidents broke up the field and Denes was left all alone at the front of the pack.

Martinez remained as his only challenger, until the Mexican almost spun on his 38th lap. Martinez somehow regained control and was rewarded with his best finish of the season. Kaeser was the only other unlapped finisher in third.

Petrov looked set for a good result, battling hard with Kaeser until unfortunately once again tangling with teammate Aranda with just 10 laps remaining.

Loomis thereby inherited fourth after another strong evening, followed by Frost, who was also involved in an incident earlier in the race.

The Fastest Race Lap Awards went to Frost in Race One and Castro in Race Two.

The focus now switches to the real-life Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. After a false start on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and a subsequent lengthy hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the Indy Pro 20000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will commence with a pair of races at the famed Road America on July 9-10.

Adam Sinclair