Monday, March 20, 2023

From the (Virtual) Driver’s Seat: Monday Night Racing in the Mazda Miata MX-5 at Daytona Road Course

It was a tough night for Presley Sorah in Monday Night Racing, after a course-cutting penalty relegated him to the rear of the pack, where he was then involved in a multi-car accident, forcing him to be towed back to pit road with major damage. PC: Robert Dorman

The third event of the sixth season of the Monday Night Racing league was held on Monday (November 22) at Daytona International Speedway’s Road Course, utilizing the Mazda Miata MX-5.

This car/track combination is one of my favorites to drive on iRacing. The Miata on this track provides tough racing in the corners with braking playing a big effect on lap time, but also a significant impact from the draft effect on the oval section of the course.

The league held a practice race on Sunday evening, which I took part in. I managed to qualify up front and battle for the lead for the majority of the race before getting spun at the end of the fuel run. Although I didn’t finish how I would’ve liked in the practice race, it boosted my confidence even further going into Monday after showing so much speed. 

I went into the race on Monday with high hopes for a good run, but my qualifying run didn’t live up to my expectations. My qualifying time was on par with the time I set in the practice race, but unfortunately, it only put me 17th on the starting grid.

My goal early on in the race was to play it safe. It was announced prior to the start of the race that there would be no cautions, which is an important change from previous road course races in the league. I wanted to stay cautious and keep my nose clean because I knew I would have good race speed if I could just make it to the finish. 

Throughout the race, I was able to miss several incidents and self-spins from other drivers, but a corner-cutting time penalty from running wide at the bus stop moved me to 20th place.

I hoped that the field would spread out after the first round of pit stops, so I slowly tried to pick my way back through the field before I had to pit. I was able to make up several stops before a lap 10 incident ended all hopes for a good finish.

The two cars in front of me made contact and spun out, which left me with nowhere to go. I got clipped in the right-rear, which broke the right-rear tire off and forced me to have to tow the car back to the pit lane.

I continued racing, attempting to make up as many spots as possible to keep myself from having a major points deficit. After momentarily being in last-place, I managed to gain enough spots to salvage a 28th place result. Although it wasn’t where I was hoping to finish, it could have been a lot worse, if I wouldn’t have continued on.

The Monday Night Racing Pro Series heads to the “legacy scan” of Texas Motor Speedway on Monday, November 28th, with the NASCAR Xfinity Series car. The fourth race of the season will be broadcasted live on Podium eSports at 7:45 PM ET. Stay up to date with news and information regarding the Monday Night Racing league by clicking here.

Presley Sorah
Presley Sorah
Aspiring Race Car Driver / Sim Racer / Writer-

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