Hamilton Akabueze Wins FTF1’s Return, US 500 on iRacing

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

The marathon return of FTF Racing League’s Modern Racing Prints FTF1 saw Hamilton Akabueze win an attrition-filled US 500 at the virtual Michigan Int’l Speedway.

Hamilton akabeuze captured the win in the return of ftf1 in a highly competitive and attrition filled u. S. 500 at michigan.
Hamilton Akabeuze. (Photo by Seth Eggert / Kickin’ the Tires)

Utilizing iRacing’s Dallara iR-01, FTF Racing brought back their mash-up between Formula 1 and CART with the FTF1 series. This was aided by the recent addition of an oval variant of the Dallara iR-01 and oval setups for the car.

Akabueze started the race in the rear of the field after crashing on his first attempt at qualifying, Ultimately, he climbed through the field after multiple leaders encountered trouble over the course of green flag runs.

While the Dallara iR-01 has enormous downforce, grip, and speed, the grip melts away in clean air. Tire wear and tire life didn’t matter as much when in traffic. In the lead, the tires became spongey, leading to multiple incidents that ended the days for Jonathan Goke, former eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driver Blake Reynolds, and others.

Hamilton akabeuze captured the win in the return of ftf1 in a highly competitive and attrition filled u. S. 500 at michigan.
Hamilton Akabeuze. (Photo by Seth Eggert / Kickin’ the Tires)

Once the field had dropped to around 13 cars, the longest green flag run of the race, about 80 laps commenced. Akabueze, Justin Melillo, Spenser Ray, Cory Vervynckt, and Matthew Zwack traded the lead until the final round of green flag pit stops.

After green flag pit stops, only Zwack was still in range of Akabueze. A mistake by the eventual race winner with five laps to go dropped Zwack down the running order. Melillo, Vervynckt, and Ray worked to chase Akabueze down. However, they ran out of time. Akabueze took the checkered flag with just over 1.5 seconds to spare over Melillo. Vervynckt took the final podium position.

“I thought it was over, that (Zwack) was just going to be able to pull away, but unfortunately he hit the wall,” Akabueze said. “It was my fault for the spin, but I guess it ended up giving me the win. I’ll take it but it definitely could have been a really close finish. Fun race.

“The track was changing constantly throughout that race, it just got hotter and hotter. The way the car drove it just kept getting different. The bottom lane became unusable. Once the second lane began to go away towards the end, which ended up making me spin.”

Despite the damage to his car, Zwack salvaged a fourth-place finish with Jeffrey Breuer completing the top-five. Seth Eggert was the final lead lap finisher after Ray was swept up in an accident in the final corner by Andrew Schulte.

In total, the US 500 had a staggering 128 lead changes amongst 20 drivers in the 33-car field. Polesitter Brandon Hawkin led the most laps, 34. Like Goke though, he too was affected by the ‘leader jinx,’ and limped to a 13th-place finish.

In total, the US 500 was slowed eight times by cautions for a total of 25 laps. Of the 14 cars that finished under power, only Melillo in second and Breuer in fifth had zero incidents. Akabueze, Vervynckt, and Eggert’s incident points largely came from wreck avoidance, diving into the grass to miss the melees.

Next for the Modern Racing Prints FTF1 Series is the Pocono 400 at the virtual Pocono Raceway on April 28 at 9:45 p.m. ET. The season also features the return of the FTF Rectangle 500.

The results:

1. 27-Hamilton Akabueze [28], 2. 53-Justin Melillo [8], 3. Cory Vervynckt [29], 4. 14-Matthew Zwack [2], 5. 55-Jeffrey Breuer [13], 6. 57-Seth Eggert [18], 7. 6-Spenser Ray [11], 8. 07-Roger Saucier [21], 9. 4-Nate Stewart [14], 10. 99-Josh Stoltz [20], 11. 19-Matthew Breuer [15], 12. 59-Tommy Bordeaux [22], 13. 099-Brandon Hawkin [1], 14. 15-Cole Fralick [5], 15. 85-Brian Szabelski [23], 16. 98-Andrew Schulte [33], 17. 63-Ryan Pandiscio [6], 18. 13-Paul Mikalojczyk [16], 19. 5-Derek Catt [32], 20. 94-Nicholas Pressey [9], 21. 9-Robert Lowry [24], 22. 23-Tyler Williams [19], 23. 21-Ryan Nawrocki [4], 24. 8-Rafael Ruiz [30], 25. 66-Blake Reynolds [12], 26. 06-Jonathan Goke [3], 27. 06-Spencer Burns [7], 28. 97-Jack Paynter [10], 29. 32-Joseph Weaver [25], 30. 60-Nick Roten [26], 31. 31-David Cabrera [17], 32. 28-Callie Baigent [27], 33. 88-Kodi Wear [31].

Lead Changes: 128 among 20 drivers.

Lap Leader(s):  Jonathan Goke 1-5, Cole Fralick 6-7, Jonathan Goke 8, Brandon Hawkin 9, Cole Fralick 10, Brandon Hawkin 11-19, Ryan Pandiscio 20, Tyler Williams 21-23, Cole Fralick 24, Nate Stewart 25, Cole Fralick 26, Nicholas Pressey 27, Cole Fralick 28, Brandon Hawkin 29, Cole Fralick 30, Josh Stoltz 31, Ryan Pandiscio 32, Tommy Bordeaux 33, Brandon Hawkin 34, Josh Stoltz 35-36, Cole Fralick 37, Josh Stoltz 38, Cole Fralick 39, Josh Stoltz 40, Cole Fralick 41, Josh Stoltz 42-43, Spenser Ray 44-46, Brandon Hawkin 47-49, Spenser Ray 50, Jonathan Goke 51, Brandon Hawkin 52-53, Jonathan Goke 54-56, Tommy Bordeaux 57, Blake Reynolds 58, Jonathan Goke 59, Spencer Burns 60, Jonathan Goke 61-62, Spencer Burns 63, Jonathan Goke 64-70, Josh Stoltz 71-72, Jonathan Goke 73-81, Josh Stoltz 82-83, Tommy Bordeaux 84-87, Rafael Ruiz 88-91, Tommy Bordeaux 92, Rafael Ruiz 93-94, Tommy Bordeaux 95, Ryan Pandiscio 96-99, Brandon Hawkin 100, Robert Lowry 101, Spenser Ray 102-103, Robert Lowry 104, Paul Mikalojczyk 105, Robert Lowry 106, Ryan Nawrocki 107, Robert Lowry 108-109, Paul Mikalojczyk 110, Brandon Hawkin 111, Robert Lowry 112, Paul Mikalojczyk 113, Robert Lowry 114-115, Paul Mikalojczyk 116-117, Ryan Nawrocki 118, Paul Mikalojczyk 119, Tyler Williams 120, Paul Mikalojczyk 121, Tyler Williams 122, Paul Mikalojczyk 123-124, Cory Vervynckt 125-127, Spenser Ray 128-129, Brandon Hawkin 130, Spenser Ray 131-132, Brandon Hawkin 133-137, Tommy Bordeaux 138, Brandon Hawkin 139-146, Josh Stoltz 147-149, Matthew Zwack 150, Josh Stoltz 151, Nate Stewart 152-153, Josh Stoltz 154, Matthew Zwack 155, Josh Stoltz 156, Nate Stewart 157, Matthew Zwack 158-160, Josh Stoltz 161, Matthew Zwack 162, Josh Stoltz 163-164, Matthew Zwack 165, Brandon Hawkin 166, Matthew Zwack 167, Spenser Ray 168-172, Hamilton Akabueze 173-174, Spenser Ray 175, Hamilton Akabueze 176-179, Spenser Ray 180-181, Justin Melillo 182, Cory Vervynckt 183-184, Spenser Ray 185-186, Cory Vervynckt 187-188, Justin Melillo 189, Cory Vervynckt 190-192, Justin Melillo 193-194, Cory Vervynckt 195-196, Justin Melillo 197-198, Cory Vervynckt 199, Justin Melillo 200, Cory Vervynckt 201, Justin Melillo 202, Cory Vervynckt 203-206, Justin Melillo 207, Cory Vervynckt 208, Justin Melillo 209-210, Cory Vervynckt 211-212, Justin Melillo 213, Matthew Zwack 214, Hamilton Akabueze 215, Matthew Zwack 216-217, Hamilton Akabueze 218-220, Matthew Zwack 221-223, Hamilton Akabueze 224, Matthew Zwack 225-227, Hamilton Akabueze 228, Matthew Zwack 229, Hamilton Akabueze 230-238, Matthew Zwack 239, Hamilton Akabueze 240-245, Matthew Zwack 246, Hamilton Akabueze 247-250.

Laps Led: Brandon Hawkin 34, Hamilton Akabueze 31, Jonathan Goke 29, Spenser Ray 21, Cory Vervynckt 21, Josh Stoltz 20, Matthew Zwack 20, Justin Melillo 12, Cole Fralick 10, Tommy Bordeaux 9, Robert Lowry 9, Paul Mikalojczyk 7, Ryan Pandiscio 6, Rafael Ruiz 6, Tyler Williams 5, Nate Stewart 4, Spencer Burns 2, Ryan Nawrocki 2, Nicholas Pressey 1, Blake Reynolds 1.

Hard Charger(s): Hamilton Akabueze (+27).

Tough Luck: 06-Jonathan Goke (-23).

Caution Flags: Eight for 25 Laps.

Margin of Victory: 1.567 seconds.

Time of Race: Two hours, 35 minutes, 44.788 seconds.

Average Speed: 192.621 MPH.

Pole Winner: 099-Brandon Hawkin.

Fastest Lap: 6-Spenser Ray, Lap 21, 29.866 seconds, 241.077 MPH.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *