By: Tim Doyle
February 21, 2021
Round #4 of the 2021 Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite Series saw the drivers head to Texas Motor Speedway for the Triptacular Memories 225.
Once again a full field of 33 drivers converged with Wilson Neto barely nabbing the pole from Teammate Adam Blocker by a mere .001 second! Chris Cahoe wasn’t far behind in 3rd place with points leader Andreas Eik and Andrew Kinsella rounding out the top 5.
The race’s first yellow would fly on Lap 7 when Marshall Stanley would lose it off Turn 2, bringing his night to a premature end.
Once back under way Neto would lead the field back to green on lap 10 when John Downing and AJ Musselman would make contact off turn 2 while racing three-wide with Riley Thompson.
Both Downing and Musselman would retire from the race, which would also bring out the race’s second yellow due to Downing’s car sitting on the apron on lap 12. During this yellow several drivers toward the back of the field would take the opportunity to pit for fuel and tires.
With the field approaching the one-to-go signal, polesitter and race-long leader Neto would drop from the race due to connection problems handing the lead to Eik. Blocker, Kinsella, AJ Burton and Bryan Carey rounded out the top 5.
The race would remain green until Lap 24 when once again off turn 2 contact would be made between Charles Anti and Chris Stofer when Anti turned hard left trying to avoid the slower, lapped car of Lester Hryhorczak leaving Stofer nowhere to go. Stofer would finish 29th.
Strategy really came into play when leader Eik remained out under this yellow with the rest of the field pitting, all except Chris Demeritt who was trying to make up ground after serving a pre-race penalty which placed him at the back of the field prior to the start. The running order coming to the Lap 28 restart was Eik, Demeritt, Blocker, Kinsella and Burton.
Back under way, the race would see it’s fourth yellow wave when Anti made hard contact with the turn 2 wall and collecting a piece of Ray Kingsbury as he tried to avoid Anti’s spinning car. This would end Anti’s race while Kingsbury was able to continue. Adam Dock, running 19th at the time, would lead the back end of the field to pit road under this yellow.
Eik would continue to lead when the race returned to green while the cars with newer tires would make quick work of 3rd-running Demeritt, eventually pushing him back to 5th place in the order. On Lap 51, Eik would pit from the lead but make a critical mistake by speeding on entry and losing two laps in the process.
Trevor Greenfield would bring out the yellow on Lap 54 when he too had trouble in turn 2 that would end his race. The field would take the opportunity to fill up and take tires while also giving Eik one of his two laps back.
Blocker would lead Kinsella, Bennett, Demeritt and Burton while 4th place Philip Kraus and 15th running Adam Crane would both receive end of longest line penalties for speeding on exit of pit road.
Back to green, it didn’t take long for the race to go back under yellow on Lap 59 when turn 2 played host to another 3-wide situation between Joe Branch, Chad Simpson and Evan Adams. Both Branch and Simpson would go spinning while setting off anther incident between R Kingsbury and Adam Crane. Both Branch and Crane would be forced to retire with race-ending damage.
Finally on Lap 64 the race would see some serious green flag racing lead by Blocker who would lead a tight field of cars until green flag pitting started to occur around Lap 100 when both Blocker and 2nd place Bennett would pit followed by Kinsella two laps later.
Demeritt would pit from the lead on Lap 106, coming out just ahead of the pack of Blocker, Matt Hollibaugh, Kinsella and Bennett. Demeritt would build a three second gap to 2nd place Blocker before Blocker would chase him back down and retake the lead on Lap 125.
Bennett and Kinsella would slip by three laps later when it looked like Demeritt was in fuel conservation mode which would be all for naught when Bennett would lose it in Turn 2 and bring out the race’s 8th yellow on Lap 140 just as Blocker was attempting to pit from the lead but smartly pulled it back on track to avoid a penalty.
Lap 144 would see another restart with the running of Demeritt in the lead over Kinsella, Carey, Thompson and Watkins rounding out the top 5. Like a majority of the race, the yellow would return just one lap later when 13th place Matt Kingsbury would clip the slower car of Dan Ensch, ending Kingsbury’s run.
This would setup a one lap shootout which saw the field finish the way they restarted with Demeritt, who started at the rear of the field, taking his third win of the season over Kinsella, Carey, Thompson and Burton.
Rounding out the top 10 were Watkins, Blocker, Mike Kitchel, Matt Hollibaugh and Eik who was able to rebound from his early-race mistake and finish on the lead lap.
Field size- 33
Cautions- 8 Caution laps- 31
Lead Changes- 9
Fastest lap- 23.725: AJ Burton
Cars on the lead lap- 13
Polesitter- Wilson Neto (23.868)
On Sunday, the Coca Cola Bottling of Kokomo Indy Elite Series heads to Pocono Raceway, the first race of the Catalyst 317 Triple Crown. The Broadcast will begin on Sym.tv’s YouTube page at 7:15 pm Eastern. The 160-lap, 400-mile event on the 2.5-mile triangle-shaped track will offer 50% more points.
Header Image By Tim Doyle/iRacing.com