By: Tim Doyle
March 14, 2021
The Coca-Cola of Kokomo Indy Elite Series headed to its first, and only, street circuit race of the season for the Detroit GP of Belle Isle with 43 grueling laps around the tight and narrow course. Once again an over-capacity crowd of 34 drivers attempted to fill the 33 available grid positions. Gavin Smith was the sole driver missing out on making the race.
In qualifying, it was Riley Thompson nabbing the pole with a 112:937 by just .006 seconds over Adam Crane. Adam Blocker, Henry Bennett and Matt Pawelski would round out the Top 5.
Before the green flag would even wave, Matt Kingsbury would make contact with his brother Ray Kingsbury, knocking him out of the race. The front runners would all get away to a clean start with Thompson rocketing out to the early lead.
While several drivers would succumb to early-race mishaps, the proverbial “big one” would occur on Lap 10 when the lapped car of Dan Ensch would nose it into the wall and several drivers behind would have nowhere to go, including 15th-place Matt Hollibaugh, Lester Hryhorczak and John Downing.
By Lap 15, the top three of Thomspon, Crane and Blocker, running within two seconds of each other, would start to separate themselves from the rest of the field. Bennett and Philip Kraus round out the Top 5.
Blocker would take the lead from Crane on Lap 18 when Crane would attempt to pit but get blocked out by another car entering pitlane. He would pit the next time but suffer from a pi speeding violation forcing another unexpected pit stop two laps later.
On Lap 26, Pawelski would get around Bennett for 2nd only to lose it one lap later with Bennett and 4th place Andreas Eik were able to narrowly avoid him with Eik snatching away 2nd place in the process.
By Lap 36 when many drivers who were on a two stop strategy would pit, including Eik and Bennett, Carey, who had moved through the field from his early grid start penalty, used an off-strategy pit sequence to place himself in 2nd place just ahead of Eik when he moved past him during Eik’s second pit stop.
In the end it was all Blocker who was able to use a 1-stop strategy to score his first win of the season when many contenders found misfortune with the conrete walls. Carey, Eik, Adams and Bennett would round out the Top 5, all on the lead lap.
Field size- 33
Cautions- 0 Caution laps- 0
Lead Changes- 2
Fastest lap- 141.178: Adam Blocker
Cars on the lead lap- 5
Polesitter- Riley Thompson- 1:12.937
Next week, the The Coca-Cola of Kokomo Indy Elite Series will race on the Chicagoland Speedway, the last super speedway event before the April 25 Indianapolis 500. Sym.TV will have coverage beginning at 7:15 p.m. EDT on March 21.
Header Image By Tim Doyle/iRacing.com