RP Motorsport’s Phillippe Denes closed in on a second Road to Indy eSeries title with victory and a fifth at Watkins Glen.
Denes beat Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea to pole in qualifying, and made a great start to avoid being challenged on the opening lap of race one.
Legacy Autosport’s Andre Castro moved into second place at the first corner, and went down the inside of Denes at the Bus Stop on lap three of 12 for the lead. He ended up clouting the kerbs too hard though, and the slightest of touches with Denes then pitched his unbalanced car into the wall.
Braden Eves moved into the lead for Exclusive Autosport as Denes served one of iRacing’s slow-down penalties, but he was outdone at the Bus Stop on the next lap by McElrea and Belardi Auto Racing’s Toby Sowery.
That corner proved to the centre of most drama, with the three going side-by-side into the corner on the next lap. Sowery was briefly ahead but neither he or McElrea gave each other an inch and he ended up making contact and falling down the order.
Next time it was Eves who made the error, going around the outside before clouting the kerb and falling from first to fifth. Further back, the already-penalised Kory Enders (DEForce Racing) span there while battling with Ryan Norman (Andretti Autosport)
It was Denes’ turn next, and he didn’t mess his chance. McElrea returned the favour, but Denes reclaimed the position once again the next time around. On the last lap McElrea tried again, but couldn’t stop Denes from Esports points leader Denes winning again.
Christian Brooks was in third before also clouting the kerbs, with EA team-mate Eves reacting quickly to avoid hitting him and beating BN Racng’s Jacob Loomis to the podium’s bottom step.
Turn 3 Motorsport boss Peter Dempsey led Enders on the reversed grid front row for race two, courtesy of being pipped to ninth place in race one, and had one lap in the lead before Enders bettered him again.
Once Enders was ahead he stayed there, and when Dempsey and Eves crashed at the Bus Stop it promoted Denes to second. He was then penalised for tapping the lapped Max Kaeser, which resulted in the slow-moving Miller Vinatieri Motorsports driver being struck by McElrea seconds later.
EA’s Prescott Campbell was also removed from podium contention by a penalty, freeing Castro to chase Enders. Despite front wing damage, Castro was able to make the move on Enders on several occasions, and made it stick on the final lap.
Brooks and Norman were third and fourth, while Denes picked up important points in fifth by passing Dempsey at the end. Title rival Eves failed to finish.
Sowery dragged past Campbell on the line for seventh by 0.005s, as Flinn Lazier (Lazier Racing) and Nate Aranda (Juncos Racing) rounded out the top 10. McElrea finished a lap down, but scored in 12th place.