AMP eSeries Round Five Review
The penultimate round of the AMP eSeries took place at Iowa Speedway and heading into the race Brandt Estes had closed Cameron Dance’s championship lead to nine points. The return to an oval track shook up the qualifying order with Dance on pole followed by Phillip Crane, Michael Green, and Estes. The entire field was separated by two-tenths of a second in qualifying and around the 7/8ths mile, could win with the right strategy.
The opening laps of the race were clean and Michael Green took the lead early on, but the pack remained stuck together until Dance lost the rear end through turn two and took out Max Muir and Jamielle Gummer. The first full-course caution was deployed and Estes inherited the lead of the race early on.
Dance’s efforts to recover from his early crash didn’t get any better when he crashed again on lap 30 and fell a lap behind. The race stayed green and the pack continued to swap positions while Estes led the field.
On lap 54, Michael Lane went below the line and took Flanery and Crane with him. The caution was out and race leader Estes opted to take advantage of the opportunity to pit for fresh tires and fuel.
The majority of the field came into the pits, but Jack Eichenlaub didn’t and he inherited the lead. Estes dropped to ninth and Cameron Dance got back on the lead lap. Eichenlaub’s older tires meant he quickly dropped through the field and Patrick Wilmot took the race lead.
Gummer went into the back of Day, causing a pileup with several other cars, including Brandt Estes, in the final phase of the race. Estes was able to stay on the lead lap but fell three places behind Dance with 14 laps to go. The leaders remained unscathed and Wilmot controlled the restart to maintain the lead.
Dance and Estes picked their way through the field and ran fourth and fifth with three laps to go, but Estes spun Dance, bringing out the final caution of the race. Race Control opted for the green, white, checkered finish which created a dramatic final two laps.
Gummer and Estes collided on the final lap as Wilmot defended against Armstrong. The two leaders were side by side for the entire final lap and coming out of turn four they collided and Armstrong’s severely damaged car crossed the line 0.001 ahead of Wilmot at the checkered flag.
Race control deemed that Armstrong caused the final lap collision and the victory was handed back to Wilmot, his first in the series. Michael Green finished second followed by Michael Lane and Fred Hazelton.
In the battle at the top of the championship, Dance finished tenth and Estes finished 11th meaning that the title will come down to the final race of the series next Wednesday at Imola. The broadcast will go live at 9 PM on Facebook Live and the championship will be decided.