Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Photo gallery: IndyCar iRacing at Michigan International Speedway

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VIRTUAL BROOKLYN, Mich. — The IndyCar NTT Series made its return to Michigan International Speedway virtually Saturday, but there was plenty of real action from the waving of the green flag in the Chevrolet 275.

Several cars went airborne during a multicar pileup on the opening lap of the third round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. It resulted in some striking images and five laps of caution that greatly affected the remainder of the 85-lap race.

With officials keeping the race caution-free, the strategy played into the hands of Simon Pagenaud and his No. 22 Chevrolet, which led the final four laps to win over teammate Scott McLaughlin. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third in his IndyCar iRacing Challenge debut.

RESULTS: Where everyone finished at Michigan

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions Saturday

Courtesy of Getty Images’ Chris Graythen, here are a collection of screenshots from the 2-mile oval nestled in the Irish Hills of Michigan:

Scott McLaughlin, who finished second Saturday, crashed on the opening lap along with Oliver Askew (No. 7) and several others (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. overcame early contact to finish third in his No. 3 Chevrolet (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Marcus Ericsson started on the pole position in his No. 8 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Simon Pagenaud takes the checkered flag in his No. 22 Chevrolet to win the IndyCar iRacing Challenge at virtual Michigan International Speedway (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Sage Karam’s No. 24 Chevrolet led a race-high 49 of 85 laps but finished 14th because of a late pit stop for fuel (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

The No. 27 Honda of 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi finished seventh, Rossi’s first top 10 in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Zach Veach’s No. 26 Honda was leading with five laps remaining before a pit stop for fuel at virtual Michigan International Speedway (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

The field zooms down the backstretch at virtual Michigan International Speedway (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

The frontstretch during the Chevrolet 275 at virtual Michigan International Speedway (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

A panoramic of virtual Michigan International Speedway as cars head into Turn 1 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

 

Crossing the finish line, Simon Pagenaud’s No. 22 Chevy is listed as No. 1 on the scoreboard between the suites and press box/scoring tower at virtual Michigan International Speedway (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

HUSTLING HELIO: Castroneves hunting for 2021 rides in IMSA, IndyCar

Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.