Stofer Wins, geren makes championship a 3 car battle at gateway
Chris Stofer won the race, but Dan Geren won the attention of everyone else by blasting his way into the championship hunt with a second place finish in the Von Hanson’s 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park Wednesday night.
Stofer held off challenges from Geren and Jason Galvin over the final 15 laps to capture his first win of 2018.
“The racing God’s were on my side today,” Stofer said. “I drove through the field three times today. I got caught out on a yellow once. It just made the race a lot more stressful. Everything went right.”
Geren came home second, playing it safe after Galvin ran out of fuel with two laps remaining. The finish, mixed with incidents for championship leader Adam Blocker and second place Andrew Kinsella, brings Geren within 31 points with two races remaining, including a double points finale at Auto Club Speedway.
All three are searching for their first Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment championship.
“Ever since Charlotte, when I got the monkey off my back, it’s been great,” Geren said. “It’s still possible to win the championship, Blocker has had some issues of late. If I can catch another break like that, then maybe we can get it.”
Kinsella’s night came to a dramatic end on lap 46 - at the hands of his Adrenaline Motorsports teammate and championship adversary Blocker - just as the pit cycle was finishing.
Both cars had already pit, and and were working their way through traffic on fresh tires, when Blocker made a move into turn one but collided with the back of Kinsella. The Canadian spun into the outside wall, flipping over and bouncing off two other cars before retiring in 29th.
Blocker found trouble on lap 95, when he checked up entering turn one behind Stofer - also his teammate - leaving Galvin with nowhere to go as Marc Cohn made an aggressive move to the bottom. Galvin hit Blocker square, but caused rear wing damage to the championship leader, who fell out of the top ten after getting the wing replaced. Blocker finished 11th.
Samuel Reiman benefitted from the frantec dash to the finish, moving into third when Galvin pit and holding off Michael Goodman.
It was the first podium for the englishman.
“Pit strategy paid off,” Reiman said. “I short pit and was able to work with Galvin, and I knew he couldn’t make it to the end. When Dan came out in front of me, I thought ‘let’s go get this.’”
Two races remain in the 2018 season, with Blocker leading Kinsella by 21 points, and Geren 31 out of the points lead.
The series heads to the final road event of 2018, the LOC Precision Grand Prix of Road America, on Wednesday, December 12. Blocker finished second in the Lionheart Retro Series event at Road America, and has found victory lane in six of the seven IndyCar road events this season. Geren and Kinsella have consistently run in the top five, with Kinsella occasionally falling back into the top ten.
But a slip from Blocker would setup a likely winner-takes-all scenario heading into the championship race at Auto Club Speedway December 19.
The LOC Precision Grand Prix of Road America can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network, presented by Global SimRacing Channel, at 10:35 p.m. EST.
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