It had all the drama, except a green flag finish. The iRace for Gage Indianapolis 500 saw a hectic start followed by a green flag run of over 150 laps, before the best fixed setup IndyCar racers in the world put on a display of driving worthy of the title.
In the end, Adam Blocker prevailed for his first Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment win at Indianapolis, as a caution flew with four laps remaining, robbing fans of the final 10 miles as five of the league’s top drivers weaved and jived for position.
“I can’t believe it, that was a crazy race,” Blocker said. “I pretty much made every mistake I could make...I started 33 after messing up in qualifying...I also had an incident with David Korty where I was sliding sideways in four, in full lock, I don’t know how I saved it.
“The end was just mayhem. I think I went from fourth to first on the back stretch...it worked out, and I won.”
Blocker held off Dan Geren and Joe Hassert in a three-wide battle over the final laps, with Andrew Kinsella and Jason Galvin both mounting runs but unable to find space to make moves onto the podium.
The race ending caution flew on lap 196 when Isaiah Dupre, running near the back, hit the wall exiting turn three and collected Bart Workman.
“My luck this year has definitely not been good,” said Geren, who led the most laps (77) from the pole. “I’m glad those cautions came late because I was going to have to pit for about three gallons...I’m fine with coming in second. It’s been a horrible year, so second works for me.”
Hassert mounted a charge to the front early, and spent much of the race battling Geren for the lead. But green flag pit stops shuffled the field, and Hassert found himself involved in the caution that ended the fuel mileage race.
On lap 174, Hassert pushed exiting turn two, leading to contact with Chris Stofer. Stofer careened off the wall, setting up the dash to the finish.
“I’ve done everything I could do but find the win this year,” Hassert said. “Those last laps were crazy. I was chalking up tenth place, and it was my fault that yellow came out. But we were racing hard.”
At the time of the Stofer crash, Blocker and Kinsella had opened up a gap on the cars who still needed one more stop for fuel.
Stephen Laarkamp, Brian Beard, James Krahula and Brian Yaczik had managed to save enough fuel running around near the back of the pack to try and cut a stop. All four claim they would have made it to the finish, setting up a scenario where Blocker, Kinsella, Geren and Hassert would have had fresh tires and light fuel, and a chance to run down the saving cars.
Instead, fans were treated to insanity, as several leaders, Krahula and Yaczik now included, went three and four wide in attempts to get out front.
Krahula made the first mistake, turning into the first corner too early while three wide, touching Yaczik and losing control.
The lap 186 caution also eliminated Joe Branch, and setup the final scramble.
The race was marred by two quick cautions early on.
Dustin Wardlow, who had dropped to the rear to avoid any early carnage, was turned by Michael Gray on the front straight. Vincent Bluthenthal could not avoid Wardlow.
On the restart, Jack Bogan, the race sponsor, was turned by Dan Geren. Bogan had stayed out while the leaders entered pit lane for fresh tires.
From lap 16, the race ran green to lap 174, with good racing throughout the field and the fuel drama building.
“I think Andrew and I were in good position,” Blocker said. “But that yellow came out and everything was chaos after.”
The win propelled Blocker into a tie with Galvin for third in points, 59 back of Kinsella. Brian Yaczik, who was running up front before being disqualified for too many incident points, falls to 53 back of the lead in second, after finishing 26th.
A record 41 cars took the green flag. 18 finished on the lead lap. 13 drivers swapped the lead 57 times, with six cautions slowing the action for 18 laps.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads backs to the world famous Milwaukee Mile for the Area 51 200 at Milwaukee for round eleven of the 2018 season.
The race can be seen live on Wednesday, July 25 at 10:35 p.m. EST on the Global SimRacing Channel.
For more information, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com
This is it. The Greatest Spectacle in iRacing. This is the Lionheart Series’ iRace for Gage Indy 500. Lionheart driver Jack Bogan sponsors the Indy 500 each year to bring awareness to congenital heart defects in children. Gage now 11 has had 4 open heart surgeries to replace two valves that do not grow with him. Gage loves to watch the Lionheart races and has been doing just fine thanks to his medial treatment. For more information on CHD please visit http://mendedlittleheartguide.org
2 weeks ago, in Michigan, it was Brian Yaczik collecting his second ever Lionheart win in order to go atop the points standings. Yaczik beat Joe Hassert by just 0.015 seconds, or less than half a car length, after an exciting final shootout. Michael Goodman came home 3rd with Justin Weaver and Pierre Daigle rounding out the top 5. In the championship Yaczik now leads Andrew Kinsella by a scant 5 points after Kinsella missed the race to get engaged. The Lionheart series, does have 3 drop weeks, so that lead might be deceptive. Of the top 5, Kinsella, 4th place Jason Galvin, and 5th place Joe Branch have all missed 1 race each, while leader Yaczik and 3rd place James Krahula have not. This championship is still wide open.
Which brings us to The Brickyard. These hallowed racing grounds have seen the best racing that the real and virtual world has to offer, and Lionheart races here are no exception. In season 1 it was Rick Music beating out Bradley Walters by just 0.001 seconds to take the win in the closest finish in Lionheart history. Last year, meanwhile, was the fastest 500 in league history with an average of 197.546 MPH. Jonathan Goke was the winner of that event. Goke is the only 2-time Indy 500 winner in Lionheart history. All previous winners are not running the event, which means we are guaranteed a new winner this year.
This year’s 500 is shaping up to be a wild race. Very close and intense racing will take place in the early stages and drivers will have to use all their skill to avoid contact with other cars and avoiding cars who are caught up in incidents. As the run goes on, however, some drivers will get caught out by the fall off of the tires. The championship contenders meanwhile will have another considerations. The Indy 500 marks the first of 2 double points races on the season. That means that a good day at Indy could set you up for the championship, but a bad day could just cost you the championship. Will the contenders go for broke or play it safe?
Talking about favorites for this event, it is hard not to look beyond Andrew Kinsella. Kinsella was just 0.013 seconds away from winning the Top Split official iRacing Indy 500 back in May. Kinsella already has 3 wins on the season, including in the first leg of the triple crown at Pocono. Not far behind Kinsella according to the odds makers is Tony Showen. Showen won the 2nd split of the official 500, and the Adrenaline Motorsports teammates will both be looking for a strong result here.
When you think of Indy, another name that jumps to mind is Big Joe Hassert. Hassert finished 2nd here last year, and the drafting nature of the racing this year suits Big Joe’s style. In fact, take any member of your top 5 from last week, and the skills used to get there will transplant nicely to this week. Yaczik, Goodman, Weaver and Daigle will all be a factor as well this week.
Some drivers looking for a rebound include front runners Dan Geren, Adam Blocker and Jason Galvin. All 3 did not have the week the wanted at Michigan, however all 3 exhibited a lot of speed. With a little more patience this week, one of them could easily be on the top step.
League founder Jorge Anzaldo will make his 100th official start at Indy. Anzaldo sits 3rd all-time in starts. Anzaldo has 1 career win, but after being forced to miss last years 500 with an internet outage, the Illinois driver will be looking to make up for it this year in his special start.
James Krahula is leading the Iron Man standings with 945 laps complete on the season for a total of 1,675.32 miles. He has ridden that Iron Man streak to 3rd in the championship standings. Any driver who can finish the 500 will certainly increase their chances of winning the award at seasons end, but also increase their hopes in the overall championship. Will Krahula be able to continue is consistent drive at Indy?
Finally, there are the home town drivers. Joe Branch and Chris Stofer are both Indiana natives, and while an Indy 500 would mean a lot to any driver, it would mean just a little bit more to this pair. Last year they were running in the top 3 for most of the race before a connection issue relegated them to 17th and 18th finishes after they reconnected.
Adrenaline continues to lead the team championship standings after 9 rounds. No Name Racing sits currently 113 points back and gained a spot over Synergy Motorsports who was bumped down a spot into P3 overall.
Who will come out on top. Will a championship contender use the race to cement their campaign or will it be a driver looking to get their season back on track? Will it be a hometown favorite, or a driver in a milestone start? To get the answer to these questions and more tune in to the iRace for Gage Indy 500 on Sunday July 15th at 3:35pm eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live.