It took 16 races, but Andrew Kinsella finally found his way back into victory lane - and the championship race - in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment. The Canadian rookie used a strong run on the outside to go from third to first in the closing laps of the#NailedIt 150 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Wednesday night.
“That was unbelieveable,” Kinsella said. “I think I passed the field two times over to try to get through after I messed up my qualifying. Hat’s off to Jake (Wright), that was a great race.”
Kinsella, the early season points leader after winning the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, started 24th after a poor showing in qualifying. At a track typically difficult to pass on, only two of the top ten finishers started in the top ten.
Kinsella took the lead from Chris Lanini with four laps to go, and held off a challenge from Wright - the points leader - to take his second career win. Lanini nearly stole the show, attempting to stretch his fuel more than 50 laps. He ran out on the final lap, falling to 16th.
Jason Galvin held off Tony Showen for third, with Michael Goodman finishing fifth.
“It’s always a pleasure racing with guys like Michael, and Jason and Jake, they’re so clean,” Kinsella said. “The bottom worked really well for me, I was surprised...but on that last restart, I knew I had to go for Jake on the outside because I knew he was going to go to the bottom.”
Wright paced himself, running a few spots off the lead most of the race, before driving to the front and nearly taking the win late in the race.
“That was fun, but I’m beat after that,” Wright said. “I wasn’t expecting that from this place...I was expecting the wall.”
Galvin, coming off his first real life win in his NASCAR Spec Mod at Kern County Raceway Park, started 16th and drove to the front, but nearly threw it away spinning under yellow on lap 99.
“I hope you guys didn’t get that,” Galvin said. “I don’t even know how that happened. It cost me a few spots and I don’t even know how it happened...but we’ll take it, a podium is a solid finish, a good points night.”
Dan Geren, the polesitter and Wright’s biggest adversary in the championship hunt, looked determined to take the lead in the standings after setting fast time and leading 48 laps. But a speeding penalty in the pits buried Geren, who was then caught a lap down during green flag pit stops. The Iowa native rebounded late to finish eleventh.
Joe Branch and Justin Weaver finished sixth and seventh, followed by three drivers with season-best runs; Matthew Mercer, Vincent Bluthenthal and Brian Greenlee, who led four laps en route to his first career top ten.
The race was slowed by 9 cautions for 36 laps, and incidents took out several cars with good pace, including Bob Mikes, Dustin Wardlow and Joe Hassert. Brian Yaczik spun from the lead, ending his chances at his first career Lionheart win as well.
Wright’s strong run, compounded with Geren’s struggles, opened up the championship. Wright leads Geren now by 19, with Kinsella closing in to 85 back of the lead, and 66 back from Geren.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to the road with the Mid-Ohio 100 in two weeks. That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel and iRacing Live at 10:40 p.m. EST on September 27.
Seven races remain in the season. For more on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, and the Lionheart Retro Series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.