This off season was one of many changes, with the biggest news of all coming out of the No Name stable. 3-time defending champion Jake Wright will not be going for 4 in a row this year, as he focuses solely on the Lionheart Retro Series. Brian Yaczik also left No Name to form the new-to-Lionheart Loud Pedal Motorsports with Brian Greenlee, Woody Mahan and David Korty. This leaves No Name with Big Joe Hassert, Pierre Daigle, and James Krahula returning, joined by Jason Galvin, formerly the “G” of AGR Motorsports. Speaking of AGR, they are no more. Another new team has risen in it’s place. Synergy Motorsports is made up of former AGR found Jorge Anzaldo, Series sponsor Brandon Limkemann, Ron Hacker, Dustin Wardlow and last year’s runner up Dan Geren joining from the now defunct #nailedit team. Returning teams with some new drivers include Controlled Chaos Racing, now made up of Bob Mikes, Scott Bolster, Samuel Rieman and Mitch Mohler. Area 51 racing will field a 3-car effort for Jack Bogan, Pete Edwins and Rory Collins. Dragon Fly Racing returns with Vincent Bluthenthal, Jason Robarge, Chris Lanini, Robert Blouin and Matt Mercer. Other new teams include Skid Mark Motorsports with Scotty Johnson, Bart Workman and Brian Beard. 8 Ball Motorsports with Michael Goodman, Justin Weaver and Michel de Jonge, and No Lift Motorsports with Ian Adams, Michael Grey, and Dylan McKenna. Finally, the only team to remain completely unchanged through this entire off season was Adrenaline Motorpsorts, with the team of Andrew Kinsella, Adam Blocker, Chris Stofer, Joe Branch and Tony Showen.
First Medical Equipment is back as the title sponsor of the series once again this year.HPP simulation has also returned, with the winner of the 2018 IndyCar series receiving one of the new HPP HSW-F sim wheels. Additional partners new for the 2018 season include The SimPit, Clipping That Apex, Viva Motorsport, SIMSPORTNews, Guys Games and Beer, Plasma-Tracks.com and The Guitammer Company, maker of ButtKicker low frequency products. As a special prize, the rookie of the year this season will receive a ButtKicker Gamer2 or a ButtKicker Simulation Kit. It is very exciting to welcome these and many more into the Lionheart Family.
Out of all these changes, so many story lines abound. Will Adrenaline, with their unchanged line-up be quickest out of the gate as the other teams get used to each other? Or will some instant chemistry bring out the best in a talented group of new teammates such as Synergy? Will Michel de Jonge return to form on the road courses after his time away from the series or will a guy like Adam Blocker or Dan Geren be able to challenge for wins now that the road course king has vacated his crown. Will No Name be able to overcome the loss of Jake Wright to retain their team championship? Last year, Dan Geren, Michael Goodman and Andrew Kinsella all demonstrated flashes of being able to hang with Jake Wright in the points championship. With Wright gone, will one of these drivers be able to seize the crown, or will it be another who puts together the perfect season to win the championship?
And then there is the biggest question mark of all: the new car. This IR18 shares a lot of it’s underpinnings with the DW12 it replaces, but at the same time drives differently. The draft is long but the aero-push reduced. Following distances are shorter. The rear end of the car more forgiving. Will the drivers who were fast in the DW12 still be fast in the IR18, or will new drivers rise to the top?
Right now, we have a lot of questions. If you want answers you will have to tune in to find out. The First Medical Equipment 200 from Homestead Miami Speedway kicks off the season March 28th. Round 1 of the 24 race season will be broadcast live Wednesday at 10:35pm Eastern time only on GSRC and iRacing Live.