It was a wild night at Michigan for the Lionheart Indycar Series Presented by First Medical Equipment. The 100-lap sim race saw 8 cautions, 10 different leaders, and 29 lead changes – which doesn't include the countless battles for position throughout the tightly-packed field of 39 virtual DW-12s. When the dust settled, 23 cars finished Michigan International 200 under caution, and it was Jake Wright leading the field to the checkered flag.
The victory was the fifth of the season for the defending series champion, who now leads the overall standings by 180 points. However, this win was a truly unexpected one for Wright. “Michigan isn't on my top favourite tracks list, so to be able to get a good result out of this place is nice,” said Wright in victory lane. “Until tonight, I've never really had good results here.”
Ironically, Wright did not lead a single lap until he passed Dan Geren for the lead just moments before a race-ending caution flag flew with three laps to go. “I think he was trying to set me up for last lap pass...I got lucky when the caution came out when it did,” added Wright, who finished 22nd at Michigan last season.
Pole-sitter Dan Geren, who led 42 laps overall, echoed Jake's view on his ill-timed strategic move. “I gave it away to try and set Jake up, and it backfired on me,” said Geren of Wright's winning pass. Geren conceded that it was actually an earlier caution (with 8 laps to go) that had a bigger impact on his race. “I really did not want to see that other caution come out. I had a second-and-a-half lead; I was letting them battle.”
Geren's #NailedIt teammate Michael Gray rounded out the podium, earning his best oval finish of the season. “I would say that we had a good performance,” said Gray. “I feel like we could have broken the famous 'J streak',” he added, referring to the increasingly-infamous streak that has seen every race this season won by a sim racer whose first name starts with “J.”
No Name Racing's Brian Yaczik finished just outside the podium in fourth – his second top-five finish in three races. Joe Flanagan finished fifth – his first career top five finish. Rounding out the top ten were Ed Tutwiler, Jason Robarge, Jack Bogan, Jason Galvin and Tony Showen.
It was another disappointing evening for several key championship contenders. Jonathan Goke, who won the race last season, finished 27th after an incident with Tony Lurcock which triggered a multi-car wreck on the front stretch. James Krahula also failed to gain ground after he was collected in a major incident on lap 25 that destroyed numerous cars. Krauhula finished 34th.
Wright's commanding lead in the points will be put to the test in the league's next event at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The I Race for Gage Indianapolis 500 will be the second leg in the Lionheart Triple Crown. As such, double points will be on the line for all drivers, as well as a multitude of prizes – including $50 to the winner.
The full-length, 500 mile I Race for Gage Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and Iracing Live beginning at a special time: Sunday, July 17 at 3:45PM ET. For more information about the Lionheart Indycar Series Presented by First Medical Equipment, please visit www.lionheartracingseries.com.