The curtain may be coming down on the Lionheart IndyCar Series season, but the fat lady has one more encore to get through first. Will it be a rookie sealing the Rookie of the Year title in style? Will it be a veteran going out in style? Will it be a champion taking one last bow? This is the lionheart season finale; the SimXperience Championship 300.
Last time out at Laguna Seca, it was a race of dominance and of mistakes. The dominance came from series champion Adam Blocker. Blocker finished the last road course event of the season exactly where he has so many times this season, with a dominant victory, this time over Connor Harrington by a whopping 54 seconds, the largest in Lionheart IndyCar Series history. The mistakes came from nearly everyone else. Dan Geren tried to overtake Blocker into turn 1 on lap one, but overcooked it, got loose and collected Justin Weaver. Rookie Bryan Carey was running a spectacular 3rd place early before a series of mistake put him out of the race as well. Andrew Kinsella got loose out of the corkscrew and brushed the wall, rendering his car barely drivable, and costing him 3rd as well. Kinsella would soldier on well off the pace, eventually finishing 2 laps down in 16th. Dustin Wardlow was running near the top 5 the whole race before he spun coming out of the last corner and caught the wall with his nose. He would replace the nose and finish one lap down in 12th. The people who didn’t make mistakes? Besides Blocker and Harrington, Tyler Graaf would finish 3rd, Stephen Laarkamp 4th and Justin Weaver would recover from the first corner mishap to finish 5th. Only the top 4 cars ended the race on the lead lap.
That certainly won’t be the case this week in Auto Club. What awaits the Lionheart drivers this week is 150 laps, 300 miles of drafting excitement. The 5-lane wide California oval is known for high speed and even higher action. The fewest lead changes in event history was 13, while the most is 36. Despite the action, the race has traditionally been very clean. Only once has the race had more then 4 cautions, and that was back in season 1. Look for the action to come fast and hard on Wednesday.
A number of championships have already been decided going into the finale. Adam Blocker has obviously clinched the overall championship, and he has also clinched the Road Course championship as well. Adrenaline Motorsports Red has clinched the team championship on the backs of Blocker, Kinsella and Bryan Carey, while the Red and Black Adrenaline teams have combined to secure the organization championship.
There are, however still people very interested in the outcome of this race, not the least of which is the rookie of the year battle. Mike Rigney and Damon Martinez are separated by just 10 points, with the edge to Martinez. John Hill is 42 points back, while Bryan Carey is 57 back. With double points on the line, all 4 of these drivers still have a mathematical shot at the title.
The title of best oval driver in Lionheart is also still up for grabs. Adam Blocker leads by 64 over Dan Geren, while Big Joe Hassert is still mathematically alive, 100 points back.
Finally, the Iron man award for the driver who puts in the most miles in the season. 4 drivers can still mathematically achieve this title, with Geren, and Blocker joined by Tyler Graaf and John Hill.
But it’s not just championships that are being perused. Dan Geren, who is running his last Lionheart race tonight, will be attempting to become the first 3-time winner of any of the triple crown races. Geren, the reigning Driver of the Year award winner, has announced that he will not be back next season, and a win at Auto Club would be a fitting send off for the Midwest driver. Oh, did I mention that Geren is also the defending race winner?
Andrew Kinsella and Big Joe Hassert meanwhile are looking to join Geren as 2-time winners. Kinsella is the only Lionheart driver to achieve the “career triple crown”. His first triple crown victory coming right here at Auto Club in his rookie season, followed by Pocono in season 6 and the Indy 500 earlier this year. Hassert meanwhile has more starts (140) than any other active driver and has won 7 times in his career. Both will be searching to join Geren as 2-time Auto Club winners.
Tune in this Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 at 10:35 pm eastern for all the live action only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC, THEN stick around after the race for the end-of-year award presentations and 2020 schedule announcement.
The season is winding down. Just 2 races remain in another epic Lionheart season. Adam Blocker may have already locked up the championship in one of the most dominating single season performances in Lionheart history, but there is still plenty to drive for; plenty more corners to take on the edge, and plenty more passes to be made. In terms of famous corners, there might not be any more famous, or more treacherous then the corkscrew at Laguna Seca. This week, the Lionheart drivers will be taking on that famous corner 56 times at the Grand Prix of Monterey present by Graafix.
Last time out at Kansas, the Big Joe Show Spectacular lived up to its name, in more ways than one. Not only was the racing close and exciting for much of the event, but Big Joe Hassert managed to take home the win in his sponsored event! Big Joe would lead series founder Jorge Anzaldo to the line by 0.225 seconds. It was the best result for Anzaldo in quite some time, who beat his spinning teammate Dan Geren to the line. Geren had led a race high 41 laps, however as he negotiated the apron coming back to the line, a small misjudgement caused the car to spin, costing Geren the position. Tony Showen and Bart Workman rounded out the top 5.
The 3rd place for Geren has cemented the Midwest driver into 2nd place in the standings. Geren is 111 points ahead of 3rd place Andrew Kinsella with just two races remaining. As long as he keeps his nose clean at Laguna Seca, Geren should be able to enter the Auto Club finale secure in the knowledge that 2nd place is his once again, for the 4th straight year. All he has to do is finish ahead of Kinsella.
Speaking of Kinsella, the Canadian had a quiet day at Kansas due to some early race damage that robbed the Canadian of his usual speed. Kinsella is 51 points ahead of Brian Yaczik for 3rd in the championship, and will likewise be looking to firm up his hold on that spot.
From 4th through 11th is where things get tight. Brian Yaczik is a mere 77 points ahead of 11th place Connor Harrington. Yaczik, who had a miserable start to the year has really come alive in the second half of this season, and will be looking to keep his hard fought 4th over the next two races. To do that, he will have to keep some very fast drivers at bay. Besides Harrington, Stehen Laarkamp, Justin Weaver, Big Joe Hassert, Tyler Graaf and Tony Showen are all within striking distance, and it’s not just bragging rights on the line either. 4th place gets $170 in prize money, while 11th is down to $50. That’s a big difference, and it all comes down to these next 2 races.
Meanwhile, the Rookie of the Year race is as tight as ever. Mike Rigney leads Damon Martinez by just 8 points. Still in with an outside shot at it, Bryan Carey is 37 points back of Martinez and John Hill is just 3 points back of Carey. This race is still wide open, and to the winner goes not only the $75 cash prize, but a plethora of physical prizes including an awesome Buttkicker Gamer2 or Simulation Kit.
Tune in this Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 at 10:35pm eastern for the final road course of the season, as the Grand Prix of Monterey presented by Graafix will be live on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC
Kansas has been the sight of some spectacular finishes in the Lionheart series. In 2016, the finish was so close the commentators didn’t even know who won initially. This year, the racing has also produced some spectacular moments, such as an Indy 500 decided by a scant 0.021 seconds. Put these 2 ingredients together and you virtually guarantee an awesome race. That might be why it is called the GSRC/Big Joe Show Spectacular.
But first things first; we have crowned a champion last week at New Hampshire. Adam Blocker won the crown the only way he knew how; by winning the race. This one was a fuel mileage run at the end, with the caution falling just outside the window to make it. A second caution 3 laps later made the last stint do-able, but required a lot of fuel saving to make it happen. Adam Blocker, Chris Stofer, Dan Geren and Andrew Kinsella all pitted on the first caution and stayed out on the second, and were able to stretch the fuel just far enough to finish in that order. Brian Yaczik and Justin Weaver pitted on the 2nd caution, but were unable to make up the lost ground, finishing 5th and 6th. The win mathematically guaranteed Blocker the title. With 3 races to spare, the defense came easier than the initial title for the Carolina driver, who had Dan Geren and Andrew Kinsella take him all the way to the final race last season.
This year so far it is the same order, but Geren and Kinsella will be racing for 2nd from here on in. Geren currently holds the lead over the Canadian by 90 points, however with 3 races, including 1 double points race, anything can still happen. Geren has finished 2nd in 3 straight title fights, while Kinsella has finished 3rd in both his Lionheart seasons. Neither should get to comfortable however. Closing in fast behind them is Brian Yaczik, who is having a 2nd half of the season to remember. 26th place after the first half, Yaczik has worked his way all the way up to 4th place, with some consistently stellar runs. Yaczik is 48 points back of Kinsella for 3rd, and is coming up fast.
Last week, we got our final short track out of the way, now we move on to our final 1.5-mile event. Aptly named, the Big Joe Show Spectacular, every year series regular Big Joe Hassert sponsors a race sure to produce an exciting finish. Last year Dan Geren barely beat Connor Harrington to the line, after a caution free race.
Besides Geren, Yaczik, Blocker and Kinsella, drivers to watch out for include Chris Stofer. Stofer finally got a podium after a long drought. Stofer finished a strong 3rd last year at Kansas, and it is very likely that he will be a factor at the end of this week’s race as well.
Connor Harrington is another driver that should be strong at Kansas. Harrington loves tracks where the draft is important, and that is definitely true of the Kansas Tri-Oval. Harrington to took the win earlier this year at another 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte. He will be looking to go one better compared to last year and take the top step of the podium.
Never to be overlooked at a track like this is Big Joe Hassert. The man who sponsor this race has done so with purpose. He is strong at tracks like Kansas and already has a win this year at the draft track at Michigan.
Draft races, however, often have another side to them. Sometimes it is not the fastest driver that wins, but the driver with the best fuel strategy. Joe Branch may be the best at the draft strategy. Several times this year, Branch has put himself in positions to succeed by playing the long game. Will this race be the one where it finally takes the Indiana driver to victory lane?
One other race to keep an eye on is the Rookie of the Year standings. Mike Rigney continues to lead Damon Martinez by 13 points John Hill is a further 44 points back, making this the tightest points battle for some meaningful prizes. $75 plus a Buttkicker, SimVibe Software key, and more await the winner of the rookie of the year crown, and as of right now, it is too close to call.
Tune in the Wednesday, November 20th for another installment of the best IndyCar action on iRacing. The race will go live at 10:35pm eastern only on the iRacing eSports Network, presented by GSRC.
In annals of tricky oval corners, Turn 2 at New Hampshire Motorpseedway is one of the most under rated. Whether it was Scott Sharp using Mike Groff as a launching ramp in 1994, or Tony Kanaan taking out a portable washroom in 2011, the exit of turn 2 has been treacherous in the real world. In the virtual Lionheart series, there has also been dramatic moments. Brian Yaczik spun out of the lead in season 5, while that same year, Andrew Kinsella used two passes in that same spot to win his 2nd Lionheart series victory. Two things are certain going into this week; the one-mile oval has produced some action-packed races, and the Skid Mark Motorsports 200 may be the most aptly named race on the schedule!
Last time out at Road America, Adam Blocker once again dominated on a road course, although the record gap of nearly 1 minute he enjoyed earlier this season at Barber, was reduced to a mere 9 seconds. Dan Geren kept Blocker honest for much of the race, never straying to far back, and ultimately finished 2nd. The Adrenaline Motorsports teammates of Andrew Kinsella and Bryan Carey battled through most of the race, with Kinsella ultimately emerging triumphant after a small mistake at Canada Corner saw the two London Ontario drivers swap positions. Connor Harrington rounded out the top 5. The result leaves Adam Blocker needing an 8th or better finish this week at New Hampshire to clinch back-to-back championships. Dan Geren is 224 points back, while Andrew Kinsella is a further 136 points back of Geren. Really it is 3rd through 6th where the greatest battle will be. Kinsella leads Stephen Laarkamp by a mere 18 points, while Just Weaver and Brian Yaczik are both 36 points back of Laarkamp.
Now we come to New Hampshire, and if there is one track that might give Dan Geren some small hope, it would be the 1-mile oval. Last year Geren managed to hold of Kinsella by a scant 0.1 seconds as the Midwest driver was good to the last drop of fuel, running out as he crossed the finish line in a fuel mileage gamble that just barely paid off. Geren will need to repeat another win this year to maintain any slim hope in the title fight.
Speaking of Kinsella, the Canadian driver loves New Hampshire. Before he finished 2nd to Geren last year, it was the site of his 2nd Lionheart win in his rookie season, giving Kinsella an average finishing position of 1.5 at the mile oval. Kinsella still has a shot at 2nd; if he can get the win at New Hampshire, the Canadian might just be able to catch Geren.
Adam Blocker might be the one driver not looking forward to New Hampshire. At least in the Lionheart Series, Blocker has not had the best of luck at the flat track. In his rookie season, Blocker was involved in a crash, finishing a distant 22nd, while last season he finished 10th, but never really looked the threat to win. However, he doesn’t need to win this one. He only needs two spots better then last year to clinch his second Lionheart title.
Last year, the rookie of the year title came down to 2 drivers, Stephen Laarkamp and Justin Weaver. These two drivers once again find themselves very close to each other as the season winds down, sitting 4th and 5th overall. Last year, Weaver finished 4th in the epic duel to the flag. Laarkamp has got to where he is through consistency. 12 top 10’s but only 1 top 5. Weaver has been more up and down, with 11 top 10’s, and 4 top 5’s, but also more DNF’s.
This year’s rookie of the year title is the crown no one seems to want to seize. Mike Rigney had an unfortunate netcode event at Road America, and now sits just 19 points in front of Damon Martinez, while John G. Hill is just 9 points further back. This rookie battle is going to be going down to the wire!
For all the action, tune in this Wednesday, November 13th at 10:35pm eastern, only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.
Summer time in picturesque Elkhart Lake Wisconsin has, for many years, been synonymous with one thing; the roar of an IndyCar around the magnificent Road America circuit. Now it may not be summer in the real world, but the beauty of sim racing is it can always be racing season! The Lionheart drivers pack up from Iowa 2 weeks ago and head due north for the Rogue Buck 125 at Road America presented by Irish Whitetail Distillery.
Last time out at Iowa it was Dan Geren surviving till the finish to take his 4th win of the season by 1 second over Brian Yaczik. Geren dominated the race, leading 192 of the 229-lap event. No one else lead for more then 11 laps, and only 5 drivers finished on the lead lap after a tough race. Tony Showen, Big Joe Hassert and Joe Branch dueled for 3rd place with Showen eventually taking it, with Hassert just piping Branch at the line by less then a tenth of a second. Championship leader Adam Blocker did not have a good night, finishing down in 24th place after getting knocked around and finally ending his day in the fence. This has put a delay in Blocker’s victory party, but he still leads the championship by 217 points over Geren. While Geren will be unlikely to catch Blocker, one thing his win did do was stretch his lead over Andrew Kinsella, who missed the race with computer problems. This has created a log jam for 3rd place, with Justin Weaver 4 back of the Canadian, and Stephen Laarkamp 3 back of Weaver. With 5 rounds to go. 3rd place is the battle to watch in this championship.
No from one of the shortest tracks on the schedule, to the longest. The Lionheart drivers will tackle the fast straights and tight turns of the picturesque Road America circuit. First opened in 1955, Road America is a quintessential American road course, with its elevation changes, off camber corners, and tight confines. Road America provides plenty of braking zones where over taking will be relatively easy, so get ready for some serious action from this road course this week.
Adam Blocker will be looking to rebound from his poor Iowa showing, and there is no better track from the South Carolina driver than a road course, where he has dominated this year. With a good result, Blocker could open the possibility of clinching the championship as early as the New Hampshire race; however, if something were to happen and Blocker would DNF again, it could stretch the battle out longer, to either Kansas, Laguna Seca, or even the finale.
While the odds may be slim at this point, you can bet that one man who will not be giving up is Dan Geren. The Midwestern driver recently announced that he will be taking a break from full time driving duties next season. Geren has finished 2nd in each of the last 3 season championships. As long as he still is mathematically alive, you know that Geren will look to go out with a bang this year.
3 drivers to watch out for this week will be Sage Karam, Connor Harrington and Justin Weaver. All 3 have been very fast on road courses this season, but it is the consistency that has bit all 3 in the results column. That being said, it is unlikely that bad luck will befall all 3 this round, so look for at least one of them to be up there challenging Adam Blocker for the win.
In the rookie battle, Mike Rigney has pulled out a lead over Damon Martinez and John Hill. So far of the 3, Martinez has shown the most promise on the road course, but just like the 3 drivers mentioned above, it is the consistency that has been the rookies biggest impediment this year. Will Martinez have the patience at Road America to take a big chunk out of Rigney’s lead? Or will it be another unforced error costing him valuable points in the rookie of the year fight?
For all the simulated action, tune in this Wednesday, November 6th at 10:35pm eastern time only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by the one and only GSRC.
That’s right, earlier this summer, the Lionheart league members gathered at the real-world Iowa IndyCar race to cheer on series driver Sage Karam as he tried to tame the short, tricky oval. Now, several months later they return in virtual form to try to tame it themselves in the Birky Trucking 200 at Iowa Speedway.
Last time out at Gateway, it was Andrew Kinsella charging from 5th to first in the last 20 laps of the race to take the win at the Von Hanson’s 200. On his charge, Kinsella passed the Skid Mark Motorsports trio of Brian Beard, Bart Workman and James Brant, who finished 2nd through 4th, as well as Justin Weaver, who faded from the lead on the restart to 5th in the final standings. The win pushes Kinsella into 5th all-time in wins with 8, passing Jonathan Goke. An interesting statistic; all 8 of Kinsella’s wins have been by less than 1 second, and 7 of them have been by less then half a second. This week’s margin of victory? 0.119 seconds.
Just 16 of 29 cars were running at end as the race produced tight drafting action and some impatient driving lead to a slew of early incidents. Early contenders Dustin Wardlow, Joe Flanagan, Chris Stofer, Big Joe Hassert and others all found themselves caught up in accidents, their nights over before they really got going. But after a caution on lap 60, suddenly it seemed like everyone remembered just how much time was left. Where before we saw multiple passes per lap, suddenly the leaders were more interested in clicking away the miles then with fighting for every inch. The only blemish from them to the end was a spin on pit exit for Connor Harrington, which brought out the final caution midway through a pit cycle, shuffling the order. Leaders Brian Yaczik, Adam Blocker, Harrington and Kinsella found themselves at the bottom half of the top 10 instead of the top half. Kinsella made it back up, but the other 3 did not.
In the points standings, Adam Blocker continues to hold a 263-point lead over Dan Geren, after they finished 11th and 12th respectively. With the win, Kinsella pulls to within 66 points of Dan Geren for 2nd place, while Weaver pulls ahead of Stephen Laarkamp for 4th position, 24 points back of Kinsella.
Looking ahead to this week’s race, the Lionheart Series is returning home to Iowa, site of the annual real-world league meet-up. In last year’s race, Adam Blocker, Michael Goodman, Scotty Johnson and Chris Lanini were the 4 drivers to be on the right pit strategy when a caution flew, trapping the rest of the drivers one lap down. Blocker would barely beat Michael Goodman to the line by a scant 0.034 seconds, the 8th closest finish in league history.
On a short fast oval like Iowa, pit strategy could once again come into play Pitting early will give drivers a distinct speed and tire advantage, but will also temporarily put them not just 1 but 2 laps down. Will the risk outweigh the reward? For some drivers the answer will undoubtedly be yes, as short pitting could see them build healthy advantages. But for guys who are light on the loud pedal; guys like Joe Branch, Brian Beard, Chris Lanini, and Bark Workman, it could also present an opportunity to trap them, just as Blocker did one year ago.
Last week’s winner has also traditionally run strong at Iowa. Kinsella finished 2nd in his rookie season, and last year was the only driver to successfully un-lap himself on pace alone. 3 of Kinsella’s 8 wins have been on short ovals, while a further 3 have been at tracks with progressive banking similar to what we see in Iowa. It is safe to safe the Canadian will be looking to go back to back this week to turn up the heat on Dan Geren.
Speaking of Geren, the Lionheart king of qualifying is facing a bit of a conundrum this week. Geren knows how to extract one lap qualifying speed better then any driver in the series, however not one single winner in 6 previous seasons has come from the pole. If you’re Dan Geren, do you hang back a bit in Qualifying, knowing the history, or are you simply determined to break the trend, and become the first. Knowing what we know about Geren, he should be a lock for somewhere near the sharp end of the grid, and the final standings.
The rookie standings received a big shake-up last week, with Mike Rigney moving back into 1st place, as Damon Martinez drops 6 points behind Rigney due to a 24th place DNF at Gateway. In fact, Rigney was the only rookie in the top 5 to be running at the end, with a solid 7th place finish. Rigney has been coming on strong in recent races, finishing 9th, at Charlotte and 3rd at Richmond in 2 of the previous 4 races. With 6 races remaining, staying consistent and getting those top 10’s will likely be the right recipe for leaving the Auto Club finale with the rookie title.
As always, the Lionheart Series can be watch live on the iRacing eSports Network, presented by GSRC. The Iowa 200 presented by Birky Trucking will fire off this Wednesday, October 23rd at 10:35pm Eastern.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series prepares for its last swing through the Midwest as Adam Blocker prepares to seize the crown for himself after a remarkable campaign. The North Carolina driver has delivered in a way that few have ever been able to in Lionheart history. Now just 7 short races stand between him and the ultimate glory of the season championship. He may not even need that many to secure his crown. First, he must get through the action at Gateway Motorsports Park and the Von Hanson’s 200.
Last time out in Montreal, it was Adam Blocker once again leading the way on road courses this season. This time it was with the help of some fuel saving strategy, that saw the top 4 positions log only 2 stops while the other competitors had to log 3 each. With just seconds to go in qualifying, Blocker stole the pole from Connor Harrington by scant thousandths of a second. Blocker would escape to an early lead and hang on throughout the whole race, to take a dominating win. Behind him was anything but ordinary as rookie Bryan Carey would use that same fuel strategy to leapfrog some other drivers in the pits, and then hunt down Dan Geren for second. The rookie would come up just a bit short of Geren, as the duo finished 2nd and 3rd, just 3 seconds apart at the finish. Nonetheless, this would by a day for celebration as Carey recorded his first ever Lionheart podium. His teammate Andrew Kinsella was looking at a sure 4th place until a spin in turn 4 on lap 30 saw the Canadian into the wall and out of the race. This dealt an almighty blow to the Canadian’s championship aspiration as the Lionheart veteran is chasing Dan Geren for 2nd place in points. Moving up to 4th in the championship and in the race was Stephen Laarkamp. The last of the drivers to successfully execute the 2-stop strategy, Laarkamp overcame several bobbles to take the car home in 4th. In 5th, Tyler Graaf proved the fastest of the 3 stoppers. Despite being on the wrong end of the strategy game, the second year Lionheart driver showed some real speed on the Montreal road course, and put in the kind of solid effort that will reward him down the line.
Shifting focus for the Lionheart drivers, the first of 2 consecutive short-tracks looms large for the Lionheart drivers as they tackle the egg-shaped World Wide Technologies Raceway aka Gateway Motorsports Park. The tricky short track will inevitably produce just as much drama in the virtual world as it did in the real world this year.
Last year’s winner was Chris Stofer. The Indiana driver has been dominant at Gateway over the past two seasons. In Season 5 Stofer sat on the pole setting the league qualifying record at Gateway with a 24.365 set at over 184 mph. Stofer would lead a series high 103 laps but would not find victory lane that year. Fast forward to Season 6 and the tables would be turned as Stofer would find the checkered flag in a race that saw a series high 40 lead changes. If Stofer could find victory lane a second time at Gateway it would be the 5th of his Lionheart career.
With a 264-point lead, it would take a lot to stop Blocker now. He has dominated the entire season of Lionheart, seemingly rarely out of the top 5. At this rate there is little reason to believe that that is about to change at Gateway. But when it comes to short track racing, you never know what is about to happen.
The man trying to track him down is Dan Geren. The Lionheart king of qualifying, and that doesn’t matter any more than on a Midwest short track. This is a track where dirty air can make the difference between taking turns 1 and 2 flat out, or having to make that subtle lift that costs you the position. With Geren hanging by a thread, qualifying could make the difference between the race hanging on or Blocker clinching with races to spare.
The Rookie of the Year title has been the tightest race all season. Damon Martinez currently leads the standings, but the race has never been tighter. Mike Rigney and John Hill are just 14 and 18 points back respectively. One bad race is all it takes from the Martinez, and these other 2 are all over him.
Not to be forgotten in this race are two other fierce competitors. Bryan Carey, fresh off his first Lionheart podium is just 49 points back, and Paul Jenkins is only 56 back. Both are well within striking distance for the rookie of the year title, which comes with its own prizes in addition to the prestige of winning one of the toughest awards Lionheart has to offer.
In summary, this should be one heck-of-a race, as the Lionheart Gladiators go out there with everything to gain, and in some cases, everything to lose. To find out who will be the winners and who will be the losers, tune in this Wednesday October 16th at 10:35pm eastern for all the action, only on the iRacing eSports Network YouTube channel presented by GSRC.
For the 2nd time this year, the best IndyCar drivers on iRacing travel north of the border. This time, instead of the rolling hills of Mosport, they travel to the dead-flat Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve semi-street circuit in Montreal. The circuit lies on an island in the St Lawrence river that was enlarged from it’s original form for the 1967 World Expo. The island then served as the venue for the rowing events in the 1976 Olympics before a race track was put on the island after the 1977 season. Similar to Belle-Isle, the circuit is created out of normal roads in a park-like setting, but unlike belle-isle the track is up to F1 standards for both safety and smoothness. The circuit was named after Gilles Villeneuve in 1982 after the Quebec native’s death earlier in the year. Gilles had won his home race 1979, while finishing 2nd, 5th, and, perhaps most famously, 3rd in 1981, sans his front wing, after he spent most of the race driving with it obscuring his vision. The Lionheart Series will run 47 laps around this unique facility in the First Medical Grand Prix of Montreal.
Last time out at Richmond, points leader Adam Blocker drove a perfect near perfect race, to take the win. Blocker started on pole and lead 211 of the 267 laps. Brian Yaczik had his best result in what has been a tough season, as the LPM driver came home 2nd. Mike Rigney earned the hard charger award, racing his way from 30th to 3rd, through patience, strategy and some good passes. James Brant and Tony Showen also came from deep in the field to round out the top 5. The race was a tough one, as even before the drop of the green flag Ken Hacker lit up the tires on the warm-up lap, and spun down into Andrew Kinsella, who entered the race in a tight battle with Dan Geren for 2nd in the championship. Both cars were damaged, ruining Kinsella’s chances at the win before the race even started. He would ultimately finish 23rd after some net code contact with John Hill ended his race. Things didn’t end much better for Geren, as he got collected in an incident between Jason Galvin and Samuel Reiman. Geren finished 14th, 3 laps down. Ultimately only 6 cars would finish on the lead lap, as the smallest track on the circuit produced maximum carnage.
The win leaves Adam Blocker an astounding 255 points up on Geren for the championship. Rarely has Lionheart seen the kind of dominance that Blocker has shown this season. 14 top 5’s from 17 races. Those other 3 races? DNF’s; meaning if Adam Blocker has finished the race, he has done so in the top 5. With 8 races to go, the question has shifted from whether Blocker will win the championship to when. All he has to do is avoid DNF’s in as little as 4 more races, and he will have the title sewn up.
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on the Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal is certainly a good place to start. Not only is Blocker the defending race winner, but he has been dominant on road courses this year. 4 wins, and not a finish outside the top 5. If ever there was a spot where Blocker could have something happen, it might be in Montreal. The circuit has fast straights and tight turns that offer up a demanding combination for these turbo-charged Dallara’s. Get on the gas a fraction too early or too hard and you could easily end up in the wall.
Also strong on road courses this year has been rookie Damon Martinez, even leading for a significant period of time at Monza. Montreal is very similar in character to Monza with the long straights leading to chicanes. Look for Martinez to be strong again in Montreal.
Speaking of strong runs at Monza, there was another rookie battling with Martinez as the laps wound down. Bryan Carey has shown some definite speed on the road this season, but it’s been the finishing that has betrayed him. A last lap spin at Monza while going for the final podium spot saw Carey finish 6th. At Watkins Glen, Carey hounded his teammate Andrew Kinsella for much of the last half of the race, but couldn’t find a way past before settling for 5th. Will this week be the week Carey puts it all together and finishes a road course race on the podium?
Another driver who will be looking for redemption in this race will be Connor Harrington. Last year at this race, Harrington started 3rd, but went “full send” into turn one and spun in front of the field. Harrington would ultimately battle back up to 5th, but never got the chance to truly show the speed he had. Harrington has calmed down this year, picking up his first win. Will Harrington redeem his first lap mistake from last season with a win this season?
Speaking of last season, Andrew Kinsella had his best road course race of his Lionheart career on this very track last season. The Canadian, more known for his oval racing prowess, started and finished in 2nd place with a quiet consistent drive. The road courses this season have been anything but quiet and consistent for the Adrenaline driver, who has found himself frequently caught up in other people’s incidents; from getting hit on the first lap of Belle-Isle 2 and Monza, or getting confronted by spinning cars at Belle-Isle 1, Barber, and Mosport, the only thing on the Canadian’s mind this year is getting through all 47 laps. A top 5 would must be considered a bonus; although is Kinsella wants to challenge Geren for 2nd, it might be a bonus he needs to find.
Tune in for all the action from the First Medical Grand Prix of Montreal this Wednesday, October 9th, at 10:35pm eastern time, only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.
Everything is smaller at Richmond Raceway in Virgina. The lap times just 15 seconds. The length, just ¾ of a mile. The width, just 3 lanes wide. The list of past winners in the field (0). The only thing bigger is the number of laps. 267 lighting quick, action packed laps are in store for the Lionheart IndyCar drivers at this weeks Midwest Simulations 200.
It was a topsy-turvy day for many of the Championship contenders last time out at Michigan International Speedway; in fact out of the top 5 in points, 2nd place Dan Geren was the top finisher in 15th after leading a race high 36 laps. Points leader Blocker finished 17th, Michael Goodman 25th, Justin Weaver 28th, and Andrew Kinsella 29th. Yikes. Instead, it was the back farther down the standings ceasing the opportunity. In a thrilling 3-lap shootout, Big Joe Hassert out-duelled Tony Showen and Brian Yaczik. Some late race controversy saw a computer glitch result in Tony Showen getting kicked from the server on the run to the checkered flag as he tried to get a final run on Hassert. Because the error occurred on an race control member’s computer, Tony was awarded 2nd place over Brian Yaczik. Series founder Jorge Anzaldo saw his best result of the year as he rounded out the top 5, after he and Joe Branch duelled for 4th and 5th over the last couple of laps. Joe Flanagan, Stephen Laarkamp, Ken Hacker, Paul Jenkins and Scotty Johnson all saw strong runs result in top 10 finishes.
Now from one of the largest ovals on the Lionheart series to the smallest, as the Lionheart IndyCar drivers head south to the ¾ mile Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. With 14 degrees of banking and 267 short laps ahead of them, the drivers will need all their patience and skill to get through this one.
On the 2 short tracks so far this year, only 3 drivers have finished in the top 10 in both. Unsurprisingly, Adam Blocker is one of them. Blocker, the commanding leader in the points championship, has, however, been on a comparative slump with back to back finishes outside the top 15. Will Richmond be the track that puts him back on track, or will the run of bad luck continue?
The other 2 names on that list are Michael Goodman and Chris Stofer. Goodman is currently sitting 4th in the points, 16 back of Andrew Kinsella, while Stofer has had a nightmarish season, seeing himself all the way down in 29th in points. For both Stofer and Goodman, Richmond presents an opportunity to capitalize on past success. For Goodman, it could mean vaulting into 3rd in the championship. For Stofer it could mean a surge up the standings for a driver that has seen strong second halves the last 2 years. Will either be able to use the momentum from the previous short track races to their advantage?
Passing can be notoriously difficult on the short Richmond oval, so qualifying may present a distinct advantage. If so, Dan Geren would be the one to benefit. With a sterling average starting position of 5.81 through 16 races, Geren qualifies an average 2.5 positions better then anyone else on the grid. If Geren is able to keep up that advantage, the Midwest driver should be a real threat for the victory.
Another driver who has had a quietly consistent season so far is Stephen Laarkamp. Laarkamp, who battled down to the wire with Justin Weaver for Rookie of the Year last year, is battling for a spot in the top 5 in points this year. The NHR e-Sports driver currently sits 6th in points, but has the 2nd best average finish of anyone on the grid this year. The catch? Ten top 10 finishes, but none in the top 5. Still it seems only a matter of time before Laarkamp converts one of those good runs into a great run. Will it be at Richmond?
The Rookie of the Year battle took another twist as only Paul Jenkins and John Hill finished all 200 miles at Michigan. Jenkins finishing 9th, while Hill finished 17th. Bryan Carey finished 22nd, one lap down while Damon Martinez and Mike Rigney failed to finish. These 5 drivers all have a shot at the title, with only 67 points separating Carey in 5th from first place Martinez. This will be the battle to watch as the season wears down.
In the team standings, an off night from Adrenaline Motorsports Red saw their gap shrink slightly, but with a cushion of 279 points on Synergy East, something dramatic will need to happen in order for this championship to change hands. Close battles in the team standings include for 3rd place, where Adrenaline Motorsports Black and LPM – Cancer Down are locked in a furious battle. Also, a tight battle rages in the back half of the top 10, with Skid Mark Black, Synergy West, NHR e-Sports and LPM – Thumbs Up all covered by 64 points.
The Midwest Simulations 200 goes off this Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 at 10:35pm eastern. Catch all the live action only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.
The green hills of Michigan are about to come alive with the sound of V6 power. The Lionheart Series is coming to Michigan International Speedway for the Sim Racers 4 Mental Health 200.
Last time out at Charlotte, Justin Weaver and Connor Harrington put on a show up front. The 2 swapped the lead numerous times over the last few laps, with Harrington using a small mistake to get around Weaver the final time with just 1 lap remaining to take the win. Andrew Kinsella capitalized on the same mistake to finish second, just 0.188 seconds behind Harrington. Weaver would settle for 3rd, while the Adrenaline Motorsports duo of Tony Showen and Joe Branch rounded out the top 5. It was a tough day for points leader Adam Blocker, as the Carolina driver got caught up in the final wreck of the night, ultimately finishing 22nd, 21 laps down. Fortunately for Blocker, 2nd in points didn’t fair much better, as Dan Geren made a mistake and caught the wall just 38 laps into the race. As a result, Blocker maintains his commanding lead in the championship, but the battle for 2nd is heating up. Kinsella is just 35 points behind Geren, with Michael Goodman and Justin Weaver also within shouting distance of 2nd place.
Site of the first ever Lionheart Race, the IndyCar drivers make their annual pilgrimage to Michigan International Speedway. The high-banked oval will be welcome relief from the narrow confines of Charlotte. 4 or even 5 lanes wide in some places, the drivers will have to balance the draft with the need for clean air as the tires fall off.
For drivers strong in the draft, look no further then the top 3 from last week. Weaver, Kinsella, and Harrington are notoriously strong in races like this, where draft and tire fall-off is equally important. Look for these 3 to be up near the top this week as well.
A driver to watch out for is Joe Branch. Branch is one of the best fuel savers in the series; consistently being able to stretch the fuel one or 2 extra laps. At a big track like Michigan, that can be a huge advantage. If we get a long stretch of green flag running, it might just be that Branch will be raising the winner’s trophy at the end of the night.
With routine heavy-weights such as Brian Yaczik and Jason Galvin having down seasons, Big Joe Hassert has been flying the flag for the Loud Pedal Motorports team this season. All 3 drivers, however should not be overlooked at Michigan. Hassert in particular is strong in the draft, and will play a factor on Wednesday night.
Finally, a bounce back race from Dan Geren seems highly likely. Geren has always been strong at Michigan, where the high banks and wide track suits his style. Geren will need a good race if he wants to keep any hope of catching Adam Blocker by season end alive. He will have one eye looking back as well, however, as Kinsella, Goodman and Weaver are coming for him.
The rookie battle saw a bit of a shake-up as Mike Rigney finished 9th, while John Hill, Damon Martinez, and Bryan Carey all finished outside the top 15. This is a battle that will be coming down to the wire, with Martinez only 31 points up on Rigney. From here on out, it is very likely that the most consistent of those 4 drivers will take the crown, which could just give the Hill, the cleanest driver in Lionheart this season.
Tune in Wednesday September 18th, 2019 at 10:35pm eastern for all the simulated action, only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.