By Justin Prince
In what turned into a war of attrition, Matt Taylor has won the Global Electronic Technology 175 Presented by Minus 273.
Taylor took the checkered flag on a one-lap shootout, having to hold off a hard-charging Mike Rasimas and David Sirois to do so. This was after several big crashes decimated a majority of the field throughout the 113-lap race.
Rasimas, Sirois, Chris Lanini and Ariel Alaniz rounded out the top five.
Seven cars finished on the lead lap out of 27 starters.
“This is awesome. What a scary opening portion of this race though,” said Taylor from HyperX Victory Lane. “Guys were flying all over the place and once (Michael) O’Brien had contact (on Lap 4) … that was kind of a red flag for me to go to the back there and that absolutely paid off.”
The race was marred by several incidents and hard hits to the wall.
O’Brien, who started on the pole, was bumped into the wall during a four-wide pass for the lead into Turn 3. Isaac Snider banged tired with Chris Fowler, sending him into the side tires of O’Brien. His suspension on his car was immediately destroyed. No caution was thrown for the incident.
On Lap 15, the trouble continued for drivers during a five-wide move for first. Ricky Hardin tapped the right-rear tire of Fowler, sending him sliding on the bottom line of the track. As that happened, Nick DeGroot was shot to the right, sending him into Snider. Both cars went flying into the outside SAFER barrier. Snider was launched across the track into the path of Alaniz. Mike Rigney, Chris Ragan and Alex Guyon were also involved.
The incidents escalated on Lap 24.
While fighting four-wide again for the lead, Craig Forsythe and Jean-Francois Matte made contact after Forsythe got loose. Matte was sent over Forsythe’s sidepod, shooting Forsythe into the path of Chris Staples. Alaniz and Aaron Morgan were also involved in the incident.
By Lap 27, just 14 cars were left running.
“That was a wild race. I can’t believe I made it to the end, so I will definitely take a P2 after all the carnage,” said Rasimas.
The incidents kept coming.
After D.J. Clark crashed due to his wheel disconnecting from his desk on Lap 54, much of the field went single-file until Lap 88. As the cars made their way through Turn 3, Robert Mikes came down the track into the front wing of Caleb Benci. Mikes spun around across his wing, destroying Benci’s front end. Jason Galvin drifted up the track to dodge the trouble only to overcorrect into the wall.
The race lead heated up on the ensuing restart.
Taylor quickly charged past Alaniz to take the point. He elected to hug the bottom line of the track in the corners to defend for several laps. Then on Lap 100, Jorge Anzaldo got a big run on Taylor, charging from fifth to second place in one straightaway. The two fought hard for three laps before reaching lapped traffic. While the traffic stayed high, it forced several drivers to check up, allowing Anzaldo to take the point on Lap 106.
Then, on Lap 108, Anzaldo spun.
The Raven Motorsports Silver driver tried to defend a move from Taylor on the bottom before spinning into Richie Hearn and Trevor Malone. All three cars slammed the outside wall, destroying their cars.
That set up the one-lap shootout.
Next race, the Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the SimXperience 150 Presented by Dewar's Candy. That will take place on August 5 and can be seen live on RaceSpot TV at 10:35 p.m. ET.
By Justin Prince
Barrett Rolph has finally done it.
After coming close to victory several times this season in the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel, Rolph has won his first career race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Ascari Autosport driver took the checkered flag for the Sim Racing Studio Indianapolis 500 Presented by Chris Fowler Racing under caution. He led a race-high 53 laps at the Brickyard.
Brian Yaczik, Brian Beard, Tony Showen and Joe Branch completed the top five.
“My hands are still kind of shaking a little bit,” said Rolph from HyperX Victory Lane. “It’s not quite the way I wanted to do it under yellow like that, but it didn’t stop me from hollering anyway. I’m just super stoked to pick up the win for Ascari Autosport … It’s incredible. I’m kind of at a loss for words. I felt like I was in control the whole race and thought I was going to lose it at the end, but to get it done in the Indy 500 in this series feels incredible.”
The race came down to a restart with four laps to go. Rolph got a large jump on the rest of the pack over Beard and Yaczik. Yaczik’s LPM Thumbs Up car ducked to the inside of Beard down the backstretch to take away second position. By Turn 4 exit, Yaczik was getting a run on Rolph.
That is when the caution came out for an incident in Turns 3 and 4. While battling for seventh position, Matt Huston and Matt Taylor were taken three-wide into the corner by Paul Jenkins, forcing Huston to back off on the corner exit. As Huston attempted to cut back into line from the middle of the track, he came across the front wing of Jeff Hysong, sending both cars into the wall. Huston immediately flipped upside down and rode the top of the SAFER barrier for several feet before the yellow flag was triggered.
Overall, the event had three cautions with two coming in the final 10 laps.
“I could see when the leader went and Beard couldn’t. My thought process was to time the restart to where the leader goes and I would be to the inside of Beard and dispose of him in Turn 1, set me up to pass the leader into Turn 3, then I was going to try to block to try and maintain the lead,” said Beard. “But, we didn’t get the restart we needed, which put Beard in front of us in Turns 1 and 2, then we finally disposed of him. We just sent it down into Turn 3 and made it stick and we were coming out of Turn 4 with a whole lot of momentum, then I heard Chris Lanini on the Discord yell ‘wrecking, wrecking.’ Then I went ‘no, no, no’ and the caution came out when we were up to the side pod there.
“I think we had it. It just stings to finish second on that one.”
Beard started the race from the pole and immediately got into a swap draft battle with Jason Galvin for the lead. The two traded first place for 11 straight laps to begin the 500-mile event. Beard eventually came out with the top spot once the swapping stopped.
As that went on, Rolph charged his way to the front. The blue and black Dallara DW12 quickly made passes on A.J. Musselman, Chris Fowler, Alexis Newsome and Jorge Anzaldo, utilizing the top line several times during the first seven laps. By the opening pit stops, Rolph was inside the top three.
After the opening pit stops, Beard, Chris Fowler, Chris Stofer and Rolph broke away from the main pack.
Galvin, Craig Forsythe, Joe Branch and Yaczik eventually closed up to the group later in the race.
The championship points leader, Newsome, had a disastrous moment during the second pit stop window.
After extending her second run to Lap 65, she disappeared from the track while her car was down pit road. The Factory Backed driver had dropped out of the iRacing server. Newsome lost two laps as a result of the issue. After rejoining the track, she was caught by the race leaders. She stayed with the main pack for much of the event.
The first caution did not strike until Lap 134, when Forsythe attempted to make a pass to the inside of Stofer for third. On the corner exit, Forsythe attempted to clear Stofer. Instead, he came across the front wing of the Adrenaline Motorsports driver, sending both into the outside wall in the short chute. Stofer was sent flipping upside down into the Turn 4 SAFER barrier. He then rode the top of the wall for several seconds before coming to a rest.
Because of the timing of the caution, it turned the event into a fuel-milage race. Ken Hacker, Anzaldo and Matt Wagner elected to stay out, gambling on another caution.
On the ensuing restart on Lap 138, several strategies came into play to save the amount of gas needed to make it on one pit stop. While the three drivers who stayed out pulled away, Rolph and the rest of the pack attempted to swap draft before reeling back in the pack. Some drivers, such as Tony Showen, decided to watch the two drivers battle and lift to save. Others, like Yaczik, backed their pace up by as much as three seconds by the end of the run to make it on gas.
However, with under 10 laps to go, that all changed.
Micael Hagstrom, who had just exited the pit lane, made contact with eighth-place driver Mike Rigney down the front straightaway, swerving both of them straight into the outside wall. Rigney flipped upside down seven times before landing upside down.
Then, seconds later, Hagstrom’s damaged car drifted into the grass in Turn 3 under the yellow flag. He then bounced back up into traffic, right in the path of Christopher Kresge and Alexander van de Sandt. Both Hagstrom and Kresge were launched upside down from the secondary crash.
“I wasn’t even positive I was going to be able to make it at the end before that last yellow,” said Rolph. “I was looking good. Then the lead group with a few lappers in it broke away and I kind of knew I needed to be back up there, so I had to burn a little bit extra fuel to make up that gap. I think I was actually going to be a lap short, if not just barely, but that yellow kind of helped, but it put me in a precarious position there on the restart.”
After the final yellow flag was brought out a few laps later, 19 cars were able to take the checkered flag.
“To have the luck kind of fall our way for once and the yellow to come out while I was in the lead there to get the win, it just feels incredible,” said Rolph. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m super stoked.”
Next race, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel heads to The Magic Mile for the Espo Designs New Hampshire 175 on August 2. Coverage will begin at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and can be watched on tape delay on ESTV.
By Justin Prince
After stretching his fuel tank to run 45 laps twice in the final stages of the SimXperience Kentucky 200, Alexander van de Sandt has won his first race of the 2021 season.
Van de Sandt pulled off the victory after being able to save more than three laps of fuel per stint in a fully green flag Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel race. The Team RaceVerse Black driver led just 10 of the 134 laps on the way to the win.
Robert Maleczka III, Alexis Newsome, Nick DeGroot and Chris Stofer rounded out the top five.
“It was so close, especially at the end when everyone had much fresher tires than I did those last few laps, so I couldn’t stay with them,” said van de Sandt in HyperX Victory Lane. “Once Matt (Wagner) pit, I had no help, so I had to try to make sure I had enough to have a buffer there and it was just enough.”
Van de Sandt made the decision to try the strategy after his fastest qualifying lap did not count, relegating him to 27th starting position. He had gone to the apron on his qualifying run, which is known to be difficult to avoid clipping the grass at Kentucky Speedway.
“I was like, ‘okay, I’m going to be marred in traffic, I’m going to be second-to-last, it’s going to be hard to pass. Might as well just see what I can do in these first few laps to see what numbers I can hit,’” said van de Sandt. “Then I realized this might be possible. When it started going green the whole way, which shocked me, I just had to commit to it.”
Maleczka III, who led a race-high 74 laps and finished more than three seconds behind Van de Sandt, said he knew it was going to be close with the fuel save strategy. He said since he and Newsome were both out front by several seconds, they did not want to risk it.
“Man, if this race was one lap longer, I would have been golden,” said Maleczka III.
Factory Backed had a strong day from the green flag, immediately seeing both Maleczka III and Newsome pull away by two seconds within the first 15 laps. DeGroot, who started 14th, also slowly made his way through the pack to charge his way to the head of a three-car pack in the closing stages. The Factory Backed cars at one point had a possible 1-2-3 finish with Maleczka III and Newsome having a 10-second advantage.
“We knew we had this all-out pace with Alexis just riding one-two,” said Maleczka III. “We just put our heads down and kept hot-lapping.”
Overall, just one car did not finish the 200-mile race.
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Sim Racing Studio Indy 500 Presented by Chris Fowler Racing. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on July 18th at 10:35 p.m. EST.
By Justin Prince
In what is the closest finish in the history of ButtKicker Indy 250, Marc Cohn has won his second Triple Crown race of the 2021 Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience season.
Cohn edged out Aero-X Racing’s Chris Fowler for the win by 0.005 seconds to take the checkered flag at iRacing’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Cohn led 17 laps on the way to his second victory of the 2021 season.
Sage Karam, Paul Jenkins and Ken Hacker completed the top five.
“This was all I ever wanted was to win a big league race of any sort at Indianapolis. Today has been my whole life,” said Cohn from HyperX Victory Lane. “I can’t believe it.”
Cohn had to defend the lead in a seven-lap shootout after a crash at the back of the main pack between D.J. Clark and Ariel Alaniz. The GRAAFix LC Motorsports driver did so by trying to hug the bottom of the track throughout the final stages.
“I just knew that if I didn’t hug the inside, I was going to be forced three-wide,” said Cohn. “Then, I tried the outside on Fowler, but that just made it worse. I was just hoping somehow, some way I would be able to pull it out in the end.”
The victory came as several drivers, including Ricky Hardin, were sent spinning and crashing behind Cohn and Fowler after contact from Sage Karam. Karam gave a bump to the back end of Cohn in the incident, giving The Watchman a big speed boost for the final few hundred feet to the line.
“That bump from Sage, I owe him big time because that’s what got me through that. Otherwise, I don’t think it would have happened,” said Cohn.
Fowler said he was bummed about finishing second in the race. It was Fowler’s best finish of the season. It was also his best career finish in the series.
“I wanted to win this race so badly,” said Fowler. “I thought I had it. I just missed it … Marc needs to send Sage a little care package for that bump for the win. I’ve definitely had a rough season this year and lots of bad luck. I really needed that win to gain some momentum, but even a second is great. That was such a fun race.”
Karam was in third place for much of the final run. He said he knew that was the place he needed to be to position himself for the win.
“I was doing everything I could to stay in third going into the last lap,” said Karam. “I ended up getting a bit of understeer into Turn 3 and I had a car to the outside of me. I kind of knew my chances of winning went down quite significantly.
“Then on the frontstretch, those guys left kind of a hole, so I was like ‘alright, I’m gonna go through the hole.’ Then it closed quite quickly when I tried to go through it. Ended up having contact with Marc and I think I pushed him to the win. I mean, he’s The Watchman, so maybe he’ll send me a watch or something. That’d be pretty nice.”
The race went green for the first 77 laps, with the lead pack being trimmed down from 23 cars to as little as 13.
Several drivers swapped back-and-forth for the race lead at the end of the first and second fuel runs, including Jorge Anzaldo, Fowler and Tyler Graaf. Others such as Ken Hacker, Matt Taylor and Mike Rasimas attempted to use strategy to cut their way through the field to get to the front.
Karam looked to be in a strong position strategy-wise after the final pit stops of the race when he broke the draft by 1.9 seconds from the rest of the leaders on Lap 76.
“I think my strategy was spot on,” said Karam. “I pretty much saved fuel right from the beginning. I could have led many laps. I just decided that saving fuel was more important than leading the most laps at that point of the race. Saved a lot of fuel and we had a really good last stop.”
That changed when the caution flew in the second pack.
Graaf tried to get to the front of his group by running the high line in Turn 3. David Sirois pushed up the track into the left-side tires of the NLR driver, sending him head first into the outside wall.
Chris Ragan just avoided the spinning car by inches before slamming tires with Trevor Malone in Turn 4, spinning him into the grass.
Karam, Taylor and Fowler traded the lead several times on the ensuing restart, continuously swapping spots down the frontstretch into Turn 1. Then, on Lap 86, Cohn made his big move, taking Karam and Fowler three-wide to move himself to the point. That is when Cohn started to defend to the bottom of the track. Overall, 10 cars were shuffling positions in the main pack.
On Lap 90, the caution would fly for a second and final time as Alaniz and Clark touched wheels heading into Turn 1. The second group of cars piled into the spinning Lotus 79s in the corner. Caleb Benci, who took the hardest of the hits, flipped several times in the grass, landing on top of Adam Young’s car. Chris Lanini also received damage at the same time after driving into the inside wall trying to go for a four-wide move just moments before the Turn 1 crash.
Overall, 19 cars finished on the lead lap.
Next race, the Lionheart Retro Series visits Sonoma Raceway for the HyperX Grand Prix of Sonoma on July 8. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV.
By Justin Prince
For the second time in his Lionheart Racing Series career, Adam Blocker has won the HyperX Indianapolis 500.
The Adrenaline Powerslide driver won the triple crown race by more than two seconds. Blocker has become the second driver to win the race twice in its history. He is also the second polesitter to ever win the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker event.
Connor Harrington, Henry Bennett, Andrew Kinsella and Tyler Graaf rounded out the top five.
“It feels pretty good,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane. “Just a big relief that no cautions or anything like that shook anything up in the last stints. I knew I had a shot with how important track position was.”
Harrington said he lost the race in his opinion on the final pit stop of the race. Blocker had gained more than a second down the lane and some additional time coming down the access road.
“It’s always good to get a podium,” said Harrington. “Traffic just didn’t work out great for us. Kind of a bummer. I think we would have had a chance at the end of the race if Blocker didn’t get all the breaks in the traffic. We’ll take the second place points and move on.”
The race started with a quick caution in the first turn when Bryan Carey got loose in front of the field. The fifth place starting Dallara IR-18 snapped right across the track and into the outside wall coming out of the corner, collecting Mike Rigney, Ken Hacker, Chris Stofer and several others.
After the caution, Blocker spent much of the first half of the race saving fuel behind Sage Karam, who had his computer crash before the starting grid for the race. Karam ran in front of Blocker during the first green flag stint as a result.
“I just decided to let him lead,” said Blocker. “There was no point in really fighting him. I was going to use him to save fuel off of and I was doing that. It was working pretty good.”
The next caution period struck on Lap 94 when Damon Martinez crashed out of Turn 4, slamming the outside wall and immediately breaking his suspension and front wing. Parts were sent flying across the track as several cars, including Blocker, had to dodge them down the front straightaway.
Fuel numbers became a talking point for some drivers until Lap 115, when Jay Brant hit the wall coming off of Turn 2. The Synergy Motorsports Black machine bounced off the wall into the inside tire barrier, immediately smashing his car. Brant was sent sliding back across the track. Cars were able to dodge the wreckage as Brant came to a stop down the backstretch.
Overall, 15 of the 35 entries finished on the lead lap.
Next, the Lionheart IndyCar Series and its drivers will take part in the ButtKicker 200 at the Milwaukee Mile. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on July 14th.
By Justin Prince
Robert Maleczka has won his third event of the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel season in what turned into a fuel mileage race to the end.
Maleczka and teammate Alexis Newsome led a Factory Backed team one-two finish after stretching their fuel tanks an additional five laps than originally estimated.
Jeff Hysong, Joe Branch and Alexander van de Sandt rounded out the top five in the HyperX Michigan 200.
Maleczka said in HyperX Victory Lane that a Lap 29 pileup involving several race leaders had helped him on strategy.
The incident started after contact between Vern Hawkins III and Craig Forsythe for the race lead heading into Turn 1. Both pinballed off one another into Tony Showen as they headed towards the outside wall. The incident also collected Chris Fowler, Trevor Malone, Matt Wagner and Micael Hagstrom.
It was one of three cautions during the event.
“We could have maybe stretched it from there,” said Maleczka. “I knew if we got to Lap 66 or 67, we would have been good to the end with about half a run saved. I think with 10 or 11 laps to go, I knew I was good, so that’s when I started moving to the front.”
Much of the focus was on Nick DeGroot, Jorge Anzaldo and Chris Stofer during the race. The three had gone on an alternative strategy, swap drafting for several laps while breaking away from the pack by as much as eight seconds.
The three drivers eventually finished more than 24 seconds behind the race lead in Positions 7-9.
Maleczka said he, Newsome and Hysong played their strategy perfectly. The Factory Backed driver ran out of gas just feet after the finish line.
“Me and Alexis on every straight, we were constantly checking fuel numbers,” said Maleczka. “We had a good idea where we could make it to and it worked out great for both of us.”
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Kentucky Speedway for the SimXperience 200 at Kentucky Presented by Chris Fowler Racing. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 28th at 10:35 p.m. EST.
By Justin Prince
In the wildest road course race in Lionheart Racing Series competition in 2021 so far, Adam Blocker has won the Minus 273 Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Several Lionheart IndyCar Series championship contenders, including PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype drivers Connor Harrington and Joshua Chin, were involved in race-changing incidents and mistakes which helped give Blocker a lead as large as 11 seconds during the race.
Chin, Henry Bennett, Matt Taylor and Brian Beard rounded out the top five.
It is the first time in the event’s history the pole sitter has taken the checkered flag.
Blocker also has become the first three-time winner in the series this season.
“The first stint, I felt like I had a little bit better pace than Connor at least,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane. “I think Connor was hanging with me, but was probably burning a couple push-to-passes to do it, so I wasn’t super worried. I started gapping him late in the first stint and Josh passed him. I think it was going to be close between Josh and I. Then Connor had an incident, then Josh made a mistake that I think made it a little bit easier. Without that, Josh and I would have been pretty close.
The trouble arose for Harrington on Lap 22 when he had closed the gap between him and Blocker to under five car lengths.
Blocker and Harrington were passing the lapped car of Tony Showen when Harrington made hard contact with him into Turn 8. Showen had gone straight heading into the corner while Harrington was arching for the apex.
The incident immediately destroyed the chassis and sidepod of the PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype car in the process.
Showen was given a drive through penalty for the incident while Harrington went on to finish in 24th position, six laps down.
Then six laps later, Chin was going through Turn 9 when he clipped the grass on the apex. That would cause his car to snap around and half-spin into the grass, costing Chin seven seconds of time on the track. He had been running on the black-walled tires at the time.
“Overall, it was a good points day. I still lost ground to Adam, which kind of sucks,” said Chin. “The car just didn’t work for me on the primary tires at all and it showed in the whole stint. It was a big struggle and finally had that little half-spin … I think ultimately it was what cost me a shot at the win and finishing second. I think I probably wouldn’t have gotten him even with that time, but it would have been nice to have a shot and see what would have happened at the end.”
Several other drivers were caught off guard by Turns 8 and 9 in practice and in the race.
Competitors such as Lionel Calisto had major issues with either spins or crashes. On Lap 21, Calisto had been battling with Andrew Kinsella when he tried to go later on the brakes. He then wobbled on entry, sending him sliding right into a retaining wall, shearing off his right side tires immediately.
Calisto then flipped over several times before coming to a rest outside the groove in Turn 8. He had been up nine positions before the incident.
Overall, four cars did not finish the race.
Next week, the Lionheart IndyCar Series and its drivers will take part in the HyperX Indianapolis 500 Race for the Pole. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 23rd.
By Justin Prince
For the first time at iRacing’s World Wide Technology Raceway, the pole sitter has won in the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker.
Adam Blocker of Adrenaline Powerslide dominated the 2021 edition of the Asher's Racing Channel 200 at Gateway on June 2 by leading 152 of 160 laps. He became just the second driver this season to win multiple races with the other being Sage Karam.
Connor Harrington, Damon Martinez, Jay Brant and Ryan Otis completed the top five.
Just one caution came out during the event.
“It feels good to win. It’s been a few races,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane in his first victory since Homestead-Miami Speedway. “It’s always good to get a win.”
Blocker led by more than four seconds over Martinez and Harrington. In the closing stages however, after Harrington passed Martinez in the final pit stop sequence, Blocker reached lapped traffic. Harrington closed the gap to within 1.1 seconds in the final five laps, but could not reach Blocker.
Harrington was not happy with Martinez after the race.
“I spent 80 laps trapped behind Damon (Martinez) just losing a ton of time. I don’t know how you’re unable to stay with somebody when there’s just one car in front of you,” said Harrington. “I just couldn’t make the pass on Damon to get by and had to wait for the pit stop cycle. The first cycle we got him, then we were running Adam down … It would have been interesting to see if we would have got there.”
Blocker said the race to him was pretty straight forward.
The race’s only caution came out after Adam Frazier and Matt Taylor both spun out entering the pit lane in Turn 3. The yellow flag had significantly swapped the positions for multiple drivers. One driver, last round’s race winner Joshua Chin, went from the top five to the back half of the field as a result of the caution.
“I was able to gap the guys behind me and I never had to worry about the pit cycles,” said Blocker. “I was just trying to save a little bit of fuel to make sure I didn’t get trapped down a lap by a yellow during the pit cycle, which paid off during that first caution. If I hadn’t been saving a little bit, I would have (been trapped).”
Several other competitors struggled with the pit entry throughout the race.
Chris Fowler, who was on an undercut strategy, spun into the grass at the halfway mark of the race after overshooting the access road.
Luis Gonzalez Nuñez destroyed his car after checking up for Frazier on a pit stop as well. He locked up his brakes, sending his NEKI Racing Team car into the outside wall, immediately damaging the suspension.
Next time out, the Lionheart IndyCar Series heads to the Brickyard for the Minus 273 Grand Prix of Indianapolis on June 16. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV.
By Justin Prince
For the second time this season, Robert Maleczka III has won in the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel, this time at World Wide Technology Raceway.
The Factory Backed driver led 58 of 160 laps on the way to winning the GRAAFix Esports 200 Presented by SimSnap Photography.
Maleczka was able to win the race by 1.1 seconds after holding off a hard-charging Matt Taylor.
Taylor, Barrett Rolph, Chris Stofer and Vern Hawkins III completed the top five.
“The first half of the race, I was just biding my time, keeping it clean and when it mattered, I was able to gain some time on pit road,” said Maleczka from HyperX Victory Lane. “I kind of just coasted home from there.”
Two of the Factory Backed cars, Maleczka and Alexis Newsome, qualified at the front. They immediately ran 1-2 for the first 24 laps of the race.
Maleczka said track position was important.
“It was a tough race passing-wise,” said Maleczka. “You could race pretty good for at least the first five to 10 laps of the run, then it just dropped off where you could get within two tenths, then you’d lose three tenths, then gain a few tenths. Just a domino effect. Fresh tires mattered … and I was able to carve my way through the lapped traffic well.”
Newsome dominated the opening stint of the race before the caution came out on Lap 25 when Craig Forsythe got tight underneath Dean Moll in Turn 2. Forsythe had to lift heading out of the corner to prevent sliding up into Moll. He was then hit by Ken Hacker in the right rear tire, sending Forsythe spinning into the inside wall.
Forsythe was one of seven drivers who did not finish the race.
Interesting strategies started afterwards after Ron Hacker and Newsome stayed out under the caution.
On Lap 31, Ron Hacker’s gamble did not pay off after contact with Chris Fowler in Turn 2. Ron Hacker was squished into the outside wall in the incident.
That left Newsome as the only driver on the alternate strategy for the rest of the race.
“I actually meant to pit during the first caution but missed the access road,” said Newsome. “After that I kinda had no choice but to commit.”
Newsome went on to lead 36 laps and finish 20th after hitting the outside wall coming out of Turn 2 several times.
One of the hard chargers of the race was Rolph.
After crashing in qualifying, Rolph had to start in 18th place. By the midway point of the race, the Ascari Autosport driver was inside the top 10.
“It was really, really tough out there tonight,” said Rolph. “I think it was anybody’s game really.”
Strategy and execution on pit road became a major focal point in the second half of the race. Taylor nearly spun coming off the pit lane on his second to last stop, costing him several seconds.
Several other competitors had trouble entering the pit lane. At least three cars overran the pit lane and drove into the infield grass.
Taylor, who came into the pits 13 laps later than Maleczka for his final stop, was able to close in a tenth a lap in the closing stages.
“I think I paid for just a couple mistakes on that second to last pit stop,” said Taylor. “That half spin easily cost me a second or two and I didn’t quite split the fuel appropriately. I had to wait on tires more than fuel on that last stop.”
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Michigan International Speedway for the HyperX Michigan 200. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 14th at 10:35 p.m. EST.
By Justin Prince
After leading 38 of 53 laps, Joshua Chin has won the 2021 edition of the ButtKicker Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio by more than 19 seconds.
It is his third time in his Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker career he has taken the checkered flag. The PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype driver also became the fifth different winner in six races so far this season.
Ryan Otis, Aaron Morgan, Adam Blocker and Henry Bennett rounded out the top five.
“This feels really nice,” said Chin from HyperX Victory Lane. “I’m really exhausted right now and ready to go to bed, but it was a fun one. I didn’t feel the pace was there after qualifying to build that margin. I guess I just need to get better at qualifying.”
Chin got off to a quick start, pulling away on the red compound of tires by more than half a second a lap early. The top 10 drivers had all started on the reds.
By the first pit stop sequence of the race, Chin had been leading by about seven seconds.
Chin before the race had emphasized the importance of his middle stint on the black-walled tires. Most of his competitors decided to save their black-walled tires for the end of the event.
“After the Monday practice race, I kind of figured out what the strategy was going to be. It seemed you didn’t want to be running on the black tires at the end of the race,” said Chin. “Even on a short stint, there was just so much time loss with how bad the cold tires were and you were waiting for five laps. Half your stint was going to be slow. You’re better off getting it done in the middle of the race, especially if you were in heavy lapped traffic, which worked out pretty well for me.”
One of the fiercest battles on the track was for the final podium position.
Morgan had elected to go on an undercut strategy for the race, pitting up to 10 laps sooner than his competition. By 10 laps to go, Blocker and Bennett were closing in on Morgan by several tenths of a second per lap.
“I felt I had a really good advantage on the first stint where the tire was at its coolest. We were going three to four-tenths of a second slower than I thought I could have gone. So I thought, ‘man, I really need to try an undercut here.’”
Morgan said that strategy burned up his tires from pushing on his second stint. He was down to one push-to-pass on the final lap and was able to utilize it to hold onto the podium finish.
“The call got me the position, then I was just slow the rest of the stint, so they caught me up real quick,” said Morgan.
Next, the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker will be going to World Wide Technology Raceway for the Asher's Racing Channel 200 at Gateway. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 2nd at 10:35 p.m. EST.