To say 2015 was a disappointment for Jake Wright would be unfair. The rookie won two races and the championship in his maiden voyage in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment. But despite winning his strong pace, Wright ended the year without a trophy on a road course.
He won’t have to worry about that in 2016. Wright took the lead from pole-sitter Christian Steele on lap 14, and never relinquished the lead, taking the win in the Lionheart 100 at Watkins Glen International on Wednesday night.
“It feels great,” Wright said in victory lane. “All week I felt fast. I found it was very difficult when you weren’t on the pole, because I was mirroring everything Christian was doing. But I’m pretty psyched.”
Wright jumped into the points lead, with an eight point advantage over Homestead winner Joe Hassert.
The relatively clean race saw Steele and Wright get big separation early from James Krahula, Jason Galvin and Dan Geren. Both Galvin and Geren had off-track incidents, allowing Michael Gray and Hassert to fill the gap behind Krahula and round out the top five.
After the race, Steele had a hard time accepting second.
“Once (Wright) got around me, I knew there was no going back,” Steele said with a dejected tone, despite notching his best series finish. “We were so close in space that once he had the pretty good margin, he won it going away.”
The two teenagers easily outpaced Krahula, who ran alone in third much of the event.
“I feel old,” Krahula said. “I found an old trophy from 2005 this week, and Jake Wright was four years old when I won that. Anyway, those two pitted, I led my lap, and that was pretty much my night.”
Wright led 17 laps, Steele led the 12 and Krahula picked up a bonus by staying out one extra lap on the first green flag stint.
The race was relatively clean, with several solo incidents taking out contenders. The biggest event came on lap 8, when Chris Gutierrez forced the issue with Pierre Daigle heading into the inner loop. The two collided and both were forced to the garage.
Ronald Hacker, Jonathan Goke, Geren, Randy Crossno and Brandon Limkemann completed the back half of the top 10.
Wright and Hassert have a steady lead over Krahula in the points. Steele’s finish leapfrogged him 23 spots up the board into fourth, and Hacker sits fifth.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to the oval side of things with a trip to the valley of the sun and Phoenix International Raceway for 150 laps. Wright picked up his second career victory in this race last year, one of the more thrilling events of the season.
Wright beat Jason Robarge and Galvin in a three-wide finish on the quick one-mile tri-oval. You can watch the 2016 edition of the event live on Global SimRacing Channel on Wednesday at 10:40 p.m. EST. For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a week off to prepare for the tricky turns of Watkins Glen, but the stars of the premiere fixed IndyCar league using the iRacing.com simulation will take to the track tonight for the series debut of the Lionheart MX-5 Challenge.
“We started driving the Mazda MX-5 in fun races after our Lionheart events last year, just as a way to calm down and have some fun,” series director Pierre Daigle said. “Nothing was off limits. We’d run ovals, road courses. Whatever came to mind. It was so successful, we decided to run the car in a series.”
The series is separated into three seasons of six races. Events will be held on Thursday evenings, and will generally be held during off weeks for the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
Things get underway tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the cars take to the 1.5-mile oval in what is effectively a restrictor plate-style event.
The series will run fixed setups and each season and features a mixture of road and oval courses from around the world. All drivers on both the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment race roster, as well as the league practice roster are eligible, and grid spots are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“This league is supposed to be fun,” Daigle said. “We want everyone involved with Lionheart to come out and run. We are keeping track of points, but really this is just a laid back series designed to let our drivers let off some steam.
“The new Global MX-5 is really a lot of fun to drive. The folks at iRacing did a great job giving us a car that can be driven hard, but is easy to control and I think when we mix that car and the various tracks we’re running with the talent we have assembled across this league, you’re going to see one of the most competitive and dynamic experiences on iRacing.”
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment also announced a new digital sticker program for race winners and pole winners. The stickers will be awarded and displayed on cars for the remainder of the season. Joe Hassert (winner) and Jake Wright (pole) already have their stickers applied to the ‘kardashians,’ or rear bumpers.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, or to apply for the league practice roster and MX-5 Challenger series, head to www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
The second largest field in Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment history put on a show for the ages. Big Joe Hassert used a late-race restart and edged ahead of Chris Stofer as the final caution came out, taking the season opening Adrenaline Motorsports 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“When we got that final restart, I knew Chris (Stofer) had some damage, and I think that gave me enough to get around on the outside,” Hassert said from victory lane. “Once he gave me the outside I knew I had him.”
Stofer looked to be in control of the 40-car field late, when a Korey Connor became tangled with several other cars with 12 laps remaining, bringing out the race-changing caution. On the restart, Hassert jumped to the outside and edged ahead with five laps to go, when Brandon Limkemann brought out the race-ending caution.
“For it to come down to inches right there at the end, it was a lot of fun,” Stofer said after his career-best finish. “The night was pretty good. I didn’t qualify quite as well as I practiced all week. But I had a lot of fun.”
Richard Behr was dominant, leading a race-high 62 laps and looked to be on his way to the win, when contact with Stofer on lap 111 put him in the wall. Behr dropped back quickly before retiring just as the second-to-last caution came out. Behr finished in the 32nd position.
Defending series champion and race pole-sitter Jake Wright finished third, while Jason Galvin rallied from 13th to finish fourth and Tony Lurcock rounded out the top five.
Pierre Daigle, Chris Lanini, Randy Crossno, Dan Geren and James Krahula rounded out the top ten. Crossno was the biggest mover, up 30 spots from his qualifying run.
The 133-lap race saw eight drivers swap the lead eleven times. Six cautions slowed the field for 24 laps.
For Hassert, the win was a relief. It took the former iRacing.com IndyCar fixed setup season champion 15 races to score a trophy last season.
“I had to make pretty much all of my passes on restarts or in the pits,” Hassert said. “I was kind of settling in there, thinking I could hang on for third until those two got together in front of me there. Just had to be patient and it paid off.”
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a week off before returning for the Watkins Glen 100 on Wednesday, March 30. The event, like all Lionheart races, can be seen live on Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST. For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, the premiere private IndyCar league using iRacing.com’s software, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
It didn’t take long for the stars of the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment to shake off the winter break rust. Korey ‘Tiger’ Connor emerged from a pack of contenders to earn a surprise win in the First Medical Equipment All-Star race on Wednesday night, in one of the most competitive races in series history.
“It feels great to start the season like this,” said Connor, who went winless last season. “I know up high is usually the prefered line at Michigan, but with pack racing it was easier to defend my position on the lower line...so I decided to run that line and see how it worked out, and before the last caution came out I determined it was the line to keep for the last five laps.”
Connor beat former All-Star race winner Joe Hassert by half a car length. Jonathan Goke and Jason Galvin followed closely in a race that was up for grabs throughout the 75 lap feature.
“It was fun, I had a lot of fun, I might’ve had a heart attack, maybe a stroke, I can still feel my blood pressure up right now,” Hassert said. “I was waiting for Goke to pop out on the outside and he never did….got the run down the backstretch, popped out and (Korey) pushed up a little bit, and it scrubbed too much speed. I gave him too much room. I thought I had him.”
The 17-car field, comprised of 14 race winners and pole sitters from season three, as well as series sponsor Brandon Limkemann and the top three from an earlier transfer race, put on a show for fans watching on Global SimRacing Channel from flag to flag.
The 75-lap race took 53 minutes to complete. Four caution for 12 laps slowed the pace. Six drivers swapped the lead 20 times, with Connor leading the most laps at 33. His teammate, Dan Geren, led 24 laps before a late wreck with James Krahula took both out of the running.
Galvin finished second in the transfer race, then shocked the field with a blistering 32.167 lap to set the pole for the main event. Galvin led 10 laps, with Hassert, Tony Lurcock and Jake Wright also leading at times.
Pierre Daigle rallied to finish fifth after losing his nose early in the race and nearly losing a lap. Transfer race winner Chris Stofer, Lurcock, Joe Branch, defending series champion Wright and Robert Blouin rounded out the top ten.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment kicks off its 22 event fourth season next Wednesday, March 16, with the Adrenaline Motorsports 200 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race can be seen live on GSRC at 10:35 p.m. EST.
After three dormant months, the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment roars back to life tonight for its third annual All-Star event. Set for the high banks of Michigan International Speedway, the event will feature as many as 20 of the best drivers from the premiere fixed IndyCar league utilizing iRacing.com’s simulation.
"This event has established itself as a great celebration of our series and the talent we have, while providing fans of the league with non-stop action in a winner-take-all setting," series founder Jorge Anzaldo said. "We’ve seen two different winners in the first two events, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone else take this race."
Former Lionheart series champion Jesse Vincent and former iRacing.com fixed series champion Joe Hassert are the events prior winners. They’ll be joined in the field by season three champion Jake Wright, Indy 500 winner Michel de Jonge and Anzaldo, who won his first event at Iowa Speedway last season.
"I’m excited to go out and be able to race aggressively, knowing points are not a factor," the normally mild-mannered Wright said. "When the season starts I’ll go back to my methodical ways, but tonight the only thing that matters in the win."
Others locked into the race include series runner-up James Krahula, Joe Branch, Jason Robarge, Dan Geren, Pierre Daigle, Tommy Rhyne, Jonathan Goke, Robert Blouin, Korey Connor, Brandon Limkemann and Tony Lurcock.
To be eligible, a driver must have won a pole or a race in season three. Limkemann was added after his company, First Medical Equipment, came on board to sponsor the series.
A new format will be introduced at this event. Two random competition cautions will be thrown, unless two naturally occurring yellow flags happen first.
The 75-lap main event will be preceded by a 25-lap shootout, with the top three drivers transferring to the All-Star race. Drivers eligible for that race include anyone who finished 11th-20th in points in season three, as well as season four race sponsors and the winner of last week's last chance race, Chris Gutierrez.
Others who will compete in the shootout include Jason Galvin, Alfred Shepperd, Chris Stofer, Chris Lanini, Tony Showen, Michael Gray, Peter Edwins, Jack Bogan, Vincent Bluthenthal, Ed Tutwiler, Dave Barber, Trevor Bissett and Drew Motz.
The race will be broadcast live on Global SimRacing Channel, as every event this season will be. The action starts tonight at 10:35 p.m. EST.
Chris Gutierrez holds off a late charge by Richard Behr to win the All Star shoot out. The 25 lap race was an exciting one to watch and saw Chris pull off a few daring moves with 3 laps remaining to charge to the front of the field. The action was close between the 8 cars that took the green flag. With the win Chris will advance to the All Star transfer race where a podium finish will place him in the main event. The All Star event will be broadcasted live by GSRC and iRacing Live on March 9th. Congratulations again to Chris Gutierrez on a hard fought victory!