Recap by Jack Bogan
The Lionheart racing season was run last night at Watkins Glen a 2.45 mile 8 turn road course. Jesse Vincent leading the points going in and as always a favorite to win. The fast guys have doing consistent laps in the 59 second range during practice this week.
22 drivers were set to start the race after a close qualifying by the top drivers! Matt Kingsbury won the pole with a 59.022, Jesse Vincent was second with a 59.269, followed by Trevor, Ray, and Dan Geren to round out the top 5 spots.
The race got off to a good start with no incidents in turn one or on the first lap. Lap two was another matter as there was an incident in the bus stop on lap two. The wreck involved Jesse and Ray and Vince and I also got caught up in it.
The race was run pretty clean for a road course as Matt Kingsbury led wire to wire! Jesse after the turn two incident made it all the way back to take second place, Michael Gray came in third, Ray and Jason rounded out the top 5. Jorge Anzaldo started 8th and finished in 8th on the lead lap for a nice top 10.
I started 15th and ended up 12th, but finished, and had no incidents.
The points standings tightened up a bit as Matt closed to within 44 points of Jesse, Big Joe is in 3rd, with Ray 4th, and Trevor in 5th place.
Next race is at Atlanta in two weeks … back to oval racing!!!
Highlights and Championship contenders
Matt cruises to a big win at the glen closing to 44 points behind jesse who finished 2nd. Michael gray comes from last to finish 3rd. Ian also started in the back to finish 4th. After some miscues and penalties after running up the field twice, big joe finishes 17th and stays 3rd in points but is now 117 back.
Lionheart is heading to Watkins Glen and the 2.45 mile cup course. Guys have been turning some fast times and due to the fast nature of the course the admins have decided to extend the original length of 35 laps to 45 making the full distance 110 miles for this 4th and final road race of the season.
Defending Champion Jesse Vincent enters the race winning all 3 of the previous road races this season and 6 of 7 road races overall in the series. He holds a 57 point advantage in the standings over Matt Kingsbury and Big Joe, who is 88 points back. After giving up some points at Indianapolis Jesse hopes to get the big momentum back on his side and prove once more that he is king of the road. Who can challenge him?
I caught up with Jesse and asked him if he can go 4 for 4,who he thinks can challenge him this week and what a short fast course means for his race. Jesse said, " I certainly hope so. Trevor is my biggest threat, and the fast track means tough passing and could mean some silly attempts and dive bombs to make moves."
Trevor Malone ran the fastest recorded time of practice of 58.94 seconds and has been talking a big game. He has been a contender on the road courses and thinks he has the speed to get his first win.
Justin Laxton is another guy looking for that elusive first win running the fastest qualifying time of the week of 59.15. Justin sits in 6th in points and is looking to crack that top 5.
Dan Geren clocked a 59.23 but has had issues keeping the car on the track in practice races. Can he find more asphault than grass and steal one?
Matt Kingsbury comes in at 59.41 and has been the closest challenger to Jesse all season. Can he finally find a way to close that point lead for good?
Michael Gray is the only regular to win a practice race but is starting from the back of the field on race day. Can he come all the way to the front and surprise everyone?
Catch the race live through iracing.com where you can watch from any camera angle and follow your favorite driver. The action starts at 945 pm CST.
Last night was a Wild Indy 250! Some good action around the track, long green flag runs, and a surprise 1st time winner to cap off the night!
On point was Bradley Walters with a 40.110, the fastest time of the week. Chris Lanini, Justin Laxton, Jesse Vincent, and Matt Kingsbury rounded out the top 5. The action was fast as Justin and Matt found their way to the top 2 spots early. Caution hit on lap 8 when Austin Espitee tried to squeeze inside Krista Nelson but ran out of room, ending Krista's night. Split pit strategies ensued as the top 15 or so stayed out but the back half pitted for fuel.
Justin would take the green back, as he and Matt would swap top spots a few times along with Rick Music challenging for the lead. The top 8 would end up breaking away from the rest of the field, mostly single file. Lap 20 Mark Norbert would hit the wall in turn 2 but slide into the grass and we would stay green. Meanwhile, Austin has fought his way up to 12th after starting 22nd. The first round of green flag stops would start on lap 25 when Big Joe would pull in from 8th. The rest of the leaders followed the next few laps, with Michael Chinn leading some laps on the alternate fuel strategy, but he had to pull off and Rick Music and Matt would be battling for the lead. Justin came out 3rd and Joe gained 4 spots to take over 4th.
Matt and Rick would keep swapping spots for the lead, at the same time Justin and Joe were unable to gain any time on them.Austin Espitee would continue to make up ground on the field and by the time round 2 of pit stops was over he would pass Joe for 4th. The top 3 would stay the same through pit stops, as Rick and Matt continued to hold the lead over Justin.
The 2nd caution of the night would fall with 31 to go When Chris Poole Hit the Wall in turn 1 and was unable to clear the track. The leaders would come down pit road, while some of the alternate strategy drivers would stay out. Leandro Mattos and John Downing would take the top 2 spots while Matt would come out 3rd winning the pit road battle.
Chaos would ensue on the following restart as close to 4 wide racing saw Justin drift up the track and Rick coming down on his right rear trying to get into turn 3, both cars would be collected and end their nights. Leandro would continue to stay out having last pit on lap 58, nowhere near having enough fuel to finish, the leaders would come down for a splash of gas, and Jason Robarge would also stay out to take over the 2nd spot.
Jason would shortly pass leandro for the lead and would run away from Leandro and Carl Burk. 4th on back would lose precious time as Matt and Trevor Malone made contact giving Matt damage and Matt's car was still drivable but until cars could pass, lost seconds to the leader. That group would catch Carl and Leandro and Austin would jet all the way to 3rd and Joe would find his way around Trevor, Matt, and Leandro for 4th. Jason, however took advantage to get a 1.8 second lead over Carl.
With 17 to go Ray Kingsbury would end up in the turn 3 wall and got airborne but the track stayed green. Austin would find his way around Carl burk, trying deperately to catch Jason with 16 to go. At 8 to go, Joe would catch carl and while in his wake, brushed the turn 1 wall, but kept it straight and caught carl coming into turn 3 making the pass for 3rd. The 4th caution of the night would come 2 corners later when Matt and Carl would netcode sending Carl's car into the wall, ending his night and damaging Matt badly.
The final restart would have Jason, Austin, and Joe lead the field to the green. Matt would stay out with his damage to hold 4th and Trevor rounded out the top 5. But before the race to the checkered flag could begin, it ended in turn two when Leandro turned down into Vincent Bluthenthal to bring out the final caution and effectively end the race.
Jason would get his first win with Lionheart, Austin 2nd, Joe 3rd.
Jason for his win, receieves a paint scheme from Overdrive Graphics, a poster from Sim Posters, an Indy 500 history book, and a 5$ bonus. Full Results
Jesse would hold the point lead with a 7th place finish. Matt finished 5th and trimmed down to 57 behind Jesse, and Joe for his 3rd place effort would cut down to 88 points back. Full Standings
Next week sees the cup course at Watkins Glen.
Wednesday night Lionheart Racing Series went under the lights of Kentucky Speedway for the Commonwealth 125. 84 laps meant 125 miles as the full distance at the 1 1/2 mile oval.
Lionheart hoped to have one of the best races of the season with members turning over 7000 laps of practice, but concerns about the setup from some of the drivers came to fruition, when 6 cautions plagued the race.
Matt Kingsbury would take the pole with a blistering 24.605. Jesse Vincent, Big Joe, Tony Lurcock and Dan Geren would round out the top 5. Once the green flew, Joe got by Jesse right away and tried to break away with Matt with Jesse in tow. This would continue until the first caution on lap 17 when Vincent Bluthenthal and John Downing made contact and as John tried to save his car collided with Leandro Mattos.
Fireworks on pit road as Austin Espitee and Trevor Malone collided on pit road. Joe would win the battle off of pit road, but Chris Lanini would stay out and take the lead, until he ended up pitting one lap later. Joe would take over and lead the field back to green.
Much of the same would occur with Joe and Matt working together at the front, this time with Justin Laxton taking 3rd and Dan Geren close behind in 4th. Matt and Joe would swap for the top spot multiple times until the 2nd caution came out on lap 27 when Jorge Anzaldo ran out of room with Jack Bogan and Ray Kingsbury 3 wide in turn 2, taking out all 3 drivers, also collecting Trevor Malone.
The leaders would stay out and Joe would lead the field back to green. The middle of the field went 3 wide at the start and Pierre Daigle would collect 2 other drivers, but the race would stay green. The top 4 of Joe, Matt, Justin, and Dan would break away from the rest of the field but caution would strike on lap 49 when Thomas Engle and Rudy Avalon made contact in turn 3, with Rudy hitting the wall.
Michael Gray would take the lead after staying out followed by Joe, Matt and Dan. Michael's damage would slow him down as Joe would get by him the first lap after green, Matt would follow, as well as Justin and Austin. Caution would fly when Justin and Dan would make contact, and Austin would take the brunt of the damage, flipping his car out of the race.
Joe would win the final battle out of pit road, Matt would follow, with Korey in 3rd. Matt and Joe would jump out to a 2 second lead taking advantage of Korey's damage slowing down the rest of the pack. The lead would be erased, however with caution #5 caused by Korey and Justin making contact, sending Korey into the inside wall.
Matt took the lead just before the yellow flew and led Joe to green, and in familiar fashion, jumped out in front of the field once again, but caution would fly one more time with 6 to go when Krista Nelson pushed up into Dan Geren, setting up a Green White Checker finish.
Matt tried to get a jump on Joe on the restart but failed as Joe pulled out to a small advantage. Jesse tried to get Matt on the inside as the white flag flew but Matt was able to get the advantage on the backstretch, both drivers making contact in turn 4 as Joe took his 2nd checkered flag of the season, Matt pulling out the pass for 2nd. Jesse 3rd.
Jesse kept the points lead over Matt by 65. Joe pulls into 3rd 106 behind. Ray and Justin round out the top 5. Next week is leg 2 of the triple crown with the Indy 250. This is a double points race and will be broadcast at 9:40 pm cst on 4-8 on GSRC.
Lionheart celebrates April Fools Day by kicking off the 2nd half of the season at the 1.5 mile Kentucky Speedway. Many drivers have practiced hard this week as positioning in the points battle heats up as we make our way toward the final stretch of races. Let's look at the midway Championship Standings and statistics and see who has been fastest this week.
1st- Jesse Vincent 384pts
2nd- Matt Kingsbury -72pts
3rd- Ray Kingsbury -84pts
4th- Joe Hassert -124pts
5th- Rick Music -142pts
None of the top contenders have been able to gain much ground since the double points season opener at Michigan. Matt has worked his way up the standings since the opening race, but the gap still remains to the defending champion. No lead is safe however, with 2 double points races remaining, and 3 drop weeks, anything can happen.
Midseason League Leaders-
Jesse Vincent- 4
Matt Kingsbury- 2
Ray Kingsbury, Joe Hassert, Rick Music- 1
Matt Kingsbury- 4
Jesse Vincent- 3
Jack Bogan- 1
Rick Music- 1
Matt Kingsbury- 7
Ray Kingsbury- 7
Jesse Vincent- 6
Joe Hassert, Trevor Malone, Austin Espitee- 3
Rick Music, Trevor Malone, Justin Laxton, Dan Geren- 6
Matt Kingsbury- 144
Rick Music- 142
Jesse Vincent- 109
Joe Hassert- 91
Austin Espitee- 46
Ian Adams- 9.63/race
Krysta Nelson- 8.33/race
Korey Connor- 7.56/race
Matt Kingsbury- 7.00/race
Kentucky drivers to watch-
Joe Hassert- Joe has struggled to find speed in practice and qualifying but has shown the ability to drive through the field taking 2 practice wins while starting in the back. Can he find the special line and avoid having to start in the back?
Justin Laxton- Justin has a practice win as well and is looking to make his mark as he has been rising up the standings. Can Justin find Victory Lane for the first time this season and get himself into the Championship hunt?
Matt Kingsbury- Matt has posted the top solo Q time of 24.67. Will this time be fast enough to find the pole? Can he stay up front and get some points on points leader Jesse?
Dan Geren- 24.69 is the 2nd fastest time of the week, and Dan has been battling up front in the practice sessions this week, and like Justin, looks to find his way up the standings.
Can anyone catch the champ? Tune in at 940 CST on Global Sim Racing Channel to watch round 10 of the Lionheart Racing Series.