A Grand-Old Time to be Had at Kentucky
This is not your typical pre-race story; but then again, this is not your typical event. This is the Oma’s 200 at Kentucky; a race dedicated to all the Grandmother’s, Grandma’s and Oma’s out there, and to one Oma in particular. Sharon (Shari) Boggs, this race is for you.
Oma’s are special people in the lives of so many, particularly their family. Whether it is relieving the burden off parents to babysit their grandchildren or teaching those children how to laugh and have fun, nearly every one of us can relate to having that special bond with an Oma. We have all benefitted from her kind words, her loving gaze, and her passion for her family. Often these families are not just related by blood, but by bonds forged over a life time within the community these Oma’s shape throughout their lives.
Shari was no different. She was an educator for most of her adult life, always seeking ways to improve upon her students learning experiences and her ability to teach them. Shari shared her love of teaching and helping others throughout her life and was honored in 2017 with induction to the Hackettstown Medical Center Foundation “Senior Hall of Fame” for her significant volunteer work and accomplishments throughout Warren County, NJ. Shari was volunteer head of the Hackettstown, NJ, Pajama Program, a national organization that provides pajamas and books to children in need. Since 2010, Shari was a driving force in collecting more than 1600 pajamas and 1300 books for local children.
Shari’s Son in Law, Marc Aumick, is a member of the Lionheart family, a passionate racer, and a caring and generous friend of everyone in the league. This race is Marc’s tribute to his Mother in Law Shari, and the Lionheart organization couldn’t be more privileged and honored to host it. We hope to do Oma proud with the show we put on.
Last time out, it was Brian Yaczik who buried the demons of the opening round and came home with his first ever Lionheart winners trophy. That gives Yaczik a 1st and a 2nd so far this season, as well as the early point lead. Will Yaczik be able to cement his place atop the standings with another strong showing at Kentucky? Jason Galvin came home 2nd at Phoenix and also sits 2nd in points. Tony Showen rebounded from trouble in Homestead to hold off teammate Chris Stofer for the the final podium spot in Phoenix. Round 1 winner Andrew Kinsella fell victim, along with a majority of the field, to an ill timed yellow and could only manage to bounce back to 9th place. Kinsella now sits 3rd in points, 5 back Galvin for 2nd.
The story of Kentucky, however, may not rest with any of these drivers. Early season favourites Dan Geren, Adam Blocker, and Michael Goodman have each fallen victim to some horrifically bad luck. A strong run in Kentucky would do wonders to turning their seasons around. Look for these 3 to be particularly hungry as we go to the first 1.5 mile oval of the year.
Looking at the team standings, Loud Pedal Motorsports, Adrenaline Motorsports, No Name Racing and Synergy Motorsports are all within 40 points of each other at the top of the standings. Never before in the history of Lionheart has the field been this competitive across all the teams in the league.
Regardless of whether it is the driver or the team championship, these Lionheart drivers are all hungry to try and separate themselves from the pack. Will Yaczik be able to continue his run, or will someone else step up to try to seize control? Jorge Anzaldo and Brian Greenlee find themselves 4th and 5th in the championship through some very intelligent drives. Will that translate to a win at the often-chaotic Kentucky Speedway?
The Oma’s 200 from Kentucky Speedway can be seen live at 10:35pm Eastern on Wednesday April 11th, only on GSRC and iRacing Live.
There was a mighty sigh of relief in the virtual racing world Wednesday night. After more than two years of would’ve, should’ve, could’ve, Brian Yaczik shook the monkey off his back and came out victorious in the Thumbs Up, Cancer Down 200 at Phoenix International Raceway - now known as ISM Raceway - in round two of the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
It was the first Lionheart IndyCar Series victory for Yaczik, an accomplished iRacer with wins in several leagues in stock cars.
“This is incredible,” said Yaczik, who led the most laps (124) for the second time in as many races this season. “Full strategy and stuff like that never works for me. It worked tonight. This is amazing.”
Yaczik redeemed himself after the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where his No. 55 HPP Simulation IR-18 seemed destined for victory, until Andrew Kinsella came storming around the outside in the closing laps to steal the win away.
Learning from his mistake of a week ago, Yaczik rolled the middle groove in turns three and four on the one-mile oval, fending off challenges first from Tony Showen, and finally from Jason Galvin through six restarts in the final 50 laps.
“I really like Phoenix,” said Yaczik, who picked up the first win for the newly formed Loud Pedal Motorsports. “I’ve run a lot of races here, and had a lot of success here in NASCAR and stuff like that...I am beyond excited, this is incredible, I can’t believe after choking it away last week and getting so down on myself, to come back out the next week and lead a ton of laps and win the race, this is incredible.”
Galvin came home second in the race presented by one of his sponsors, Thumbs Up, Cancer Down, a Bakersfield, Calif.-based charity. Despite taking a look inside of Yaczik on the penultimate lap, Galvin said he never thought he could get around the eventual winner.
“I told Brian before the final restart that as long as he didn’t wall me, and I didn’t think he would, that I was not going to compromise us,” Galvin said. “He drove a perfect race, and I had no business even being in second...things just played out the right way throughout the night.”
Carnage was the word of the night, with just 25 of the 42 starters finishing the race, which featured a race-record eleven cautions for 44 laps. Several other cars finished with damage, and just 12 cars finished on the lead lap after a caution on lap 101 turned the race upside down.
Nine cars had yet to pit, using extra fuel from a pit stop on lap 51 to stretch the window. The caution, for Scott Johnson’s solo spin exiting turn two, trapped the heavy hitters of the first half of the race a lap down, when the trio of Adam Blocker, Andrew Kinsella and polesitter Dan Geren (who led 74 laps) could not run down Yaczik, who had inherited the lead.
Those three - easily the class of the field early on - were trapped down a lap, along with Lionheart stalwarts Joe Hassert, Ian Adams and Michael Goodman. The group were all waived around the pace car, tacking onto the back of the lead lap. But another caution - as Chris Lanini hit the wall on lap 152 - once again trapped the group a lap down, and in some cases, two laps down.
The group never recovered, and several were eliminated in wrecks during the final laps.
Showen held on for third, despite a late push from his Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Chris Stofer.
“It was a lot of luck,” Showen said of his podium. “I pitted every time there was a yellow, and I was down to one lap left when the caution came out and it got me up front.”
Stofer settled for fourth, with No Name Racing’s James Krahula rounding out the top five, joining his new teammate Galvin near the front.
Brian Greenlee led the back half of the top ten in sixth, followed by David Korty with a career-best seventh. Joe Flanagan, Kinsella and Rory Collins rounded out the top ten.
Bart Workman and Brian Beard were the final two cars on the lead lap.
Only one lead lap finisher - Workman (9th) - started inside the top ten. Four of the top five finishers started in the back-half of the field, with the podium of Yaczik, Galvin and Showen coming from 24th, 21st and 28th, respectively.
The wreck with the biggest points impact occured on lap 187, as Kinsella made contact with the lapped car of Mitchell Mohler exiting turn four. Blocker, Hassert and Ed Tutwiler were also collected.
Kinsella was the only car to drive away.
The championship race sees a dramatic shakeup after two races.
Yaczik - the only driver in the top five in both events - leads the way by 20 points over Galvin, who finished sixth at Homestead. Kinsella sits five points back in third, with Jorge Anzaldo and Brian Greenlee, perhaps surprisingly, in fourth and fifth through two events.
Geren, who has yet to finish in the top ten despite a pair of poles and the second-most laps led, sits 22nd. The series runner-up in 2017 was the first car a lap down, in 13th, at Phoenix.
Following wrecks at both events this season, Blocker sits even further back, a shocking 36th in points.
Both Geren and Blocker were on the short list of preseason favorites to win the championship, which is considered wide open this season with both Jesse Vincent and three-time defending champion Jake Wright in race control.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series permits drivers to drop their three worst races in the 24 event season.
There’s no time for rest for the stars of the premier fixed-setup IndyCar league using the iRacing.com service.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads to the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway in Sparta for the OMA’s Kentucky 200 on Wednesday, April 11th.
As is the case with all Lionheart Racing Series events, the OMA’s Kentucky 200 can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST Wednesday night.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, and the accompanying Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
In an opening round full of firsts, it was a familiar result at the end of the day. Despite, new faces, new teams, new sponsors, oh and a new car, the IR-18, Andrew Kinsella repeated his feat from season 5, when he won on debut, to once again take the First Medical Equipment 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. This time it was over Brian Yaczik who duelled with Kinsella for the last half of the race before coming up just short in the final dash to the flag. Brandon Limkemann came how 3rd, the best result the Synergy Motorsports driver has recorded in the series, followed by Kinsella’s Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Joe Branch and Ian Adams rounding out the top 5. Last season, Kinsella was 3rd in the championship. Does the Canadian have what it takes to take that step forward and claim the championship and with it the HPP Simulation HSW-F wheel valued at almost $1500?
Now we move on to Round 2, the Thumbs Up Cancer Down 200 from Phoenix International Speedway, but the number 2 is more then just the round number. The longest back to back winning streak in Lionheart is 2. Two seasons in a row Andrew Kinsella has managed to win the season opener. No driver has ever won 3 in a row in LH will this season be the time when that streak is broken? The list of drivers with back to back wins are: Matt Kingsbury, Michel de Jonge, Jesse Vincent, Richard Behr, and Jake Wright. Will Kinsella be able to start a winning streak and join the list of members with back to back wins and win 2 in a row at Phoenix?
There is one more first for this season that will take place this round at Phoenix. Rookie Stephen Laarkamp will be making his series debut. Laarkamp was moved down as an alternate for tracks that will not accommodate 44 pit stalls. The series is anticipating that Laarkamp will run more than 75% of the seasons races.
The top 2 drivers from last seasons race will not be racing this year. Jonathan Goke won last season after leading 62 laps, over Ryan Otis. Goke no longer races with the league while Ryan Otis joins former Champion Jake Wright in running Retro Series only campaigns this season. This opens up the race for a new winner to take the win. Will it be Kinsella with 2 in a row to start the season? Or could the win come from the likes of Dan Geren, Adam Blocker or Chris Stofer. All 3 showed speed at Homestead, but all 3 fell victim to other people’s mistakes. Will they be able to press the reset button and get a win in the desert? Ken Hacker lead all rookies at Homestead, even leading 8 laps enroute to an 8th place finish. Will Hacker be able to build on his strong debut to challenge for the win in Round 2?
Synergy Motorsports in its debut came out of round 1 with the lead in the Team Championship presented by HPP Simulation. With Adrenaline Motorsports a scant 10 points back, can the new team maintain the lead after the checkered flag flies at Phoenix?
This is the 5th time that Phoenix has appeared on the Lionheart schedule. After its debut in season 2 Phoenix has appeared every season in the IndyCar Series. The tricky D shaped track in the southwestern US is a tight and dangerous affair, with passing at a premium. Traditionally there have been a number of cautions but also some long green runs. Working the traffic, both lead lap and otherwise, as well as the pit strategy will be key for whoever comes out on top.
The Thumbs Up Cancer Down 200 will be live Wednesday April 4th at 10:35pm Eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live. For more information on Thumbs Up Cancer Down visit: www.thumbsupcancerdown.com
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series visit: www.lionheartracingseries.com