Jason Galvin entered the sixth race of the season in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment feeling confident. The Bakersfield, Calif. driver had finished no worse than sixth on an oval this season, and the league returned to the sight of his first career win, Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.
But a pre-race equipment change found Galvin in the back half of the top ten for most of the event.
Fortunately for Galvin, everything worked out in the end. A late race caution threw strategy to the win, allowing Galvin to take tires and charge to the front of his sponsors race, winning the Global Electronic Technology 200, making Galvin the first repeat winner at Motegi.
“This is incredible,” Galvin said. “I knew early this week in practice that we had one of the cars to beat. But I really thought I blew it when I changed pedals before the race. Thankfully, I found a little bit of a rhythm there late, and the cautions played out for me.
“I’m not really sure why everyone started to pit. We were only about a lap or two short. I don’t think anyone was going to make it (before the final caution on lap 118), but I don’t think pitting 20 laps early just for tires was the best move. I told my teammates that I figured we’d get a late caution, but even if we didn’t, a one second splash-and-go would negate the five seconds it takes to get tires. I’m just glad it worked out. I love this place.”
The No Name Racing driver inherited the lead as others pitted early for fuel and tires, and then pounced when a late-race caution trapped Dan Geren and Joe Hassert, the two best cars on the night, a lap down.
Galvin, along with Chris Stofer and others, hit pit road for tires, then charged to the front on a restart with seven laps to go.
Galvin took the lead on lap 127 from Brandon Limkemann, who spent most of the night in the top five but was one of five cars who stayed out on the final caution.
Stofer followed Galvin around the cars that stayed out, but could not keep up and settled for second.
“Had we not got that caution at the end, it would’ve been interesting,” Stofer said. “I was saving fuel. It was going to be close, but I think I might’ve had enough to make it.”
Stofer’s Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Joe Branch, who had barely cracked the top ten all race, used fresh tires and a few aggressive moves to charge onto the podium in the final laps.
“I was racing hard the entire race, it was fun,” Branch said. “I was going to make it if the caution came out. I was surprised how many guys split the strategy. But when that caution came out, I knew I had to come in and take tires.”
Galvin nearly gave away his track position in the middle of the race, but realized a change was impossible.
“I swapped pedals this week, installed new ones for the first time in my career,” Galvin said. “Halfway through the race I was trying to figure out how I could change them back mid-race. I just didn’t have time. To swap pedals, exit the car, re-calibrate; it would’ve been disaster.”
The win propelled Galvin to second in points, just 15 back of Andrew Kinsella, who was a non-factor in the race after qualifying 24th and speeding during green flag pit stops. The championship leader finished 26th.
Galvin’s good fortune spelled doom for Dan Geren.
The Iowa native captured the pole - his sixth in as many races this season - and led 83 laps. Only Brian Yaczik, who found trouble after contact with Limkemann on lap 87, and Joe Hassert ever appeared to truly challenge Geren.
But when Hassert hit the pits with 20 laps remaining, taking enough fuel to get to the end and fresh tires, Geren followed suit, fearful that Hassert might make up the difference to the lead on fresh tires.
When Pierre Daigle and Ian Adams made contact in turn three with 13 laps remaining, the caution flew, trapping Geren, Hassert and a host of others a lap down.
Geren finished 28th, and despite leading 44 percent of the laps this season, has yet to record a top ten finish. The defending series runner-up is 16th in points. Hassert ended up 21st.
Limkemann held on for fourth on the old tires, and his Synergy Motorsports teammate Jorge Anzaldo stayed out and captured fifth, the first top five of the season for the series founder.
The race was slowed by just three cautions. The first wreck of the night occured on lap 57, when Woody Mahan got into the back of Joe Flanagan in turn three.
The biggest incident occurred in the final corner of the race.
As cars with fresh tires and old tires swapped spots, Yaczik appeared to make slight contact with Tyler Graff exiting turn four. Yaczik’s car moved left, turning Bart Workman. A seven car wreck ensued, resulting in a spectacular moment for Australian Michael Gray, whose car took to the skies like a rocket before crashing into the pits 200 yards down the track.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment will stick around in Japan, and return to Motegi for its next even, on the Twin Ring road course. The RaceCentre Grand Prix of Japan is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23rd, and can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.
For more on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
Canadian Andrew Kinsella roared to his third win of the season in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, using the tow off a restart with eleven laps remaining to win the DirtyBlinds.com 300 at Pocono Raceway Wednesday night.
It was the sixth win of Kinsella’s career.
“I was fortunate to be able to hold off Adam (Blocker) there at the end,” Kinsella said. “He had a really fast car all race. It’s good to be able to bring it home there at the end.”
Kinsella used the draft to go around the outside of Jason Galvin entering turn two at the tricky triangle, as Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Adam Blocker went low to make it three wide.
“That was a fun restart there,” Kinsella said. “I knew we were on old tires, so I had a lap and a half or two to make that move on Jason, and we made it stick.”
The teammates came out in front and worked together to keep the hard-charging Galvin far enough behind.
Blocker, who led a race-high 63 laps, was unable to complete any attempts to get around his teammate in the final laps.
“I wish it went green and we didn’t get that last little group of yellows,” Blocker said. “I felt like I had a nice little lead and could’ve won. That was definitely my best oval race. I played it kinda cautious at the end, but I’ll definitely take second.”
It was Kinsella’s second win in a Triple Crown event, after his victory at the season finale at Auto Club Speedway last season.
Kinsella opened up a full race lead over Brian Yaczik in the points standings, up 51 points on the Michigan driver.
Galvin sits third in the points, five back of Yaczik, after fading to fourth following contact with Adrenaline's Tony Showen.
The duo was racing with Joe Hassert, Galvin’s teammate at No Name Racing, when Galvin pushed exiting turn one. In an effort to keep the car off the wall, Galvin slowed considerably, and then threw what appeared to be a block on Showen.
“I know what it looked like, and I feel awful, but I didn’t even know it was Tony,” said Galvin, who led five laps late in the race after starting 17th. “I was honestly shocked I didn’t hit the wall off one, and then I realized Joe and Tony were going to be coming hard.
“I turned left to get out of the racing line and immediately regretted it. I actually thought I wrecked my teammate, but when I looked at my mirrors, I realized it was Tony. It was my fault, and that was not a smart move.”
Front wing damage dropped Showen to 10th. He declined comment but indicated he would protest the move by Galvin.
Hassert capitalized on the incident, coming home third.
“I think I had a little damage from the first wreck of the race, either Ian (Adams) or Joe (Flanagan) hit my sidepod as they were spinning,” Hassert said. “Then when I got past Jason, he came back and raced me pretty hard even though he was a little hurt. (Kinsella and Blocker) just pulled away. But third is a great run, I think I have more top five finishes this season already than I did all of last year.”
The race was slowed by seven cautions for 20 laps, but it was a non-yellow that turned the race upside down.
Dan Geren continued his pole streak, having qualified quickest at all five races this season. But on lap 19, an internet malfunction caused Geren to drop from the race. At the time, Geren had nearly a full second lead on Blocker.
Geren would lose three laps as his pit crew worked to get him back on track. A valiant effort to get back to the lead lap came up short, and Geren finished one lap down in 23rd.
The series runner-up in 2017, Geren sits a remarkable 14th, 131 points back of Kinsella, after five races, and the Iowa driver has yet to finish in the top ten, despite leading more laps than any driver in the league.
The first wreck, and the one Hassert thought caused him damage, came on lap four, when Australian Michael Gray pushed exiting turn two and knocked Joe Flanagan into the wall. Neither driver would continue.
Five laps late, on lap nine, a three-wide battle ended poorly for Ken Hacker.
As Hacker entered turn one, Chris Stofer went low and Vince Bluthenthal went high. Hacker and Bluthenthal first rubbed wings, and Stofer, running a normal exit line, hit Hacker, who was still gathering his car from the initial contact. Hacker careened into the wall, ending his race early.
Michael Goodman looked poised to capture a podium, if not compete for his first Lionheart win, before a crash that did not bring out the caution.
On lap 78, Goodman pushed up exiting turn three. After smacking the outside wall, Goodman’s car went dead left, and crashed into the pits. The race stayed green, but Goodman retired to 32nd.
The final caution setup the dash to the finish, when Ian Adams hit the wall on lap 106 of 120. Adams tried to keep the car going straight, but the open wheels of his IR18 grabbed the wall and looped him, bringing out the last yellow flag.
Ron Hacker capitalized on Showen’s misfortune to cap a quiet, but solid day. The Synergy Motorsports driver never fell out of the top ten, pit cycles aside, and finished fifth, his first top five of the season.
Hacker sits fifth in points, with Blocker catapulting five sports to fourth.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment loads up their virtual pit boxes and head overseas for the first of three consecutive international races.
The Global Electronic Technology 200 at Twin Ring Motegi’s oval is set for Wednesday night. The race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
It’s a short turnaround and a short distance to travel for the Lionheart Indycar Series, as the IndyCars roll in to Pocono for the Dirtyblinds.com 300, the first leg of the Lionheart Triple Crown. Unlike previous years, the Pocono leg will payout only single points this season, however the winner still walks away with $50 as well as an assortment of prizes.
Last week it was Adam Blocker, the 5-time Retro Series winner, who finally broke through and won his very first Lionheart IndyCar series race in dramatic fashion. Going into the last lap, it was Dan Geren, who had led most of the race, leading blocker by half a second. A half spin in the chute before running just short on fuel, would leave Geren snake bitten once again this season with just an 11th place finish. Rookie Stephen Laarkamp was the biggest mover last week in terms of the overall standings. Jumping 20 spots after an impressive P2, moving into P12 even after missing the season opener. Laarkamp is now on the full-time roster for the remainder of the 2018 season and made quite the splash. Rounding out the top 5 was a spirited 3-way battle between Michael Goodman, Michel de Jonge and Andrew Kinsella. Kinsella and de Jonge both had unfortunate incidents during the race and had to scrap for every position they could at the end.
Pocono Raceway has appeared in all 6 Lionheart Seasons. There are six league members who have appeared in all 5 previous races and are expected to start their 6th this week. They are Ian Adams, Robert Blouin, Vincent Bluthenthal, Chris Lanini, Joe Hassert and Michael Gray. Pocono is a track unlike any other, with 3 distinct turns and one of the longest lap times on the oval calendar. This can often lead to interesting fuel and tire strategy.
Chris Stofer is the defending race winner at Pocono. Stofer led 23 laps enroute to his first ever triple crown victory last season. Stofer won after a battle with Dave Barber during the final laps that saw Barber in the wall and Stofer take home the checkered flag. Barber had led a race high 38 laps during that event. Barber has stepped away from competition but has remained close to the league and continues to support the series with his LOC Precision company.
After 3 races, it is Andrew Kinsella atop the points standings. The Canadian was Rookie of the Year last season in the Lionheart Series, and this year is the only driver to finish in the top 10 at all 4 races so far, as well as one of only 2 drivers to complete every lap so far this year. The other being James Krahula. With 300 grueling miles ahead of them, Kinsella and Krahula will look to keep their ironman streak going and come home with a good finish at Pocono.
2nd in points is Brian Yaczik. Yaczik was the unfortunate victim of a couple of incidents at Watkins Glen that saw the early season points leader DNF for the first time in 2018. Now 26 points behind Kinsella, the Loud Pedal Motorsports will be looking to rebound and continue his strong start to the season with a strong performance on the Tricky Triangle.
3rd in points, Jason Galvin, saw luck of an even worse kind at Watkins Glen. With the No Name Racing driver collected in an incident in the back of the field before the green flag had even flown. Others collected in that incident include Series founder Jorge Anzaldo, and Big Joe Hassert. With the misfortune of last week behind them; Galvin, Anzaldo and Hassert can go into this week confident that it can only get better for them.
Can Dan Geren rebound at Pocono? After suffering a 3rd heartbreak at Watkins by running out of fuel while battling Blocker on the final lap, can Geren rebound and find the podium for the first time in 2018? Geren has led a total of 237 laps across the first 4 races but has failed to find the podium. Last year Geren took his championship battle with Jake Wright down to the finale. This year Geren sits 15th in points, 94 points back of Kinsella. There is no more room for error for the Iowa native if he is to have any shot at the championship this season.
Synergy Motorsports climbed 2 spots after Watkins Glen and now sits in P2 in the team championship -however the gap to Adrenaline Motorsports grew to 75 points with Adrenaline putting 3 drivers in the top 9 including the winner Blocker and 5th place Kinsella. 8 Ball Motorsports is also coming off an impressive run at Watkins climbed +3 spots in the team standings. De Jonge and Goodman both finished in the top 5 and propelled their team up to 5th overall. The team championship is still wide open; Adrenaline might have the early advantage, but no team has yet to emerge as the clear favorite.
The Dirtyblinds.com 300 goes off this Wednesday, May 2nd at 10:35pm EDT only on GSRC and iRacing Live.
It was one of the wildest races in series history, and true to its unpredictable nature, The SimPit Grand Prix of Watkins Glen delivered a first time winner with a last lap pass in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
Adam Blocker survived a spin of his own, and several on-track melees while catching a lucky break to win for the first time in the Dallara. Already a winner of four Lionheart Retro Series races in his short career, but finally broke through at the Glen.
“I pressured de Jonge into a mistake on the first lap and took the lead, but I didn’t hold it very well and because it was so early in the race when I spun, I had to let a lot of people past,” Blocker said. “I was just working my way through slowly and saved fuel on the second stint….I knew Geren would have to fuel save.
“I didn’t know if he had enough fuel, but I pressured him into a mistake and then he ran out of fuel anyways. I’m honored to get my first win in this very competitive league.”
The race saw chaos and carnage throughout. Before the leaders got to turn one, Jorge Anzaldo lost control while avoiding a checkup at the drop of the green. Jason Galvin, Joe Hassert and Anzaldo all had to retire.
In turn one, more crashes, with Woody Mahan, Bob Mikes, Ian Adams and others involved.
By lap five, even the leaders had been affected. Pole winner Michel de Jonge had an off-course excursion, Blocker spun, and Andrew Kinsella lost control entering the boot, leading to a big crash that effectively ended the day for Brian Yaczik, Dustin Wardlow and others.
But the biggest moment of the race came on the final lap, when Blocker, who had rebounded from his early race struggles to chase down Dan Geren, applied the pressure entering the boot.
Geren lost the back end spun on corner exit, opening the door for Blocker to power to the lead.
But it may not have mattered.
Two corners after his spin, Geren ran out of fuel and stopped at the exit of the boot, settling for eleventh.
The biggest benefactor was rookie Stephen Laarkamp, who pulled off a stunning second place.
“Did that actually happen?” Laarkamp asked from the podium. “That was incredible, what a race. Third race in the series and this happens, I just can’t believe it.”
As others ran out of fuel on the final circuit, Michael Goodman emerged to take third.
“Definitely happy with that,” Goodman said. “I was watching my fuel in the second stint there, just making sure I could get it to the end. I’m very happy with a third.”
De Jonge rallied in a battered car to finish fourth, just ahead of Kinsella in a photo finish.
Justin Weaver, James Krahula, Ron Hacker, Joe Branch and Mahan rounded out the top ten, with Geren scored as the first car a lap down.
Kinsella emerges as the new points leader after Yaczik and Galvin both crashed out.
The three drivers still hold a comfortable advantage over Goodman and Branch, who sit fourth and fifth in points.
The first leg of the triple crown is up next, as the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment makes its debut at the repaved version of Pocono Raceway.
The DirtyBlinds.com 300 is set for Wednesday night at 10:35 p.m. EST and can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation is also in action this week. The Becida Bar and Grill 125 is set for 10:35 p.m. EST Thursday. The race will mark the debut of any Lionheart sanctioned event at Brazil’s Autodromo José Carlos Pace. That race can also be seen on the Global SimRacing Channel.
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.