It took two laps for Connor Harrington to rocket to the front at Twin Ring Motegi. Once he did, hardly anyone could touch him.
Harrington held off challenges from a half-dozen drivers throughout the race to win the Global Electronic Technology 200, after a thrilling two-lap sprint to the finish and fierce charge from Sage Karam in the final corner.
“The late race yellow I really didn’t want to see,” whose 0.013 second margin of victory was the third closest in series history. “I was content up front, my teammate Nathan (Lewis) and (Jason) Galvin were controlling the pace. When the yellow came out, the chips kinda fall on the table and it works out how it works out. Just thrilled to get it done here at Motegi.”
The Alkentech Simulation NHR e-Sports driver led 112 of the 130 laps en route to his first Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment victory at the famed Japanese oval.
“Sage made a hell of a move going into turn three,” Harrington said. “Hats off to him, to not have us end up in the barriers. That was a great move.”
Karam, who leads the points in both Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX campaigns, was part of a group that took an extra pit stop, hoping fresher tires on the final run would allow a path around the otherwise unpassable Harrington.
The plan appeared to be on the ropes, as the group that also included Adam Blocker and Andrew Kinsella, among others, were two seconds behind the trio of Harrington, two-time Motegi winner Jason Galvin and rookie Nathan Lewis when the final caution flew with seven laps remaining.
That setup a furious dash for the trio with roughly 15 less laps on their tires.
“I think if we had one more corner or 100 feet longer we would have won that thing,” Karam said. “I’m very happy with second, and a good points day. It was good.”
Kinsella and Blocker were able to take advantage of a three-wide situation and get around Galvin in the final corner.
“I didn’t think I could get there unless I got the draft,” Kinsella said of the final lap. “If I had one more lap, I might’ve got there, but it was a great run, very happy with a third place finish.”
Lewis fell to sixth during the final scramble, with Brian Yaczik, Big Joe Hassert, early race contender Chris Stofer and James Krahula rounding out the top 10.
The race saw four cautions fly for 16 laps, but the biggest moment came during contact that did not result in the yellow laundry flying.
Damon Martinez made contact with his SKM teammate Josh Chin early on, sending Chin into the wall and out of the race on lap 45. Martinez - who captured his first Lionheart pole earlier in the day - was penalized for avoidable contact, and finished a lap down in 27th, while Chin was the second car out in 37th.
As a result, Chin plummeted three more spots in the standings to ninth, after appearing to be one of Karam’s biggest challengers for the championship early on.
As is, Karam holds a 70 point advantage over Kinsella, with Harrington and Blocker tied for third, 77 points out of the lead.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes three weeks off before ramping up for its Month of May, June edition, starting with the Minus 273 Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course on Wednesday, June 17. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network with Global SimRacing Channel producing the action at 10:35 p.m. EST.
One week later, on June 24, Lionheart plays host to the first ever HyperX Indianapolis 500 Race for the Pole, featuring authentic Indy 500-style qualifying, all to set the grid for the annual HyperX Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, June 28. That race, the crown jewel of the Lionheart season, can be seen live at 4 p.m. EST on the iRacing eSports Network.
Josh Chin and Adam Blocker took their shots. But nobody could land a solid blow to Sage Karam.
The NTT IndyCar Series driver outlasted a teammate, a series champion and two fellow IndyCar stars, including a former champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, to take the win in the Battle at Barber presented by HPP Simulation.
“That was definitely a tough race,” Karam said. “Barber in itself is a really difficult track, it’s easy to make a mistake here...you can never really get into a groove with lappers or people spinning in front of you.”
The win was Karam’s third of the season in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, and came in one of the most anticipated races in Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX history.
The 53 lap race at the virtual version of Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park featured the debut of 2004 IndyCar champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, as well as 2017 Freedom 100 winner and Kanaan’s former teammate at A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Matheus Leist.
But all eyes were on Karam, who extended his points lead in the Lionheart IndyCar Series, while also leading the way in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel.
“I’m just happy that one is over with,” Karam said. “I think Josh had better race pace than me. I was able to get the pole and I think that’s what did it for me.”
Karam beat Chin, his SKM teammate, by 0.609 seconds.
“I tried going off strategy, and it didn’t work out, I ended up in traffic,” Chin said. “Hat’s off to those guys, they were racing hard and I was there, too. I had that half-spin at the end and I think that didn’t help.”
Chin and two-time defending series champion Adam Blocker - who works for Ilmor Engineering in the NTT IndyCar Series - hounded Karam all race. Blocker even led two laps during pit cycles.
But Blocker made a rare mistake, a spin coming out of the carousel with six laps remaining, and contact with the wall hobbled his car, leaving the Adrenaline Motorsports driver to fall all the way to eleventh.
Leist capitalized, running a clean race in his Lionheart debut to finish third and claim the final spot on the podium.
Early season championship contender Connor Harrington rebounded from his lap nine crash at Michigan to finish fourth, and was happy to be back in the championship conversation.
“I was a little disappointed not being able to get third there,” Harrington said. “I lost five or six seconds behind lapped traffic. This is a tough track though, and to get out of here with the nose clean is good.”
Rookie Arjuna Kankipati captured his first career Lionheart top five with a fifth place finish.
Kanaan finished one lap down in 19th, after mid-race contact with Michael Goodman in the final corner sent the 19-year IndyCar veteran around.
30 of the 40 starters took the checkered flag, with 14 cars finishing on the lead lap.
Karam leads Goodman by 55 points, with Andrew Kinsella third, 63 out of the lead.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads back to the oval side of things before the month of June, the designated Indy month for the series, with the Global Electronic Technology 200 at Twin Ring Motegi.
The race can be viewed live on the iRacing eSports Network with Global SimRacing Channel producing the action on Wednesday, May 20 at 10:35 p.m. EST.
For the third time in league history the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical equipment heads to Birmingham, Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park. Opened in 2003 the 16-turn, 2.38-mile road course has had its share of exciting moments in both the real world and virtual.
The inaugural event in Lionheart took place back in Season 3 and saw a dramatic battle between series defending champion Jesse Vincent and Jake Wright. There was a total of just 3 lead changes between the two, but the pivotal moment of the race would be where Vincent and Wright exited pit road side by side down the narrow lane with Vincent taking the advantage into turn 2. Vincent would go on to win the event by 0.907 seconds over polesitter Wright. It was certainly an iconic moment in league history.
This season Barber enters the 2020 Season as the 2nd road course on the schedule and will test the best that Lionheart has to offer. Sage Karam fresh off his 500-mile victory at Michigan also comes in as the points leader moving up 5 positions in the standings. Karam who also won at Watkins Glen currently leads the standings in the 2020 Road Championship presented by SimXperience.
The standings remain tight through the first 5 rounds with the top 5 separated by no more than 40 points. Defending series champion Adam Blocker also moved up into the 5th spot overall after a slow start to the season. Blocker is also the defending race winner and he’s shown that he knows his way around Barber after putting on a clinic last season with a margin of victory of 52.390 over runner up Dan Geren.
HPP Simulation will also enjoy its second title sponsor race of the 2020 Season. HPP has recently unveiled its new 3P-JBV pedal set. Known for their superior durability and industry leading hydraulic braking system HPP Simulation continues to deliver outstanding quality and innovation to the sim racing community.
The Battle at Barber presented by HPP Simulation will take place on May 6th 2020 live on the iRacing eSports Network courtesy of the Global Sim Racing Channel. Race coverage begins at 9:35 PM CST
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
For more information on HPP Simulation and their full line of products visit www.hppsimulation.com
Race Link: https://youtu.be/hOuIdvSjfUo
The Lionheart Racing Series powered by Hyper X announced today its partnership with Asher’s Racing Channel, the popular motorsports show headlined by its star reporter Asher who just happens to be 7 years old.
Asher discovered his love for IndyCar early on in life.
At the age of 3, he ran into IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball during Indy 500 qualifying and had a full conversation with him. From that point on he was hooked.
In 2019, on the way to 500 qualifying day Asher decided to try to interview some drivers. His parents told him he could try and see if he could at least interview 2 drivers. He ended up interviewing 7 drivers that day. Asher later went on to interview over 20 drivers at various events that season, and also met Doug Boles and Roger Penske, who lifted him up and set him in the cockpit of Josef Newgarden’s championship winning car. It was a special moment for the young reporter from Indiana.
Asher was even invited by IndyCar to attend the 2019 end of season Victory Lap Banquet.
Over the winter Asher was asked by Arrow McLaren SP to help Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward unveil the new livery for this upcoming season. He has been on the local news and papers. Asher can’t wait to see where the future takes him, with the ultimate goal to one day be either a professional racing reporter or driver.
“Asher may be young in age, but you can see right away that his is wise beyond his years.” Lionheart founder Jorge Anzaldo said. “Asher has a real love and excitement for IndyCar and you can see it in each and every one of his interviews. He really gets into it and it mirrors the passion that our drivers have for American open wheel racing both in the real world and virtual. It was this mutual interest that made me want to associate our brand with theirs.”
It was Asher’s interview with real life NTT Data IndyCar driver Sage Karam that first brought the channel into Lionheart’s radar after Karam won the round 1 iRacing IndyCar Challenge Series event at Watkins Glen. Asher knocked it out of the park and went on to have additional interviews with Indy 500 winner Will Power, Alexander Rossi and defending IndyCar Champion Joseph Newgarden.
With the recent corona pandemic effecting motorsports, Asher saw an opportunity to extend his channels reach by covering esports events like the IndyCar iRacing Challenge as well as the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX. Very soon fans of the show will begin to see Lionheart drivers being interviewed during their weekly Sunday show.
For more information on Asher’s Racing Channel visit www.ashersracingchannel.com
Follow Asher’s Racing Channel on Twitter @AsherRacing Instagram and Facebook @ashersracingchannel
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com