By Justin Prince
Robert Maleczka has won his third event of the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel season in what turned into a fuel mileage race to the end.
Maleczka and teammate Alexis Newsome led a Factory Backed team one-two finish after stretching their fuel tanks an additional five laps than originally estimated.
Jeff Hysong, Joe Branch and Alexander van de Sandt rounded out the top five in the HyperX Michigan 200.
Maleczka said in HyperX Victory Lane that a Lap 29 pileup involving several race leaders had helped him on strategy.
The incident started after contact between Vern Hawkins III and Craig Forsythe for the race lead heading into Turn 1. Both pinballed off one another into Tony Showen as they headed towards the outside wall. The incident also collected Chris Fowler, Trevor Malone, Matt Wagner and Micael Hagstrom.
It was one of three cautions during the event.
“We could have maybe stretched it from there,” said Maleczka. “I knew if we got to Lap 66 or 67, we would have been good to the end with about half a run saved. I think with 10 or 11 laps to go, I knew I was good, so that’s when I started moving to the front.”
Much of the focus was on Nick DeGroot, Jorge Anzaldo and Chris Stofer during the race. The three had gone on an alternative strategy, swap drafting for several laps while breaking away from the pack by as much as eight seconds.
The three drivers eventually finished more than 24 seconds behind the race lead in Positions 7-9.
Maleczka said he, Newsome and Hysong played their strategy perfectly. The Factory Backed driver ran out of gas just feet after the finish line.
“Me and Alexis on every straight, we were constantly checking fuel numbers,” said Maleczka. “We had a good idea where we could make it to and it worked out great for both of us.”
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Kentucky Speedway for the SimXperience 200 at Kentucky Presented by Chris Fowler Racing. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 28th at 10:35 p.m. EST.
By Justin Prince
In the wildest road course race in Lionheart Racing Series competition in 2021 so far, Adam Blocker has won the Minus 273 Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Several Lionheart IndyCar Series championship contenders, including PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype drivers Connor Harrington and Joshua Chin, were involved in race-changing incidents and mistakes which helped give Blocker a lead as large as 11 seconds during the race.
Chin, Henry Bennett, Matt Taylor and Brian Beard rounded out the top five.
It is the first time in the event’s history the pole sitter has taken the checkered flag.
Blocker also has become the first three-time winner in the series this season.
“The first stint, I felt like I had a little bit better pace than Connor at least,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane. “I think Connor was hanging with me, but was probably burning a couple push-to-passes to do it, so I wasn’t super worried. I started gapping him late in the first stint and Josh passed him. I think it was going to be close between Josh and I. Then Connor had an incident, then Josh made a mistake that I think made it a little bit easier. Without that, Josh and I would have been pretty close.
The trouble arose for Harrington on Lap 22 when he had closed the gap between him and Blocker to under five car lengths.
Blocker and Harrington were passing the lapped car of Tony Showen when Harrington made hard contact with him into Turn 8. Showen had gone straight heading into the corner while Harrington was arching for the apex.
The incident immediately destroyed the chassis and sidepod of the PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype car in the process.
Showen was given a drive through penalty for the incident while Harrington went on to finish in 24th position, six laps down.
Then six laps later, Chin was going through Turn 9 when he clipped the grass on the apex. That would cause his car to snap around and half-spin into the grass, costing Chin seven seconds of time on the track. He had been running on the black-walled tires at the time.
“Overall, it was a good points day. I still lost ground to Adam, which kind of sucks,” said Chin. “The car just didn’t work for me on the primary tires at all and it showed in the whole stint. It was a big struggle and finally had that little half-spin … I think ultimately it was what cost me a shot at the win and finishing second. I think I probably wouldn’t have gotten him even with that time, but it would have been nice to have a shot and see what would have happened at the end.”
Several other drivers were caught off guard by Turns 8 and 9 in practice and in the race.
Competitors such as Lionel Calisto had major issues with either spins or crashes. On Lap 21, Calisto had been battling with Andrew Kinsella when he tried to go later on the brakes. He then wobbled on entry, sending him sliding right into a retaining wall, shearing off his right side tires immediately.
Calisto then flipped over several times before coming to a rest outside the groove in Turn 8. He had been up nine positions before the incident.
Overall, four cars did not finish the race.
Next week, the Lionheart IndyCar Series and its drivers will take part in the HyperX Indianapolis 500 Race for the Pole. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 23rd.
By Justin Prince
For the first time at iRacing’s World Wide Technology Raceway, the pole sitter has won in the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker.
Adam Blocker of Adrenaline Powerslide dominated the 2021 edition of the Asher's Racing Channel 200 at Gateway on June 2 by leading 152 of 160 laps. He became just the second driver this season to win multiple races with the other being Sage Karam.
Connor Harrington, Damon Martinez, Jay Brant and Ryan Otis completed the top five.
Just one caution came out during the event.
“It feels good to win. It’s been a few races,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane in his first victory since Homestead-Miami Speedway. “It’s always good to get a win.”
Blocker led by more than four seconds over Martinez and Harrington. In the closing stages however, after Harrington passed Martinez in the final pit stop sequence, Blocker reached lapped traffic. Harrington closed the gap to within 1.1 seconds in the final five laps, but could not reach Blocker.
Harrington was not happy with Martinez after the race.
“I spent 80 laps trapped behind Damon (Martinez) just losing a ton of time. I don’t know how you’re unable to stay with somebody when there’s just one car in front of you,” said Harrington. “I just couldn’t make the pass on Damon to get by and had to wait for the pit stop cycle. The first cycle we got him, then we were running Adam down … It would have been interesting to see if we would have got there.”
Blocker said the race to him was pretty straight forward.
The race’s only caution came out after Adam Frazier and Matt Taylor both spun out entering the pit lane in Turn 3. The yellow flag had significantly swapped the positions for multiple drivers. One driver, last round’s race winner Joshua Chin, went from the top five to the back half of the field as a result of the caution.
“I was able to gap the guys behind me and I never had to worry about the pit cycles,” said Blocker. “I was just trying to save a little bit of fuel to make sure I didn’t get trapped down a lap by a yellow during the pit cycle, which paid off during that first caution. If I hadn’t been saving a little bit, I would have (been trapped).”
Several other competitors struggled with the pit entry throughout the race.
Chris Fowler, who was on an undercut strategy, spun into the grass at the halfway mark of the race after overshooting the access road.
Luis Gonzalez Nuñez destroyed his car after checking up for Frazier on a pit stop as well. He locked up his brakes, sending his NEKI Racing Team car into the outside wall, immediately damaging the suspension.
Next time out, the Lionheart IndyCar Series heads to the Brickyard for the Minus 273 Grand Prix of Indianapolis on June 16. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV.