By Justin Prince
Adam Blocker has continued to make history in the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker.
The Adrenaline Powerslide driver has won his fourth straight race, a mark that has never been reached in the series before.
Blocker led 184 of 200 laps in The ButtKicker 200 on the way to victory lane at The Milwaukee Mile.
Joshua Chin, Ryan Otis, Lionel Calisto and Mike Rigney completed the rest of the top five.
Blocker said from HyperX Victory Lane that he thought scoring four wins in a row was not possible.
“It’s just so hard to put together a string of wins on a big oval, short oval and a road course which is pretty much what you have to do to win four in a row,” said Blocker. “It’s pretty cool.”
This season’s race also set the benchmark for the least amount of caution flags at the track with two. The race had concluded with a 133-lap green flag run. Blocker led at some points by as much as seven seconds.
“I’m exhausted. My hands are sore. When you do 130 or something green laps, that just takes a toll on you,” said Blocker. “You’re just constantly cornering and with this setup, you’re basically countersteering on the way in and on the way out of every corner. It was a lot of hard work for sure and especially with all the traffic it got hairy at a couple points.”
It was a dominant run from the onset for Blocker. After Otis took the pole, Blocker went side-by-side with him on Lap 3. Blocker then utilized the bottom line to quickly pass the former Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience champion. By Lap 24, he was half a straightaway ahead of Otis.
“I was actually shocked to get the pole. I didn’t expect that,” said Otis. “I was too conservative with my settings with the bar and everything because I hadn’t done running on fresh tires for a race start in clean air before. I just didn’t plan for it and got eaten up pretty fast by Adam. I’m thrilled to keep it on the podium. That was a big relief.”
The first caution of the race caused chaos at the pit entry.
As the race reached its first green flag stops, several drivers attempted to go for an undercut. One of those drivers, Chris Fowler, had just come out of the pits when he ran hard into Turn 1 on Lap 95. Fowler clipped the rumble strips to the inside of the corner and snapped sideways towards the top groove. Fowler drifted at a 45-degree angle for several feet before smashing into the outside SAFER barrier, demolishing his suspension immediately.
His Alkentech Simulations NHR e-Sports teammate, Matt Taylor, was just heading for the pit entry at the time of the caution. He attempted to duck back out onto the racetrack to avoid a penalty. Instead, he drove straight into the water barrels, destroying his car on impact.
Both drivers retired from the race immediately after the incident.
The second and final caution came out on the ensuing restart on Lap 61.
Connor Harrington dove hard to the bottom of the track in Turn 3 to attempt a pass on Tony Showen. Instead, his car bobbled back and forth on the inside line, nearly snapping loose before drifting around up the track. Fellow PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype driver Jason Brophy attempted to check up before being hit from behind by Henry Bennett, slamming him into the left side of Harrington’s car.
As that went on, Ricky Hardin attempted to check up for the incident before also getting hit from behind by Aaron Morgan. Both drivers then went up into the outside wall, severely damaging their cars.
Overall, seven drivers did not finish the race.
Next, the Lionheart IndyCar Series and its drivers will head across the pond to the Silverstone Circuit for the GRAAFix Grand Prix of Silverstone Presented by Minus 273. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on July 28th.
By Justin Prince
In what turned into a war of attrition, Matt Taylor has won the Global Electronic Technology 175 Presented by Minus 273.
Taylor took the checkered flag on a one-lap shootout, having to hold off a hard-charging Mike Rasimas and David Sirois to do so. This was after several big crashes decimated a majority of the field throughout the 113-lap race.
Rasimas, Sirois, Chris Lanini and Ariel Alaniz rounded out the top five.
Seven cars finished on the lead lap out of 27 starters.
“This is awesome. What a scary opening portion of this race though,” said Taylor from HyperX Victory Lane. “Guys were flying all over the place and once (Michael) O’Brien had contact (on Lap 4) … that was kind of a red flag for me to go to the back there and that absolutely paid off.”
The race was marred by several incidents and hard hits to the wall.
O’Brien, who started on the pole, was bumped into the wall during a four-wide pass for the lead into Turn 3. Isaac Snider banged tired with Chris Fowler, sending him into the side tires of O’Brien. His suspension on his car was immediately destroyed. No caution was thrown for the incident.
On Lap 15, the trouble continued for drivers during a five-wide move for first. Ricky Hardin tapped the right-rear tire of Fowler, sending him sliding on the bottom line of the track. As that happened, Nick DeGroot was shot to the right, sending him into Snider. Both cars went flying into the outside SAFER barrier. Snider was launched across the track into the path of Alaniz. Mike Rigney, Chris Ragan and Alex Guyon were also involved.
The incidents escalated on Lap 24.
While fighting four-wide again for the lead, Craig Forsythe and Jean-Francois Matte made contact after Forsythe got loose. Matte was sent over Forsythe’s sidepod, shooting Forsythe into the path of Chris Staples. Alaniz and Aaron Morgan were also involved in the incident.
By Lap 27, just 14 cars were left running.
“That was a wild race. I can’t believe I made it to the end, so I will definitely take a P2 after all the carnage,” said Rasimas.
The incidents kept coming.
After D.J. Clark crashed due to his wheel disconnecting from his desk on Lap 54, much of the field went single-file until Lap 88. As the cars made their way through Turn 3, Robert Mikes came down the track into the front wing of Caleb Benci. Mikes spun around across his wing, destroying Benci’s front end. Jason Galvin drifted up the track to dodge the trouble only to overcorrect into the wall.
The race lead heated up on the ensuing restart.
Taylor quickly charged past Alaniz to take the point. He elected to hug the bottom line of the track in the corners to defend for several laps. Then on Lap 100, Jorge Anzaldo got a big run on Taylor, charging from fifth to second place in one straightaway. The two fought hard for three laps before reaching lapped traffic. While the traffic stayed high, it forced several drivers to check up, allowing Anzaldo to take the point on Lap 106.
Then, on Lap 108, Anzaldo spun.
The Raven Motorsports Silver driver tried to defend a move from Taylor on the bottom before spinning into Richie Hearn and Trevor Malone. All three cars slammed the outside wall, destroying their cars.
That set up the one-lap shootout.
Next race, the Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the SimXperience 150 Presented by Dewar's Candy. That will take place on August 5 and can be seen live on RaceSpot TV at 10:35 p.m. ET.
By Justin Prince
Barrett Rolph has finally done it.
After coming close to victory several times this season in the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel, Rolph has won his first career race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Ascari Autosport driver took the checkered flag for the Sim Racing Studio Indianapolis 500 Presented by Chris Fowler Racing under caution. He led a race-high 53 laps at the Brickyard.
Brian Yaczik, Brian Beard, Tony Showen and Joe Branch completed the top five.
“My hands are still kind of shaking a little bit,” said Rolph from HyperX Victory Lane. “It’s not quite the way I wanted to do it under yellow like that, but it didn’t stop me from hollering anyway. I’m just super stoked to pick up the win for Ascari Autosport … It’s incredible. I’m kind of at a loss for words. I felt like I was in control the whole race and thought I was going to lose it at the end, but to get it done in the Indy 500 in this series feels incredible.”
The race came down to a restart with four laps to go. Rolph got a large jump on the rest of the pack over Beard and Yaczik. Yaczik’s LPM Thumbs Up car ducked to the inside of Beard down the backstretch to take away second position. By Turn 4 exit, Yaczik was getting a run on Rolph.
That is when the caution came out for an incident in Turns 3 and 4. While battling for seventh position, Matt Huston and Matt Taylor were taken three-wide into the corner by Paul Jenkins, forcing Huston to back off on the corner exit. As Huston attempted to cut back into line from the middle of the track, he came across the front wing of Jeff Hysong, sending both cars into the wall. Huston immediately flipped upside down and rode the top of the SAFER barrier for several feet before the yellow flag was triggered.
Overall, the event had three cautions with two coming in the final 10 laps.
“I could see when the leader went and Beard couldn’t. My thought process was to time the restart to where the leader goes and I would be to the inside of Beard and dispose of him in Turn 1, set me up to pass the leader into Turn 3, then I was going to try to block to try and maintain the lead,” said Beard. “But, we didn’t get the restart we needed, which put Beard in front of us in Turns 1 and 2, then we finally disposed of him. We just sent it down into Turn 3 and made it stick and we were coming out of Turn 4 with a whole lot of momentum, then I heard Chris Lanini on the Discord yell ‘wrecking, wrecking.’ Then I went ‘no, no, no’ and the caution came out when we were up to the side pod there.
“I think we had it. It just stings to finish second on that one.”
Beard started the race from the pole and immediately got into a swap draft battle with Jason Galvin for the lead. The two traded first place for 11 straight laps to begin the 500-mile event. Beard eventually came out with the top spot once the swapping stopped.
As that went on, Rolph charged his way to the front. The blue and black Dallara DW12 quickly made passes on A.J. Musselman, Chris Fowler, Alexis Newsome and Jorge Anzaldo, utilizing the top line several times during the first seven laps. By the opening pit stops, Rolph was inside the top three.
After the opening pit stops, Beard, Chris Fowler, Chris Stofer and Rolph broke away from the main pack.
Galvin, Craig Forsythe, Joe Branch and Yaczik eventually closed up to the group later in the race.
The championship points leader, Newsome, had a disastrous moment during the second pit stop window.
After extending her second run to Lap 65, she disappeared from the track while her car was down pit road. The Factory Backed driver had dropped out of the iRacing server. Newsome lost two laps as a result of the issue. After rejoining the track, she was caught by the race leaders. She stayed with the main pack for much of the event.
The first caution did not strike until Lap 134, when Forsythe attempted to make a pass to the inside of Stofer for third. On the corner exit, Forsythe attempted to clear Stofer. Instead, he came across the front wing of the Adrenaline Motorsports driver, sending both into the outside wall in the short chute. Stofer was sent flipping upside down into the Turn 4 SAFER barrier. He then rode the top of the wall for several seconds before coming to a rest.
Because of the timing of the caution, it turned the event into a fuel-milage race. Ken Hacker, Anzaldo and Matt Wagner elected to stay out, gambling on another caution.
On the ensuing restart on Lap 138, several strategies came into play to save the amount of gas needed to make it on one pit stop. While the three drivers who stayed out pulled away, Rolph and the rest of the pack attempted to swap draft before reeling back in the pack. Some drivers, such as Tony Showen, decided to watch the two drivers battle and lift to save. Others, like Yaczik, backed their pace up by as much as three seconds by the end of the run to make it on gas.
However, with under 10 laps to go, that all changed.
Micael Hagstrom, who had just exited the pit lane, made contact with eighth-place driver Mike Rigney down the front straightaway, swerving both of them straight into the outside wall. Rigney flipped upside down seven times before landing upside down.
Then, seconds later, Hagstrom’s damaged car drifted into the grass in Turn 3 under the yellow flag. He then bounced back up into traffic, right in the path of Christopher Kresge and Alexander van de Sandt. Both Hagstrom and Kresge were launched upside down from the secondary crash.
“I wasn’t even positive I was going to be able to make it at the end before that last yellow,” said Rolph. “I was looking good. Then the lead group with a few lappers in it broke away and I kind of knew I needed to be back up there, so I had to burn a little bit extra fuel to make up that gap. I think I was actually going to be a lap short, if not just barely, but that yellow kind of helped, but it put me in a precarious position there on the restart.”
After the final yellow flag was brought out a few laps later, 19 cars were able to take the checkered flag.
“To have the luck kind of fall our way for once and the yellow to come out while I was in the lead there to get the win, it just feels incredible,” said Rolph. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m super stoked.”
Next race, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel heads to The Magic Mile for the Espo Designs New Hampshire 175 on August 2. Coverage will begin at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and can be watched on tape delay on ESTV.
By Justin Prince
After stretching his fuel tank to run 45 laps twice in the final stages of the SimXperience Kentucky 200, Alexander van de Sandt has won his first race of the 2021 season.
Van de Sandt pulled off the victory after being able to save more than three laps of fuel per stint in a fully green flag Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel race. The Team RaceVerse Black driver led just 10 of the 134 laps on the way to the win.
Robert Maleczka III, Alexis Newsome, Nick DeGroot and Chris Stofer rounded out the top five.
“It was so close, especially at the end when everyone had much fresher tires than I did those last few laps, so I couldn’t stay with them,” said van de Sandt in HyperX Victory Lane. “Once Matt (Wagner) pit, I had no help, so I had to try to make sure I had enough to have a buffer there and it was just enough.”
Van de Sandt made the decision to try the strategy after his fastest qualifying lap did not count, relegating him to 27th starting position. He had gone to the apron on his qualifying run, which is known to be difficult to avoid clipping the grass at Kentucky Speedway.
“I was like, ‘okay, I’m going to be marred in traffic, I’m going to be second-to-last, it’s going to be hard to pass. Might as well just see what I can do in these first few laps to see what numbers I can hit,’” said van de Sandt. “Then I realized this might be possible. When it started going green the whole way, which shocked me, I just had to commit to it.”
Maleczka III, who led a race-high 74 laps and finished more than three seconds behind Van de Sandt, said he knew it was going to be close with the fuel save strategy. He said since he and Newsome were both out front by several seconds, they did not want to risk it.
“Man, if this race was one lap longer, I would have been golden,” said Maleczka III.
Factory Backed had a strong day from the green flag, immediately seeing both Maleczka III and Newsome pull away by two seconds within the first 15 laps. DeGroot, who started 14th, also slowly made his way through the pack to charge his way to the head of a three-car pack in the closing stages. The Factory Backed cars at one point had a possible 1-2-3 finish with Maleczka III and Newsome having a 10-second advantage.
“We knew we had this all-out pace with Alexis just riding one-two,” said Maleczka III. “We just put our heads down and kept hot-lapping.”
Overall, just one car did not finish the 200-mile race.
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Sim Racing Studio Indy 500 Presented by Chris Fowler Racing. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on July 18th at 10:35 p.m. EST.
By Justin Prince
In what is the closest finish in the history of ButtKicker Indy 250, Marc Cohn has won his second Triple Crown race of the 2021 Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience season.
Cohn edged out Aero-X Racing’s Chris Fowler for the win by 0.005 seconds to take the checkered flag at iRacing’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Cohn led 17 laps on the way to his second victory of the 2021 season.
Sage Karam, Paul Jenkins and Ken Hacker completed the top five.
“This was all I ever wanted was to win a big league race of any sort at Indianapolis. Today has been my whole life,” said Cohn from HyperX Victory Lane. “I can’t believe it.”
Cohn had to defend the lead in a seven-lap shootout after a crash at the back of the main pack between D.J. Clark and Ariel Alaniz. The GRAAFix LC Motorsports driver did so by trying to hug the bottom of the track throughout the final stages.
“I just knew that if I didn’t hug the inside, I was going to be forced three-wide,” said Cohn. “Then, I tried the outside on Fowler, but that just made it worse. I was just hoping somehow, some way I would be able to pull it out in the end.”
The victory came as several drivers, including Ricky Hardin, were sent spinning and crashing behind Cohn and Fowler after contact from Sage Karam. Karam gave a bump to the back end of Cohn in the incident, giving The Watchman a big speed boost for the final few hundred feet to the line.
“That bump from Sage, I owe him big time because that’s what got me through that. Otherwise, I don’t think it would have happened,” said Cohn.
Fowler said he was bummed about finishing second in the race. It was Fowler’s best finish of the season. It was also his best career finish in the series.
“I wanted to win this race so badly,” said Fowler. “I thought I had it. I just missed it … Marc needs to send Sage a little care package for that bump for the win. I’ve definitely had a rough season this year and lots of bad luck. I really needed that win to gain some momentum, but even a second is great. That was such a fun race.”
Karam was in third place for much of the final run. He said he knew that was the place he needed to be to position himself for the win.
“I was doing everything I could to stay in third going into the last lap,” said Karam. “I ended up getting a bit of understeer into Turn 3 and I had a car to the outside of me. I kind of knew my chances of winning went down quite significantly.
“Then on the frontstretch, those guys left kind of a hole, so I was like ‘alright, I’m gonna go through the hole.’ Then it closed quite quickly when I tried to go through it. Ended up having contact with Marc and I think I pushed him to the win. I mean, he’s The Watchman, so maybe he’ll send me a watch or something. That’d be pretty nice.”
The race went green for the first 77 laps, with the lead pack being trimmed down from 23 cars to as little as 13.
Several drivers swapped back-and-forth for the race lead at the end of the first and second fuel runs, including Jorge Anzaldo, Fowler and Tyler Graaf. Others such as Ken Hacker, Matt Taylor and Mike Rasimas attempted to use strategy to cut their way through the field to get to the front.
Karam looked to be in a strong position strategy-wise after the final pit stops of the race when he broke the draft by 1.9 seconds from the rest of the leaders on Lap 76.
“I think my strategy was spot on,” said Karam. “I pretty much saved fuel right from the beginning. I could have led many laps. I just decided that saving fuel was more important than leading the most laps at that point of the race. Saved a lot of fuel and we had a really good last stop.”
That changed when the caution flew in the second pack.
Graaf tried to get to the front of his group by running the high line in Turn 3. David Sirois pushed up the track into the left-side tires of the NLR driver, sending him head first into the outside wall.
Chris Ragan just avoided the spinning car by inches before slamming tires with Trevor Malone in Turn 4, spinning him into the grass.
Karam, Taylor and Fowler traded the lead several times on the ensuing restart, continuously swapping spots down the frontstretch into Turn 1. Then, on Lap 86, Cohn made his big move, taking Karam and Fowler three-wide to move himself to the point. That is when Cohn started to defend to the bottom of the track. Overall, 10 cars were shuffling positions in the main pack.
On Lap 90, the caution would fly for a second and final time as Alaniz and Clark touched wheels heading into Turn 1. The second group of cars piled into the spinning Lotus 79s in the corner. Caleb Benci, who took the hardest of the hits, flipped several times in the grass, landing on top of Adam Young’s car. Chris Lanini also received damage at the same time after driving into the inside wall trying to go for a four-wide move just moments before the Turn 1 crash.
Overall, 19 cars finished on the lead lap.
Next race, the Lionheart Retro Series visits Sonoma Raceway for the HyperX Grand Prix of Sonoma on July 8. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV.
By Justin Prince
For the second time in his Lionheart Racing Series career, Adam Blocker has won the HyperX Indianapolis 500.
The Adrenaline Powerslide driver won the triple crown race by more than two seconds. Blocker has become the second driver to win the race twice in its history. He is also the second polesitter to ever win the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker event.
Connor Harrington, Henry Bennett, Andrew Kinsella and Tyler Graaf rounded out the top five.
“It feels pretty good,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane. “Just a big relief that no cautions or anything like that shook anything up in the last stints. I knew I had a shot with how important track position was.”
Harrington said he lost the race in his opinion on the final pit stop of the race. Blocker had gained more than a second down the lane and some additional time coming down the access road.
“It’s always good to get a podium,” said Harrington. “Traffic just didn’t work out great for us. Kind of a bummer. I think we would have had a chance at the end of the race if Blocker didn’t get all the breaks in the traffic. We’ll take the second place points and move on.”
The race started with a quick caution in the first turn when Bryan Carey got loose in front of the field. The fifth place starting Dallara IR-18 snapped right across the track and into the outside wall coming out of the corner, collecting Mike Rigney, Ken Hacker, Chris Stofer and several others.
After the caution, Blocker spent much of the first half of the race saving fuel behind Sage Karam, who had his computer crash before the starting grid for the race. Karam ran in front of Blocker during the first green flag stint as a result.
“I just decided to let him lead,” said Blocker. “There was no point in really fighting him. I was going to use him to save fuel off of and I was doing that. It was working pretty good.”
The next caution period struck on Lap 94 when Damon Martinez crashed out of Turn 4, slamming the outside wall and immediately breaking his suspension and front wing. Parts were sent flying across the track as several cars, including Blocker, had to dodge them down the front straightaway.
Fuel numbers became a talking point for some drivers until Lap 115, when Jay Brant hit the wall coming off of Turn 2. The Synergy Motorsports Black machine bounced off the wall into the inside tire barrier, immediately smashing his car. Brant was sent sliding back across the track. Cars were able to dodge the wreckage as Brant came to a stop down the backstretch.
Overall, 15 of the 35 entries finished on the lead lap.
Next, the Lionheart IndyCar Series and its drivers will take part in the ButtKicker 200 at the Milwaukee Mile. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on July 14th.