For a moment, it appeared nobody had saved enough fuel to make it to the end of the HyperX Pocono 200.
And then, Mike Rigney appeared.
The second year driver led a train of cars that, until the final lap, had been non-factors, stunning the field by stretching fuel further than anyone thought possible, and capturing his first win in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“That very last lap, my spotter said go,” Rigney said. “That was all my spotter. He was telling me when to go, when to coast or ride or hold position. Sam Crowe won me that race.”
Rigney beat Scotty Johnson, Adam Frazier and Bart Workman across the by just under three seconds. None of the four started higher than 28th.
“I have no words, I’m truly speechless,” Rigney said. “This is Lionheart. There’s not a driver in this field not capable of winning a race. It’s an honor to even be here.”
The chaotic last lap was set up by a crash on lap 49 between Ken Hacker and Samuel Reiman.
A split strategy unfolded, with 10 cars staying out, led by Joshua Chin and Chris Stofer.
Other top ten stalwarts, including Jason Galvin, Adam Blocker, Andrew Kinsella and Brian Yaczik chose to pit when pit lane opened, while others, including Rigney, Johnson, and Jake Wright, chose to pit on the final lap of the yellow.
With an estimated fuel window of 27 to 28 green flag laps, the race to lap 80 and the checkered flag would be about a combo of fuel saving while staying within striking distance, while the top 10 counted on another caution.
It never came.
As the cars that stayed out peeled off to pit road under green, all eyes turned to Galvin, who rocketed to the front, opening up a five second lead while clearly giving up on fuel conservation.
“I knew I wanted to be the first of the cars that came to pit road, and I also knew that meant not making it,” Galvin said. “I figured we’d get a yellow as the tires wore down. It just never came. I don’t regret it.”
As Galvin came to pit road with three laps remaining, Frazier inherited the lead. Blocker and Kinsella continued to try and use each other to save fuel.
A game of musical leaders ensued, as Frazier backed off, allowing the Adrenaline teammates around. Blocker and Kinsella then backed off, turning the lead over to Yaczik. As the white flag flew, Yaczik’s car sputtered.
And that’s when the chaos kicked into full gear.
Rigney jumped to the lead in turn two, as Kinsella and Marc Cohn both ran out of fuel and began costing. Yaczik went into full coast mode seconds later, as did Wright, allowing Johnson, a recovered Frazier and Workman around.
As everyone waited for Rigney to run dry, the field looked on in astonishment. 20-plus drivers couldn’t make the numbers work, but Mike Rigney did.
“I started saving right away from the first lap of the restart,” said runner-up Johnson, whose only career Lionheart win came in similar fashion. “I thought I was good to go, and then everyone started pitting. I lost the draft and thought I’d never get there. I would’ve been happy with a top ten. And then the last 200 yards, I just started flying by slow cars. I couldn’t believe it. The car started to sputter coming to the flag.”
Blocker managed to hang on for fifth, a crucial points finish considering the absence of championship leader Sage Karam, and the mid-race crash of Connor Harrington.
Blocker was penalized after the race for the Harrington incident, which happened exiting turn one, and will start at the tail of the field in the next race along with Hacker and Dustin Wardlow, who were also both penalized.
On lap 45, Harrington, on older tires, clipped the apron in turn one. As he exited turn one, race officials determined Harrington left room to the outside for faster cars, but Blocker made contact with Harrington’s right rear, sending Harrington into the inside wall.
Blocker avoided damage.
As a result, Blocker closed to just 42 points out of the championship lead, although he remained in fourth. Harrington sits in second, 33 back of Karam. Kinsella, who faded to 24th while coasting around, is third in points.
The Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX double dips at Iowa Speedway next week.
The IndyCar series will pay tribute to longtime title sponsor First Medical Equipment, an Iowa-based medical supply company, with the FME Victory Lap Celebration at Iowa Speedway. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network at 10:35 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 26.
first medical equipment celebrates 5th and final year as title sponsor of lionheart's indycar series at home track
Iowa Speedway has had a rich tradition with the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX over the last 6 years. The speedway is has appeared on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment schedule in each of the series 8 seasons. It also represents many firsts and lasts in series history.
Iowa Speedway has also become the site of the league’s annual meet up which began with just 3 members and continued to increase every year. 2019 saw over 40 members and their families attend the event. Needless to say, Iowa Speedway has a special place in the hearts of all its members.
Iowa is also home to First Medical Equipment, which is located in Burlington Iowa. The business is run and operated by the Limkemann family and has been in business for over 29 years. After a season of competition Brandon Limkemann saw the value in the league and decided to support it by becoming the title sponsor of Lionheart’s crown jewel.
“First Medical Equipment and the Limkemann family have provided a considerable amount of financial contributions to the league over its 5-year run as title sponsor to our IndyCar Series,” said league founder Jorge Anzaldo. “This contribution has been the catalyst for the league’s growth and has covered the yearly operating costs for the league. On behalf of myself and everyone involved at Lionheart we want to give our biggest thanks to the Limkemann family and First Medical Equipment.”
At the end of the 2019 Season First Medical Equipment announced that 2020 would be its final year as title sponsor to Lionheart’s IndyCar Series. Coining this season as its “Victory Lap Tour” what better place to celebrate their importance than at their home track?
Iowa Speedway has produced some fantastic racing over the years but not without its share of incidents. The short track and high-speed close quarters racing can definitely create some situations that have resulted in several DNF’s over its 7 previous running’s. The fewest cautions seen at the short track have been 4, in Seasons 1 and 7 and the most was 9, in Season 3 which saw series founder Jorge Anzaldo score his first and only win in the series.
Last year Dan Geren took home the win over Brian Yaczik, however Geren who has stepped away from competition for 2020 will not be present to defend that win. Iowa would also turn out to be Geren’s final win in the series.
Sage Karam should be present to continue his championship fight after returning from racing in this years Indianapolis 500. Karam continues to lead the championship by just 33 points now over Connor Harrington. Connor missed the opportunity to close the gap on Karam after being involved in an incident with defending series champion Adam Blocker at the HyperX Pocono 200. Post-race evaluation has determined that Blocker was at fault in the incident and has been assessed and EOL penalty to be served at Iowa. We have seen Blocker come from the back and win races before. Can he possibly make his way to the front at the short track?
Tune in Wednesday, August 26th 2020 to watch the cars and stars of the Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment take the center stage live on the iRacing eSports Network. Race coverage begins at 9:35 PM CST courtesy of the Global Sim Racing Channel.
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series Powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
Race Link: https://youtu.be/14Y81kz7B5Y
From the moment Josh Chin arrived in the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX, the question became when, not if.
When would the road racing star break through for his first win?
That question was answered Wednesday night.
Chin held off two-time defending Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment champion Adam Blocker in a furious fight to win the Turn Racing Grand Prix of Sonoma, his first triumph as part of the SKM IndyCar team.
“It feels great,” Chin said. “Feels like I got the monkey off my back, after a few bad runs the last couple races.”
With teammate and championship leader Sage Karam sitting the event out, it was Chin who captured the pole and led all but four laps, but the race was not without drama.
Blocker, long considered the series top road course racer, led four laps and spent the final 10 stalking Chin.
“I was absolutely terrified,” Chin said of the final laps. “I think I’m happier to have a win than anyone else here.”
Blocker’s charge came up short while navigating lapped traffic over the final few laps.
“Good to be back on the podium,” Blocker said. “We’ve been close to wins and just haven’t gotten them. Either bad luck, or mistakes by me. We were pretty even on pace I thought, and I locked the rears up early and lost a good amount of time. We were just so even on pace it took me forever to get the time back.”
Blocker’s Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Andrew Kinsella came home third, 25 seconds behind the leaders.
“It was a lonely race, but I had to keep an eye on my relative,” Kinsella said. “I think Mike (Goodman) had to change a front wing on that last stop or it would’ve been a close race. It was nice to start in the top five on a road course for once, and run my own race versus running other people’s races.”
Michael Goodman was fourth, with championship contender Connor Harrington in fifth.
The race was uneventful after the opening lap, which saw Justin Weaver lose control coming up the hill to turn two. The spinning car of Weaver bounced into Adam Frazier, sending both off the track and out of the race. Brian Yaczik also picked up rear wing damage, leading to an early retirement for the Michigan native.
Later on the opening lap, Jason Galvin lost control in turn four. Galvin spun to the inside of the track, causing a few drivers to make evasive moves. Galvin dropped to 26th but rebounded to finish 14th, one lap down.
Karam’s absence tightened the championship battle. The points leader is preparing for the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which is likely to cause him to miss another start as well.
As a result, Harrington trails Karam by just 51 points now. Kinsella and Blocker are also both within 90 points of the lead, although Blocker also faces schedule uncertainty with his real-world job as an engineer with Ilmor Racing set to take him to Indianapolis as well.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment enters a three-race oval stretch now, starting with the HyperX Pocono 200. The race can be viewed live on the iRacing eSports Network at 10:35 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 19, with Global SimRacing Channel producing the broadcast.