Jake Wright left little doubt who the championship favorite is, taking the lead from adversary Dan Geren on the second lap and dominating Mid-Ohio 100 for his seventh win the of Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment season.
“I had the opportunity to pass him out of there, I had a good exit out of turn two and immediately got on the push to pass,” Wright said from victory lane. “I thought (Geren) was going to have something for me in the next couple of corners, but Mid-Ohio is such a technical track, it worked out.”
Wright led 39 of the 42 laps, pulling away from Geren late to win by over 17 seconds. Geren, trying to track down Wright in the standings, started on pole and led the first lap before surrendering the lead.
Geren led a second lap during the pit cycle, but never closed on Wright again.
“I told Jake earlier today, ‘I have a shot at the pole. If I get it, just let me lead one lap and then blow right around me,’” Geren said. “I knew I didn’t have anything for him.”
Geren held off a hard charging Adam Blocker, who completed the podium with his third top five in six series starts.
“It was a really good race for me, I felt good about the car after about seven laps,” Blocker said. “Once I settled in I felt good about it. I thought I was faster than Dan at the end, but I ran out of time.”
Andrew Kinsella held off Michael Goodman and Brian Yaczik in the best battle of the race. Yaczik faded late, but Goodman finished just three-tenths of a second behind Kinsella.
Two major incidents prematurely ended the race for several quick drivers.
On lap two, Michael Gray tagged the back of Ron Hacker entering the esses. Gray spun, and collected Big Joe Hassert and Scott Johnson. Gray retired immediately, while Hassert limped around for eight more laps before also parking. Johnson piloted his wounded DW12 to a 20th place finish.
On lap 23, Dustin Wardlow, running behind after a pit road penalty, tried a pass on Joe Branch in Thunder Valley. The difficult attempt failed, and the two banged wheels. Branch spun off the track, retiring on lap 33, and finishing 21st.
Several other drivers suffered from ill handling cars, or solo spins. Scott Bolster, Ed Tutwiler and David Altman - who started 5th - all retired following wrecks.
“Patience, definitely patience,” Wright said when asked about the difficulty of Mid-Ohio. “There’s only really a few passing spots on the track, so if you can just be patient and wait for those opportunities, you can make your way through safely.”
Jason Galvin led a lap during green flag pit cycles and finished seventh, the final car on the lead lap. Wardlow finished eighth, with Bob Mikes and Jorge Anzaldo rounding out the top ten.
In the championship battle, Wright leads Geren by 24 points with six races remaining. The Lionheart rules allow for three dropped points races. As a result, Wright has scored a top ten in all 15 races counted towards the championship fight.
“(Geren)’s been really quick on the road courses this year, “ Wright said. “We still have two to go, and then the ovals, and next race we go to Iowa and anything can happen there.”
Andrew Kinsella sits 101 points back of the lead, with Goodman 53 points back in fourth. Galvin sits fifth, three points ahead of James Krahula.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a week off before back-to-back-to-back ovals. The series heads to Chicagoland and Gateway, but up first, the Birky Trucking 125 at the Iowa Speedway. The track has become a symbol of the series, hosting its annual driver meetup at the Verizon IndyCar Series race in July.
The Birky Trucking 125 can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST on October 11.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, log on to www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
As the summer winds down, the rolling hills of Ohio is the setting of the next round of the Lionheart Series' thrilling championship chase. At the previous round in New Hampshire it was rookie Andrew Kinsella who turned lemons into lemonade, converting a 24th place qualifying effort into his 2nd win of the season. Kinsella used a mixture of speed and strategy to carve his way slowly but steadily through the field to take the lead with just 3 laps to go.
Following Kinsella home in 2nd place was championship leader Jake Wright. Wright had been amongst the leaders all day and was looking poised for another victory after a late restart left him 2nd behind Chris Lannini, who had not pitted during the caution. It was Kinsella who got the better restart, however, and 2 bold outside passes left the Canadian with a clear track to the finish.
Jason Galvin, who had shown speed all race came home 3rd, followed by Tony Showen and Michael Goodman. Lannini would heartbreakingly end up a lap short on fuel, finishing 16th. Pole sitter and early race leader Dan Geren finished 11th after a speeding penalty on pit road left him at the tail end of lead lap on a late restart.
With the win, 3rd place Kinsella trimmed the gap between himself and point leader Wright to 85 points, serving notice that he will not simply roll over in this championship. After entering the race tied with Wright atop the standings, Geren now sits 19 points back. Michael Goodman sits 4th 136 points back, while James Krahula is 5th, 171 points back.
Jake Wright, the master of road courses in the Lionheart Series, will once again be looking to capture the top step of the podium. Wright enters Mid Ohio with back to back 2nd place finishes, and the last time Wright finished outside the top 6 was 5 races ago at Michigan. Facing the tightest championship battle of his career, it is surely comforting for Wright to be on a road course again, where Wright has dominated all season.
The last time the Lionheart Series was at a road course, however, it was Geren who finally bested Wright for his first road course victory. With the disappointment of New Hampshire still stinging, look for Geren to come out hungry once again, eager to make up the most ground.
As always, the road courses of the Lionheart Series offer the opportunity to see some different names at the top of the charts. Interestingly, this list is lead by rookies. One to watch is Adrenaline Motorsports' Adam Blocker. Since joining the series midway through the season, Blocker has shown consistent speed on road courses. Look for him to challenge Wright and Geren for the top step.
Michael Goodman is another driver who has shown consistent speed on road courses this season, always running close to the top 5. The rookie AGR driver is currently 4th in the championship and will be looking to keep pace with the top 3, particularly Kinsella, with whom he is battling for rookie of the year.
Speaking of Kinsella, the Adrenaline Motorsports driver has been quietly consistent on road courses this year, with finishes consistently in the top 10. That may not be enough to keep pace with Wright and Geren, however. Will Mid Ohio be the road break through that Kinsella needs? He certainly has momentum on his side.
Two more rookies to watch are Streamline's Ryan Otis and Dragonfly's Dustin Wardlow. Both have been fast at times on road courses this season, and a little luck could see either one in victory lane.
With so much of the attention on the rookies, their will be some veterans looking to remind everyone what they can do as well. In addition to Wright and Geren, look for James Krahula to have a strong race. The No Name Racing driver showed his speed at Phillip Island by driving from 17th to 6th after an early spin. Michael “The Racing Kangaroo” Gray was felled at New Hampshire by a mechanical failure in his wheel at New Hampshire. If he can get it repaired in time, look for Gray to be battling for a spot amongst the top 10 as well.
With so many storylines and a wide-open field, Mid Ohio promises to be a classic installment of the Lionheart Series. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning in to the broadcast Wednesday September 27th at 10:40 EDT on the Global Sim Racing Channel and iRacing Live.
It took 16 races, but Andrew Kinsella finally found his way back into victory lane - and the championship race - in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment. The Canadian rookie used a strong run on the outside to go from third to first in the closing laps of the#NailedIt 150 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Wednesday night.
“That was unbelieveable,” Kinsella said. “I think I passed the field two times over to try to get through after I messed up my qualifying. Hat’s off to Jake (Wright), that was a great race.”
Kinsella, the early season points leader after winning the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, started 24th after a poor showing in qualifying. At a track typically difficult to pass on, only two of the top ten finishers started in the top ten.
Kinsella took the lead from Chris Lanini with four laps to go, and held off a challenge from Wright - the points leader - to take his second career win. Lanini nearly stole the show, attempting to stretch his fuel more than 50 laps. He ran out on the final lap, falling to 16th.
Jason Galvin held off Tony Showen for third, with Michael Goodman finishing fifth.
“It’s always a pleasure racing with guys like Michael, and Jason and Jake, they’re so clean,” Kinsella said. “The bottom worked really well for me, I was surprised...but on that last restart, I knew I had to go for Jake on the outside because I knew he was going to go to the bottom.”
Wright paced himself, running a few spots off the lead most of the race, before driving to the front and nearly taking the win late in the race.
“That was fun, but I’m beat after that,” Wright said. “I wasn’t expecting that from this place...I was expecting the wall.”
Galvin, coming off his first real life win in his NASCAR Spec Mod at Kern County Raceway Park, started 16th and drove to the front, but nearly threw it away spinning under yellow on lap 99.
“I hope you guys didn’t get that,” Galvin said. “I don’t even know how that happened. It cost me a few spots and I don’t even know how it happened...but we’ll take it, a podium is a solid finish, a good points night.”
Dan Geren, the polesitter and Wright’s biggest adversary in the championship hunt, looked determined to take the lead in the standings after setting fast time and leading 48 laps. But a speeding penalty in the pits buried Geren, who was then caught a lap down during green flag pit stops. The Iowa native rebounded late to finish eleventh.
Joe Branch and Justin Weaver finished sixth and seventh, followed by three drivers with season-best runs; Matthew Mercer, Vincent Bluthenthal and Brian Greenlee, who led four laps en route to his first career top ten.
The race was slowed by 9 cautions for 36 laps, and incidents took out several cars with good pace, including Bob Mikes, Dustin Wardlow and Joe Hassert. Brian Yaczik spun from the lead, ending his chances at his first career Lionheart win as well.
Wright’s strong run, compounded with Geren’s struggles, opened up the championship. Wright leads Geren now by 19, with Kinsella closing in to 85 back of the lead, and 66 back from Geren.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to the road with the Mid-Ohio 100 in two weeks. That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel and iRacing Live at 10:40 p.m. EST on September 27.
Seven races remain in the season. For more on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, and the Lionheart Retro Series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
The Lionheart series roars back to life at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the #nailedit 150. Last time we saw them, the Lionheart series paid an emotional tribute to the life of Patrick Taylor at the Race Centre 100 at Philip Island Circuit. The race was won by Dan Geren in dominating fashion over championship adversary Jake Wright. Geren’s win put him into a dead heat with Wright atop the driver’s standings. Former championship leader Andrew Kinsella fell 90 points back with a 7th place finish, while fellow rookie and 4th in the standing, Michael Goodman continued to put pressure on Kinsella with a 5th place finish. Not to be forgotten is James Krahula who drove an inspired recovery race after a 2nd lap spin left him 16th, to finish 6th. Krahula sits 5th place in the standings, only 142 points back of the co-leaders. With 8 races, including a double points race in the season finale, their still everything to race for.
From a tight and technical road course, the Lionheart Series now travels half way around the world and back to the North American continent for some Wednesday night short track action. New Hampshire is notoriously difficult to pass on, and so rewards excellent qualifying pace and pit strategy.
When it comes to qualifying, there are not many better than Dan Geren. Geren has 5 poles and an average starting spot of 3.81. If he can put his car near the front in qualifying once again, Geren will surely be looking to build on his first career road course win and keep his championship momentum alive.
When looking for favourites, however, it is hard to look passed Jake Wright. Earlier this season at the similarly configured Milwaukee Mile, Wright emerged the winner in dominating fashion after overtaking his teammate Pierre Daigle during the first round of pit stops and never looking back. The No Name Racing duo will surely be looking to spoil Geren’s party and get the championship lead back into Wright’s hands. They should have some help from their teammates in this one. At a track where tire degradation is high, and passing at a premium, James Krahula is a master of working the strategy in his favour. If the cautions fall just right, look for Krahula to be at the front near the end. Brian Yaczick is coming off a strong Philip Island result and will be keen to keep the momentum going. With such a formidable line up, it is no wonder No Name Racing is leading the team championship.
They are not the only team that did well at Milwaukee, however; Adrenaline Motorsports had perhaps their best race of the season taking home 3 of the top 6 positions, including 3rd from Joe Branch, a brilliant debut 4th place from Adam Blocker, and a solid 6th for Chris Stofer, who was pipped to the line by Jonathan Goke by a mere .1 seconds. With Tony Showen also coming home 10th, Adrenaline showed that they are a force to be reckoned with on these 1 mile flat ovals. Conspicuously missing from this list is the final Adrenaline Member and 3rd place in the championship Andrew Kinsella, who was forced to miss the Milwaukee round. After tremendous consistency saw Kinsella leading the points for the first 11 rounds of the championship, the rookie has hit a rough patch of late, leaving himself a hole to climb out of if he still harbours championship aspirations. Rookie driver Kinsella will surely be getting all the pointers he can from his teammates in preparation for this race.
Kinsella, however, can’t be focused on the two drivers ahead of him in the championship. Michael Goodman is breathing down his neck not only in the championship, but for Rookie of the Year as well. Goodman was having a strong race Milwaukee before an incident saw him finish in 11th. Look for Goodman to be strong once again at New Hampshire and build off his 5th place finish at Philip Island.
Dark horses to watch out for include rookie Justin Weaver who had a strong debut at Atlanta and a good qualifying effort before a rough race at Philip Island, Ryan Otis, and Big Joe Hassert.
All the action for the #nailedit 150 can be found on GSRC and iRacing Live.