This time he had to work for it, but Jake Wright held off Adam Blocker to grab his 10th win of the season - and seventh on a road course - in the Loc Precision 100 at Road America. Wright carries a 90 point lead into the season finale, in pursuit of his third consecutive championship in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“This was one of the most intense road course races of the season,” Wright said. “The racing between Adam and I was so intense. The pressure was real tonight.”
Blocker pushed the pace throughout the event, even closing the gap by nearly a second after the final pit stops, setting up a mad dash to the line. But a spin in Canada corner on the final lap ended any shot at winning a drag race, and the rookie once again missed out on his first Lionheart IndyCar win.
“I was able to keep good pace with him, which surprised me because the pace really slowed from practice,” Blocker said. “I just never got a good enough run, a good enough chance. I didn’t make a mistake all race - until the last lap - and he didn’t either, so that was it.”
Andrew Kinsella drove a steady race with a heavy heart, just days after his grandmother passed away. The Canadian rookie finished third, and solidified his spot on the podium in the standings as well.
“I’d like to dedicate this to my grandma for sure,” Kinsella said. “I had a couple moments...but I was able to hang on for third. This is the best road course I’ve run all season long so I’ll take it for sure.”
Dan Geren rebounded to fourth after a lap two spin. The finish keeps the Iowa natives championship hopes alive, although he will need Wright to encounter bad luck if he hopes to steal his first league championship. Joe Branch jumped to a tie for fifth in the standings with his top-five finish.
The race featured two major accidents. On lap 18, Dave Barber spun in Corvette corner, and upon re-entry to the track collected Joe Hassert. With three laps to go, Michael Goodman exited turn 5 wide and lost control, impacting the wall and falling out of fourth place.
The top four in the standings are unlikely to change at the double points Lionheart Championship 300 at Auto Club Speedway. Geren is the defending winner of the event, but a finish outside of the top 15 and a strong run from Kinsella could conceivably swap the duo in the standings. Geren leads Kinsella by 66 points for second place.
From fifth back, an intense battle is sure to emerge at Auto Club. Jason Galvin holds the tiebreaker over Joe Branch. Both have 801 points. Chris Stofer sits 24 points back of the duo, with Brian Yaczik and Pierre Daigle seven and ten back of Stofer, respectively. James Krahula sits tenth after missing Road America. From fifth to tenth, 40 points separate six drivers.
The Lionheart Championship 300 at Auto Club Speedway is set for Wednesday, December 13 and can be seen live at 10:40 p.m. EST on the Global SimRacing Channel. For more information on the Lionhear IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
It wasn’t easy, but Jake Wright managed to get through traffic and hold off Adam Blocker to claim his 8th victory of the season at the Big Joe Show Spectacular at Donington, and maybe take a stranglehold on the championship. It’s not over yet, however Wright has now pulled out a 73 point lead over rival Dan Geren, after Geren finished 5th. With two races remaining, Geren must be within 111 points of Wright entering the finale. Third in the championship, Andrew Kinsella now sits 142 points back after a 4th place finish, and has a huge hill to climb in the penultimate race in order to have a shot at the title in the finale. Michael Goodman, who is 4th in points, finished 7th, and now sits 63 points back of Kinsella for Rookie of the Year, 205 points back of Wright. The closest battle in the championship is for 5th place, where just 54 points separate 5th place Jason Galvin with 11th place Bob Mikes. In between those two, James Krahula, Joe Branch, Pierre Daigle, Chris Stofer and Brian Yazick are all in with a shot at the final spot in the top 5.
The race itself started with not Wright, but rookie Adam Blocker sitting on his first career Lionheart Pole. Blocker managed to pip the defending champion on the final of his 4 laps. Geren would start 3rd followed by Dustin Wardlow and Michael Goodman. On the start, the biggest mover in the top 10 was Andrew Kinsella, who vaulted from his 7th starting position to 5th before turn 4. Chaos erupted on lap 2. Joe Flannagan, making his series return, spun out of a top 10 before rejoining unharmed in 16th. Meanwhile, Vincent Bluthenthal got in too hot into turn 5 and contacted Mitchell Mohler in the back, damaging both cars. Up front, Blocker and Wright would start to pull away from Geren and Wardlow, while Kinsella, Yaczik and Goodman all battled for 5th.
Lap 8 and more trouble for Bluthenthal. Joe Flanagan, who had just lapped the damaged car of Bluthenthal was hit from behind as Bluthenthal lost control under braking for the chicane. This would end the days of both cars. 2 laps later, it was Joe Branch getting hit from behind exiting the first hairpin by Scott Bolster. Branch would end up on his lid, ending the race for last week’s race winner.
Pit stops would begin on Lap 12 with Jason Galvin among the first to pit. Wright would pit on lap 13, one lap before Blocker. Blocker, who encountered some traffic on his in lap would lose the lead to Wright in the exchange. Kinsella managed to stretch the fuel one extra lap, gaining a bonus point for leading a lap. After the pit exchange, Wright led by 2 seconds over Blocker, who in turn was 5 seconds ahead of the battle for 3rd between Geren and Wardlow. Kinsella sat a further 7 seconds back of them.
Blocker would use lap cars to close on Wright, and on lap 22 made a dive into turn 5. Wright would hold off Blocker on the outside though, and Blocker would never have as good an opportunity again. Things settled down at the front for the rest of the stint, but battles through the field including Ron Hacker, Pierre Daigle, Jason Galvin and others provided no end to the action.
On the next round of stops it was Dan Geren who made the first mistake of those in the top 5. Geren would get caught speeding on entry, and would get a 15 second penalty, dropping Geren down to 5th. Wright, and Blocker held station, while Wardlow and Kinsella benefitted from Geren’s mistake.
Wardlow’s holiday wouldn’t last long however, as a screen stutter problem caused the Candy Man to spin in the chicane with 12 laps to go. This would also drop Wardlow behind Kinsella, who found himself miraculously in 3rd. It would not be a quiet race to the end, however, as both Wardlow and Geren were less then 2 seconds behind the Canadian rookie.
The duo would quickly begin to pressure Kinsella, before the “hold-your-breath” moment of the race came with 5 laps to go. Wardlow would get the run into the chicane and throw himself up the inside of Kinsella. They would go side by side through the chicane and down into the Melbourne hairpin, where Kinsella was now on the inside. Dan Geren had thoughts of making it 3 wide, but thought better of it, leaving Wardlow and Kinsella to power through Melborne side by side until Wardlow finally got the better of Kinsella into Goddards. Geren would then pressure Kinsella as Wardlow pulled away. Geren would try one last time on the final corner, but it was not to be, as Kinsella managed to hold him off.
Up front, it was all Jake Wright, who lead the most laps enroute to the victory over Adam Blocker, Dustin Wardlow, Andrew Kinsella and Dan Geren. It is a short turnaround for these drivers and the rest of the Lionheart roster, as the Lionheart IndyCar Series heads to Road America for the Loc Precision 100. This can be view Wednesday November 15th at 10:30pm Eastern on GSRC and iRacing Live.
After spending 3 weeks tearing up the Midwest, it’s across the pond for the Lionheart IndyCar Series for the Big Joe Show Spectacular at Donington Park. Last time out at Gateway for the plastidipgarage.com 150, it was Chris Stofer leading over 100 of the 120 lap event, but it was his teammate, Joe Branch, who stole the win, stretching his fuel tank to the absolute limit. Rookie Michael Goodman also used some pit strategy to take home a 2nd place, and put himself back in the Rookie of the Year conversation. Stofer would finish 3rd in front of Rory Collins and Pierre Daigle. The top 3 in the championship would all fall vout of the race on lap 23 with Dan Geren and Andrew Kinsella involved in the night’s biggest wreck, while a loss of power would cause Wright to fall out of the race just a few moments later leaving the top 3 in the championship 28th, 29th, and 30th on the night.
The new magic number for the finale is 111. Due to drop weeks, Wright will currently score no worse then 17 points at Auto Club, while the maximum anyone can score, including bonus points, is 128. Therefore, anyone within 111 points of Wright entering the finale has a shot, however slim, at the title. This means that with just 3 races remaining, things are getting desperate for several title hopefuls. Wright still leads the championship with 1,018 points, 57 points ahead of Dan Geren. Kinsella is a further 70 points back of Geren and 127 points back of Wright. This leaves the Canadian rookie 16 points away from having a shot at the title. Michael Goodman closed to within 56 points of Kinsella for Rookie of the Year, and 183 points back of Wright, meaning Kinsella must not only keep one eye looking forward at Wright, but another eye looking back to Goodman. James Krahula held on to 5th, 271 points back of Wright.
With two road courses in the final 3 races, however, the championship really is a 2-horse race at this point. Jake Wright has been dominant on road courses so far this season, wining 5 of 6 so far this year. Wright has looked in control so far in practice leading up to this week’s race, so stopping his march to the championship might prove a herculean task.
If anyone is up to that task, however, it could be Dan Geren. Geren is the only other Lionheart driver to win on a road course this season. Geren is also famous for practicing more then anyone else for an event. At a track where inches separate the fast line from disaster, this rigorous practice regime could be the key difference.
Looking to spoil the championship party up front will be Adam Blocker and Dustin Wardlow. Blocker has shown to be the only other driver who can match Wright and Geren’s pace so far this week. If the rookie can limit his mistakes, look for him to be right there at the end of the race. Wardlow, while a couple 10ths off the pace has looked poised in practice. If anything should happen to the leader, Wardlow will be right there to pounce.
For Michael Goodman and Andrew Kinsella, while both have shown top 5 speed on road courses this season, the rule of the day will surely be to make sure they are still pointed straight at the finish. While neither can afford to lose anymore points to Wright, even worse would be to lose points to each other. Rather then going for all out speed, look for these 2 to drive a survival race to make sure they are there at the end.
The biggest enemy for the drivers may not be a fellow competitor at all. The Donington Park circuit is one of the toughest road courses the league visits this season. With fast undulating corners giving way to slow hairpins and a chicane, mere inches can be the difference between triumph and a spin. One thing is sure this race will not be short on drama. Tune in to find out what happens on GSRC and iRacing Live Wednesday November 8th at 10:30pm eastern.