Adam Blocker knew he needed to stay clean and finish up front to secure his first Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment championship.
The South Carolina native did just that.
Blocker led 18 laps from the pole and settled in during long green flag runs, refusing to push the issue and coming home fourth, enough to secure his first championship on the Indy side in the Grey Matters 300 at Auto Club Speedway. The championship comes just weeks after Blocker captured the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation title at the same track.
“I want to thank Andrew and Dan,” Blocker said. “We never had any dustups, it was a clean championship all year. I can’t thank them enough for that. I also want to thank the league organizers.”
Blocker watched as Dan Geren dominated the back half of the event, leading a race-high 79 laps on his way to his fourth win of the season, ahead of Connor Harrington. But it was not enough, as Blocker captured the title by 13 points.
“I came in kinda hot early and got a speeding penalty,” Geren said. “I was like eleven seconds back after that. I was just about to pit when the final caution came out. I got lucky.
“I got some excellent runs on the restart, and used the high side. Connor left the bottom open and I got past and just ran the laps at the end. It all worked out in the end. Congratulations to Adam though.”
Blocker’s Adrenaline Motorsports teammate, Andrew Kinsella, came home third in points, slipping behind Geren after being caught up in the biggest wreck of the race on lap 10.
The Canadian continued, but finished eleven laps down in 23rd.
Blocker faced closing pressure from Michael Goodman and a hard charging Isaiah Dupree in the closing laps, but was able to stay in front of the duo by about two seconds, a comfortable margin over the closing laps.
As a result of his championship, Blocker received a new HPP Simulation HSW-F Steering Wheel, a custom trophy from Plasma Tracks and several other awards.
Geren was named the Dan Wheldon Driver of the Year presented by First Medical Equipment. The most prestigious award in the series, Geren received the accolades from the Lionheart admin team for his dedication to the league and to helping others improve.
Geren catapulted to the lead of the Gre Matters 300 after a restart on lap 83, and never looked back.
That caution came via a Joe Branch spin on lap 79. The Indiana native lost control while running the low line on low fuel, spinning into the wall and overturning.
Several cars were eliminated during the first caution of the night.
Ken Hacker turned Joe Hassert exiting turn two, leading to a melee. When the dust settled, Kinsella was damaged, Hassert was out and Jorge Anzaldo, Brian Greenlee, Joe Flanagan, Chris Stofer and Tony Showen were either finished or severely wounded.
Blocker was the only member of his team to avoid issues, but it mattered not, as Adrenaline Motorsports had already locked up the Team Championship presented by HPP Simulation.
Blocker, Kinsella, Branch, Showen and Stofer were the team to beat from the beginning of the season, capturing 13 total wins, led by Blocker’s league-high nine.
Justin Weaver finished third at Auto Club, capping an excellent freshman campaign that saw the Tennessee driver pickup the ButtKicker Rookie of the Year award, as well as a ButtKicker Gamer2 or Sim Kit of his choice. Weaver finished fifth in points, just behind teammate Michael Goodman.
James Krahula captured the Cleanest Driver presented by LOC Precision. The Texan is looking forward to reaching for the stars with his new rocket from Dave Barber’s Wisconsin-based propulsion company.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series immediately announced its 24 race 2019 schedule, set to air on the iRacing eSport Network on Wednesday night’s at 10:35 p.m. EST, with coverage provided once again by Global SimRacing Channel.
The series will host its annual All-Star event February 27 at Rockingham Speedway. The season opener returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway March 6, and the season finale once again hits the high banks of Auto Club Speedway December 18.
The Indianapolis 500 is set for Saturday, July 13.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com
It has all been leading to this. 23 rounds down, and just 1 remaining. The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads back to Auto Club Speedway for the 6th time in as many seasons to close the door on another championship. This time 3 drivers will battle on the 2-mile oval to determine who will be the 2018 champion. Adam Blocker, Andrew Kinsella and Dan Geren have separated themselves from the pack this season, and will use Auto Club to decide which one of the 3 will reign supreme.
Last time out at Road America, the title contenders went 1, 2, 4, with Adam Blocker leading from start to finish on his way to victory. Dan Geren used a steady drive and last lap mistake from rookie Stephen Laarkamp to finish 2nd. Kinsella meanwhile had an up and down day, going from 9th to 4th in the opening laps before a speeding penalty on his first pitstop put the Canadian all the way down in 14th. Kinsella would battle back to finish 4th and keep his championship hopes alive. This leaves Blocker 28 points in front of Kinsella and 39 points in front of Geren. This means all Blocker needs to clinch his 2nd Lionheart Championship of the year (Blcoker won the Retro Series crown by 1 point over Alex Saunders at the end of November) is to finish in the top 5. If he does that, neither Geren nor Kinsella will be able to catch the Carolina driver. If Blocker fails to crack the top 5 at races end, bonus points could play a pivotal role in deciding this years champion as the series recently witnessed when Blocker beat Alex Saunders for the 2018 Retro Series title by just one point.
Looking at the stats coming into the finale paints the following picture of our top 3:
Adam Blocker – 5 poles, 9 wins, 13 Top-5’s, 15 Top-10’s: 7 of Blocker’s 9 wins have come on road courses as the Carolina driver was in a league of his own much of the season. Only a mistake at Motegi kept him from being perfect on the season’s road courses. His oval wins came at Iowa and Indianapolis, 2 of Lionhearts biggest prestige races. Auto Club is another of those prestige races.
Andrew Kinsella – 0 poles, 3 wins, 16 Top-5’s, 18 Top 10’s: Kinsella was off to a lightening start this season with 3 wins in the first 5 races, but since then has settled more often for consistent finishes then wins. While always fast in the race, Kinsella’s qualifying may be the weak link in his armour, having never won a pole and too often finding himself fighting to get in contention. That being said, Kinsella’s fuel strategy and long-run pace has shown time and again that at the big ovals and the long race distances, he is one to watch out for. He also happens to be the defending race winner.
Dan Geren: - 8 poles, 3 wins, 13 Top-5’s, 14 Top-10’s: Dan Geren’s has been a tale of two seasons. For the first half of the season, Geren was unable to convert his 7 poles into any race wins, and too often found himself on the wrong end of luck or pit strategy. That all changed after Round 15 at Charlotte where the Mid-West driver finally took his first win of the season. Geren has been in white-hot form and luck ever since, has not finished outside the top 5 since then, taking 2 more wins along the way. No one is hotter then Dan Geren going into this race. Is he peaking at the right time?
Lionheart traditionally ends its season each year at Auto Club. This year’s race will feature, for the first time in league history, the newly added day to night transition. The race will begin at dusk and end at night during the 300-mile event. The drivers will face different challenges throughout the event as the track will go through various changes in temperature and grip levels.
Immediately following the event several drivers will receive numerous awards such as Cleanest Driver, Iron Man, Driver of the Year, Turning Point Award and Rookie of the Year. All 4 of these championships are still up for grabs, with the closest of the 3 being the Rookie of the Year battle as Stephen Laarkamp and Justin Weaver have been neck and neck with each other since the midway point of the season.
The Team Championship was already clinched by Adrenaline Motorsports comprised of Blocker, Kinsella, Joe Branch, Tony Showen and Chris Stofer. This was the first team championship won by the veteran group, and is the first Team Championship not won by No Name Racing since the award was begun in Season 3.
The 2019 Schedule will also be announced live during the awards presentation following the race. New for this season will be a 25-round schedule and a few new events will be added, most notably the series will have its first ever “Dual at Detroit” at Belle Isle Park.
Series organizers will be busy during the off season preparing for the upcoming 2019 year. New rule packages for all Lionheart series will bring some exciting changes to Lionheart. The league also hopes to continue its partnerships with its current sponsors as it continues to expand its purse and prize package for its drivers. All Lionheart broadcasts for 2019 will continue to be shown live via the iRacing eSports Network. The league will also be looking to add on drivers to its current roster and interested parties should submit applications through the league websitewww.lionheartracingseries.com
The Lionheart Challenge Series will also begin 12-27 at ISM Raceway. The 2018 Season will feature the iconic Nissan GTP. The series will host 8 rounds and drivers will compete on both oval and road courses. Each season the league chooses different cars typically non-open wheel vehicles to test driver’s versatility with cars and / or tracks that members are not familiar with.
IndyCar action will return again in 2019 for the 6th Annual All-Star Race this time from Rockingham Speedway. The race will take place on 2-27. Round 1 of the 2019 Season will be 3-6 from the Homestead Miami Speedway.
But before all the pageantry and off-season fun we have 300 miles of hard-fought, non-stop action to decide our championship. Catch all the action at 10:35pm EDT on Wednesday December 19th only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by iRacing live, and stick around for the end-of-season awards immediately following the broadcast.
Adam Blocker was the definition of perfect Wednesday night, opening up his points lead with a clinical performance, winning the LOC Precision Grand Prix of Road America.
In doing so, Blocker led every lap and collected bonus points for the pole and an incident-free race. The win marked Blocker’s league-leading ninth victory.
“I found that needing to save fuel on one run made me more consistent,” Blocker said. “It was a good race. Now we try to finish it at Auto Club.”
Dan Geren limited the damage, also driving a clean race and working his way from fifth to second, his best road course race of the season. Geren sits third in the championship hunt, 39 back of Blocker and one point behind fourth place finisher Andrew Kinsella, who picked up a speeding in the pits penalty.
“I just wanted to focus on doing the best I could. I was hoping for fifth or better,” Geren said. “Then guys started having issues. Connor (Harrington), Dustin (Wardlow) and (Stephen) Laarkamp all spun. Justin Weaver had to pit. Next thing I knew I was in second.”
Geren was aided by a Stephen Laarkamp spin on the final lap, a five point swing which could be pivotal as the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads to Auto Club Speedway and the season finale (Wednesday, 10:35 p.m. EST).
Geren is the defending race winner in Fontana.
“I thought the race was going to be more interesting,” Blocker said. “Justin Weaver was right there with me and I thought he was going to push me a little but he had a bit of a spin on like lap eight. I thought Andrew would then finish second so points would also be closer. But that penalty cost him, so I have a bit of a bigger lead than I anticipated.”
The trio will battle for the championship with many outcomes on the table.
A fourth place finish assures Blocker his first Lionheart IndyCar Series championship. The South Carolina driver has already captured the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation title this year.
If Geren wins the race, Blocker can slip to fifth. Neither of those results are contingent on bonus points, however.
Bonus points are also doubled for this race, with two points for a clean race, leading a lap, leading the most lap and the pole, allowing for eight maximum possible points.
For bonus points to not matter, Blocker would have to finish tenth or worse, with Geren or Kinsella winning the event.
Because of the one point separation, Geren and Kinsella’s positions relative to each other should be easy to follow.
The Grey Matters 300 (supporting brain cancer awareness) is the final leg of the Lionheart Triple Crown, meaning double points are on the line. The car that finishes ahead of the other should also do so in points, although there are scenarios where Geren could jump Kinsella based on bonus points while finishing one spot behind the Canadian.
Adrenaline Motorsports, led by Blocker and Kinsella along with Chris Stofer, Joe Branch and Tony Showen, secured their first team championship as well.
The LOC Precision Grand Prix was an uneventful race for most of the race.
Laarkamp gathered up the car after his spin on the final lap and finished third.
“I got a bit too greedy on the last lap,” Laarkamp said. “But overall I’m third, I’m pretty happy with that. It was a solid night.”
Samuel Reiman and Joe Hassert collided after Hassert spun in Canada corner late in the race, ending both drivers day.
Isaiah Dupree and Marc Cohn ran into problems on lap one, as Dupree spun in the final corner and slid back across Cohn’s nose.
Connor Harrington spun from a podium position with 16 laps remaining, also ending his race.
Several cars struggled to make the race on two spots, leading to a mad dash in the closing laps in the middle of the field.
15 cars finished on the lead lap, with Jorge Anzaldo the final car across ahead of Blocker.
All eyes now turn to Southern California and the finale at Auto Club Speedway.
The Grey Matters 300 can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network, presented by Global SimRacing Channel, Wednesday night at 10:35 p.m. EST.