By Justin Prince
The Home of British Motorsport has become the location of the wildest final lap of the year.
The Lionheart Racing Series’ first trip across the pond to Silverstone Circuit ended with a furious crash for the win between Adam Blocker and Joshua Chin heading through the final corners.
Blocker took home the checkered flag in the GRAAFix Grand Prix of Silverstone Presented by Minus 273 in the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker after a deep send to the left side of Chin into Vale.
Blocker tapped into the front wing of Chin during the move, shuffling him to the outside of the corner. Chin then drove into the right rear tire of Blocker in the next corner, sending both cars spinning towards the sand trap to the outside of Turn 17.
The incident sheared the rear wing of Blocker’s car off as well as demolished his right sidepod. Chin immediately lost a front tire and his front wing with the collision.
Blocker was able to pull his demolished car out of the runoff area and still win the race by four seconds over Chin’s fellow PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype driver, Connor Harrington. Chin went on to finish one lap down in 24th position.
It is Blocker’s fifth consecutive win in the series.
Matt Taylor, Aaron Morgan and Ryan Otis rounded out the top five.
“I mean, drama is an understatement,” said Blocker from HyperX Victory Lane.
The battle between Blocker and Chin started from the opening lap. Chin started from the pole with Blocker following closely behind for the first half of the opening run. During the second half of the first tire stint, Blocker started to lose grip. By the end of the first pit stop window, Chin had a four-second advantage.
“I think the first stints, Chin and I did kind of the opposite things. I got behind on the adjustments on the car and just killed my rear tires, I dropped back and lost way too much time,” said Blocker.
The momentum for the race slowly shifted during the second stint. Blocker elected to save his push-to-passes while trying to extend his run as far as he could. Both Chin and Blocker decided to run on the red-walled tires during their second fuel run to minimize their time on the blacks.
“I think maybe the same thing happened to him because I was able to catch him a lot there and I knew going one lap on the overcut on the blacks would be good and it was,” said Blocker.
Blocker chipped away at Chin’s gap and reduced it to under three seconds by the final pit window. The Adrenaline Powerslide driver took less fuel during his stop, closing the gap to about one second back with under 10 laps to go. By that point, Blocker had nine push-to-passes available to Chin’s four.
Disaster nearly struck for Chin on Lap 26.
As the leaders were coming, Tony Showen was running lap times up to two seconds slower than much of the field. He attempted to move to the left side of the track for Chin out of Stowe. He immediately slowed his car down to under 100 MPH in the middle of the racing line. Chin took evasive action, darting left, but not without hitting Showen in the right rear tire. The contact sent Showen spinning with a broken wheel. He locked up his brakes, narrowly avoiding Blocker.
The intensity level for the race lead picked up on Lap 30.
Blocker went for the lead out of Luffield, powering his way to the right side of Chin into Copse. Chin then attempted a crossover into Maggots, keeping wheel to wheel through the complex into Becketts. Blocker built up a run down the Hangar Straight out of Chapel, passing Chin back on the left side of the track into Stowe.
“The first battle we had was really good,” said Blocker. “I used three push-to-passes to get by him, but we went wheel-to-wheel into Brooklands, out of Luffield, through Copse, through Maggots and Becketts. You have to have massive respect for one another to do that when racing for the lead. It was really clean up to that point.”
Blocker built up a half-second lead over the next two laps before Chin started to chip it away.
By the final lap, both drivers had one push-to-pass left. Chin went as deep into the corner as he could into the Arena section, gaining three car lengths. Then, as Blocker tried to arc his car into Turn 4, Chin dived to his left side, taking away the bottom of the corner. Chin’s right-rear tire made contact with Blocker’s left front wing endplate.
“If you’re the leader there, it just kind of sucks because if I defend that move, then he passes me down the straight into Brooklands. I just had to hope that he wasn’t going to dive it and I was going to clear him,” said Blocker. “He was kind of smart and took the opportunity and I was kind of worried about that. I should have known he would go for that. We made a little bit of contact there, but it was fine. It was a clean move.”
Through Luffield, Blocker tried to pounce back, locking up his right-front tire to get the gearbox of Chin. Blocker pressurized Chin into a slide out of the corner into Woodcote, allowing him to pull alongside. Blocker then overshot Copse, giving the lead back to Chin into Maggots and Becketts.
That eventually led to the wild final corner.
As the battle for the lead intensified, Harrington was running on his own, 11 seconds back before the incident.
“Second place is always nice,” said Harrington. “I don’t think I had the pace tonight to keep up with the two guys in front. I was just not super comfortable with the setup … Second is good. It’s a points finish we can put in the bank and we can move on.”
Behind them, Morgan and Taylor also had a wild battle for what turned out to be for third position.
Taylor built up a run to the left side of Morgan down the Hangar Straight before bobbling through Stowe. As the puffs of smoke came up from the contact for the win, Morgan and Taylor both overran the run through Vale with Morgan going across the sausage curbing in Turn 17. The bump slowed down Morgan enough for Taylor to drive by him on the left side of Club to take the final step on the podium.
“That entire last stint, I was doing everything I could to complete a pass or get up there and man, was it hard to set up a pass,” said Taylor. “I didn’t even realize we were going to end up battling for a podium until I crossed the line and saw third. That was a great drive and I’m really happy with the result there.”
Next, the Lionheart IndyCar Series and its drivers head to Texas Motor Speedway for the Minus 273 200 at Texas. Coverage starts at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on August 11th.
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