By Justin Prince
After leading 38 of 53 laps, Joshua Chin has won the 2021 edition of the ButtKicker Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio by more than 19 seconds.
It is his third time in his Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker career he has taken the checkered flag. The PRIVATE LABEL Team Hype driver also became the fifth different winner in six races so far this season.
Ryan Otis, Aaron Morgan, Adam Blocker and Henry Bennett rounded out the top five.
“This feels really nice,” said Chin from HyperX Victory Lane. “I’m really exhausted right now and ready to go to bed, but it was a fun one. I didn’t feel the pace was there after qualifying to build that margin. I guess I just need to get better at qualifying.”
Chin got off to a quick start, pulling away on the red compound of tires by more than half a second a lap early. The top 10 drivers had all started on the reds.
By the first pit stop sequence of the race, Chin had been leading by about seven seconds.
Chin before the race had emphasized the importance of his middle stint on the black-walled tires. Most of his competitors decided to save their black-walled tires for the end of the event.
“After the Monday practice race, I kind of figured out what the strategy was going to be. It seemed you didn’t want to be running on the black tires at the end of the race,” said Chin. “Even on a short stint, there was just so much time loss with how bad the cold tires were and you were waiting for five laps. Half your stint was going to be slow. You’re better off getting it done in the middle of the race, especially if you were in heavy lapped traffic, which worked out pretty well for me.”
One of the fiercest battles on the track was for the final podium position.
Morgan had elected to go on an undercut strategy for the race, pitting up to 10 laps sooner than his competition. By 10 laps to go, Blocker and Bennett were closing in on Morgan by several tenths of a second per lap.
“I felt I had a really good advantage on the first stint where the tire was at its coolest. We were going three to four-tenths of a second slower than I thought I could have gone. So I thought, ‘man, I really need to try an undercut here.’”
Morgan said that strategy burned up his tires from pushing on his second stint. He was down to one push-to-pass on the final lap and was able to utilize it to hold onto the podium finish.
“The call got me the position, then I was just slow the rest of the stint, so they caught me up real quick,” said Morgan.
Next, the Lionheart IndyCar Series Presented by ButtKicker will be going to World Wide Technology Raceway for the Asher's Racing Channel 200 at Gateway. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 2nd at 10:35 p.m. EST.