It was not as gracious as Danny Sullivan, but Jason Galvin was not complaining. After spinning on lap 81, Galvin rebounded back to the lead by lap 106 and never looked back, winning the Texas 200 at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s the third career trip to victory lane for the Bakersfield, Calif. driver in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“This is like redemption for me,” a relieved Galvin said in the virtual victory lane. “Last week I was a down on myself as I’ve ever been after a Lionheart race. I preached patience at Pocono, and on lap 17 I ran straight into James (Krahula)...I never thought I’d win this race, that’s crazy.”
Galvin’s race looked like it was over when he made contact with Dan Geren in a battle for sixth on lap 81. Galvin pushed in the dirty air behind Bob Mikes, and Geren pounced to the outside. Galvin said he rolled out of the throttle, but he was sucked up into Geren’s bumper pod exiting turn two. Miraculously, Galvin got the car turned away from the wall and slid to a stop, bringing out a caution and setting up a dramatic strategy call.
“I don’t know how I kept it off the wall,” Galvin said. “When it turned, I just tried to get it spun back towards the outside wall and then I just held on.”
On the ensuing restart, Jonathan Goke miscalculated a move inside Joe Hassert, who had dominated the race to that point. Contact entering turn three, sent Hassert spinning into the wall. On the ensuing caution, Galvin and Krahula ducked into the pits to top off on fuel. There were still 43 laps remaining, with the fuel window between 36 and 38 laps.
Needing a few cautions, the duo caught a break right away, as Jorge Anzaldo and Goke made contact on lap 94, causing a massive pileup that took Michael Goodman and slowing several others.
On lap 103, Dave Barber clipped Ryan Otis on the front straight, bringing out another caution. Michael Gray, who had not pit since lap 81, ducked in for fuel, handing the lead to Galvin.
“I knew when that caution came out and Michael pitted, we were good,” Galvin said.
Krahula spent the next 27 laps trying to get around Galvin and win at his home track, but a pair of late race cautions ended any chance he had.
“I was trying to do something with him early, when we had some gap on Bob Mikes, but I just couldn’t make anything happen,” Krahula said. “I got past him once, but he got another run and that was it.
“But with the strategy, I’ll take second. I feel like we stole one.”
Mikes settled for third when the caution came out with two laps remaining, preventing the Kentucky winner from making a move on second place.
“I can’t ask for anything more,” Mikes said. “After the season I had last year, to have the season we’re having so far is a nice feeling.”
Jason Robarge and points leader Andrew Kinsella rounded out the top five. Polesitter and defending race winner Jake Wright finished sixth, with Scott Bolster, Dan Geren, Pierre Daigle and Jorge Anzaldo completing the top ten.
The race was slowed by 10 cautions for 37 laps. The incidents started on lap 12, when Trevor Bissett got loose off turn four, collection Chris Lanini and Robert Blouin.
The final caution came on lap 132, when Dustin Wardlow turned Chris Stofer as the duo battled in a pack entering turn one.
The most controversial moment came on lap 86. On a restart after Galvin’s spin, Goke peaked inside Hassert off turn two. Hassert used a tow to pull ahead, and Goke pulled up behind Hassert midway down the back straight. At the last moment, Goke pulled back down, as Hassert was turning in. Hassert was unable to move up in time, and contact sent Big Joe into the wall, ending his race. Hassert led 78 laps, but finished 28th.
Galvin led the next most laps at 28, with Krahula, Goke, Mikes, Wright, Gray and Barber all taking bonus points for leading a lap.
Kinsella stretched his points lead over Geren to 49, with Mikes up three spots to third. Gray and Otis round out the top five. Two-time defending series champion Wright is 9th, while Galvin, who finished last at Pocono, gained five spots to 14th.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment is now a third of the way complete, with 8 of a scheduled 24 races in the books. Up next, the series heads to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Canada presented by iRacer.ca. That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel on Wednesday, May 24 at 10:45 p.m. EST.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.