One year ago, Dan Geren had his eyes on a win at Pocono Raceway. His internet connection had other ideas.
On Wednesday night, Geren earned redemption. The Iowa native and Synergy Motorsports driver recovered from a poor - by his standards, at least - start spot to lead the most laps and win the iRacingiFlag 300 presented by Fat Dog Racing.
Geren retook the lead from championship rival Adam Blocker with 10 laps to go and pulled away, earning his second win of the season in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“I wasn’t feeling it all week, all day,” said Geren, who started 12th. “Ron Hacker had to pull me out of it. This is redemption, Pocono owed me one.”
Geren nearly lost the race on its final restart.
A lap 90 caution following Chris Stofer’s single car crash allowed the leaders to top off the fuel tank and take tires for a final dash to the finish. Loud Pedal Motorsports driver Jason Galvin jumped to the outside of Geren on the restart, allowing Blocker to draft up from third and make a three-wide pass into turn two.
Blocker would lead from lap 95 until 110, holding off Geren and Galvin. But Tyler Graaf exited the pits ahead of Blocker early in the run, and despite being a lap down was able to hold Blocker at bay for over 10 laps.
When Blocker got a run on Graaf coming to 10 laps to go, the second-year driver moved over on the exit of turn three. That’s when Geren saw his opportunity to strike, using the draft and the long front straightaway at Pocono to slingshot past Blocker and back to the lead.
“I found a little bit of a pick-me-up in a couple of turns, and it allowed me to stick with Adam the whole time,” Geren said. “He’s so good. I just snuck by him. I got around Blocker.”
Blocker was less than thrilled with Graaf.
“To be honest, I think I would’ve been able to keep (Geren) back if the lapped car wouldn’t have been unpredictable,” Blocker said. “(Graaf) said he was going to let us by on the straight but he started to pull over in the corner, and it caused me some aero wash. But I’ll take second. I wasn’t always up there in this race.”
Galvin was able to run down Blocker but said he used too much tire in the process, settling for third. It was the first finish of the season for Galvin, who was wrecked while in position to win at Kentucky.
“That was a fun race,” Galvin said after driving through the field from 21st on the grid. “I didn’t think I had much for Dan or Adam but then that last run I was able to stay with them. It makes me wish I did things different on the final restart. But those two are the best we have on oval tracks, so if you finish third behind Dan and Adam that’s a good night.”
The 120 lap race took one hour and 45 minutes to complete. The event was slowed by six cautions, including a wreck with two laps remaining that forced the checkers to fly along with a yellow flag.
Blocker’s Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Tony Showen led 16 laps early but settled for fourth, while Galvin’s teammate Brian Yaczik finished fifth after his pit crew cost him three positions on the final stop.
Bob Mikes, Connor Harrington, Justin Weaver, pole winner Mike Rigney and Andrew Kinsella rounded out the top ten.
Blocker leads Geren by 38 points after round five of the 25 race season. Kinsella sits third, 44 points behind Geren.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a month off, but the break is a welcome one. The series is set to debut at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit for its first ever dual event.
Both 32 lap Loud Pedal Motorsports Dual’s in Detroit will take place on Wednesday, May 22. The events can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network with production by the Global SimRacing Channel, with the broadcast beginning at 10:35 p.m. EST.