The Dandy Dan Geren revenge tour is off to a good start. Coming off three consecutive championship runner-up seasons, the Iowa native roared to the front of the field following the final set of pit stops, distancing himself from the competition before holding off a hard-charging Chris Stofer in the First Medical Equipment 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
It’s the first time Geren has won the season opener in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“I knew coming off four I would have to hold the bottom,” Geren said. “I didn’t know if the tires would hold the bottom or not, but they sure did. I’m glad it worked out.”
Stofer and his teammate - and defending series champion - Adam Blocker, worked tirelessly over the final 15 laps to run down Geren and Michael Goodman. The Adrenaline Motorsports duo dispatched of Goodman and Stofer made a final lap charge on Geren, but ended up a only getting to his rear wheel in the final corner.
“Adam and I just worked together to get up there,” Stofer said. “Luckily there was lapped traffic but it also hurt us a bit. If we could’ve got around them sooner than I may have had more than one crack at Dan at the end.”
For Geren, the win marks a much improved start to the season. Last year, Geren wrecked out of the race, in what would become a seemingly never-ending trend of incidents that Geren was swept up in. By mid season, Geren was buried outside the top five in points.
But a late season run of continuous top five’s and victories saw Geren nearly steal the championship, finishing 13 points short. He hopes a better start this year will lead to a first championship.
“I felt like Homestead kinda owed me one,” Geren said. “This is a great start to 2019.”
Blocker was content with third, after starting deep in the field and working his way to the front.
“I slid my box in the last stop, cost me about a second,” Blocker said. “I don’t know if that mattered because I got hooked up with Stofer. The lapped cars didn’t do us a favor either.”
Goodman settled for fourth, with a third Adrenaline driver - Andrew Kinsella - in fifth.
A third of the field was wiped out or damaged during the final caution, a giant wreck on the front straight.
As the cars crossed the line to begin lap 78, Ken Hacker clipped the right rear tire of third place Tony Showen. The two cars spun up the track in front of the field, collecting more than a dozen cars, including Sage Karam, early leader’s Joe Hassert and Dustin Wardlow, Scott Bolster and more.
Three other cautions slowed the action.
On lap 68, Dustin Wardlow slid up and touched with Joe Flanagan. As Flanagan spun, Jason Galvin was left with nowhere to go. Mike Rigney was also eliminated in the wreck.
David Altman brought out a caution after early contact with Paul Jenkins sent him spinning into the inside wall. Altman attempted to head to the pits and could not, causing the second yellow on lap 45.
Shaun Cole brought the opening caution in turn one of the season, clipping the apron and spinning. Bart Workman, Justin Kirby and Marc Cohn were each collected.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads to Watkins Glen for the Minus 273 Grand Prix at the Glen presented by Cranfield Simulation. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network with presentation by Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST on March 27.