In one of the sloppiest races in series history, Jonathan Goke made it known he’ll be a force this season, leading half the laps on his way to a win in the CHD Warriors Phoenix 150 on Wednesday night.
The win marked the second trip to victory lane for the Air Force veteran in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“I’m sweating, that was a good race,” Goke said after the race. “Going in I felt like this was my race to lose. I love Phoenix, I put down a ton of practice, and I came away with the most laps led, so it’s good to get a good result after the first two weeks.”
Goke picked up a win at Michigan in season three before being deployed by the United States Air Force. He returned in the offseason and settled back in quickly, but had yet to turn his pace into a solid finish.
That changed Wednesday night, as Goke held off a strong charge by Joe Hassert late in the race.
“Joe and I always race clean,” Goke said. “Going back to Michigan last year, it’s always fun.”
Hassert took the points lead from defending series champion Jake Wright, who was caught in a mid-race wreck.
“Two for two on the ovals, it was a fun run,” Hassert said after starting in 14th. “It was a long fight to the front.”
The race was marred by numerous wrecks and cautions, especially in the first 75 laps. In all, 12 yellow flags slowed the field for nearly a third of the race, 49 laps. Seven drivers swapped the lead 13 times, but it was the carnage on the track that swayed the results, with Wright being joined by expected contenders including Dan Geren, Jason Galvin, Chris Stofer, Joe Flanagan and Tony Showen, amongst others.
Tony Lurcock survived the crazy start to finish third, with James Krahula and Joe Branch rounding out the top five. Branch started 31st, with Pierre Daigle starting 32nd and following Branch through the field to finish sixth. Michael Gray, Jorge Anzaldo, Chris Lanini and Ronald Hacker wrapped the top 10.
14 drivers finished on the lead lap.
Hassert leads Wright by 21 points, with Krahula, Goke and Lurcock claiming the top five spots as the series prepares for another oval, Kentucky Speedway, on Wednesday, April 13.
All 133 laps of the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment race at Kentucky can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel starting at 7:40 p.m. EST. For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.