In an opening round full of firsts, it was a familiar result at the end of the day. Despite, new faces, new teams, new sponsors, oh and a new car, the IR-18, Andrew Kinsella repeated his feat from season 5, when he won on debut, to once again take the First Medical Equipment 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. This time it was over Brian Yaczik who duelled with Kinsella for the last half of the race before coming up just short in the final dash to the flag. Brandon Limkemann came how 3rd, the best result the Synergy Motorsports driver has recorded in the series, followed by Kinsella’s Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Joe Branch and Ian Adams rounding out the top 5. Last season, Kinsella was 3rd in the championship. Does the Canadian have what it takes to take that step forward and claim the championship and with it the HPP Simulation HSW-F wheel valued at almost $1500?
Now we move on to Round 2, the Thumbs Up Cancer Down 200 from Phoenix International Speedway, but the number 2 is more then just the round number. The longest back to back winning streak in Lionheart is 2. Two seasons in a row Andrew Kinsella has managed to win the season opener. No driver has ever won 3 in a row in LH will this season be the time when that streak is broken? The list of drivers with back to back wins are: Matt Kingsbury, Michel de Jonge, Jesse Vincent, Richard Behr, and Jake Wright. Will Kinsella be able to start a winning streak and join the list of members with back to back wins and win 2 in a row at Phoenix?
There is one more first for this season that will take place this round at Phoenix. Rookie Stephen Laarkamp will be making his series debut. Laarkamp was moved down as an alternate for tracks that will not accommodate 44 pit stalls. The series is anticipating that Laarkamp will run more than 75% of the seasons races.
The top 2 drivers from last seasons race will not be racing this year. Jonathan Goke won last season after leading 62 laps, over Ryan Otis. Goke no longer races with the league while Ryan Otis joins former Champion Jake Wright in running Retro Series only campaigns this season. This opens up the race for a new winner to take the win. Will it be Kinsella with 2 in a row to start the season? Or could the win come from the likes of Dan Geren, Adam Blocker or Chris Stofer. All 3 showed speed at Homestead, but all 3 fell victim to other people’s mistakes. Will they be able to press the reset button and get a win in the desert? Ken Hacker lead all rookies at Homestead, even leading 8 laps enroute to an 8th place finish. Will Hacker be able to build on his strong debut to challenge for the win in Round 2?
Synergy Motorsports in its debut came out of round 1 with the lead in the Team Championship presented by HPP Simulation. With Adrenaline Motorsports a scant 10 points back, can the new team maintain the lead after the checkered flag flies at Phoenix?
This is the 5th time that Phoenix has appeared on the Lionheart schedule. After its debut in season 2 Phoenix has appeared every season in the IndyCar Series. The tricky D shaped track in the southwestern US is a tight and dangerous affair, with passing at a premium. Traditionally there have been a number of cautions but also some long green runs. Working the traffic, both lead lap and otherwise, as well as the pit strategy will be key for whoever comes out on top.
The Thumbs Up Cancer Down 200 will be live Wednesday April 4th at 10:35pm Eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live. For more information on Thumbs Up Cancer Down visit: www.thumbsupcancerdown.com
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series visit: www.lionheartracingseries.com