Following his win the All-Star Race, Big Joe Hassert led 38 of the 100 laps in Wednesday night’s Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by Overdrive Graphics Pre-Season Thunder, to complete the Pre-Season Sweep in his Overdrive Graphics/No Name Racing Dallara!
In the two and a half hour practice leading up to the night’s race, 36 drivers took times, with Jonathan Goke pacing the field with a 24.868 second lap, followed by Ryan Lowe, and Daniel Roeper rounding out the top three.
In two-lap qualifying immediately prior to the start of the race, two familiar names would pace the field to the green, with Jake Wright and Trevor Malone. Series newcomer’s James Krahula from Unacceptable Racing and Terry Matthiensen from Banshee Autosport starting 3rd and 4th.
With this being the first race for many drivers, unfamiliarity and varying driving skills were sure to make for an eventful night. The first 13 laps were marred by three cautions, each involving multiple cars. Once nerves settled, the field entered a nice 50-lap green-flag run, which included a full round of green flag pit stops. Jake Wright led the first 19 laps, before the first lead change of the night saw Trevor Malone pass Wright, but by lap 23, Wright was back in the lead, and led until he stopped to pit on lap 41. Terry Matthiensen then assumed the lead, followed by Justin Laxton’s Overdrive Graphics/Goin’ Broke Racing Chevy. When Laxton stopped to pit, Joe Hassert assumed the lead for several laps, before being overtaken by Wright and eventually Trevor Malone as well.
On lap 67, the caution came out for a single-car incident involving Justin Laxton, which allowed the field to bunch up. During that caution, several drivers were penalized for passing under the yellow, including leader Jake Wright (passing the pacecar), Trevor Malone (passing under yellow), Peter Edwins (passing under yellow), Terry Matthiensen (passing the pacecar and excessive speeding), and Daniel Roeper (unsafe pit entrance).
The final caution of the night came out on lap 80, for an incident involving Ian Adams from Team #nailedIt. Many top drivers opted to pit, however Joe Hassert stayed out, along with about 10 lap down cars. Staying out proved to be the move of the race as Hassert was able to keep his nose clean and capture the Pre-Season Sweep!
The Lionheart IndyCar Series officially begins their third season, next week, with the Overdrive Graphics 200, broadcast live on the Global SimRacing Channel!
For more information on the series, including the full season schedule, driver roster, and sponsor list, you can visit the series website at http://www.lionheartracingseries.com.