Jake Wright may not be old enough to drink, but he definitely enjoyed his visit to California's wine country. Wright earned his sixth win of the season with a dominant performance in the GSRC Sonoma 100, lapping all but six of his competitors on his way to the checkered flag. The race was the fourth of seven road courses on the 2016 Lionheart schedule – and Wright has won all of them thus far.
“I really enjoy this place...tonight was a great race and I'm very happy about the finish!” said Wright in victory lane. Although the win may have appeared easy, the defending series champion was quick to point out that he was hardly on cruise control. “There were a few scary moments. I think the most scary was when my teammate spun in Turn 10 in front of me, and I had to go off track to avoid it.”
After cutting into Wright's points lead with a win at Indianapolis, Jonathan Goke needed another good finish at Sonoma to ensure that he kept pace. He got it, earning a second place result after a race-long battle with Dylan Lee. “That was the hardest I've ever had to drive in any race, period,” said Goke of his battle with Lee. “I've gotta give hats off to Dylan...we were just neck-and-neck; it was a great race with him!” Goke was also proud of being one of only three drivers to finish the race without any incidents. “I didn't go off track once; I've never done that before on a road course!”
Dylan Lee's third-place finish was his first podium of the season, and strong follow-up to his fourth-place run at Indianapolis. Yet, Lee felt he could have finished second if a pit-exit issue hadn't cost him. “I got out (of the pits) on cold tires and there's just absolutely no grip...I lost it coming up over that first hill. I for sure had the car to be second...there's just no room to pass here.” Lee was also quick to praise Jonathan Goke. “I tried everything I could to get up onto Goke and get around him, and I just couldn't.”
Newcomer Ryan Otis came home fourth in his first road race with Lionheart, putting in perhaps the most impressive run of the night as he drove through the field. Otis technically qualified second, but a pre-race penalty shuffled him to the back of the field. “I felt like I was having a really great race – until that last corner,” he said, referring to a last-lap crash with fifth-place finisher James Krahula. “I just misread his line,” said Otis. “That was entirely my fault.”
The top ten was rounded out by Joe Flanagan, Jason Galvin, Ron Hacker, Jorge Anzaldo and Joe Hassert. Along with Goke, Flanagan and Hacker were the two other drivers to cross the finish line without a single incident point.
A total of 33 cars started the race, which quickly saw the action spread across the entire track. There were no major wrecks, but numerous smaller incidents and spins as many drivers struggled to tame the challenging Sonoma circuit. Two sim racers were disqualified for hitting the league's 17-point incident cap, which will also result in a five-point penalty for each.
With the win, Jake Wright now leads the championship by 102 points, although Goke's second-place finish kept him in contention. Dan Geren hangs on to third, but a tough race at Sonoma has allowed James Krahula to move within two points of Geren. Jason Robarge rounds out the top five.
The series now travels to the virtual Gateway Motorsports Park for its next event on August 3rd. The Gateway Motorsports 150 will be broadcast live on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and Iracing Live beginning at 10:35PM ET. For more information about the Lionheart Indycar Series Presented by First Medical Equipment, please visit www.lionheartracingseries.com.