The Lionheart Indy Montreal was a mixed bag of solid racing and several major incidents, with Jake Wright taking the win on Wednesday night. Wright checked out en route to his third road course win of the season in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“I love these road courses. I wish we could come and do more of them,” said Wright, who ran an incident-free race. Traffic could have posed a problem for the defending series champion, but Wright was quick to credit his fellow drivers. “Lapped traffic tonight was definitely nice. Everybody made it easy to get around, so I appreciate that.”
The race was marred by a Lionheart first, a full course caution on a road course. On the initial start, Dylan Lee got into the back of Pierre Daigle in turn two. As Daigle saved his car, a stackup occurred. Joe Branch, quickly making his way through the field, made contact with 10th place running Ron Hacker. As both cars slid off course, Jason Galvin split the middle, but caught the curb and spun into Branch, blocking the track on the narrow exit of turn four.
Several other cars piled into the wreck, causing race director Jesse Vincent to throw the first road course caution in league history.
“I saw Branch hit Ron, and didn’t know where to go,” Galvin said. “I split the middle, but that curb is pretty big and I tried to let the car settle, but I was also worried about getting hit by both of them. It was just unfortunate, I got back to the gas a little too quick.”
On the restart, several more incidents took out top contenders. Jonathan Goke, running second, was heavily damaged by the lapped car of Randy Crossno, who appeared to be entering the pits when he hit Goke.
Daigle, a former open wheel racer in his native Canada, was in the top five when he lost control in turn two, suffering the effects of side pod damage from his lap one contact with Lee.
And James Krahula, who inherited second from Goke, had his race come to an early end after contact with Joe Flanagan.
All of the madness opened the door for Dan Geren to score a career-best second place finish on a road course. Geren’s teammate, Michael Gray, cruised home in third with Jason Robarge and Korey Connor each capping impressive drives in the top five.
“Can you believe that right there man? Second place!” said Geren after the race. “I'm not a road course guy at all, but I put in probably 300-plus laps here just to try and maintain myself.” Geren was quick to praise his #Nailedit teammates as well. “I couldn't be prouder of these guys tonight,” he added.
Ryan Bird and Ed Tutwiler followed in sixth and seventh, with Tutwiler also running an incident free race. Brandon Limkemann and Ron Hacker rounded out the lead lap, fighting for eighth right to the checkered flag. Elsewhere on track, Dylan Lee recovered from early contact to win a spirited battle with Jorge Anzaldo for eleventh position.
Wright led 35 of the 37 laps, with Krahula leading twice during pit stops. Nine cars finished on the lead lap and nearly half of the 35 starters retired from the race.
The win extends Wright’s point lead to 78. The defending series champion leads Goke and Krahula, who are deadlocked in second.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to its oval roots next week with 150 laps at the historic Milwaukee Mile. That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel on Wednesday at 10:40 p.m. EST.
For more information on the series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.