Round seven of the Lionheart IndyCar Series took to the twisty turns of Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The inaugural Team #Nailedit 90 proved a worthy challenge for the best open wheel racing drivers on iRacing, but when the smoke cleared, defending series champion Jesse Vincent proved experience trumps all, picking up his first win of the season in just his second start.
“If there is any race I wanted...I was complaining the last couple of season we didn’t have this track on the schedule,” Vincent said in victory lane. “I’ve been to ever IndyCar race here, every practice here, every Superbike race here. I know this place like the back of my hand and I wanted it on the schedule so bad. There was no way in hell I was going to miss this race.”
A back injury has held Vincent out of the car most of the year. The injury forced him to retire in his lone start at Pocono.
Jake Wright finished second, after starting from the pole and leading 16 laps, and increased his point lead to 85 over iRacing Season 3 Fixed Indy Car champion Joe Hassert.
Wright jumped out to an early lead, and the first caution flag waved in the museum complex as Jorge Anzaldo, forced to start at the rear after issues in qualifying, found the wall. Anzaldo would finish last in the 23 car field.
Wright would lead through the first round of pit stops, but Vincent took the lead on the lap 16, using his fresh tires to pass Wright exiting the pits. The two would exchange the lead during final pit stops, but ultimately Vincent was too much for Wright, taking the win at his home race.
“It took a lot of practice to be able to stay in front of Jesse (Vincent), because he’s fast at this place,” Wright said. “A great win for him.”
The victory moved Vincent to 29th in the standings, picking up 10 spots. Dan Geren finished third, Jason Robarge finished a season-high fourth and Tommy Rhyne rounded out the top five.
Ricky Hardin, Ian Adams, Hassert, James Krahula and Joe Branch composed the back half of the top 10.
A final lap solo spin by Michael Gray dropped him from ninth to 12th, the final car on the lead lap. Pierre Daigle, Mark Nobert, Korey Konnor, Terry Matthiensen and Anzaldo were the only cars not running at the finish.
Hardin moved up to third in the standings, Daniel Roeper fell to fourth while serving a one-race penalty, and Joe Branch moved into fifth.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series heads to the high banks of Michigan International Speedway on Wednesday night for the Autism Awareness 200. The race will be broadcast live by Global Sim Racing Network starting at 9:40 CST.