There's a lot on the line this week as the Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment arrives in Kansas for the Lehmann's Landing 200. With only three races left in the 2016 season, numerous positions remain up for grabs throughout the standings. Over a dozen spots are separated by less than five points – and several by just by a single point. With over $1,100 in prizes on the line this season, look for the intensity level to rise as the November 9th season finale at Auto Club Speedway looms larger.
There is only one sim racer whose position in the standings is truly secure – and that position just happens to be first overall. Defending series champion Jake Wright leads his biggest rival Dan Geren by an impressive 206 points. Following Wright's dominant win at Laguna Seca, it would take a string of almost-unthinkable disasters to prevent him from joining Jesse Vincent as a two-time series champion. In fact, it's very likely Wright could officially clinch the title this week.
Dan Geren is the only sim racer with a chance to catch Wright – and it's a slim chance. He would have to win each of the three remaining races while Wright would need to finish at the back each week. While the odds are strongly against Geren, he still has plenty to race for. A second overall finish would be the best of his career, and a second win this season would also be a career high for him, having earned a single win in each of his past two seasons. For added motivation this week, Geren's first career win came at Kansas Speedway in Season 2.
Jason Robarge is just 33 points behind Geren and could easily give him a run for his money. Robarge has quietly built a career season in 2016 after missing the first two races due to computer issues. Yet, despite his success, the Florida-based sim racer has yet to visit victory lane this season. He could easily do that in one of the three remaining races – especially at Atlanta, where Robarge is the defending winner. Earning a win and securing second in the standings would be the perfect end to an impressive season.
James Krahula is also still in the fight for second overall,and considering he finished in that position last season, he shouldn't be counted out. Krahula is coming off an impressive run at Laguna Seca where he overcame a pre-race EOL penalty to finish a solid eighth. The Texas native is the defending winner of this event, partly thanks to his trademark pit strategy. Look for Krahula and his teammates to be a major factor this week at Kansas, just as they were earlier in the season at Kentucky. There, at a similar track, Krahula won as part of a No Name Racing podium sweep.
From positions six through fifteen, things are equally tight. A solid performance at Kansas Speedway could help any of the sim racers fighting for these spots. Included in this pack are Michael Gray, Joe Hassert, Jason Galvin and Joe Branch – all race winners in 2016. Slightly further back in the standings are late-season chargers Ian Adams, Brian Yaczik and Ryan Otis, all of whom could still find their way into the top twenty before the season ends.
Beyond the individual standings, there are other awards and bragging rights still up in the air. No Name Racing seems like a lock to repeat as team champions, but nothing has been clinched. Team #NailedIt could still catch their arch rivals, and considering #NailedIt drivers have won the last three Lionheart oval races, anything is possible. Upstart AGR Motorsports has pushed their way into third overall thanks to solid and consistent finishes from their entire line-up. Despite that, Adrenaline Motorsports is only 47 points back and has an equally talented roster. The winner of the team championship earns $25, while the cleanest overall team will also claim a $25 prize.
The Lionheart series will continue their support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this week by running pink paint schemes on many of the virtual Dallara DW-12's in the field. Series namesake Dan Wheldon and his family will also be in the thoughts and prayers of Lionheart members this week, as October 16th marked the fifth anniversary of his tragic passing. In just a few weeks, series title sponsor First Medical Equipment will present its Dan Wheldon Driver of the Year Award to the league member that best embodies what the league stands for. The winner will receive a copy of Lionheart: Remembering Dan Wheldon by Andy Hallbery and Jeff Olson. To learn more about the book, please visit www.lionheartbook.com.
The Lehmann's Landing 200 will be broadcast live on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and Iracing Live on Wednesday, October 19th, beginning at 10:35PM ET. For more information about the Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, please visit www.lionheartracingseries.com.