Andrew Kinsella felt like he had one of the best cars in Wednesday’s FME Victory Lap Celebration at Iowa Speedway.
But the Canadian constantly found himself in traffic.
Until the final few laps.
Kinsella and late race leader Jason Galvin made net code contact following a late race restart, sending Galvin spinning into the wall and causing the race to finish under yellow, handing Kinsella his first victory of 2020 in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“I’ll take that after being a lap down,” Kinsella said of being trapped during an early race caution and fighting for his lap back. “I hate that it didn’t finish under green, just bad net code at the end. But what a great race, a big win.”
Kinsella and Galvin spent much of the race linked together, but the Bakersfield, Calif. driver appeared to have the upper hand following the final pit stop of the night.
Galvin emerged just over a second behind leader Joshua Chin, and quickly ran down the SKM driver to capture the lead. Galvin’s advantage stretched to over 1.5 seconds when the caution flew following contact between Chin and Adam Blocker with 12 laps remaining.
Kinsella narrowly snuck past, then followed Galvin to pit road for tires, along with all but two of the lead lap cars.
On the final restart of the night, Galvin quickly dispatched Chris Lanini and new leader Connor Harrington, but Kinsella followed closely behind. The duo raced wheel-to-wheel for two laps, but with three laps remaining, Kinsella tried to sweep under Galvin.
That’s when net code took over, sending Galvin flying into the turn one wall and handing Kinsella the win.
“It’s unfortunate, Jason got very unlucky there, it would’ve been a great duel to the end,” Kinsella said. “I think we had the two best cars all day. Maybe Josh as well. But Jason and I were the two guys passing the most cars out there. Hats off to him, sorry we had that incident but it was not what I wanted to happen.”
Galvin was upbeat after the race, noting his pace all night, even overcoming an ill-time caution that forced him to race through most of the pack.
“I think everyone knew we were here tonight,” Galvin said. “It’s disappointing not to win when you were the best car. It’s not often you can say that in Lionheart, this league is just too good. Andrew was right there with me all night, but I think I was a little better. Net code is just part of online racing. We can’t blow motors or cut tires, but we can net code. I can’t be mad about that, just super proud of our effort tonight.”
Chin came through the field on the final restart to take second, ahead of former series champion Jake Wright.
“I knew that Jason and Connor and Andrew were the guys to beat, and I just wanted to hang on for a top five,” Chin said. “Strategy just kept cycling me out front. Then at the end, the tires just went away. I was in trouble and then Adam and I had that incident. I got lucky to get away from it clean and came back down for fresh tires, then that last wreck happened. I hate it for those guys. But I’ll take a second place.”
By virtue of the win, Kinsella rocketed to the top of the championship standings, still searching for his first title in the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX. Kinsella leads Harrigton, who finished fourth, by three points. Sage Karam dropped two spots to third following an early race crash, but sits just seven points back from the lead in one of the most competitive seasons in Lionheart history.
Two-time defending champion Bocker sits fourth, 35 points back, while Chin jumped into a tie with Brian Yaczik for fifth in points.
The FME Victory Lap Celebration at Iowa Speedway celebrated and honored Burlington, Iowa’s First Medical Equipment, the title sponsor of the Lionheart IndyCar Series for six seasons. FME is in its final year sponsoring the series, and FME’s Brandon Limkemann was involved in an early race crash, ending his shot at what would have been an extremely popular win.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a month off to cool off now, before heading to the home track of series founder Jorge Anzaldo, Chicagoland Speedway, for the Fisch Motors 200.
The race can be seen live on Wednesday, September 23 at 10:35 p.m. EST on the iRacing eSports Network and the Global Sim Racing Channel.