It’s a short turnaround and a short distance to travel for the Lionheart Indycar Series, as the IndyCars roll in to Pocono for the Dirtyblinds.com 300, the first leg of the Lionheart Triple Crown. Unlike previous years, the Pocono leg will payout only single points this season, however the winner still walks away with $50 as well as an assortment of prizes.
Last week it was Adam Blocker, the 5-time Retro Series winner, who finally broke through and won his very first Lionheart IndyCar series race in dramatic fashion. Going into the last lap, it was Dan Geren, who had led most of the race, leading blocker by half a second. A half spin in the chute before running just short on fuel, would leave Geren snake bitten once again this season with just an 11th place finish. Rookie Stephen Laarkamp was the biggest mover last week in terms of the overall standings. Jumping 20 spots after an impressive P2, moving into P12 even after missing the season opener. Laarkamp is now on the full-time roster for the remainder of the 2018 season and made quite the splash. Rounding out the top 5 was a spirited 3-way battle between Michael Goodman, Michel de Jonge and Andrew Kinsella. Kinsella and de Jonge both had unfortunate incidents during the race and had to scrap for every position they could at the end.
Pocono Raceway has appeared in all 6 Lionheart Seasons. There are six league members who have appeared in all 5 previous races and are expected to start their 6th this week. They are Ian Adams, Robert Blouin, Vincent Bluthenthal, Chris Lanini, Joe Hassert and Michael Gray. Pocono is a track unlike any other, with 3 distinct turns and one of the longest lap times on the oval calendar. This can often lead to interesting fuel and tire strategy.
Chris Stofer is the defending race winner at Pocono. Stofer led 23 laps enroute to his first ever triple crown victory last season. Stofer won after a battle with Dave Barber during the final laps that saw Barber in the wall and Stofer take home the checkered flag. Barber had led a race high 38 laps during that event. Barber has stepped away from competition but has remained close to the league and continues to support the series with his LOC Precision company.
After 3 races, it is Andrew Kinsella atop the points standings. The Canadian was Rookie of the Year last season in the Lionheart Series, and this year is the only driver to finish in the top 10 at all 4 races so far, as well as one of only 2 drivers to complete every lap so far this year. The other being James Krahula. With 300 grueling miles ahead of them, Kinsella and Krahula will look to keep their ironman streak going and come home with a good finish at Pocono.
2nd in points is Brian Yaczik. Yaczik was the unfortunate victim of a couple of incidents at Watkins Glen that saw the early season points leader DNF for the first time in 2018. Now 26 points behind Kinsella, the Loud Pedal Motorsports will be looking to rebound and continue his strong start to the season with a strong performance on the Tricky Triangle.
3rd in points, Jason Galvin, saw luck of an even worse kind at Watkins Glen. With the No Name Racing driver collected in an incident in the back of the field before the green flag had even flown. Others collected in that incident include Series founder Jorge Anzaldo, and Big Joe Hassert. With the misfortune of last week behind them; Galvin, Anzaldo and Hassert can go into this week confident that it can only get better for them.
Can Dan Geren rebound at Pocono? After suffering a 3rd heartbreak at Watkins by running out of fuel while battling Blocker on the final lap, can Geren rebound and find the podium for the first time in 2018? Geren has led a total of 237 laps across the first 4 races but has failed to find the podium. Last year Geren took his championship battle with Jake Wright down to the finale. This year Geren sits 15th in points, 94 points back of Kinsella. There is no more room for error for the Iowa native if he is to have any shot at the championship this season.
Synergy Motorsports climbed 2 spots after Watkins Glen and now sits in P2 in the team championship -however the gap to Adrenaline Motorsports grew to 75 points with Adrenaline putting 3 drivers in the top 9 including the winner Blocker and 5th place Kinsella. 8 Ball Motorsports is also coming off an impressive run at Watkins climbed +3 spots in the team standings. De Jonge and Goodman both finished in the top 5 and propelled their team up to 5th overall. The team championship is still wide open; Adrenaline might have the early advantage, but no team has yet to emerge as the clear favorite.
The Dirtyblinds.com 300 goes off this Wednesday, May 2nd at 10:35pm EDT only on GSRC and iRacing Live.