This is it. The Greatest Spectacle in iRacing. This is the Lionheart Series’ iRace for Gage Indy 500. Lionheart driver Jack Bogan sponsors the Indy 500 each year to bring awareness to congenital heart defects in children. Gage now 11 has had 4 open heart surgeries to replace two valves that do not grow with him. Gage loves to watch the Lionheart races and has been doing just fine thanks to his medial treatment. For more information on CHD please visit http://mendedlittleheartguide.org
2 weeks ago, in Michigan, it was Brian Yaczik collecting his second ever Lionheart win in order to go atop the points standings. Yaczik beat Joe Hassert by just 0.015 seconds, or less than half a car length, after an exciting final shootout. Michael Goodman came home 3rd with Justin Weaver and Pierre Daigle rounding out the top 5. In the championship Yaczik now leads Andrew Kinsella by a scant 5 points after Kinsella missed the race to get engaged. The Lionheart series, does have 3 drop weeks, so that lead might be deceptive. Of the top 5, Kinsella, 4th place Jason Galvin, and 5th place Joe Branch have all missed 1 race each, while leader Yaczik and 3rd place James Krahula have not. This championship is still wide open.
Which brings us to The Brickyard. These hallowed racing grounds have seen the best racing that the real and virtual world has to offer, and Lionheart races here are no exception. In season 1 it was Rick Music beating out Bradley Walters by just 0.001 seconds to take the win in the closest finish in Lionheart history. Last year, meanwhile, was the fastest 500 in league history with an average of 197.546 MPH. Jonathan Goke was the winner of that event. Goke is the only 2-time Indy 500 winner in Lionheart history. All previous winners are not running the event, which means we are guaranteed a new winner this year.
This year’s 500 is shaping up to be a wild race. Very close and intense racing will take place in the early stages and drivers will have to use all their skill to avoid contact with other cars and avoiding cars who are caught up in incidents. As the run goes on, however, some drivers will get caught out by the fall off of the tires. The championship contenders meanwhile will have another considerations. The Indy 500 marks the first of 2 double points races on the season. That means that a good day at Indy could set you up for the championship, but a bad day could just cost you the championship. Will the contenders go for broke or play it safe?
Talking about favorites for this event, it is hard not to look beyond Andrew Kinsella. Kinsella was just 0.013 seconds away from winning the Top Split official iRacing Indy 500 back in May. Kinsella already has 3 wins on the season, including in the first leg of the triple crown at Pocono. Not far behind Kinsella according to the odds makers is Tony Showen. Showen won the 2nd split of the official 500, and the Adrenaline Motorsports teammates will both be looking for a strong result here.
When you think of Indy, another name that jumps to mind is Big Joe Hassert. Hassert finished 2nd here last year, and the drafting nature of the racing this year suits Big Joe’s style. In fact, take any member of your top 5 from last week, and the skills used to get there will transplant nicely to this week. Yaczik, Goodman, Weaver and Daigle will all be a factor as well this week.
Some drivers looking for a rebound include front runners Dan Geren, Adam Blocker and Jason Galvin. All 3 did not have the week the wanted at Michigan, however all 3 exhibited a lot of speed. With a little more patience this week, one of them could easily be on the top step.
League founder Jorge Anzaldo will make his 100th official start at Indy. Anzaldo sits 3rd all-time in starts. Anzaldo has 1 career win, but after being forced to miss last years 500 with an internet outage, the Illinois driver will be looking to make up for it this year in his special start.
James Krahula is leading the Iron Man standings with 945 laps complete on the season for a total of 1,675.32 miles. He has ridden that Iron Man streak to 3rd in the championship standings. Any driver who can finish the 500 will certainly increase their chances of winning the award at seasons end, but also increase their hopes in the overall championship. Will Krahula be able to continue is consistent drive at Indy?
Finally, there are the home town drivers. Joe Branch and Chris Stofer are both Indiana natives, and while an Indy 500 would mean a lot to any driver, it would mean just a little bit more to this pair. Last year they were running in the top 3 for most of the race before a connection issue relegated them to 17th and 18th finishes after they reconnected.
Adrenaline continues to lead the team championship standings after 9 rounds. No Name Racing sits currently 113 points back and gained a spot over Synergy Motorsports who was bumped down a spot into P3 overall.
Who will come out on top. Will a championship contender use the race to cement their campaign or will it be a driver looking to get their season back on track? Will it be a hometown favorite, or a driver in a milestone start? To get the answer to these questions and more tune in to the iRace for Gage Indy 500 on Sunday July 15th at 3:35pm eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live.