By Justin Prince
For the second time this season, Robert Maleczka III has won in the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel, this time at World Wide Technology Raceway.
The Factory Backed driver led 58 of 160 laps on the way to winning the GRAAFix Esports 200 Presented by SimSnap Photography.
Maleczka was able to win the race by 1.1 seconds after holding off a hard-charging Matt Taylor.
Taylor, Barrett Rolph, Chris Stofer and Vern Hawkins III completed the top five.
“The first half of the race, I was just biding my time, keeping it clean and when it mattered, I was able to gain some time on pit road,” said Maleczka from HyperX Victory Lane. “I kind of just coasted home from there.”
Two of the Factory Backed cars, Maleczka and Alexis Newsome, qualified at the front. They immediately ran 1-2 for the first 24 laps of the race.
Maleczka said track position was important.
“It was a tough race passing-wise,” said Maleczka. “You could race pretty good for at least the first five to 10 laps of the run, then it just dropped off where you could get within two tenths, then you’d lose three tenths, then gain a few tenths. Just a domino effect. Fresh tires mattered … and I was able to carve my way through the lapped traffic well.”
Newsome dominated the opening stint of the race before the caution came out on Lap 25 when Craig Forsythe got tight underneath Dean Moll in Turn 2. Forsythe had to lift heading out of the corner to prevent sliding up into Moll. He was then hit by Ken Hacker in the right rear tire, sending Forsythe spinning into the inside wall.
Forsythe was one of seven drivers who did not finish the race.
Interesting strategies started afterwards after Ron Hacker and Newsome stayed out under the caution.
On Lap 31, Ron Hacker’s gamble did not pay off after contact with Chris Fowler in Turn 2. Ron Hacker was squished into the outside wall in the incident.
That left Newsome as the only driver on the alternate strategy for the rest of the race.
“I actually meant to pit during the first caution but missed the access road,” said Newsome. “After that I kinda had no choice but to commit.”
Newsome went on to lead 36 laps and finish 20th after hitting the outside wall coming out of Turn 2 several times.
One of the hard chargers of the race was Rolph.
After crashing in qualifying, Rolph had to start in 18th place. By the midway point of the race, the Ascari Autosport driver was inside the top 10.
“It was really, really tough out there tonight,” said Rolph. “I think it was anybody’s game really.”
Strategy and execution on pit road became a major focal point in the second half of the race. Taylor nearly spun coming off the pit lane on his second to last stop, costing him several seconds.
Several other competitors had trouble entering the pit lane. At least three cars overran the pit lane and drove into the infield grass.
Taylor, who came into the pits 13 laps later than Maleczka for his final stop, was able to close in a tenth a lap in the closing stages.
“I think I paid for just a couple mistakes on that second to last pit stop,” said Taylor. “That half spin easily cost me a second or two and I didn’t quite split the fuel appropriately. I had to wait on tires more than fuel on that last stop.”
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Michigan International Speedway for the HyperX Michigan 200. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 14th at 10:35 p.m. EST.