By Justin Prince
Robert Maleczka has won his third event of the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel season in what turned into a fuel mileage race to the end.
Maleczka and teammate Alexis Newsome led a Factory Backed team one-two finish after stretching their fuel tanks an additional five laps than originally estimated.
Jeff Hysong, Joe Branch and Alexander van de Sandt rounded out the top five in the HyperX Michigan 200.
Maleczka said in HyperX Victory Lane that a Lap 29 pileup involving several race leaders had helped him on strategy.
The incident started after contact between Vern Hawkins III and Craig Forsythe for the race lead heading into Turn 1. Both pinballed off one another into Tony Showen as they headed towards the outside wall. The incident also collected Chris Fowler, Trevor Malone, Matt Wagner and Micael Hagstrom.
It was one of three cautions during the event.
“We could have maybe stretched it from there,” said Maleczka. “I knew if we got to Lap 66 or 67, we would have been good to the end with about half a run saved. I think with 10 or 11 laps to go, I knew I was good, so that’s when I started moving to the front.”
Much of the focus was on Nick DeGroot, Jorge Anzaldo and Chris Stofer during the race. The three had gone on an alternative strategy, swap drafting for several laps while breaking away from the pack by as much as eight seconds.
The three drivers eventually finished more than 24 seconds behind the race lead in Positions 7-9.
Maleczka said he, Newsome and Hysong played their strategy perfectly. The Factory Backed driver ran out of gas just feet after the finish line.
“Me and Alexis on every straight, we were constantly checking fuel numbers,” said Maleczka. “We had a good idea where we could make it to and it worked out great for both of us.”
Next, the Lionheart Speedway Series Presented by The DMLC Racing Channel will be going to Kentucky Speedway for the SimXperience 200 at Kentucky Presented by Chris Fowler Racing. It can be seen live on RaceSpot TV and ESTV on June 28th at 10:35 p.m. EST.