The Lionheart series roars back to life at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the #nailedit 150. Last time we saw them, the Lionheart series paid an emotional tribute to the life of Patrick Taylor at the Race Centre 100 at Philip Island Circuit. The race was won by Dan Geren in dominating fashion over championship adversary Jake Wright. Geren’s win put him into a dead heat with Wright atop the driver’s standings. Former championship leader Andrew Kinsella fell 90 points back with a 7th place finish, while fellow rookie and 4th in the standing, Michael Goodman continued to put pressure on Kinsella with a 5th place finish. Not to be forgotten is James Krahula who drove an inspired recovery race after a 2nd lap spin left him 16th, to finish 6th. Krahula sits 5th place in the standings, only 142 points back of the co-leaders. With 8 races, including a double points race in the season finale, their still everything to race for.
From a tight and technical road course, the Lionheart Series now travels half way around the world and back to the North American continent for some Wednesday night short track action. New Hampshire is notoriously difficult to pass on, and so rewards excellent qualifying pace and pit strategy.
When it comes to qualifying, there are not many better than Dan Geren. Geren has 5 poles and an average starting spot of 3.81. If he can put his car near the front in qualifying once again, Geren will surely be looking to build on his first career road course win and keep his championship momentum alive.
When looking for favourites, however, it is hard to look passed Jake Wright. Earlier this season at the similarly configured Milwaukee Mile, Wright emerged the winner in dominating fashion after overtaking his teammate Pierre Daigle during the first round of pit stops and never looking back. The No Name Racing duo will surely be looking to spoil Geren’s party and get the championship lead back into Wright’s hands. They should have some help from their teammates in this one. At a track where tire degradation is high, and passing at a premium, James Krahula is a master of working the strategy in his favour. If the cautions fall just right, look for Krahula to be at the front near the end. Brian Yaczick is coming off a strong Philip Island result and will be keen to keep the momentum going. With such a formidable line up, it is no wonder No Name Racing is leading the team championship.
They are not the only team that did well at Milwaukee, however; Adrenaline Motorsports had perhaps their best race of the season taking home 3 of the top 6 positions, including 3rd from Joe Branch, a brilliant debut 4th place from Adam Blocker, and a solid 6th for Chris Stofer, who was pipped to the line by Jonathan Goke by a mere .1 seconds. With Tony Showen also coming home 10th, Adrenaline showed that they are a force to be reckoned with on these 1 mile flat ovals. Conspicuously missing from this list is the final Adrenaline Member and 3rd place in the championship Andrew Kinsella, who was forced to miss the Milwaukee round. After tremendous consistency saw Kinsella leading the points for the first 11 rounds of the championship, the rookie has hit a rough patch of late, leaving himself a hole to climb out of if he still harbours championship aspirations. Rookie driver Kinsella will surely be getting all the pointers he can from his teammates in preparation for this race.
Kinsella, however, can’t be focused on the two drivers ahead of him in the championship. Michael Goodman is breathing down his neck not only in the championship, but for Rookie of the Year as well. Goodman was having a strong race Milwaukee before an incident saw him finish in 11th. Look for Goodman to be strong once again at New Hampshire and build off his 5th place finish at Philip Island.
Dark horses to watch out for include rookie Justin Weaver who had a strong debut at Atlanta and a good qualifying effort before a rough race at Philip Island, Ryan Otis, and Big Joe Hassert.
All the action for the #nailedit 150 can be found on GSRC and iRacing Live.