If Wednesday night was any indication, Sage Karam will be tough to beat. The real-world IndyCar star showed his might in the sim world as well Wednesday night, leading 33 laps en route to winning the Minus 273 Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Cranfield Simulation.
Karam led all but four laps, beating defending champion Adam Blocker by 16 seconds, while capturing his first win of the season in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
“It was a good race, the track was very difficult,” Karam said. “I kinda figured it out and got in a groove. I was never 100 percent comfortable and was nervous coming in. But I’m happy we got through it.”
Karam rebounded from a tough opening race at Homestead, where a multi-car crash put his virtual IndyCar behind the wall.
Wednesday night, Karam made sure nobody could get in his way.
“My goal was to get the lead early and get a gap,” Karam said. “Once the draft was broken on the first lap, I was able to put my head down and turn some laps.”
Blocker led four laps during pit cycles, but was never really close to Karam.
“With about ten to go, I hit the wall coming out of the boot and it cost me about ten seconds,” Blocker said. “I tried to make a move early on lap one, but on lap two I made a big mistake in the bus stop and almost ended up in the wall. I just didn’t feel like pushing at that point.”
Connor Harrington ran a clean race, moving up from fifth to earn the final podium spot.
“It feels nice to finally finish a road course race without putting it in the tires,” Harrington. “We didn’t have the pace of Sage or Adam but we were just trying to run clean laps and it worked out.”
Andrew Kinsella and Bryan Carey rounded out the top five - the teammates both started outside the top ten - as part of a mad dash to the finish in the back half of the top ten.
Dustin Wardlow, Justin Weaver, George Sandman, Stephen Laarkamp and Tyler Graaf rounded out the top ten. The gap from fourth to 10th was less than three seconds.
26 of the 40 starters finished the race.
Incidents ended the night for several competitive drivers.
Brian Yaczik spun entering the pits while running in the top ten, and hit the wall, ending his race.
Third place starter Damon Martinez and fourth place qualifier Michael Goodman both wrecked before lap three.
Bob Mikes, Chris Stofer, Isaiah Dupree and Chris Lanini were all out before the third lap as well.
It’s early, but the top of the points look similar to how 2018 ended.
Blocker leads Dan Geren by 13 points, with Kinsella one point back in fourth. Wardlow and Harrington round out the top five.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads back to the ovals, first at Kentucky Speedway for Oma’s Kentucky 200, a race dedicated to the memory of league member Marc Aumick’s mother-in-law. Shari Boggs, known as Oma to her grandkids, lost her battle with cancer in 2017.
The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network with production by Global SimRacing Channel Wednesday, April 3, at 10:40 p.m. EST.