In annals of tricky oval corners, Turn 2 at New Hampshire Motorpseedway is one of the most under rated. Whether it was Scott Sharp using Mike Groff as a launching ramp in 1994, or Tony Kanaan taking out a portable washroom in 2011, the exit of turn 2 has been treacherous in the real world. In the virtual Lionheart series, there has also been dramatic moments. Brian Yaczik spun out of the lead in season 5, while that same year, Andrew Kinsella used two passes in that same spot to win his 2nd Lionheart series victory. Two things are certain going into this week; the one-mile oval has produced some action-packed races, and the Skid Mark Motorsports 200 may be the most aptly named race on the schedule!
Last time out at Road America, Adam Blocker once again dominated on a road course, although the record gap of nearly 1 minute he enjoyed earlier this season at Barber, was reduced to a mere 9 seconds. Dan Geren kept Blocker honest for much of the race, never straying to far back, and ultimately finished 2nd. The Adrenaline Motorsports teammates of Andrew Kinsella and Bryan Carey battled through most of the race, with Kinsella ultimately emerging triumphant after a small mistake at Canada Corner saw the two London Ontario drivers swap positions. Connor Harrington rounded out the top 5. The result leaves Adam Blocker needing an 8th or better finish this week at New Hampshire to clinch back-to-back championships. Dan Geren is 224 points back, while Andrew Kinsella is a further 136 points back of Geren. Really it is 3rd through 6th where the greatest battle will be. Kinsella leads Stephen Laarkamp by a mere 18 points, while Just Weaver and Brian Yaczik are both 36 points back of Laarkamp.
Now we come to New Hampshire, and if there is one track that might give Dan Geren some small hope, it would be the 1-mile oval. Last year Geren managed to hold of Kinsella by a scant 0.1 seconds as the Midwest driver was good to the last drop of fuel, running out as he crossed the finish line in a fuel mileage gamble that just barely paid off. Geren will need to repeat another win this year to maintain any slim hope in the title fight.
Speaking of Kinsella, the Canadian driver loves New Hampshire. Before he finished 2nd to Geren last year, it was the site of his 2nd Lionheart win in his rookie season, giving Kinsella an average finishing position of 1.5 at the mile oval. Kinsella still has a shot at 2nd; if he can get the win at New Hampshire, the Canadian might just be able to catch Geren.
Adam Blocker might be the one driver not looking forward to New Hampshire. At least in the Lionheart Series, Blocker has not had the best of luck at the flat track. In his rookie season, Blocker was involved in a crash, finishing a distant 22nd, while last season he finished 10th, but never really looked the threat to win. However, he doesn’t need to win this one. He only needs two spots better then last year to clinch his second Lionheart title.
Last year, the rookie of the year title came down to 2 drivers, Stephen Laarkamp and Justin Weaver. These two drivers once again find themselves very close to each other as the season winds down, sitting 4th and 5th overall. Last year, Weaver finished 4th in the epic duel to the flag. Laarkamp has got to where he is through consistency. 12 top 10’s but only 1 top 5. Weaver has been more up and down, with 11 top 10’s, and 4 top 5’s, but also more DNF’s.
This year’s rookie of the year title is the crown no one seems to want to seize. Mike Rigney had an unfortunate netcode event at Road America, and now sits just 19 points in front of Damon Martinez, while John G. Hill is just 9 points further back. This rookie battle is going to be going down to the wire!
For all the action, tune in this Wednesday, November 13th at 10:35pm eastern, only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.