Last season, Chris Stofer finished as one of the strongest racers in the Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment. There was every reason to believe that his momentum would carry into this season but unfortunately things did not work out that way. He struggled early, completing just 3 laps in the season opener and finishing 28th or lower on four occasions.
All of those early struggles were forgotten on Wednesday night when Stofer emerged as the winner of the Dirtyblinds.com 300 at Pocono Raceway. The dicey and intense sim race served as the first leg in the league's Triple Crown and netted Stofer numerous prizes – as well as double points.
The Indiana-based sim racer took the checkered flag following a tight battle with Dave Barber in the closing laps. Unfortunately, the thrilling fight ended abruptly following slight contact that sent Barber into the wall and brought out a race-ending caution. The incident left Stofer with mixed feelings as he celebrated in victory lane.
“It was tough to win that way after such a good race,” said Stofer after climbing out of his Chevy-powered Dallara DW-12. “Dave was up there and had a lock on the field before that last caution. I really feel bad for the guy.”
The victory was Stofer's second career Lionheart win and the first-ever Triple Crown victory for Adrenaline Motorsports. The team celebrated a 1-2 finish after Andrew Kinsella came home second behind Stofer.
“Oh man! It was wild out there! I tried to stay out of it as much as I could,” said Kinsella. “By the end you had to just go for it. Once I got into the top five it was a matter of trying to maximize the points.”
Kinsella's solid finish kept the Canadian in first overall and stretched his lead to 43 points. As an added bonus, Adrenaline Motorsports leapfrogged Team #NailedIt and No Name Racing to take over the lead in the team championship standings.
“The whole team tonight worked really well together,” added Kinsella.
Last year's runner-up Dan Geren claimed the final podium spot after an up-and-down night.
“It was a long race for me,” said Geren, who bounced back from a pit lane penalty early in the race. “I exited the pit when it was closed. I had to drop to the back and then I had to work my way back up, so getting third, I will take that!”
Geren finished just ahead of his teammate and defending winner Jonathan Goke. Controlled Chaos Racing teammates Bob Mikes and Scott Bolster finish fifth and sixth respectively while Ron Hacker, Pierre Daigle, Ryan Otis and Michael Goodman rounded out the top ten.
The 120-lap sim race was slowed by 10 cautions for 28 laps. Overall, 22 of 41 starters finished the event. Among the casualties were Jason Galvin, Brandon Limkemann, Ian Adams, James Paulson, Brian Yaczik and Jake Wright.
As noted above, Andrew Kinsella extends his overall lead to 43 points. Dan Geren's strong finish moved him up four positions to second while Michael Goodman now sits third. Michael Gray and Ryan Otis round out the top five. Jake Wright, who went into the event just 5 points back of Kinsella, slipped eight spots to tenth overall and now finds himself over 100 points out of the lead.
Race winner Chris Stofer gained an impressive sixteen spots after the win and now sits thirteenth overall. He also earned $50 in cash, a custom winner's plaque, a hardcover book, a trading card set and several custom prints.
The Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to the virtual track next week at the Texas Motor Speedway for 133 laps of sim racing action. The event will be broadcast live on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and iRacing Live on May 10th beginning at 10:35PM ET.
For more information about the Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, please visit www.lionheartracingseries.com.