By Justin Prince
For the second time this week, Matt Taylor has won at iRacing’s virtual New Hampshire Motor Speedway, this time in the Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience.
Taylor held off his Avatar Auto Racing teammate, Aaron Morgan, in a seven-lap shootout to win the SimXperience 150 at New Hampshire Presented by Dewar's Candy on August 5.
Hebeat Morgan by 0.051 seconds to score his second victory of the season.
Michael O’Brien, David Sirois and Mike Rasimas rounded out the top five.
“We were really tight,” said Taylor from HyperX Victory Lane. “I wasn’t sure what the last caution was going to do and what that was going to finish like. It could have finished the same way even without the caution there and he had that draft and was reeling me down there in the end. Good, hard battle.”
The late-race restart was triggered after Trevor Malone crashed in Turn 3 on Lap 130. Malone was running side-by-side with Alex Guyon to his inside when they entered the corner. He then started drifting loose from the top of the race track before snapping right into the SAFER barrier. The incident immediately demolished Malone’s car, shearing off the front wing.
On the ensuing restart, Morgan attempted to build momentum and find clean air by running the third line in the corners. By Lap 138, the Avatar Auto Racing driver was able to get to the outside of Taylor. Taylor exited the corner away from the wall, opening the door for Morgan. The two drivers ran side-by-side down the straights for several laps with Taylor running lower down the track each time.
On the final lap, Morgan nearly hit the wall out of Turn 4, costing him a chance to be side-by-side at the checkered flag.
“I knew we were going to finish a team one-two-three, so I’m really happy about that,” said Morgan. “It was a lot of fun. There’s no one else I’d rather race than Matt or Mike. Those two guys are the best racers in the whole league as far as I’m concerned and I love going wheel-to-wheel with my teammate.”
Jorge Anzaldo started the race from the pole, pulling away by as much as eight car-lengths in the first five laps. The Raven Motorsports Silver competitor led the first 51 laps until the first pit window opened, handling the top spot over Dustin Wardlow.
As Anzaldo was pulling out his pit box, independent driver Chris Staples dived to the inside of Guyon from the first line in Turn 3. Guyon attempted to diamond the corner right into the right front tire of Staples, spinning both drivers out. As Guyon saved his car in the grass, Staples spun up the racing surface, narrowly avoiding traffic as the caution flag came out.
During the pit stops, disaster struck for Wardlow. He went on the jacks to change tires twice, costing him the lead. Sirois won the race off the pit lane over Taylor and O’Brien.
Sirois kept his Lavoie Motorsport car in the lead until Lap 88, when the clouds started to come out over the track. Taylor was able to build up a run on Sirois down the frontstretch, diving to his inside by the entry into Turn 1. Sirois immediately backed off, giving Taylor the lead.
Taylor went on to lead 52 laps on the way to victory.
Next race, the Lionheart Retro Series Presented by SimXperience goes to Iowa Speedway for the Fisch Motors Iowa 150 Presented by Midwest Simulations on August 19. Coverage will begin at 10:35 p.m. ET on RaceSpot TV and can be watched on tape delay on ESTV.
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