The biggest race of the year is now one of the most memorable in league history.
Canadian Andrew Kinsella beat his Adrenaline Motorsports teammate Adam Blocker by .020 seconds - mere inches - in a thrilling Thumbs Up, Cancer Down Indianapolis 500 presented by Dewar’s Candy.
It was the closest margin of victory in Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment history at the Brickyard.
“I knew what I needed to do coming out of four on that last lap,” Kinsella said after winning his first Lionheart Indy 500. “I had just enough of the draft to tow me past at the start finish line. I’ve won a top split official Indy 500, I’ve won the Elite 500. Now I’ve won Lionheart. It’s the Triple Crown of Indy 500’s. This feels amazing.”
Kinsella and Blocker both raced through the field, from 18th and 28th starting positions respectively, to battle for the win with Justin Weaver, Michael Goodman and Big Joe Hassert.
After a clean and green first 150 laps, the final sprint to the finish saw multiple cautions and race favorites eliminated, setting up the final three lap dash to the finish.
Kinsella restarted fourth, with Blocker leading teammates Weaver and Goodman.
After tucking behind Blocker for two laps, Kinsella made his move coming to the white flag, popping to the outside of his teammate and nosing in front at the line.
Blocker pulled back ahead down the back straightaway, as Weaver made it three wide near the outside wall.
Kinsella tucked back in for the final two corners, slingshotting around Blocker as the duo passed pit entrance and hanging on for the win.
“Adam’s best play was to do what he did and stay low and hope I didn’t get the draft,” Kinsella said. “I was just able to get enough of it and get around him at the end. Adam drove a perfect race.”
Blocker hinted that he might have been a little conservative, as he marches towards a possible championship repeat.
“I’m overall pretty satisfied, it was a really good points day and my teammate won,” Blocker said. “I started way back and it was a fight all race to get up there. I feel like I had it in the bag had it gone green to the end. But the last little stint was a little bit of a lottery.”
Weaver just beat Hassert to the line for the final podium spot.
“I’m pretty excited about third,” Weaver said. “It’s great to be up there digging with the leaders. You can’t ask for anymore than to be racing for the lead at the end. It was some fantastic fun during those last few laps.”
Adrenaline’s Tony Showen raced his way to a top five in the scramble at the end.
The race was slowed by five cautions for 14 laps. The final three cautions came inside of 25 laps remaining, and started when the early race favorite Dan Geren (69 laps led) and Joe Branch came together in the short chute between turns one and two. The duo were running fourth and fifth at the time.
Both restarts saw chaos as cars further back tried to march to the front.
Bob Mikes, Jason Galvin, Tyler Graaf, Connor Harrington, Chris Stofer and others were damaged or forced to retire in scuffles either on or just after the final two green flags.
16 cars finished on the lead lap, with 24 of the 34 starters making it to the finish.
Blocker’s championship lead is dominant following Geren’s wreck. The Clemson University student holds a 194 point advantage over the Iowa native, with Kinsella catapulting to third with his win.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads to Alabama next for the first half of a double header with its sister Lionheart Retro Series presented by ButtKicker.
The Minus 273 Grand Prix of Barber is set for Wednesday, July 24 at 10:35 p.m. EST, live on the iRacing eSports Network. Global SimRacing Channel will handle the call.