After nearly a month of, the IndyCars of the Lionheart series travel across the virtual pond, and down the Mediterranean Sea to Italy for the Plasma Tracks Grand Prix of Monza. The Lionheart IndyCar Series goes to Monza for the first time in series history, where the low downforce IndyCar’s anticipate quite the show.
Last time out at Barber, Adam Blocker was the only driver to stay out of trouble for the whole race, cruising to a series record 52.39 second lead over Dan Geren. Geren and Sage Karam both had problems on pit entry during the race, causing Geren to drop back, and eventually causing Karam to drop out of the race entirely. 3rd in points entering the race, Andrew Kinsella was putting in a strong performance for the oval specialist, running in 4th place until Joe Hassert inexplicably slowed into the fast left-right on the back side of the Alabama check-up. The resultant check-up saw Joe Branch collect Hassert, while Kinsella, who was lapping the pair, take to the grass to avoid the pair. This resulted in front and rear wing damage, that ultimately relegated the Canadian to an 8th place finish. Instead, rounding out the top 5 was Brian Yaczik in 3rd, Connor Harrington in 4th and Michael Goodman in 5th. The only change in the top 5 of the championship saw Goodman overtake Kinsella by 3 points for 3rd place. Meanwhile at the top it is all Adam Blocker, with a lead of over 200 points.
From the twisty, tight Barber Motorsports Park, Lionheart now travels to the Autodromo Natzionale Monza, with long straights and tight chicanes, this week will require a completely different skill set from the Lionheart drivers. Hard braking zones and tight turns and long straights will mean that the driver who can get the car slowed down, turned and back to the gas the best will be you winner. That corner exit speed will be the x factor to watch this week, as the long straights will heavily penalize those who prioritize corner entry in their style.
2 Drivers to look out for this week are Sage Karam and Dan Geren. Karam made some mistakes last time out at Barber, but was the only driver able to match Adam’s one lap pace. This track suits Karam’s aggressive style. A lap 1, turn 1 move could be all the Pennsylvania driver needs to set off into the sunset.
Geren, after hardly putting a wheel wrong last season, has made an uncharacteristic amount of mistakes. Be it a small miscalculation with the throttle or a poorly timed passing maneuver, Geren has yet to capture the form he exhibited in the last half of the season last year. If Geren can shut out the noise on race day, he is as fast as anyone, but it is the mental game he seems to be losing out on this season. Last year around this time, Geren shook off the bad luck and went on a tear to make the championship interesting. Will Monza be the catalyst that gets the Midwest driver back on track?
Last year, the rookie of the year points championship came down to 2 drivers. Justin Weaver, and Stephen Laarkamp. The battled tooth and nail down to the finale, before Weaver got the better of Laarkamp by finishing better in the finale. It is thus not surprising that the two drivers are again in a pitched battled for 6th in the championship standings, with Laarkamp just 14 points behind Weaver. So far this season, Weaver has been the rabbit. Often the faster of the 2, stretching out leads. But Laarkamp has played the tortoise perfectly, being the more consistent finisher of the 2. Just as it was last year, their battle will be a storyline to watch as the championship gear up for the home stretch of 10 races.
It is hard to look past the dominant factor in Lionheart this season for this race. Adam Blocker has been dominant on both road and oval. Even when he starts deep in the field, the Carolina driver finds a way to be at the front come the finish of the race. Thus, it will take something monumental to keep the Adrenaline Motorpsorts driver from the podium in this race as well. But if ever there is a track where the surprising can happen it is Monza. No matter if the corner is fast or slow, all of them require high commitment. One wrong move…one split second lapse of concentration can result in your car against the barrier and your day finished. Blocker has been the model of consistency so far, but we still have 11 races remaining. How long does the concentration last? How long does the luck hold out?
The only way to find out the answers to these questions and more is to tune in this
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 10:35pm EDT for the Plasma-Tracks Grand Prix of Monza, only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.