After spending 3 weeks tearing up the Midwest, it’s across the pond for the Lionheart IndyCar Series for the Big Joe Show Spectacular at Donington Park. Last time out at Gateway for the plastidipgarage.com 150, it was Chris Stofer leading over 100 of the 120 lap event, but it was his teammate, Joe Branch, who stole the win, stretching his fuel tank to the absolute limit. Rookie Michael Goodman also used some pit strategy to take home a 2nd place, and put himself back in the Rookie of the Year conversation. Stofer would finish 3rd in front of Rory Collins and Pierre Daigle. The top 3 in the championship would all fall vout of the race on lap 23 with Dan Geren and Andrew Kinsella involved in the night’s biggest wreck, while a loss of power would cause Wright to fall out of the race just a few moments later leaving the top 3 in the championship 28th, 29th, and 30th on the night.
The new magic number for the finale is 111. Due to drop weeks, Wright will currently score no worse then 17 points at Auto Club, while the maximum anyone can score, including bonus points, is 128. Therefore, anyone within 111 points of Wright entering the finale has a shot, however slim, at the title. This means that with just 3 races remaining, things are getting desperate for several title hopefuls. Wright still leads the championship with 1,018 points, 57 points ahead of Dan Geren. Kinsella is a further 70 points back of Geren and 127 points back of Wright. This leaves the Canadian rookie 16 points away from having a shot at the title. Michael Goodman closed to within 56 points of Kinsella for Rookie of the Year, and 183 points back of Wright, meaning Kinsella must not only keep one eye looking forward at Wright, but another eye looking back to Goodman. James Krahula held on to 5th, 271 points back of Wright.
With two road courses in the final 3 races, however, the championship really is a 2-horse race at this point. Jake Wright has been dominant on road courses so far this season, wining 5 of 6 so far this year. Wright has looked in control so far in practice leading up to this week’s race, so stopping his march to the championship might prove a herculean task.
If anyone is up to that task, however, it could be Dan Geren. Geren is the only other Lionheart driver to win on a road course this season. Geren is also famous for practicing more then anyone else for an event. At a track where inches separate the fast line from disaster, this rigorous practice regime could be the key difference.
Looking to spoil the championship party up front will be Adam Blocker and Dustin Wardlow. Blocker has shown to be the only other driver who can match Wright and Geren’s pace so far this week. If the rookie can limit his mistakes, look for him to be right there at the end of the race. Wardlow, while a couple 10ths off the pace has looked poised in practice. If anything should happen to the leader, Wardlow will be right there to pounce.
For Michael Goodman and Andrew Kinsella, while both have shown top 5 speed on road courses this season, the rule of the day will surely be to make sure they are still pointed straight at the finish. While neither can afford to lose anymore points to Wright, even worse would be to lose points to each other. Rather then going for all out speed, look for these 2 to drive a survival race to make sure they are there at the end.
The biggest enemy for the drivers may not be a fellow competitor at all. The Donington Park circuit is one of the toughest road courses the league visits this season. With fast undulating corners giving way to slow hairpins and a chicane, mere inches can be the difference between triumph and a spin. One thing is sure this race will not be short on drama. Tune in to find out what happens on GSRC and iRacing Live Wednesday November 8th at 10:30pm eastern.