Michel de Jonge led wire-to-wire Wednesday night en route to his third Lionheart IndyCar Series win of the season, this time at the legendary Road America circuit in the No Chance Racing Rocks 101. But the man of the night was second-place finisher Jake Wright, who clinched his first series championship with two rounds of racing still to go.
“It’s been a great season,” a relieved and humble Wright said after the race. “Now I want to go out and win the last two races.”
de Jonge started from the pole and opened up a 10-plus second lead over Wright by the end of the 25-lap race, mostly due to a spin in turn eight by the eventual champion. That allowed de Jonge to cruise to the win.
“First I have to congratulate Jake on his championship, it’s well deserved across the whole season,” de Jonge said. “I just knew that if I stayed ahead and didn’t make a mistake, I could probably beat him. Unfortunately for him he had trouble at there otherwise I think we could’ve had a great battle at the end. But I’m just happy to win, this is one of my all-time favorite tracks.”
Ricky Hardin took advantage of a Jason Robarge spin with four laps to go to take home third.
“I just caught the right breaks tonight with (Jason Robarge) and (Dan) Geren,” Hardin said of cars that had off-track incidents. “I just got lucky.”
Robarge finished fourth with Geren fifth.
The race saw several incidents, especially in turn eight. That started on the first lap, when Joe Branch, Ian Adams, Korey Connor and Chris Stofer all came together. Pierre Daigle also picked up damage in the wreck. Stofer and Adams were unable to continue, victims of the initial spin by Branch and the chain reaction.
29 cars started, but only eight completed all 25 laps. No car made it through the race clean, as everyone had at least one off-track encounter while adapting to a new rules package in place from iRacing this week.
James Krahula missed the event due to a personal issue, allowing Wright to clinch the championship two events early. Wright leads Krahula by 185 points. Big Joe Hassert, Hardin and Tommy Rhyne round out the top five in the standings.
The series next heads to Atlanta for the penultimate events of the season. The Deadzone 150 goes green live on Global SimRacing Channel at 10:50 est on January 6, 2016.