It wasn’t easy, but Jake Wright managed to get through traffic and hold off Adam Blocker to claim his 8th victory of the season at the Big Joe Show Spectacular at Donington, and maybe take a stranglehold on the championship. It’s not over yet, however Wright has now pulled out a 73 point lead over rival Dan Geren, after Geren finished 5th. With two races remaining, Geren must be within 111 points of Wright entering the finale. Third in the championship, Andrew Kinsella now sits 142 points back after a 4th place finish, and has a huge hill to climb in the penultimate race in order to have a shot at the title in the finale. Michael Goodman, who is 4th in points, finished 7th, and now sits 63 points back of Kinsella for Rookie of the Year, 205 points back of Wright. The closest battle in the championship is for 5th place, where just 54 points separate 5th place Jason Galvin with 11th place Bob Mikes. In between those two, James Krahula, Joe Branch, Pierre Daigle, Chris Stofer and Brian Yazick are all in with a shot at the final spot in the top 5.
The race itself started with not Wright, but rookie Adam Blocker sitting on his first career Lionheart Pole. Blocker managed to pip the defending champion on the final of his 4 laps. Geren would start 3rd followed by Dustin Wardlow and Michael Goodman. On the start, the biggest mover in the top 10 was Andrew Kinsella, who vaulted from his 7th starting position to 5th before turn 4. Chaos erupted on lap 2. Joe Flannagan, making his series return, spun out of a top 10 before rejoining unharmed in 16th. Meanwhile, Vincent Bluthenthal got in too hot into turn 5 and contacted Mitchell Mohler in the back, damaging both cars. Up front, Blocker and Wright would start to pull away from Geren and Wardlow, while Kinsella, Yaczik and Goodman all battled for 5th.
Lap 8 and more trouble for Bluthenthal. Joe Flanagan, who had just lapped the damaged car of Bluthenthal was hit from behind as Bluthenthal lost control under braking for the chicane. This would end the days of both cars. 2 laps later, it was Joe Branch getting hit from behind exiting the first hairpin by Scott Bolster. Branch would end up on his lid, ending the race for last week’s race winner.
Pit stops would begin on Lap 12 with Jason Galvin among the first to pit. Wright would pit on lap 13, one lap before Blocker. Blocker, who encountered some traffic on his in lap would lose the lead to Wright in the exchange. Kinsella managed to stretch the fuel one extra lap, gaining a bonus point for leading a lap. After the pit exchange, Wright led by 2 seconds over Blocker, who in turn was 5 seconds ahead of the battle for 3rd between Geren and Wardlow. Kinsella sat a further 7 seconds back of them.
Blocker would use lap cars to close on Wright, and on lap 22 made a dive into turn 5. Wright would hold off Blocker on the outside though, and Blocker would never have as good an opportunity again. Things settled down at the front for the rest of the stint, but battles through the field including Ron Hacker, Pierre Daigle, Jason Galvin and others provided no end to the action.
On the next round of stops it was Dan Geren who made the first mistake of those in the top 5. Geren would get caught speeding on entry, and would get a 15 second penalty, dropping Geren down to 5th. Wright, and Blocker held station, while Wardlow and Kinsella benefitted from Geren’s mistake.
Wardlow’s holiday wouldn’t last long however, as a screen stutter problem caused the Candy Man to spin in the chicane with 12 laps to go. This would also drop Wardlow behind Kinsella, who found himself miraculously in 3rd. It would not be a quiet race to the end, however, as both Wardlow and Geren were less then 2 seconds behind the Canadian rookie.
The duo would quickly begin to pressure Kinsella, before the “hold-your-breath” moment of the race came with 5 laps to go. Wardlow would get the run into the chicane and throw himself up the inside of Kinsella. They would go side by side through the chicane and down into the Melbourne hairpin, where Kinsella was now on the inside. Dan Geren had thoughts of making it 3 wide, but thought better of it, leaving Wardlow and Kinsella to power through Melborne side by side until Wardlow finally got the better of Kinsella into Goddards. Geren would then pressure Kinsella as Wardlow pulled away. Geren would try one last time on the final corner, but it was not to be, as Kinsella managed to hold him off.
Up front, it was all Jake Wright, who lead the most laps enroute to the victory over Adam Blocker, Dustin Wardlow, Andrew Kinsella and Dan Geren. It is a short turnaround for these drivers and the rest of the Lionheart roster, as the Lionheart IndyCar Series heads to Road America for the Loc Precision 100. This can be view Wednesday November 15th at 10:30pm Eastern on GSRC and iRacing Live.