The race was never in question, much like the season championship. And now, defending Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment champion Jake Wright is knocking on the door of a repeat title.
Scratch that. He’s got the battering ram out, and he’s ready to break the door down.
Wright led all but one lap on his way to victory in the IndyCar GP of Monterey, his series-leading 8th win of the year. 6 of those wins have been on road courses.
“It was scary, but it was a fun race, everybody was very respectful out on the track,” Wright said of his performance and having to weave through lapped traffic. “The track is just so tough and so fun, I love racing here. I had a good run.”
Wright’s lead over Jonathan Goke is now 193 points, but Goke is away on deployment with the United States Air Force and will miss the remainder of the season. Wright’s lead over third place Dan Geren is 206.
Geren essentially has to win the remaining three events, and collect multiple bonuses for laps led and poles, all while hoping Wright finds trouble and fails to score more than the minimum five points in each race if he hopes to pull the greatest upset in sim racing history.
His chances of that upset were crushed in turn two at the beautiful northern California road course.
Starting 4th, Geren locked up the tires while trying to avoid Christian Steele, who was having connection issues.
Geren was unable to save the car, which slid left before snapping back right, where Jason Galvin had no time to react. The two collided, damaging both entries.
Geren finished 21st. Galvin rebounded to 14th. Steele was eventually penalized for his connection issues, and chose to retire instead of serving the penalty. He finished 30th.
Wright said his focus now is to just avoid trouble.
“The plan is to just finish the race,” Wright said of the next event. “I think if we can just score some points at Kansas, we can lock it up.”
Road course ringer Ryan Otis collected his fourth top 5 in seven starts, and was the only other leader, snagging bonus points when Wright hit pit road.
“I really didn’t have the speed or pace to keep up with Jake,” Otis said. “Earlier in the week I was doing well and could turn some good laps, but tonight I just couldn’t keep up.”
Brian Yaczik avoided the opening lap scuffle in turn one, and pulled off third.
“We finally put together a solid road course race, start to finish and brought home a top five, I’m happy,” Yaczik said. “I had a really good understanding of how the track flowed, and it was a matter of finding the happy spot.”
Aside from the turn two incident, the race was rather uneventful. Just five of the 33 starters finished on the lead lap. George Adams held off Michael Gray, after the two made contact and spun in the final turn, to take fourth.
Joe Branch, Ronald Hacker, James Krahula, Alfred Shepperd and Jason Robarge rounded out the top 10.
Many of the drivers in the series doned pink paint schemes or wheels in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to the ovals for the final three events, starting with the Lehmann’s Landing 200 at Kansas Speedway on Wednesday, October 19th. The race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST.
Trips to Atlanta Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway round out the 2016 season.
For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.