This time he had to work for it, but ultimately nobody could unseat the king of the road in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment. Two-time defending series champion Jake Wright led all but two laps, and closed the gap in the standings on his way to a series-leading third win of the season in the IndyCar Grand Prix of Canada at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“I spent a lot of time today trying to get some extra practice laps in,” Wright said from the virtual victory lane. “This is a fun track, and I had a lot of fun racing it.”
Wright held off Ryan Otis, his closest competitor on road courses all season, to win by 3.5 seconds. Otis spent much of the race closing in on Wright, but the winner of all three road events this season was able to open his lead each time.
“There’s a lot of speed in these cars, and even though it looked like a decent sized gap, a two second lead is not comfortable,” Wright said. “I spent all race trying to make the gap what I would call manageable.”
Otis was not disappointed with his effort.
“I thought I probably was, too,” Otis said responding to a comment from the Global SimRacing Channel’s Soup Zahn, stating Otis was the second-best driver all race. “I was trying to hold onto Jake, but I’d close the gap a little bit when he’d hit traffic, then he’d open it back up when I hit it.
“I was trying to put the pressure on as much as I could, being three or four seconds behind him. He did a better job on the pit stops, I never made up the gap there.”
Michael Goodman ran a steady race, comfortably finishing third.
“I just practiced every single day, I just did laps and laps and laps,” Goodman said. “It’s a great track, it’s fun, I enjoyed it. It was definitely hectic for sure, very few places where you can pass.”
Dustin Wardlow brought his car home a career-best fourth, with Michael Gray delivering another solid road course run in fifth.
Several incidents marred the event and prevented contenders from finishing where their pace suggested they should.
Dan Geren, damaged in an incident while lapping Patrick Taylor, wrecked after contact with Mitchell Moehler in turn 2 on lap 36. Geren fell from a top ten run to 27th.
Jason Galvin qualified poorly and never recovered. After spinning twice, Galvin made contact with a loose James Paulson in turn 3 on lap 24. Paulson spun into the wall, ending his race. Galvin avoided damage, but the three incidents relegated him to a 16th place finish, one lap down.
On lap 29, Chris Stofer and Jason Robarge, both comfortably in the top ten, made contact. The duo fell to 14th and 15th respectively, the final two cars on the lead lap.
The back half of the top ten featured a mix of pleasant surprises and heavy contenders.
Championship points leader Andrew Kinsella finished sixth, with James Krahula seventh. George Adams was consistent finishing eighth. Scott Bolster delivered a superb drive to ninth, with Bob Mikes rounding out the top ten.
26 of the 37 starters took the checkered flag in a race that took just over 43 minutes.
Kinsella, a rookie to the series, extended his points lead to 75 over Geren. Wright jumped six spots to third, 7 points back of Geren. Otis and Gray are tied for fourth, one point behind Wright.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes two weeks off now, before its biggest race of the season, the I Race for Gage Indianapolis 500. The 200 lap, double points event is set for Sunday, June 11 at 4 p.m. EST and can be seen live on Global SimRacing Channel.
Jonathan Goke is the defending winner of the 500. Goke will start from the rear as he continues to serve a penalty from incidents at the Texas event. At least 15 drivers are considered serious contenders in the race in what is the most anticipated event in Lionheart history.
The Lionheart Retro Series also heads to Indy for the I Race for Gage 250, set for June 1. That race can also be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST. Wright, Otis, Galvin, Mikes and Travis Jegerlehner are wedged in a battle for the points lead in that series, utilizing the Lotus L79 to duplicate the 1980’s era of American open wheel racing.
For more information on both series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.