With Ryan Otis clinching his second straight Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel championship the focus now shifts to what has become the closest rookie of the year battles in league history.
Seven drivers are mathematically capable of winning the award. Trevor Malone currently sits the furthest back from Tommy Rhyne by 91 points. Malone sits 14th overall with 2 top 5’s and 2 top 10’s on the season and will need to dig deep and finish on the podium to have a good shot at being crowned this year’s top rookie.
Tommy Rhyne has been impressive in his rookie season in the Retro Series, currently sitting in 7th place overall, Rhyne has finished in the top 5 twice this year and has 8 top 10 finishes. Rhyne finished in 6th place at Michigan a track that is very much the same as Auto Club he is expected to be near the front before the checkered flag falls for the final time this year.
Jason Bosse who has reported his possible departure from the series for 2021 would love nothing more than to leave the series on a high note. Currently 7 points back from Rhyne after a 5th place finish at Laguna Seca, Bosse has shown his speed on the ovals and is the only rookie this season to secure a pole position. His main goal for the race will be to avoid trouble on track while trying to keep Rhyne in his mirrors.
Mike Rasimas is definitely sitting in a great spot to potentially take home the rookie of the year honors. Gaining two spots in the standings and sitting 8th overall, Rasimas has had a fantastic season despite having only completed 11 rounds. With 1 victory on the season and 7 top 5 finishes another podium run could be the ticket to stealing the top rookie spot.
One of three rookies this season to reach victory lane this year currently sits 21 points back from Rhyne. Ricky Hardin certainly has had a good season; his photo finish win came at Michigan when he edged out Dustin Wardlow to the line by 0.008 seconds. Hardin also has 2 top 5 and 6 top 10 finishes on the season. Hardin has had his share of DNF’s however, a situation of bad luck mainly, Hardin would love nothing more than to take home another big win and close out the season with the rookie top honors.
Richie Hearn dropped one spot in the rookie standings after having some early contact at Lagua Seca but is still in the fight just 23 points away from the top spot. Hearn who is only a rookie to the Retro Series in the sim world will definitely be using his real-world IndyCar experience this Thursday night at Auto Club when navigating his way through traffic. Hearn who has raced at Auto Club in real life certainly knows his way around the big oval. Richie currently sits with 4 top 5 and 9 top ten finishes this season.
Chris Ragan who is teammates with Hearn on Elite West Racing is 46 points back and 13th overall in the standings. Ragan has had a season similar to his teammate and has had some solid finishes on road courses this year but has been disappointed with his oval results. His best finish this season on an oval came at Pocono where he finished 3rd. Ragan has what it takes to run up at the front. Now it comes down to execution at Auto Club.
The winner of the Rookie of the Year Award presented by ButtKicker will win a $75 dollar purse along with a custom plaque, ButtKicker Gamer2 or Simulation Kit, SimVibe software key from SimXperience, SSD drive from HyperX and various other prizes from the league.
The DMLC Racing Channel Race for the Championship Presented by Sam Maxwell Customs will be live on the Global Sim racing Channel on Thursday, December 17th 2020 with coverage beginning at 9:35 pm CST.
If there is anything learned from over 6 years of competition in the Lionheart Racing Series Powered by HyperX it is that every point matters.
Twice in league history has a championship been won by a single point. The first instance was back in 2014 when the inaugural IndyCar season was won by Jesse Vincent over Richard Behr. The most recent example was in 2018 when Adam Blocker won over Alex Saunders. One can only imagine having a championship slip away by such a close margin but it is a testament to the level of competition in the series.
With just 3 races remaining in the 2020 Season Otis is on pace to win his 2nd Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel championship. The question that remains is does Sage Karam have enough to come from behind and steal the championship away? With the double points event at the finale at Fontana, there are a total of 256 possible championship points available and definitely enough to overcome the 71-point deficit that the Pennsylvanian driver currently faces.
Sage Karam currently sits with 7 wins for the 2020 Season. The most a driver ever had enroute to a championship was 5 back in Season 2 when Adam Blocker won the title. Otis won his first championship with just 3 victories last year. The defending champion currently has 2 wins on the season but despite this his finished inside the top 5 all but once this season. Otis as well as blocker were able to secure 15 top 5 finishes during their championship winning seasons. If Otis is somehow able to finish in the top 5 across the next 3 races and win the championship it would put him as the only driver ever to secure 16 top 5 finishes in a championship winning season.
The Rumble at Road America presented by Z1 Dashboard and Analyzer will produce a first-time winner in the series this season as the previous winners Alex Saunders and Adam Blocker will not be present. The drivers are definitely hungry to make their mark at one of the most popular venues in Lionheart history. The Wisconsin road course has made an appearance 9 times between both the IndyCar and Retro Series. The only time Road America was not part of the Lionheart Schedule was back in Season 1 of the IndyCar Series.
Despite all the focus on the championship battle there are still plenty of positions left to fight over before the checkered flag flies at the season finale at Fontana. Dustin Wardlow who fell one spot from 3rd place now sits just 35 points back from Lionel Calisto. Both drivers have one victory on the season and its going to be interesting to see how this battle plays out over the next few rounds. Wardlow looks to be favored on the road courses however Calisto could come away with the advantage if he’s able to flex his muscles at Auto Club with double points on the line.
Aaron Morgan and David Clymer are certainly still in the mix. Morgan actually sits tied with Wardlow in the points and Clymer is just 33 points back so in theory we could easily see plenty of movement here in the standings with the final 3 races of the season. It’s definitely going to be exciting to watch these drivers fight it out on the virtual track. After all is said and done will we see another driver take the glory by just a single point?
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel returns live on the iRacing eSports Network via GSRC Thursday October 29th 2020 at 9:35 PM CST for the Rumble at Road America presented by Z1 Dashboard and Analyzer
For more information on Z1 and their products visit www.z1dashboard.com
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series Powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
Race Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGWmNrTE0XE
You would think a driver would get tired of ending up on the wrong side of history.
But all Dustin Warlow could do Thursday night was laugh.
Ricky Hardin beat Warlow to the line by 0.008 seconds in the second-closest finish in Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel history, capturing his first career win in the Turn Racing 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
“Can you believe it?” Hardin exclaimed. “I just won in Lionheart man. Can you believe it?”
Hardin overtook Wardlow during a mad scramble on the final lap, a shootout after a caution with five laps remaining threatened to end the race under yellow.
Wardlow dominated the night, leading a race-high 40 laps, but Hardin said he had tested his race-winning move a few times and then put it in his pocket, confident he could use the outside to get around Wardlow on the final lap.
He just needed the opportunity.
“I did not want to be trapped on the bottom,” Hardin said. “I was trying not to tip my hand. I was feathering the throttle a few times up top because I didn’t want him to see how strong it really was up there. As soon as I saw we were going to have a one lap shootout, I said ‘I just won.’”
Wardlow could only laugh, congratulating Hardin as soon as the duo crossed the line. The Bakersfield, Calif. driver known affectionately as the Candy Man, an ode to his sponsor Dewar’s Candy, was genuinely thrilled for Hardin, despite coming up short in a photo finish once again.
“I felt really good up in the third lane actually,” said Wardlow, who also lost the third-closest race in series history to Adam Blocker at Pocono Raceway in 2018. The margin of victory in that race was 0.010. “I didn’t want to really be on the bottom there, but I knew I had to be there at the end. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Ricky. He drove so good and gave me just enough room. That’s racing. He did it right, he did it clean. It was a good race, I had fun and I laughed out loud. Not sure I’ve ever done that before.”
Bob Mikes finished third, left to sit back and marvel at the battle in front of him and hope for a mistake.
“I didn’t think I’d still be in the race after I had a car appear ahead of me before we started,” Mikes said. Matt Huston spun on the initial start, and Mikes narrowly avoided the rookie. “I can’t shift these cars through the gears. That was the difference at the end. I tried to make it exciting.”
Hardin’s win proved a popular one. The South Carolina native was an original member of the Retro Series and also competed in other Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX series until taking some time off to raise his family.
A full-time return for Hardin and his HardInTheWall teammate Tommy Rhyne has not been glamorous, but both have shown speed and captured recent podiums, leading to optimism heading into Michigan. That optimism proved valid after the race.
“That was the most intense racing I’ve ever been involved with in my life,” Hardin said. “What a freaking race. We were white knuckling it a lot in that race. I told you last week when we finished second that I was going to go out here and win this race, and we did it. We did it.”
The race was slowed by a record six cautions, although iRacing’s new quickie yellow feature proved beneficial for all but Wardlow. Just 18 yellow flap laps were run.
17 of the 29 cars to start the event finished.
Sage Karam was involved in an early accident, and seemed destined to all but fall out of the championship hunt, but defending series champion and current points leader Ryan Otis was caught up in the final crash while running inside the top five, relegating him to an 18th and keeping Karam within striking range with four rounds remaining.
The next three events take place on road courses, starting with a trip to the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the Thumbs Up, Cancer Down Grand Prix of Spa. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network and Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST on Thursday, October 15.
This time, Mike Rasimas had enough fuel.
The impressive rookie captured his first career Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel win Thursday night, saving enough fuel to get to the finish as points leader Ryan Otis tank ran dry on the final lap at World Wide Technology Raceway.
The win was vindictive for Rasimas, who one week prior ran out of fuel while leading late at Iowa Speedway.
“Happy to be here,” Rasimas said after his fifth top five in seven career starts. “I’m a little surprised my first win came on an oval, but you have to put a full race together here, and like tonight was all about fuel mileage. It’s definitely a challenge.”
Rasimas followed Ryan Otis to pit road on lap 10, following the only caution of the race, and many teams felt like they would be able to one stop the race from that point.
Half the field stayed out, leading to Sage Karam’s mid-race domination.
But when Karam had to pit for a final time with 15 laps remaining, questions started to arise about the leaders.
For Otis, who rarely had a car in front to catch a tow, the tank ran dry on the back straight during the final lap.
That allowed Rasimas, who stalked Otis over the final 40 laps, to drive around and take the win.
“I had no idea if he was saving at all,” Rasimas said. “I kept trying to put pressure on. I actually hit the wall exiting turn two, it’s funny, I thought the race was over. And so I was just going for it. And then a second later Ryan came on and said he was out.”
Ricky Hardin used fuel saving of his own to come home in second, nearly nine seconds back of Rasimas.
“Man it feels like I just won the Indy 500,” Hardin said. “I’ve had such a bad season here in Lionheart. I was surprised Otis ran out. I really wasn’t that close, but I’m also not as fast as he is.”
Finian D’Cunha, who once again intentionally sat out qualifying, rallied from 25th to third despite the lack of cautions or attrition.
“I spent the entire last run looking at my fuel calculator, seeing if I had enough to get to the end,” D’Cunha said. “I really couldn’t save anything. I tried everything I could. I was just hoping I had enough fuel to get to the end.”
Richie Hearn followed D’Chunha, driving from 26th to fourth, while Otis coasted home in fifth.
The finish was enough to allow Otis to extend his points lead, as Karam’s decision to stay out under the only caution assured he would have to make two green flag pit stops.
Karam finished in seventh, the highest running car on that strategy, just behind Lionel Calisto.
Dustin Wardlow ran the fastest lap of the race and even led two laps, but fell to 19th after speeding on pit road during his final stop.
Karam led a race-high 81 laps, the bonus point helping to ease the pain of finishing behind Otis, as the Retro Series enters the home stretch of the season with just five races remaining.
Otis leads Karam by 67 points after factoring in the two drop weeks the series allows. Calisto is third, still very much in the championship battle, 80 points back of Otis. Wardlow and Aaron Morgan round out the top five.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel is the back half of a Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX double header this week, heading to Brooklyn, Michigan for the Turn Racing 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
The race can be seen live on Thursday, September 24, at 10:35 p.m. EST on the iRacing eSports Network and Global SimRacing Channel.
Michigan International Speedway has meant a great deal to the Lionheart Racing Series Powered by HyperX. It was the site of the very first Lionheart IndyCar Series race in July 2014 and has appeared on the schedule every season for both the Indy and Retro Series. Michigan has also produced some of the most exciting moments in the league over the past six and a half years.
The race last season was certainly one of those moments as it produced 3 and 4 wide racing throughout the entire race and ended with the closest finish in Lionheart Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel history. 2019’s running also saw just 1 caution across the 200-mile event proving that drivers in the Retro Series know how to race wheel to wheel at over 200 mph.
Ryan Otis comes into Michigan as the defending race winner having beat out David Clymer by just 0.002 seconds at the line. The Oregon native is looking to rebound after coming up short at the recent HyperX Gateway 150 when his Lotus 79 machine ran out of fuel in turn 3 on the final lap.
Fortunately for Otis he was able to salvage a 5th place finish and stay ahead of Sage Karam in the points. Sage finished in P7 at Gateway and now sits 67 points back from Otis who maintains his points lead through Round 13 of this 20-round season.
Mike Rasimas has hit the ground running this season moving up another 4 spots in the standings after scoring his first Retro Series win at Gateway. Rasimas sits in 13th overall despite having 4 fewer races than the rest of the field. Finishing outside of the top 10 only once in hist first 7 starts he is likely to break into the top 10 before this season comes to a close.
Ricky Hardin is coming off a solid run at Gateway where he finished in second place behind Rasimas. Hardin will be looking to take that momentum to Michigan where his skill on ovals will likely see him battling up front.
Tune in Thursday September 24th, 2020 live on the iRacing eSports Network via Global Sim Racing Channel to watch the cars and stars of the Lionheart Retro Series with coverage beginning at 9:35 pm CST.
Race Link: https://youtu.be/ON1udQg21-A
For more information on Turn Racing and their products visit www.turnracing.com
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel is set to return to World Wide Technology Raceway today for the HyperX Gateway 150. This will mark the 4th consecutive year that the series has seen the famous 1.25-mile oval. Gateway is unique in that turns 1 and 2 have 11 degrees of banking which is quite different than turns 3 and 4 which have 9 degrees. This presents itself for a real challenge for both the setup designers and drivers as each end of the track requires a different approach.
New for 2020 the setup has been designed to remove much of the snap oversteer that the Lionheart Retro Series drivers have come to experience with the Lotus 79 on the ovals. This has presented a car with much more understeer than previous runnings at Gateway. Aero wash this season is also eliminating any evidence of pack racing this year and drivers will have to us all their skill to setup passes and make them stick.
The previous race winner Marc Cohn and two-time race winner Adam Blocker will not be in the field for tonight’s event. This once again is setting the stage for a first-time winner at Gateway. This season has already produced 6 different winners, with one of them coming from series rookie Matt Taylor with his impressive win at Twin Ring Motegi. Gateway is similar to Motegi in that both ends of the track are not identical and not easy to master. Can Taylor once again find the speed needed to reach victory lane?
Qualifying will certainly be crucial to success with the setup provided to the series for this week’s event. Chris Fowler has shown some great pace in qualifying starting on pole in the first of two warm up races. Ryan Otis has posted the fastest official qualification time so far this week and will certainly be looking for the pole to aid in securing a good finish as well as extending his championship points lead over Sage Karam.
Finally fuel strategy will likely come into play as some drivers will attempt to stretch the fuel to make it on one stop. Estimated fuel runs are near 56 laps so cautions will need to happen in order to make that a reality. In terms of history with incidents Gateway has had its share of them with a series high of 11 in 2019 for a total of 40 laps under caution.
Tune in 9/17/2020 live on the iRacing eSports Network courtesy of the Global Sim Racing Channel to watch the cars and stars of the Lionheart Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel at the virtual World Wide Technology Raceway.
Race link: https://youtu.be/E_4kowJqGhs
For more information on HyperX and their products visit www.hyperxgaming.com
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series Powered by HyperX visit www.lionheartracingseries.com
Fans won’t look at Thursday’s Thumbs Up, Cancer Down 150 at the virtual Iowa Speedway and think of vintage Sage Karam.
But the NTT IndyCar Series driver won’t care.
Karam charged to second place following the final caution, and inherited the lead for the first time with four laps remaining when rookie Mike Rasiumus ran out of fuel, capturing his sixth win of the season in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Karam said. “The race was hard. Dirty air was really bad. I got stuck in the back for a while, but was able to benefit from good pit stops and a couple of restarts. Really interesting race.”
Karam started 19th in the 29 car field following a qualifying mistake, and patiently worked his way into the top five. But the career series wins leader (12) seemed stuck in third until a restart following the sixth and final caution of the race on lap 134.
Karam had tried time and again to get around Tommy Rhyne, with the two even touching wheels on lap 133, but Rhyne continued to look like the stronger car until lap 142, when Karam made a sweeping move into turn one and was able to pull away from Rhyne.
Still, one of the hottest drivers in the league led the way, and despite having not pitted since lap 72, Rasimas continued to stay out well past the projected 75 lap fuel window, albeit with plenty of caution laps mixed in.
“I knew I was kinda racing Tommy Rhyne,” Karam said. “But then we kept getting yellows and I started to think ‘maybe Mike can make it now.’ I thought he was a lot worse on fuel than he actually was. When we got to five to go, I thought he was going to make it. I didn’t know until I saw him pull over, and it was a sigh of relief. I couldn’t get around him.”
Alas, it was not to be, as Rasimas continued to wait for one final yellow flag that never came. His Lotus 79 sputtered on the back stretch with four laps remaining, turning the lead - and the win - over to Karam.
“It just kept getting closer and closer and closer,” Rasimas said. “I just kept trying to save fuel when I could, trying to stretch it out. I needed one more yellow. I was actually pretty happy I got as far as I did. I had to try. It was the only way I was going to beat those super fast guys.”
Rhyne held on for second, even closing on Karam in the final two laps, but ran out of time. The finish was a career best for Rhyne.
“I was just going off the information my teammates could give me,” Rhyne said of being the first car to make the trip to pit road and make it to the end. “I thought if it went green, we would’ve won. It was just so hard to pass the leader, almost impossible.”
Bobby Mikes put on the show of the night, blowing past pole winner and early race favorite Dustin Wardlow (100 laps led) and points leader Ryan Otis in the final 20 laps. It was the best finish of the season for the two-time Retro Series race winner.
“It was an interesting race,” Mikes said after being involved in multiple cautions but surviving each. “I was just waiting for the tires to come in. It’s the age old 79 question, when will they come in? And they finally came in late and we were really good.”
Otis finished fourth, just ahead of a disappointed Wardlow.
18 drivers finished the race, with 15 on the lead lap.
Rasimas fell to 17th, three laps down, after coasting back into his pit stall to top off.
Karam closed the championship gap to 63 points back of Otis, the defending series champion. Lionel Calisto jumped to third in points, with Wardlow up two spots to fourth following Aaron Morgan’s late race crash. Morgan sits fifth, 161 points back of Otis.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel takes three weeks off before returning on Thursday, September 17 at World Wide Technology Raceway, formerly Gateway Motorsports Park, outside St. Louis for the HyperX Gateway 150. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network and the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.
At this point, Dustin Wardlow should run for Governor of New Hampshire. The man practically owns the state.
The driver known as The Candy Man became the first driver in Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel history to three-peat at a track Thursday night, rocketing to the lead on the final pit stop and never looking back in the Dewar’s 150.
“I love this place,” Wardlow said. “I enjoy riding around behind folks, saving fuel, and seeing how everyone else is shaping up. This car just always rotates a little better on older tires at the end, and I like how it feels at the end of the race here.”
Wardlow, whose moniker comes from employer Dewar’s Candy’s world famous taffy chews, has made a habit of taking the lead late at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
In 2018, Wardlow shot to the front passing Michael Goodman and Alex Saunders in the final 50 laps. In 2019, it was Marc Cohn who fell victim to Wardlow’s mastery of the Magic Mile. This time, defending series champion Ryan Otis was left to sit back and watch as Wardlow overcut him during green flag pit stops and ran away.
“My whole pit strategy was to short fuel the first time and jump Jason Bosse,” Otis said of the early portion of the race. “That second run I caught traffic that was just fast enough to where I couldn’t get around them, and I should’ve been putting in fliers there. It just didn’t work out.”
The race featured only one caution, on the opening lap, when rookie Matt Taylor drifted up into Paul Jenkins while battling for third. The two spun to the inside of the back straightaway, with Taylor hammering the tires, ending his race. Jenkins continued, but damaged, and finished eleventh.
The green flag runs allowed Wardlow to focus on fuel saving behind Otis, waiting for the leader to catch lapped traffic and then staying out an extra three laps. Those three laps, the fastest of the race for any car to that point, allowed the Bakersifeld, Calif., native to jump his teammate and control the remainder of the race.
“I didn’t know where I’d come out,” Wardlow said. “I was happy to get some clean laps after Ryan came in, I didn’t have any traffic, and I think that was the difference. Ryan was hot all race.”
Jason Bosse appeared to be the car to beat early on, capturing his first Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX pole and leading the first 60 laps.
But Bosse saw his race come undone on the first green flag pit stop, when he dropped a tire onto the racing surface on pit exit. The ensuing penalty for unsafe pit exit buried him two laps down, and with no ensuing cautions, caused him to finish a dissipating 21st.
Only eight cars finished on the lead lap, with rookie Mike Rasimas continuing his incredible run to start his Lionheart career. The third place finish at NHMS gave Rasimas four top five finishes in five career starts.
“I really love New Hampshire, it was fun to drive here in this car,” Rasimas said. “I’m getting kinda tired of not winning one of these things, but it’s sure fun to be on the podium every week.”
Lionel Calisto and Aaron Morgan rounded out the top five, with Jorge Anzaldo, Chris Fowler and David Clymer also on the lead lap.
Championship hopeful Sage Karam missed the event while preparing for the Indianapolis 500, allowing Otis to open up his lead to 141 points. Calisto closed in, just two points behind Karam now in third.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel will stick with the short track theme, heading to Iowa Speedway for the Thumbs Up, Cancer Down 150 on Thursday, August 27. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network at 10:35 p.m. EST.
With just 7 rounds remaining in the 2020 Season the Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel heads to Iowa for the 4th time in as many seasons. This year will produce a guaranteed first-time winner as its previous winners have switched to full time competition in Lionheart’s IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
The 172-lap event will be part of the league’s double header this week at the speedway. Dustin Wardlow coming off the big win at the Dewar’s 150 at New Hampshire would love nothing more than to make it two in a row and make his way back into the top 3 in the standings. Ryan Otis continues to stretch his lead over Sage Karam who has missed the last two events due to real world racing commitments. The Oregon native now boasts a 141 one-point lead over Karam after finishing on the podium at New Hampshire. Karam will need to rebound quickly scoring wins along with luck from the racing gods.
Otis however has not finished outside of the top 5 in nine of the eleven rounds so far this season. With the consistency Otis has shown the defending champion is looking like the favorite to secure this year’s championship title. There is a lot of racing yet to be done and if anything holds true in the Lionheart Racing Series Powered by HyperX is that every point counts. Alex Saunders lost the 2018 Season championship to Adam Blocker by a single point.
The series will also welcome two new drivers making their debut’s at Iowa Speedway. Matt Huston and Chris Tague who have made appearances in the Lionheart IndyCar Challenge Series have shown pace and are eager to make their mark on the series.
Jorge Anzaldo has shown some improvement over the last two events finishing in the top 10 twice coming off a solid run at New Hampshire gaining 12 positions in a race that proved difficult to make passes. Iowa is definitely a track that Anzaldo feels strongly at and is hoping for another strong run.
With so many talented drivers in the Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel line up its anyone’s race to win. Who will take home the checkered flag in the Thumbs Up, Cancer Down Iowa 150?
Tune in Thursday, August 27th 2020 to watch the cars and stars of the Lionheart Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel take on the Iowa Speedway live on the iRacing eSports Network. Race Coverage begins at 9:35 PM CST via the Global Sim Racing Channel.
If there is such a thing as a perfect race, Ryan Otis delivered the blueprint for it Thursday night.
The defending Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel champion led every lap of the HyperX Grand Prix of Sonoma, taking the win by 14 seconds.
“This track is exhausting,” Otis said. “It’s like autocrossing for an hour straight. It’s not an easy one. I’m glad it’s over.”
Otis captured the pole, pulled away on lap one and never so much as dropped a wheel during the 50-lap event. The victory was the second of the season for Otis, and with Sage Karam absent, the reigning champion opened up a 73-point lead in the championship battle.
“I was on the ragged edge and going as fast as I could go,” Otis said. “I always like racing Sage, so I wish he was here even if he would’ve beat me. But I’ll take a win.”
While the race for the win was far from interesting, the battle from second on back was fierce the entire event.
Rookie Mike Rasimas started seventh and carefully sliced his way through the field, overcoming David Clymer during pit stops to move into second, his third podium in as many starts in the Lionheart Racing Series powered by HyperX. Rasimas also set the fastest lap of the race.
“I have no idea how I got to second,” Rasimas said. “I thought I was in fifth and then everyone pit and I said to myself ‘what happened?’ It was a great race.”
Clymer meanwhile had to hold off a late race charge from series debutant Matt Taylor, who stunned the field qualifying in the second position before slipping back mid-race.
“I’m just happy the car finished,” Clymer said. “I know the car bounced off the wall a few times. I’m exhausted. That was a crazy race.”
Taylor came home fourth, with Aaron Morgan leading a tight three-car battle for the final spot inside the top five, eding Lionel Calisto and Richie Hearn by a few car lengths.
23 cars started the race, with 18 making it to the finish. It was a clean event, with no multi-car accidents.
Otis has checked out on Karam in the championship battle, but there’s a fierce battle for third in the standings brewing as the series approaches the halfway mark.
Calisto leads Morgan and Dustin Wardlow by eleven points. Clymer, George Sandman and Jason Bosse are all within 25 points of third.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel heads back to the ovals for the next five events, starting with the tricky Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan on Thursday, August 6. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network and Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.