For the first time in three years, the ole track announcer pulled through.
Jason Galvin made a late race pass for the lead and held on in a three-wide finish for this first Lionheart Racing Series victory at Phoenix International Raceway - now known as ISM Raceway - in the Indy Elite Grand Prix of Phoenix. It was Galvin’s fourth career win in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation.
“What a finish,” Galvin said. “I can’t believe Adam (Blocker) gave me the bottom. I think he had to defend both lanes because of Dustin (Wardlow) being up top. Once I got back to the lead, I felt pretty good.”
Galvin had to overcome a mid-race speeding penalty on pit road that sent him to the back, and then several large accidents, to climb back into the battle for the win.
The former announcer at PIR led the most laps (56) after starting third.
“This win means a lot,” Galvin said. “I’ve been close here several times. This is my home away from home. A lot of good memories were made up in that announcer booth and in the real victory lane.”
Galvin held off Blocker and Brian Yaczik over the final five laps, winning by 0.046 seconds, the third closest finish in series history.
“That was pretty crazy,” Blocker said. “Especially at the end with longer green flag runs. The craziest thing was you could make the inside or outside work down in one and two. I was hoping I could just keep the lead on the inside. But guys were getting pretty aggressive.”
Yaczik was happy with third after scoring his first top five of the season.
“It’s not bad,” Yaczik said. “You want wins, but to get a podium is pretty good. With these cars, they don’t have enough horsepower and they kick out a big wake, so you can’t run away and hide. When I got out front, they’d just swallow me up.”
The race was slowed 8 times for 31 laps. Several big accidents took out a number of contenders.
The first major wreck occurred on lap 43, when Andrew Kinsella bounced off the turn four wall while running third. Kinsella careened down track, hitting pole winner Alex Saunders. Saunders flew into the inside wall, flipping over and collecting Justin Weaver, Jorge Anzaldo, Ed Tutwiler and Frank Bieser.
On the ensuing restart, Kinsella suffered more damage when Pete Edwins crashed. Edwins race ended, while Kinsella limped home to a 13th place finish, one lap down.
Tyler Graaf and Samuel Reiman stayed out while the leaders hit pit road. On the restart, Graaf held off Yaczik and Galvin for a few laps, but on lap 56, Graaf lost the back end in turn one. Galvin narrowly avoided, but Reiman, Marc Aumick, James Krahula and Chris Lanini were all swept up.
Through the chaos, just eleven cars finished on the lead lap. Wardlow and James Brant rounded out the top five. Vincent Bluthenthal, Travis Jegerlehner, Woody Mahan, Krahula and Joe Branch completed the top ten, with Robert Blouin the final car on the lead lap.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation takes a week off before hitting the road for the second time this season, in the inaugural Becida Bar and Grill 125 at Brazil’s Autodromo José Carlos Pace.
Blocker leads Yaczik by nine in the championship points standings. Wardlow is nine points further back in third.
Galvin, who missed the season opener before crashing out early in round two at Watkins Glen, sits 20th.
Raven Motorsports, a new team comprised of Jegerlehner, Galvin, Wardlow, Anzaldo and Reiman, leads the team points heading into the race at Interlagos
The race can be seen Thursday, May 3, live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.
From the rolling green hills of upstate New York, we travel now to the orange and red cliffs of Grand Canyon country. The Lionheart Retro series roars into Phoenix International Raceway for the Indy Elite Series 150.
It was domination from start to finish last time out for debutant Alex Saunders. Saunders led every lap - from the pole - on his way to the win in the Clipping That Apex Grand Prix at the Glen. Ryan Otis finished a strong 2nd with the fastest lap of the race, but couldn’t overcome Saunder’s consistently fast laps. Justin Weaver finished 3 edging out Michael Goodman and defending champ Jake Wright.
The top 3 from round 1; winner Adam Blocker 2nd place Dustin Wardlow, and 3rd place Andrew Kinsella all found trouble at the Glen, resulting in a large shake-up of the points. Ryan Otis is now your points leader heading into round 3 over Jake Wright and James Krahula, but this championship is already shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested in Lionheart history.
The presenting sponsor for this event is the Indy Elite Series owned and operated by Lionheart member Joe Branch. The Indy Elite Series is the other major IndyCar league on iRacing, focusing on the open setup side of open wheel IndyCar Racing. Its races can be seen live via Racespot. This is the second season that The Indy Elite Series and Lionheart has partnered up to cross promote their leagues.
After the dominating performance in his Retro Series debut can Alex Saunders follow up with an impressive performance on the oval? If he can have solid finishes on the ovals he would be a strong contender for this years championship.
What about Adam Blocker? Not only was he fast at Watkins Glen before a mistake cost him a chance to fight for the win, he is the defending race winner at Phoenix. Can Blocker get back on track and repeat?
Justin Weaver has jumped up 16 spots in standings after an impressive podium finish at Watkins Glen to sit P10 in the driver standings. Can Weaver use the momentum from a strong podium results to continue rising up the standings?
After two rounds Dragonfly Racing led by Otis finds itself in first place in the team standings. Could this be the break out year for Dragonfly with the addition of new drivers Otis and Paulson? With 6 teams within 25 points of each other, it is not just the drivers championship that is shaping up to be the tightest ever.
Finally, we must talk about the track. The Retro series will be using the older, lower banked scan of Phoenix, in keeping with the Retro feel of this series. This means a track surface that is old and full of bumps. One wrong move could lead to multiple cars ending up in the wall on this tight one mile oval.
Who will be able to survive the track, outwit his fellow competitors and emerge victorious? Tune in Thursday April 19, 2018 at 10:35pm EDT to find out, only on GSRC and iRacing Live.
If there was ever a flawless debut in a series, Alex Saunders accomplished it Thursday night in his first start in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation.
Saunders led every lap - from the pole - on his way to the win in the Clipping That Apex Grand Prix at the Glen.
“This is my favorite car,” Saunders said after the race, noting that he let the gap to Otis close up to allow cars on the tail end of the lead lap to battle. “I was just holding back at the end, I told the cars in front I wouldn’t lap them. That way, everyone had fun out there.”
Saunders established himself as the race favorite in practice events leading up to Thursday’s second round for the Retro Series.
When the race came around, he didn’t disappoint, setting fast time over defending event winner Ryan Otis. Saunders then held a steady gap through the one pit stop race, beating Otis by 1.138 seconds for the win.
“I’m really happy with the finish,” Otis said. “I knew this would be an epic battle. We were both driving the wheels off the thing.”
The rest of the field saw a shakeup from the normal Retro Series front runners. Adam Blocker, Jason Galvin, Andrew Kinsella, Travis Jegerlehner and Dustin Wardlow all experienced contact that eliminated them from contention.
Defending series champion Jake Wright lacked his normal pace throughout the event.
As a result, Justin Weaver scored a career-best third place, his first podium in the Retro Series, edging his teammate, Michael Goodman, in the newly formed 8 Ball Motorsports.
“I just tried to keep it on the track,” Weaver said. “It turned out to be a good finish for us. I didn’t have anything for those top two guys there.”
Wright settled for fifth. James Krahula, Brian Yaczik, Scott Johnson, Samuel Reiman and Chris Lanini rounded out the top ten.
Just nine cars finished on the lead lap, and 13 of the 37 starters failed to finish in a race that featured an unusually high attrition rate, especially at a track as well known to the drivers as Watkins Glen International.
As a result, Ryan Otis grabbed the points lead - the only driver to finish in the top five of both races this year - leading Jake Wright by 22. Krahula sits third, followed by Woody Mahan and Goodman.
After a week off, the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation returns to the oval side of racing, tackling the historic Phoenix International Raceway on its original layout.
The Indy Elite Grand Prix of Phoenix can be seen in its entirety on April 19, live on the Global SimRacing Channel, at 10:35 p.m. EST.
For more information on the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
In the real world, the scenic hills of upstate New York are just now shedding their winter snow fall. In iRacing, those hills are about to be alive with sound of Cosworth DFV’s screaming up through the Esses and down into the Carousel. It is time for the Lionheart Retro Series’ Clipping That Apex Grand Prix at the Glen!
Last time out it was Adam Blocker finally conquering a Superspeedway for the first time in his Lionheart career. The hottest driver from the second half of last season remained hot by taking the opening round victory over Duston Wardlow and Andrew Kinsella at the ButtKicker 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Ryan Otis came home 4th with Jesse Vincent rounding out the top 5 in his return to competitive Lionheart action.
From the high banks of Homestead to the rolling hills of upstate New York, the Retro drivers face a completely different challenge in round two, but don’t be surprised if the leaderboard remains familiar. Adam Blocker won 3 times on road courses last season and was ever present near the sharp end of the field since his debut midway through last season. Ryan Otis also grabbed 2 road course wins, including here at Watkins Glen last season, as he dominated the field, starting on pole and leading the most laps, including normal road course king Jake Wright. Speaking of Wright, the defending series champion had a quiet race at Homestead coming home with an 8th place finish. Look for Wright to be closer to the front in Round 2. A dark horse to watch out for is Dustin Wardlow, last week’s 2nd place finisher is a quietly good road course driver, and if he can stay out of trouble early, look for him to be poised for a good finish at the end.
One thing that everyone will have to deal with is an increased race distance for all road events in the Lionheart Retro Series. This event as well as all other road events have been increased to 125 miles for the 2018 Season in an effort to promote more pit strategy and push the drivers focus and skill even further.
The race this season is sponsored by Clipping that Apex. Clipping That Apex provides the finest in quality hand-drawn motorsports art. They hold a special place in the heart of every Lionheart driver, after Clipping That Apex produced a custom piece of artwork of the late Patrick Taylor. These prints were limited to just 81 and are still available via his website, www.clippingthatapex.com. Clipping That Apex is providing a promo code for 15% Off for all viewers: LIONHEART18 for anything on their site, including the Patrick Taylor piece.
Adrenaline currently leads No Name Racing by 30 points in the Team Championship presented by Clipping That Apex on the back of podiums from Blocker and Kinsella. As the schedule shifts to the road, will the balance also shift away from Adrenaline?
As the winner of round 1, Adam Blocker currently sits atop the championship standings 6 points over 2nd place Dustin Wardlow. The Grand Prize for the 2018 Retro Series Presented by HPP Simulation is a 3P-PRX-SE pedal set valued at $1,395. The big question of the season is who will take these beauties home? Will it be the defending champ? Last years runner up? Our round 1 winner? Or another dark horse waiting in the wings to scoop up the prize?
The Clipping That Apex Grand Prix at the Glen will be broadcast live on Thursday April 5th at 10:35pm eastern on GSRC and iRacing Live.