A month after earning his first career Lionheart Retro Series road course victory at Mid-Ohio, Jake Wright was back in victory lane again on Thursday night – this time at Laguna Seca. The series points leader topped pole-sitter Adam Blocker in a sim race that was decided during the first and only round of pit stops.
If that story sounds familiar, it's because the Wright-Blocker showdown was almost a carbon copy of the previous round at Mid-Ohio. Once again, Adam Blocker scored the pole and led throughout the first stint. The lead would change hands when Wright, who pitted first, easily went by Blocker as he was exiting the pits on lap 25.
Wright would lead the remaining 20 laps, although Blocker refused to let Jake get away and finished just over three seconds behind. The victory was the third of the season for Wright, who has finished on the podium in eight of eleven rounds in 2017.
“Laguna Seca is one of my favourite tracks to race at. Any time I get a chance to race here, I love it!” said Wright, who also earned a Laguna Seca victory in the Dallara DW-12 last season.
The two-time Lionheart Indycar Series champion stuck to the same pit strategy that proved successful at Mid-Ohio.
“Me and Adam tonight, we were extremely equal in speed,” said Wright. “I was going to do the opposite of what he did to try to get a clean lap and see if I could get anything on him.”
For Blocker, the runner-up finish was his second in just three Retro Series starts.
“I had the pace for Jake, but I just didn't have it quite as consistently as he did. I think when he was behind me for the first stint he was a little bit faster but he just couldn't get by.”
“And then in the pit stop, he just killed it,” added Blocker. “It was basically a copy of our last race from Mid-Ohio!”
Third-place Travis Jegerlehner earned his first podium of the season thanks to a seemingly quiet run.
“I was kind of in no man's land, which was dangerous,” offered the AGR Motorsports sim racer. “I really had to focus because I kind of was daydreaming! Jake and Adam were light-years ahead of me; I would have liked to have tried to track them down!”
David Altman would finish fourth, followed by Samuel Reiman in fifth and Dustin Wardlow in sixth.
Scott Bolster, Scott Johnson, Jesse Vincent and Bob Mikes would round out the top ten, with Bart Working finishing close behind in eleventh. Throughout the 45-lap event, those five sim racers battled for position almost non-stop.
The most notable name in that group was two-time Lionheart Indycar Series champion Jesse Vincent who was making his first career Retro Series start. Vincent, who has been sidelined for much of the past two years by back issues, started in twenty-first before climbing through the field to finish ninth.
“It was good fun; I'm glad I did it,” he said. “I'm disappointed in myself though because for the first time in my Lionheart career I had a self-spin and I lost a position.”
Overall, 24 classic Lotus 79s started the Grand Prix of Monterey presented by Dewar's Candy, although only six would finish on the lead lap.
Wright's second-consecutive win solidifies his lead in the championship. Ryan Otis is now in second, just 37 points behind when drop weeks are taken into account. Dustin Wardlow sits third overall, followed by Jason Galvin and Travis Jegerlehner. Both Galvin and Otis missed this week's event due to other commitments.
The series will be back in action next week with a visit to Gateway Motorsports Park on August 3rd. The Infinite 150 presented by Infinite Racing Group will be broadcast live on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and iRacing Live beginning at 10:35PM ET.