Tony Showen avoided numerous wrecks at the front of the field and fended off a challenge on a late restart to earn his first career Lionheart Retro Series win Thursday night in the Iowa 150.
“Those last several laps there I just made sure I was really smooth in the turns so the rear end didn’t snap on me,” Showen said after the race.
After leader Andrew Kinsella spun on his own, collecting the other dominant car in Michael Goodman with under 10 laps to go, Showen inherited the lead and held off Scott Bolster’s last lap charge.
“I knew if I just got a great jump on the start I’d be alright,” Showen said. “When Scott got to my wing, I just made it as wide as it could be.”
Dylan McKenna and Bolster made contact racing for second in the final corner, allowing Matthew Mercer and Jason Galvin to slip by and onto the podium.
It was a career-best finish for Mercer.
“I was going through three and four and expecting those guys to push up,” Mercer said. “I was basically a dear in the headlights from there on out.”
Galvin’s podium was especially impressive, if not incredibly lucky. Midway through the race, as Joe Branch and Showen headed for pit road, Joe Hassert inherited the lead with Galvin in tow. As both cars entered turn three, both spun simultaneously, in identical spots. Hassert was hit by several other drivers, but Galvin managed to escape with minimal rear wing damage.
The slower car eliminated the risk of the low-fuel spin, and Galvin limped around until attrition took its toll and finished third, closing in on the championship leaders.
“I don’t know how I finished third,” Galvin said. “I made a mistake, and I thought that was it, the season was over. Somehow I looked up at the end of the race, and I’m on the podium and it’s a great points night. It was all luck, but I’ll take it.”
Championship leader Jake Wright’s night ended when Dustin Wardlow also suffered from a spin while low on fuel. Adam Blocker was also collected, and all three were in the top five and competing for the win.
Through the attrition, Travis Jegerlehner came home fourth, with Robert Blouin fifth.
With championship contender Ryan Otis missing another race, Wright opened his lead to 76 points on second. Galvin closed the gap though, now just 8 back of Otis and within striking distance of Wright with four races remaining.
Wardlow leads Jegerlehner by a single point for fourth.
The Lionheart Retro Series heads to its final road course of the inaugural season, Barber Motorsports Park. The Barber 100 is set for Thursday, September 28 and can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST.
For more information on the Lionheart Retro Series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
Sometimes in racing, circumstances out of a driver's control can severely shape the outcome of an event. The same is true in sim racing. But for every driver who misses out on an opportunity, another stands ready to seize the moment, and that’s exactly what Adm Blocker did en route to winning the Road America 100 presented by DewarsCandy.com in the Lionheart Retro Series Thursday night.
“I kinda lucked into that, Ryan (Otis) definitely deserved it more than anyone else,” Blocker said. “But I’ll take it, I don’t luck into many wins so we’ll take it.”
Otis dominated the race from the pole until lap eleven. As green flag pit stops began, several drivers experienced connection issues. Otis and second place Jake Wright were both kicked from the server, as well as Joe Branch and Marc Aumick. Others also suffered connection issues, but in following the Lionheart rule book, league admins decided the race was close enough to official and not enough drivers dropped out to postpone the event.
Blocker capitalized to take the lead, only relinquishing it on his own pit stop.
“It would’ve been a fun race with Jake,” Blocker said. “I got boxed out on the start and Jake and Jason (Galvin) got around me. I was able to get back by Jason pretty quickly, and then I started running down Jake. Pit stops would’ve made it interesting.”
Dustin Wardlow used a quick stop to get around Galvin and away from David Altman, settling into second while leading two laps during the pit cycle. It was the fifth top 5 of the season for Wardlow, who closed in on Galvin for third in points.
“I had a death grip on the wheel, it was insanity for the first few laps,” Wardlow said. “We were slowing each other up and letting people get away that we would have competed with, so we decided to cruise around and try to catch them.”
The start of the race was filled with action. Galvin jumped from sixth to third in the first two corners, before Blocker came back around on lap two. Wardlow, Altman, Michael Goodman, Andrew Kinsella and Travis Jegerlehner swapped spots behind the top four, battling until pit stops with unrelenting pace.
After the lone stop of the race, Altman reeled in Galvin. The two battled fiercely for five laps until Galvin slid sideways out of the final corner with three laps remaining. That allowed Altman to secure a podium, with Jegerlehner also getting around for fourth and Galvin sliding to fifth.
“It was an incredible race,” Altman said. “It was basically running qualifying laps every lap, from racing Dustin early and then Jason and Travis late. That’s probably the most fun I’ve had in two years.”
Wright and Otis both returned to finish 17th and 18th, disappointing nights for the top two in points.
Kinsella, Goodman, Chris Stofer, Scott Bolster and Dylan McKenna rounded out the top 10, as 12 cars finished on the lead lap.
Wright leads Otis by 46 points, remarkable considering Otis has missed an event. Galvin sits 58 back of Otis, with Wardlow another 18 in tow.
The event was the first for the Retro Series since the unexpected death of Patrick Taylor. The 35-year-old league admin and racer died from a medical emergency in his hometown of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada two weeks ago. The series is collecting funds to donate to his family. Teammate and fellow Canadian Robert Blouin is driving a blacked out car in honor of Taylor for the remainder of the season.
The Lionheart Retro Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the Iowa 150 next Thursday night. You can see that race live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 7:40 p.m. EST.
For more information on the Lionheart Retro Series, head to www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.
Adam Blocker used a gamble on pit road, and the draft of a teammate, to finally breakthrough and win his first Lionheart Retro Series race Thursday night, in the Infinite 150 presented by Infinite Racing Group at Gateway Motorsports Park.
“That was wild, it was all strategy for the most part,” Blocker said while celebrating.
The rookie took the lead from pole sitter Joe Branch with three laps remaining and stretched his fuel a remarkable 57 laps. The teammates pitted after a caution, 10 laps short of the projected fuel window. Another yellow on lap 79 gave the duo hope, and put them up front when the leaders hit pit road. The final caution, inside of 20 laps remaining, gave Blocker what he needed.
“We got that second caution, and that was enough to get us close,” Blocker said. “Because I was behind Joe the whole time, that was enough to save fuel and still keep time, and obviously Joe wasn’t able to do that.”
Branch ran out of fuel on the final lap, handing second to Joe Hassert, who used a lightning quick final stop to leap ahead of the early race favorites, Ryan Otis and Jason Galvin.
“It was fun, but it was hard to pass once you got to the top five,” Hassert said after recovering from a 21st place starting spot. “We just ran out of gear there to make things really interesting.”
Otis led a race-high 55 laps, but couldn’t get back around Hassert or Galvin after the final stop. Galvin ran the fastest lap of the race with four laps to go, but ran out of time to catch the leaders.
“What a battle,” Galvin said. “Ryan and I were talking, we had a lot of fun. Our lines were so different, and neither of us practiced much...and he was killing us on entry, and I couldn’t figure it out until about eight laps to go. By the time I figured it out, we just ran out of time.”
The win was redemption for Blocker, who has been in the mix in every series start, including the last race at Laguna Seca. But each time, another driver has found a way to edge ahead and keep the rookie out of victory lane. This time, the role reversed.
“There was no way I was realistically going to pass Joe, so that’s why I just decided I was going to start lifting and saving fuel,” Blocker said. “I’m looking forward to Road America now.”
Pierre Daigle finished fifth, ahead of teammate and points leader Jake Wright. The No Name Racing team had the best team performance of the night, with Hassert second. AGR Motorsports also placed three cars in the top ten, with Galvin joined by Jorge Anzaldo in ninth and Travis Jegerlehner in tenth.
Bob Mikes and David Altman finished seventh and eighth. 15 cars finished on the lead lap, capped by Branch, who coasted to the line. 18 of the 28 starters finished the race.
Five cautions slowed the race for 20 laps, and six drivers led laps.
The Lionheart Retro Series takes a few weeks off before heading to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the Road America 100. Wright takes a 31 point lead over Otis into the event, with Galvin 105 points out of the lead.
The Road America 100 can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST on Thursday, August 24.
For more information on the Lionheart Retro Series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.