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.
Matt Taylor has put the Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel on notice.
The rookie scored his first career win in just his second start, navigating the draft and holding the lead through the final restart until a caution with five laps to go ended the SimXperience 175 at Twin Ring Motegi.
“I’m super excited,” Taylor said. “I really don’t have much oval experience at all. I tend to overdrive the car. I think that helped me tonight.”
The series newcomer furiously swapped the lead with Lionel Calisto over the final green flag run, after Sage Karam and Marc Cohn made contact battling for the lead.
Taylor was able to grab the inside line, which proved advantageous through turns one and two, when Dustin Wardlow was sent spinning into the wall following contact with Finian D’Cunha, assuring the race would end under caution.
Taylor impressed throughout the race, leading 14 laps and running inside the top five for a majority of the event.
“Once those guys wrecked in front of me, I had to focus on keeping my nose out front,” Taylor said. “At one point, we ended up four wide into three and I just sent it, and held my breath.”
Calisto mounted a hard charge through the pack, starting in 22nd and avoiding numerous crashes while scoring his second top five of the season. The near-miss stung, but the solid finish propelled Calisto comfortably into third in points.
“I’m happy with a second-place finish,” Calisto said. “I had a little damage and still managed to run in the top five. That’s solid.”
Jason Bosse had perhaps the most impressive performance of the race, being caught up in an early race incident that bent the rear wing of this Lotus 79. Despite the added drag and lack of top-end speed, Bosse was able to dodge other incidents and nearly spoil the party at the end of the race.
“It’s good to finally get a finish,” Bosse said. “That early spin, Scott Holmes came down and we just kind of touched. And I went to the back and had to battle back through the field.”
The race appeared to be coming down to a two-car battle between Cohn, the 2019 series driver of the year, and Karam, the championship contender and series wins leader.
But with 13 laps remaining, Cohn made a run around the outside of Karam heading into turn three. Karam’s car appeared to bobble as he neared the corner apex, and as the Pennsylvania native chased the car up the track, contact was made with Cohn’s left rear.
The man they call the watchman spun around and clobbered the wall, while Karam did a 360 and was able to continue, finishing 12th.
The wreck setup the mad dash to the finish, which saw numerous close calls with Ricky Hardin, championship leader Ryan Otis, Aaron Morgan and series founder Jorge Anzaldo as well.
But it was the Wardlow and D’Cunha contact that ultimately ended the race and allowed Taylor, and others, to let out a collective sigh.
Morgan was credited with being in fourth when the final caution flew, just ahead of Otis.
Otis extended his championship lead to 84 over Karam. Calisto sits 50 points back of Karam in third, with Morgan in fourth and Bosse capitalizing on the podium finish to jump up to fifth.
The race was slowed by seven cautions. Eight drivers exchanged the lead 28 times, with Karam leading a race-high 60 laps in the 113-lap contest.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel returns stateside in two weeks for the Dewar’s 150 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network with Global SimRacing Channel producing the broadcast on Thursday, August 20 at 10:35 p.m. EST.
With the second half of the season underway the Lionheart Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel returns to the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan for the SimXperience 175. The event will kick off the first of five straight oval races. This stretch will undoubtedly throw a lot of things into the air with regards to the championship fight as the high-speed ovals and their unpredictability can open the door for just about anyone to claim victory.
Through the first nine rounds six of those were road course races with Karam winning 4 and points leader and defending series champion Ryan Otis winning 2. Both drivers are always favored to win on the road courses, however they will be tested over the next several rounds and it will be interesting to see if Otis will remain in the points lead by Round 15 when the series returns to road racing.
Otis currently sits 73 points in front of Karam after his most recent win at the HyperX Grand Prix of Sonoma. Karam who was unavailable to attend leaving the door open for Otis to capitalize had good reason to miss the event. The real-world NTT IndyCar Series driver was getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend Abby.
Last year at Motegi Karam had an unfortunate incident where he hit the wall out of Turn 4 in the opening laps of the race giving him a 31st place finish. Otis finished in fourth place to round out the top 5. A total of eight cautions flew last season for a total of 32 laps, the most in series history. The Twin Ring due to its uneven shape is flat out through Turn 1 and 2 but narrows down through Turn 3 and 4. This however is what makes Motegi so exciting. Drivers scream down the back stretch at close to 190 mph before having to decelerate quickly and find the exact moment to get back on the power. Too early the car will push towards the wall or into a competitor, too late and a great deal of momentum can be lost along with several positions. Hit the apex and the throttle at the right moment and it results in fast lap times and addition speed to overtake down the front stretch into Turn 1.
The cars and stars of the Lionheart Retro Series presented by the DMLC Racing Channel return to action this Thursday, August 6 2020 Live on the iRacing eSports Network. Race coverage will begin at 9:35 PM CST courtesy of the Global Sim Racing Channel.
Race Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMBghHb90t4&feature=emb_title
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series visit: www.lionheartracingseries.com
For more information on SimXperience and their products visit: www.simxperience.com