One step forward, two steps back. That must be how the two drivers competing for the championship in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation feel after every oval race. The American Cancer Society 150 at Iowa Speedway was no different Thursday night.
Adam Blocker picked up a huge win, despite picking up damage in a late-race wreck, when his championship rival Alex Saunders was swept up by a spinning Michael Goodman.
Goodman had dominated the event, leading 167 of the 172 laps, but Blocker led the three most important.
“I knew anytime someone went low and was pinched on the tighter line, there was a likelihood of a spin,” said Blocker after getting out of his damaged car. “But obviously I wasn’t expecting it from Goodman. He dominated this race.”
Goodman recovered to finish fourth, but Saunders car was too injured and finished 17th.
The championship lead for Saunders sits at just seven points with four races remaining.
It was a reversal of fortunes for the title contenders, after Blocker was involved in a nearly identical wreck at Indianapolis, when Jason Galvin spun on his own with two laps remaining. Saunders would win that race.
“That was obviously the best thing I could’ve hoped for,” Blocker said. “You never hope for that, but it was the best situation for my championship hopes.”
Bob Mikes ended up second, after running near the front all race and avoiding the chaos at the end.
“I was so far back that I didn’t even see who all was involved,” Mikes said. “As I was catching the pace car, I thought I might’ve won this thing. But then when we caught the pac car, I saw Blocker a little bit ahead. It was a funny moment.”
Dan Geren picked up a podium in third, helping his 8 Ball Motorsports team close in on Raven Motorsports for the team championship. The lead is down to seven points.
“I feel bad for my teammate Goodman, it sucks he wrecked,” Geren said. “But I’ll take third any day.”
The race was slowed by six cautions for 27 laps, including the one that ended the race.
Championship hopeful Dustin Wardlow was eliminated after James Krahula early on.
A massive wreck with 61 laps remaining eliminated Andrew Kinsella, Jorge Anzaldo and George Adams amongst others.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation hits another oval this week, with the Mental Health Awareness 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park. Blocker won the inaugural race in 2017, putting extra pressure on Saunders to turn in a strong performance.
The race can be viewed live on the iRacing eSports Network with the broadcast provided by the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST on Thursday, October 4.
In the highly anticipated debut of the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation on the iRacing eSports Network, it was Alex Saunders reaffirming to the world that he has the Lotus 79 to beat, winning the Headwaters Alpacas 125 at Circuit Zolder, the debut of the Lionheart Racing Series at the historic Belgium road course.
Saunders beat his championship rival Adam Blocker by just over three seconds, as the duo set a torrid pace, lapping all but third place Justin Weaver.
“Adam was coming fast in the second segment there, I was worried,” Saunders said. “I think I might’ve had a little damage, but I was hoping he just short-filled and had less fuel. But it was a good race.”
Saunders led all but two laps after starting on the pole, and kept Blocker at arms length throughout the event.
“This was the first road course race where we had to make two stops, so it changed the strategy a little,” Blocker said. “I decided to take tires the first time because I figured it wouldn’t cost me time, and I hate the first few laps on old tires. I did short-fill a little, but I was able to go an extra lap and lead. It was an interesting race.”
Saunders leads Blocker by 37 points with five races remaining. The points do not factor drop weeks, which removes the two worst point races for each driver in the series.
Weaver was over a minute behind, nearly lapped himself, and cruised to an unchallenged third.
“Pretty excited to get a podium on a tough little road circuit,” Weaver said. “Pretty fun track to run by yourself, but it gets tight when you have to pass somebody. Your goal the whole lap is to avoid the bumps in the corners there.”
The finish jumped weaver up to sixth in points. Dustin Wardlow remains third in the standings, but his sixth place finish at Zolder dropped him to 79 points out of the lead.
18 of the 23 drivers to start the race finished the event, which aired on the iRacing eSports Network with coverage from the Global SimRacing Channel. It marked the debut for the newer Lionheart series on the network, a partnership that is expected to continue through the end of the 2018 season, the second season for the classic grand prix cars campaigned on both ovals and road courses in a tribute to the glory days of open wheel racing.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation returns to the states, and an oval, with the American Cancer Society 150 at Iowa Speedway. That event is set for Thursday, September 27, and can be seen live at 10:25 p.m. EST on the iRacing eSports Network, with the call coming from the Global SimRacing Channel.
The Retro Series heads to Zolder for the first time in league history for the Headwater Alpacas 125. Often overshadowed by its big brother, Spa-Francorchamps, which played host to the IndyCar series this past week, Zolder has hosted both F1 and IndyCar races over the course of its existence.
Headwaters Alpacas is a huacaya alpaca breeder located in Becida, MN. owned and operated by league member Scott Johnson. Alpacas are known for their warm luxurious fiber. Alpaca fiber is warmer and softer than wool, and you won’t have to deal with the itchiness that is often times associated with wool products. Alpaca fiber is also hypoallergenic. If you are looking for a special gift for someone, having a hard time thinking of something different to buy for someone, or just looking for something nice for yourself alpaca socks, scarves, mittens, yarn or even teddy bears are a great gift choice. Check out the Headwaters Alpacas store at www.headwatersalpacas.com to see the various alpaca products available for sale. Should you have any questions about alpaca products or raising alpacas feel free to give us a call, at 218-407-7016 or to place your order. Headwaters Alpacas is a proud sponsor of the Skid Mark Motorsports race team.
A wild ending at Indy saw the then points leader Adam Blocker collected by Jason Galvin, resulting in a disappointing 15th place finish. Blocker and Galvin were racing wheel-to-wheel with Alex Saunders for the top 3 with just 2 laps to go when disaster struck. Galvin got high in 2 and lost control sending his car down into Blocker, who was an innocent bystander. Saunders would go on to win, while Andrew Kinsella and Dustin Wardlow slipped under the spinning pair to claim the rest of the podium. Dan Geren, who had led over a third of the race was also collected in the mayhem. Rounding out the top 5 were Brian Beard and Ron Hacker.
This season is shaping up to be a fight all the way to the finish. Based on the Indy results, Saunders now has a 30-point advantage over Adam Blocker with just 6 races left, once drops are taken into consideration. The pair of Blocker and Saunders have accounted for ¾ of the wins so far this season and have dueled across several road events this season. With 3 remaining road courses along with 3 ovals, dominance on the twisty circuits could be a major factor in winning this year’s championship. Saunders has held the upper hand on the road so far, but Blocker was able to get the better of Saunders last time out at Mid-Ohio.
Not to be forgotten in this points battle, Dustin Wardlow coming off an impressive podium at Indy is sitting P3 in the championship, just 59 points behind Saunders. Still more then within striking distance of Saunders and Blocker. If the California driver can continue to stay consistent and secure a few more podiums there is a strong chance we could see Wardlow as a champion at the end of the season.
The biggest movers from the double points event at Indy: Brian Beard gained 10 positions in the standings and has moved up to P17. Ron Hacker and Marc Aumick have moved 6 spots and now sit P14 & P19. If those 3 can continue the strong momentum, they could easily crack the top 10 by the end of the season.
Speaking of the top 10 in points, positions 5 through 10 in points right now are close…really close. Just 46 points separate 5th place Brian Yaczik from 10th place James Krahula with drop races considered. Yazczik, Krahula, Kinsella, Galvin, Jake Wright and Justin Waever all have a shot at the final spot in the top 5 in points come season end. They have 6 races to separate themselves from the rest, who will be able to pull it out?
New Rookies will be tested for the first time on the tough chicane filled Zolder circuit. Wenzen, Eldred, Dudley, Walker, Cohn, Lawler and Adamson will take their Lotus79 machines against some of the fastest drivers in the league.
Samuel Reiman continues to lead the series in the Cleanest Driver standings with a total of 13 incs and a 1.18 inc average per race.
The team championship has just heated back up. Raven Motorsports who enjoyed the top spot for some time with a healthy lead over Adrenaline now has a new challenger. 8 Ball Motorsports has moved up one spot and now sits P2 in the team championship standings. Sitting now 84 points back from Raven Motorsports this team championship is far from over.
The Headwater Alpacas 125 can be seen Thursday September 20th at 10:35pm Eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live.