Everyone knew who the dominant car was Thursday night, but as is often the case in racing, the fastest car doesn’t always win.
Ryan Otis looked untouchable, leading the frist 26 laps from the pole. But Adam Blocker made up two seconds on pit entrance - even making contact with Otis at the pit entry speed line - and then beat Otis off pit road by not taking tires.
A desperate charge on the final two laps by Otis came up a half-car short, as Blocker held on for the win by .03 seconds in the inaugural Lionheart Retro All-Star Race presented by Dewar’s Candy on the roval at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I would say over the course of the race Ryan definitely had a little edge on pace,” Blocker said. “I was surprised at how relatively slow he was on pit entrance. I got crossed up not trying to completely wreck him. Had I known I’d be that close to him I might’ve taken tires, but I didn’t. We had to scrap it out those last few laps.”
Otis was disappointed he could not close in the first all-star event for the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation.
“I was trying, that was fun,” Otis said. “Adam drove great, that was a blast. I never really got a lot of practice in traffic, and I made the bad strategic choice of taking tires. Then I over-slowed on pit entry. I thought if I take tires I could get a good tow and get around him, and I was surprised at how tough it was to get a big run.”
Brian Yaczik was able to pull away for third, after an early race battle with Dustin Wardlow and Michael Goodman. Those two finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I feel like the green beans at steak and potatoes dinner,” Yaczik said. “Everyone shows up for the steak and potatoes and they get the green beans on the side. Otis and Blocker were the steak and potatoes, they put on a heck of a show.”
James Krahula, Woody Mahan, Ron Hacker, Pierre Daigle and Samuel Reiman rounded out the top ten in the invite-only event, which featured drivers who had won a race, earned a pole or finished in the top ten in points in the Retro Series in 2017. Three drivers also raced their way into the event through a series of shootout events.
Outside polesitter Justin Weaver and three-time race winner Jason Galvin both ran into troubles, with Galvin collecting Bob Mikes and Chris Stofer in the first turn.
“I went in on the outside of Goodman, and that was the first time I’d ever taken an off line into one,” Galvin said. “The thing bottomed out, and I was out of control after that. I had the brakes locked up, but when the car turned back towards the track I just let it roll straight hoping nobody would hit me.I didn’t want the tires to grab and turn me sideways and block the track. I’m sorry to everyone involved.”
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation kicks off its second season Thursday, March 15 with the ButtKicker 200 on Homestead-Miami Speedway’s oval.
That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.