The Monster Mile was no match for Jason Galvin Thursday evening. The Bakersfield, Calif. driver, racing with a heavy heart after his community was devastated by the Las Vegas shooting, led 119 of the 150 laps en route to his third win of the season in the Lionheart Retro Series.
“That race went as well as you could expect,” Galvin said from the virtual victory lane. “That’s my first official Lionheart pole, and then to beat guys like Ryan Otis, Adam Blocker and Jake Wright; those are the best of the best in this car. It was just a great race.”
Galvin beat Blocker to the line by four-tenths of a second after a restart with five laps remaining. At one point, Galvin’s lead was over two seconds late in the event, before a caution setup the final sprint.
“This is redemption,” Galvin said. “I love this track, and we’ve run it twice in the Lionheart IndyCar Series and both times I’ve felt like I should’ve won and I made mistakes. I wanted this one so bad.”
Blocker moved into second early in the race, and ran there uncontested throughout.
“It wasn’t the most eventful race, just say behind Jason the entire race,” Blocker said. “I couldn’t pass him, nobody could pass me. I won’t say it was an easy race, but it was pretty straightforward.”
Ryan Otis did his part, finishing third. Otis is trying to chase down Jake Wright in the championship hunt, despite missing two races.
Wright finished fourth, and takes a 68 point lead into the final two events. Chris Stofer completed the top five.
David Altman led 31 laps, the only driver to pace the field besides Galvin. Altman and Samuel Reiman used an alternate pit strategy to get to the front on two seperate occassion. Both times, Galvin was able to drive around the duo.
Altman hit the pits with 10 laps to go, finishing 14th. Reiman followed a lap later, and finished 13th.
The race was slowed by 8 cautions for 32 laps.
With the win, Galvin closed in on Otis in the championship hunt, trailing second by 19 points. Dustin Wardlow and Travis Jegerlehner, separated by just 10 points, sit fourth and fifth.
Galvin took time after his win to remember those killed and injured in the Las Vegas shooting, which hit particularly close to home for the Bakersfield news anchor. Four for the 58 killed were from Bakersfield, including the daughter of the local dirt track’s owner, Bailey Schweitzer.
“I just want everyone to know that we’re thinking of them, we’re praying for them,” Galvin said. “This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life.”
The Lionheart Retro Series has two races remaining. The season finale is set for November 2, the double-points Auto Club 250. But up first, the Phoenix 150 on the old Phoenix International Raceway layout. You can see the race live at 10:40 p.m. EST October 19 on the Global SimRacing Channel.