From one track steeped in IndyCar tradition to another, the Lionheart Retro Series pull their L79’s through the gates at Michigan International Speedway. The high banks of Michigan have seen so excellent battle of man and machine over the years, and once again the Lionheart Retro Series drivers return to write a chapter of their own in the Plasma Tracks 200.
Last time out at Indy was a wild affair. The L79 ground effects were in full force, allowing the Retro Series drivers to race in extremely close quarters for laps and laps on end. The inevitable chaos that ensued saw drivers who are routinely in victory lane in the fence, and some new names at the sharp end of the field. Notable among those names was your winner, David Clymer chose the biggest race of the Retro season to take his first win. There was chaos behind him, as turn 3 on the final lap saw one last crash that took out contenders Taft Baldwin, Mike Rigney, and Mike Belair. Instead it was Paul Jenkins following Clymer home, with points leader Ryan Otis taking a stranglehold on the championship with a 3rd place. Otis is not 140 points ahead of Dustin Wardlow and Paul Jenkins, who are tied for 2nd place. With the win, Clymer sits just 5 points back of Jenkins in the rookie of the year standings, as both drivers overtook Sage Karam, who missed the race.
With just 7 races remaining this season, all eyes are on the top of the standings. Ryan Otis is closing in on his first Lionheart Retro Series crown. Otis was runner up in the first season, before life events limited him to just 6 races last season. This year, however, Otis has been the most consistent driver in the field; placing in the top 5 in in 9 of 11 races so far. All that being said, Michigan is another race that can be highly unpredictable. The track is wide and inviting to 2 or even 3 wide action, which can easily leave contenders in the fence. Otis will need to survive another test Thursday night. Otis, has shown he can do this, since is also the cleanest driver in the series, and the only regular with under 2.00 incs per race. So, theoretically, 7 races are all that stands between Otis and the title.
Oh; and, potentially, 3 other drivers. Lionheart veteran Dustin Wardlow is more then capable of capitalizing on mistakes or bad luck from Otis. One of the nicest guys in the Lionheart paddock, Wardlow’s nickname of “the Candyman” isn’t just about his sponsor, Dewar’s candy. Wardlow, however is also a fierce and formidable driver on track. While he is down now, Wardlow knows that his path to the championship starts with a win at Michigan.
Meanwhile there is the battle between Jenkins and Clymer. Separated by just 5 points for rookie of the year, it will be important for these two to effectively keep one eye on their battle and one eye on Otis and Wardlow if either of them holds any ambitions on the crown at the end of the season.
Then there are the interlopers. Sage Karam, Alex Saunders, Adam Blocker, and Marc Cohn. For various reasons these 4 have missed some, or most, of the races this year. But one thing is certain of all 4 drivers; they know how to wheel this L79. All 4 title hopefuls will likely have to deal with one or more of the above-mentioned drivers.
With 7 races to go, the countdown to the championship starts now. Tune in to find out if Otis will move one step closer, or if another driver will step up and throw a wrench in his parade. All the simulated action can be found this Thursday, September 19th, 2019 at 10:35pm eastern, only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.
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