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.