May 3rd, 2018 by Jason Galvin
It was one of the wildest races in series history, and true to its unpredictable nature, The SimPit Grand Prix of Watkins Glen delivered a first time winner with a last lap pass in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.
Adam Blocker survived a spin of his own, and several on-track melees while catching a lucky break to win for the first time in the Dallara. Already a winner of four Lionheart Retro Series races in his short career, but finally broke through at the Glen.
“I pressured de Jonge into a mistake on the first lap and took the lead, but I didn’t hold it very well and because it was so early in the race when I spun, I had to let a lot of people past,” Blocker said. “I was just working my way through slowly and saved fuel on the second stint….I knew Geren would have to fuel save.
“I didn’t know if he had enough fuel, but I pressured him into a mistake and then he ran out of fuel anyways. I’m honored to get my first win in this very competitive league.”
The race saw chaos and carnage throughout. Before the leaders got to turn one, Jorge Anzaldo lost control while avoiding a checkup at the drop of the green. Jason Galvin, Joe Hassert and Anzaldo all had to retire.
In turn one, more crashes, with Woody Mahan, Bob Mikes, Ian Adams and others involved.
By lap five, even the leaders had been affected. Pole winner Michel de Jonge had an off-course excursion, Blocker spun, and Andrew Kinsella lost control entering the boot, leading to a big crash that effectively ended the day for Brian Yaczik, Dustin Wardlow and others.
But the biggest moment of the race came on the final lap, when Blocker, who had rebounded from his early race struggles to chase down Dan Geren, applied the pressure entering the boot.
Geren lost the back end spun on corner exit, opening the door for Blocker to power to the lead.
But it may not have mattered.
Two corners after his spin, Geren ran out of fuel and stopped at the exit of the boot, settling for eleventh.
The biggest benefactor was rookie Stephen Laarkamp, who pulled off a stunning second place.
“Did that actually happen?” Laarkamp asked from the podium. “That was incredible, what a race. Third race in the series and this happens, I just can’t believe it.”
As others ran out of fuel on the final circuit, Michael Goodman emerged to take third.
“Definitely happy with that,” Goodman said. “I was watching my fuel in the second stint there, just making sure I could get it to the end. I’m very happy with a third.”
De Jonge rallied in a battered car to finish fourth, just ahead of Kinsella in a photo finish.
Justin Weaver, James Krahula, Ron Hacker, Joe Branch and Mahan rounded out the top ten, with Geren scored as the first car a lap down.
Kinsella emerges as the new points leader after Yaczik and Galvin both crashed out.
The three drivers still hold a comfortable advantage over Goodman and Branch, who sit fourth and fifth in points.
The first leg of the triple crown is up next, as the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment makes its debut at the repaved version of Pocono Raceway.
The DirtyBlinds.com 300 is set for Wednesday night at 10:35 p.m. EST and can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel.
The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation is also in action this week. The Becida Bar and Grill 125 is set for 10:35 p.m. EST Thursday. The race will mark the debut of any Lionheart sanctioned event at Brazil’s Autodromo José Carlos Pace. That race can also be seen on the Global SimRacing Channel.
For more information on the Lionheart Racing Series, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.