Big Joe Hessert celebrates his win at Homestead in a big way.

Big Joe Hessert celebrates his win at Homestead in a big way.

The largest field in Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment history put on a show for the ages. Big Joe Hassert used a late-race restart and edged ahead of Chris Stofer as the final caution came out, taking the season opening Adrenaline Motorsports 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.Lionheart First Medical

“When we got that final restart, I knew Chris (Stofer) had some damage, and I think that gave me enough to get around on the outside,” Hassert said from victory lane. “Once he gave me the outside I knew I had him.”

“Once (Chris) gave me the outside I knew I had him.” – Joe Hassert

Stofer looked to be in control of the 40-car field late, when a Korey Connor became tangled with several other cars with 12 laps remaining, bringing out the race-changing caution. On the restart, Hassert jumped to the outside and edged ahead with five laps to go, when Brandon Limkemann brought out the race-ending caution.

“For it to come down to inches right there at the end, it was a lot of fun,” Stofer said after his career-best finish. “The night was pretty good. I didn’t qualify quite as well as I practiced all week. But I had a lot of fun.”

40, count 'em 40 Dallaras storm into Turn One.

40, count ’em 40 Dallaras storm into Turn One.

Richard Behr was dominant, leading a race-high 62 laps and looked to be on his way to the win, when contact with Stofer on lap 111 put him in the wall. Behr dropped back quickly before retiring just as the second-to-last caution came out. Behr finished in the 32nd position.

Defending series champion and race pole-sitter Jake Wright finished third, while Jason Galvin rallied from 13th to finish fourth and Tony Lurcock rounded out the top five.

Pierre Daigle, Chris Lanini, Randy Crossno, Dan Geren and James Krahula rounded out the top ten. Crossno was the biggest mover, up 30 spots from his qualifying run.

The 133-lap race saw eight sim racers swap the lead eleven times. Six cautions slowed the field for 24 laps.

Hassert, Stofer and Wright battle for the lead.

Hassert, Stofer and Wright battle for the lead.

For Hassert, the win was a relief. It took the former iRacing.com IndyCar fixed setup season champion 15 races to score a trophy last season.

“I had to make pretty much all of my passes on restarts or in the pits,” Hassert said. “I was kind of settling in there, thinking I could hang on for third until those two got together in front of me there. Just had to be patient and it paid off.”

The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a week off before returning for the Watkins Glen 100 on Wednesday, March 30. The event, like all Lionheart races, can be seen live on Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST. For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, the premiere private IndyCar league using iRacing.com’s software, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.

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