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Pole-sitter James Krahula leads the field of 37 virtual Lotus 79s across the line to start the Michigan 200.

During the inaugural Lionheart Retro Series race two weeks ago at Homestead, Bob Mikes led 19 laps and seemed well-positioned to contend for the win. However, he didn’t take care of his tires and soon found himself dropping back, eventually finishing eighth. Mikes learned from his mistakes this week and got to the front when it counted, collecting the victory at Michigan after a wild and controversial last lap.

“It’s awesome to be on the first place on the podium!” – Bob Mikes

After starting eleventh, Mikes hovered near the back of the top ten as several familiar names battled it out for the lead in the first half of the race. Pole-sitter James Krahula along with Dan Geren, Trevor Malone, Joe Hassert and Homestead winner Jason Galvin were all involved in an unrelenting dog-fight at the front.

Mikes eventually joined the battle in the second half of the race. Adrenaline Motorsports teammates Chris Stofer and Joe Branch also entered the fray ensuring that there was no shortage of sim racing action in the latter half of the 100-lap race.

With no cautions in sight the final round of pit stops unfolded under green. Branch and Krahula emerged from pit lane with the advantage while Geren suffered an incident entering the pits that ended his night. Malone eventually made his way back to the front and as the laps ticked down Mikes and Stofer joined  him as leaders of the pack.

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Malone spins on the last lap, dashing his hopes of victory after leading a race-high 65 laps.

When the white flag flew the trio at the front found themselves battling not only each other but also several lapped cars just ahead of them. Things finally unraveled entering Turn 3 when contact resulted as Malone attempted to pass Robert Blouin. The incident sent Malone careening off track and dashed his hopes of winning.

In contrast, Mikes chose to pass Blouin on the outside and easily made it through the final turns, taking his first career Lionheart Retro Series victory. The win was the second in less than a month for the Controlled Chaos Racing sim racer, coming on the heels of Mikes’ recent victory in the Lionheart Challenge Series at Lucas Oil Raceway.

“It was a race to the finish for the last twenty laps. Nobody was able to pass Trevor on that high lane,” said Mikes, who now takes over the points lead. “I just knew I was going to be up in the top five and be a contender and it’s awesome to be on the first place on the podium!”

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Mikes celebrates his first-ever Lionheart open-wheel victory.

Stofer went on to finish second, which was something of a redemption for the Adrenaline Motorsports sim racer. Two weeks ago at Homestead, Stofer was leading the race when his engine blew under caution.

“I was holding my breath waiting for something to happen. I kept thinking the lapped cars were just gonna pull down and let us go on by and race it out, and they didn’t,” explained Stofer, who drove through the field after starting 22nd. “I’m typically not a great qualifier, so I’m used to having to come through the field like that. That always makes it fun!”

“I’m used to having to come through the field like that. That always makes it fun!” – Chris Stofer

Hassert rounded out the podium, finishing just ahead of teammate Krahula.

“I was just trying to get a top five,” said Hassert. “I thought the car would come to me a little bit sooner. It didn’t feel really good until about two or three laps to go. I was glad I was able to avoid the carnage; I’ll take a podium!”

Branch, Jake Wright, Jorge Anzaldo, Michael Gray, Chris Lanini and Galvin rounded out the top ten, with Malone ultimately classified 21st.

The race was slowed by just two cautions for six total laps. 37 cars started the event, with 30 finishing. Overall, nine different sim racers led laps, with Malone leading a race-high 65.

The series returns to action on February 23rd at Watkins Glen, first of seven road courses on the 2017 schedule. Another large field of over 35 classic Lotus 79 cars is expected to take the green flag, with the race broadcast live on the Global SimRacing Channel (GSRC) and iRacing Live beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET.

For more information about the Lionheart Retro Series, or about the league in general, please visit www.lionheartracingseries.com

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