June 30th, 2017 by Jason Galvin
The hottest driver in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment paddock couldn’t be stopped, not even by his teammate. Jake Wright took the lead from Pierre Daigle during green flag pit stops and never looked back, leading 96 laps en route to his first oval win of the sim racing season in the Area 51 Racing Milwaukee 150.
“The race win feels amazing, it’s the first time I’ve won on a oval in a while,” Wright said after winning his series best 15th career race. “Passing was hard so it was nice once we got out front and had that clean air.”
Wright took the lead from Daigle during the first round of green flag pit stops. Coming off his first career pole, Daigle ducked into the pits first on lap 44. Wright followed a lap later, from fourth, but made up time and beat Daigle back onto the track.
“I love Milwaukee and there’s nobody in this league I’d rather lose to than Jake,” Daigle said after leading 42 laps. “Hopefully we can build on this for the rest of the season.”
It was the second consecutive race No Name Racing claimed the top two spots on the podium.
Two laps after Wright hit pit lane the caution flew, as Jason Galvin and Chris Stofer both hit the pits. Michael Gray turned a slowing James Paulson, who was heading for the pits, on lap 44. Both cars were fine, but the yellow trapped Galvin and Stofer a lap down, and also caused James Krahula to run out of fuel.
Only Joe Branch was able to stay out and not run out of fuel. On the restart, Wright cycled to the lead, followed by Daigle and Branch. It’s how they’d run the rest of the race, and how they’d finish.
“I fought with Pierre seemingly the entire time after that first stint, and it was a lot of fun,” Said Branch, the defending champion at Milwaukee. “Everybody just seemed to be glued so it was single file after restarts.”
Adam Blocker, in his series debut for Adrenaline Motorsports, finished fourth, with Jonathan Goke fifth. The duo were part of a crash that led to the third caution of the race on lap 88.
Exiting turn four, Blocker pulled under Goke. As the pair hit turn one, they dove under Jack Bogan, who was two laps down. As they exited the corner, still three wide, Goke pushed into the left-rear bumper pod of Bogan’s Dallara DW12. Goke continued unharmed, but Bogan careened into the wall, ending his race.
Two laps after the restart, the fourth and final caution flew when Brandon Limkemann spun in turn three. Marc Aumick was left with nowhere to go and collided with the spinning Limkemann. Neither would continue.
The first caution flew on lap four, when Dave Barber and Vincent Bluthenthal made contact in turn one. Only Barber would keep going.
A wreck coming to the finish jumbled the back half of the top ten. After Chris Stofer and Jason Galvin crossed the line in sixth and seventh, Barber spun all alone. Michael Goodman slammed into him, dropping from eighth to eleventh in the process. That allowed Michael Gray, Dan Geren and Tony Showen to all move up a spot and slide into the top ten.
The race featured eleven lead changes amongst eight sim racers. The four cautions slowed the action for 15 laps, a new record for fewest yellows at Milwaukee.
Notably absent was former points leader Andrew Kinsella. The Canadian rookie had led the standings since his win in the season opener at Homestead. But after missing his first race of the season, compounded with his first career DNF at Sonoma last week, two-time defending series champion Wright jumps to the point.
Wright leads Geren by 33, followed by Kinsella, who is four points back of second. Gray and Ryan Otis round out the top five in points.
The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment hits its summer break, with a scheduled league meetup at the Verizon IndyCar Series event at Iowa next month. The virtual series returns to the track for the HPP Simulation 200 at Michigan International Speedway. That race can be seen live on Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST on Wednesday, July 19.
For more on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.