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LIONHEART PREPS FOR 4TH RUNNING OF IRACE FOR GAGE INDY 500

This is it. The Greatest Spectacle in iRacing. This is the Lionheart Series’ iRace for Gage Indy 500. Lionheart driver Jack Bogan sponsors the Indy 500 each year to bring awareness to congenital heart defects in children.  Gage now 11 has had 4 open heart surgeries to replace two valves that do not grow with him. Gage loves to watch the Lionheart races and has been doing just fine thanks to his medial treatment.  For more information on CHD please visit http://mendedlittleheartguide.org

2 weeks ago, in Michigan, it was Brian Yaczik collecting his second ever Lionheart win in order to go atop the points standings. Yaczik beat Joe Hassert by just 0.015 seconds, or less than half a car length, after an exciting final shootout. Michael Goodman came home 3rd with Justin Weaver and Pierre Daigle rounding out the top 5. In the championship Yaczik now leads Andrew Kinsella by a scant 5 points after Kinsella missed the race to get engaged. The Lionheart series, does have 3 drop weeks, so that lead might be deceptive. Of the top 5, Kinsella, 4th place Jason Galvin, and 5th place Joe Branch have all missed 1 race each, while leader Yaczik and 3rd place James Krahula have not. This championship is still wide open.

Which brings us to The Brickyard. These hallowed racing grounds have seen the best racing that the real and virtual world has to offer, and Lionheart races here are no exception. In season 1 it was Rick Music beating out Bradley Walters by just 0.001 seconds to take the win in the closest finish in Lionheart history. Last year, meanwhile, was the fastest 500 in league history with an average of 197.546 MPH. Jonathan Goke was the winner of that event. Goke is the only 2-time Indy 500 winner in Lionheart history.  All previous winners are not running the event, which means we are guaranteed a new winner this year.

This year’s 500 is shaping up to be a wild race.  Very close and intense racing will take place in the early stages and drivers will have to use all their skill to avoid contact with other cars and avoiding cars who are caught up in incidents. As the run goes on, however, some drivers will get caught out by the fall off of the tires. The championship contenders meanwhile will have another considerations. The Indy 500 marks the first of 2 double points races on the season. That means that a good day at Indy could set you up for the championship, but a bad day could just cost you the championship. Will the contenders go for broke or play it safe?

Talking about favorites for this event, it is hard not to look beyond Andrew Kinsella. Kinsella was just 0.013 seconds away from winning the Top Split official iRacing Indy 500 back in May. Kinsella already has 3 wins on the season, including in the first leg of the triple crown at Pocono. Not far behind Kinsella according to the odds makers is Tony Showen. Showen won the 2nd split of the official 500, and the Adrenaline Motorsports teammates will both be looking for a strong result here.

When you think of Indy, another name that jumps to mind is Big Joe Hassert. Hassert finished 2nd here last year, and the drafting nature of the racing this year suits Big Joe’s style. In fact, take any member of your top 5 from last week, and the skills used to get there will transplant nicely to this week. Yaczik, Goodman, Weaver and Daigle will all be a factor as well this week.

Some drivers looking for a rebound include front runners Dan Geren, Adam Blocker and Jason Galvin. All 3 did not have the week the wanted at Michigan, however all 3 exhibited a lot of speed. With a little more patience this week, one of them could easily be on the top step.

League founder Jorge Anzaldo will make his 100th official start at Indy. Anzaldo sits 3rd all-time in starts. Anzaldo has 1 career win, but after being forced to miss last years 500 with an internet outage, the Illinois driver will be looking to make up for it this year in his special start.

James Krahula is leading the Iron Man standings with 945 laps complete on the season for a total of 1,675.32 miles.  He has ridden that Iron Man streak to 3rd in the championship standings. Any driver who can finish the 500 will certainly increase their chances of winning the award at seasons end, but also increase their hopes in the overall championship. Will Krahula be able to continue is consistent drive at Indy?

Finally, there are the home town drivers. Joe Branch and Chris Stofer are both Indiana natives, and while an Indy 500 would mean a lot to any driver, it would mean just a little bit more to this pair. Last year they were running in the top 3 for most of the race before a connection issue relegated them to 17th and 18th finishes after they reconnected.

Adrenaline continues to lead the team championship standings after 9 rounds.  No Name Racing sits currently 113 points back and gained a spot over Synergy Motorsports who was bumped down a spot into P3 overall.

Who will come out on top. Will a championship contender use the race to cement their campaign or will it be a driver looking to get their season back on track? Will it be a hometown favorite, or a driver in a milestone start? To get the answer to these questions and more tune in to the iRace for Gage Indy 500 on Sunday July 15th at 3:35pm eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live.

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RETRO SERIES RETURNS TO FAMED SUPERSPEEDWAY

2 weeks ago it was the Lionheart IndyCars tackling Michigan International Speedway, but this week, it is the Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation making the high banks sing once again with the sweet sounds of Cosworth engines in the HPP Simulation 200. HPP Simulation makes top of the line Sim-racing equipment. HPP will not only be the presenting sponsor for the event at Michigan, but the series as a whole.  HPP is awarding the season champion with their top of the line 3 pedal set. If you are looking for the best pedals available, check out www.hppsimulation.com.

Last week at Barber it was Alex Saunders putting on yet another clinic on a road course, only relinquishing the lead on the pit cycle en-route to another win. Saunders appears to have picked up right where Jake Wright left off on road courses, lodging his 3rd win in 3 tries on a road course. 2nd place belonged once again to Adam Blocker. This is the 3rd straight result where Saunders and Blocker came home 1-2 and 4th time overall. Blocker has 2 wins and five 2nd place finishes this year, meaning out of 8 rounds, Blocker has finished outside the top 2 only once, at the 2nd round at Watkins Glen, where a spin took him out of fighting for the lead. This is a duel that appears to be destined to go down to the wire with Blocker unwilling to concede any ground in the championship to the charging Saunders. Brian Yaczik brought his car home 3rd, while Dustin Wardlow and Jason Galvin rounded out the top 5. Another strong top 5 keeps Dustin Wardlow in the championship hunt as well. Wardlow may be the only driver remaining who has a legitimate shot to challenge Blocker and Saunders for the championship. Adam Blocker continues to lead the championship standings after 8 rounds.  Alex Saunders who currently is sitting 53 points back continues to chip away at the points leader.  Coming off another victory at Barber, Saunders will need to show dominance on the 2 mile oval if he looks to get closer to Blocker in the points.

From the rollercoaster that is Barber Motorsports Park to the high-banked high-speed Michigan international speedway, the change in venues could not be more dramatic. The series will use the same setup from last season which is expected to produce some very close and exciting racing. Last season saw Bob Mikes win the inaugural event.  Bobby led just 3 laps but it was enough to take the win over Chris Stofer.  Joe Hassert finished in P3.  All 3 should be factors on Thursday night, as they excel at draft style oval racing.

The biggest mover after Barber is Jason Galvin.  The Raven Motorsports driver climbed 8 spots after a solid top 5 at Barber Motorsports Park.  Galvin, who is the only driver not named Saunders or Blocker to win a race this season, is certainly a driving factor for Raven’s performance in the Team Championship standings.

Newcomer to the series Rookie Aaron Morgan had a solid run in his Lionheart debut at Barber.  Morgan running for Avatar Auto Racing finished P8 with only 2 incident points.

Participation has been a real factor this season with many drivers having to miss anywhere between 1-3 races.  For those drivers their season certainly has had added pressure.  With their 2 drop races now being used they will have to remain consistent to avoid DNF’s.  Only 7 drivers have run all 9 races this season.  Andrew Kinsella fell 6 spots after missing his 2nd race of the season, although being on vacation and getting engaged to his long-time girlfriend is definitely a good excuse to miss a sim-race.

After the battle at Barber, Raven Motorsports continues to lead the Team Championship standings.  Raven now sits 62 points ahead of Adrenaline who had several drivers miss the last round at Barber.  It seems that this fight may continue all season long as 8 ball sits 132 points from the leaders.

The Lionheart just recently celebrated its 4th year anniversary.  The very first race was held July 3rd 2014 at Michigan with the DW12 Indycar.  Michigan has been a special place for Lionheart having hosted several races over the past 4 years, so it is fitting that the first Lionheart race after the anniversary be at Michigan.

The winner at Michigan will be the driver who can exhibit the right mix of bravery, speed and tactical know-how on the high banked super speedway. Will that driver be the same old suspects, or will someone new step-up and give us a 4th winner before the calendar turns to the 2nd half of the season?

​The HPP Simulation 200 can be seen on Thursday July 12th at 10:35pm eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live.

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YACZIK EDGES HASSERT IN PHOTO FINISH AT MICHIGAN

Brian Yaczik didn’t lead the most laps, but he led the one that counted.

The freshly hitched Michigan driver held off Joe Hassert in a mad scramble to the finish, winning the Midwest Simulations 200 at Michigan International Speedway by 0.015 seconds, the third-closest finish in Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment history.

“I can’t believe how good four tires felt there,” Yaczik said. “You have to tell yourself you’re ok so you don’t get yourself psyched out, but I knew we were ok and I knew the car was good. I knew where I wanted to be coming to one to go, and once we got that run into three I knew what I wanted to do.”

Yaczik and Hassert had to come through the field on a restart with seven laps remaining, after nine cars, including Dan Geren and Adam Blocker, chose to stay out on old tires.

“In the pre-race, I said watch, this will come down to Kentucky again with a weird decision where you have to pit or not pit,” Yaczik said. “I thought back to Kentucky and experience here, and I knew getting tires was probably the right call.”

Hassert followed Yaczik through the field, and had his chance on the final lap, but could not gain enough momentum on the outside line.

“I was pretty confident we’d get up there,” Hassert said. “Brian liked the low side the whole race, I liked the high. I thought I’d get a run on him out of four, I needed probably 100 feet to get there.”

Polesitter Michael Goodman, who had fallen back for much of the race, rallied for a third place finish.

“I feel like I won even though I finished third,” Goodman said. “My teammate and I stayed out longer on the last green flag run, so we had fresher tires and didn’t need to pit. It worked out.”

Yaczik, Hassert, Geren and Jason Galvin dominated the race, with Galvin leading the most laps (28), and Yaczik leading the least (15) in the group.

But it was Galvin who pushed up after trying a three-wide pass with 11 lap remaining. The California driver tried to slide in behind Yaczik and Geren to maintain the draft, but Blocker carried a big run and could not react in time.

Blocker hit Galvin, turning him into the wall and collecting Chris Stofer.

The wreck dramatically changed the outcome of the race, as well as the points standings as Galvin and Yaczik looked to close on Andrew Kinsella, who missed the race while getting engaged.

As a result, Yaczik took over the points lead by 5, while Galvin slipped to fourth behind teammate James Krahula; the pair are 55 and 61 points behind Yaczik, respectively.

Blocker avoided damage in the wreck, but he and Geren gambled on track position. Blocker slipped to eleventh, while Geren finished eighth.

Justin Weaver and Pierre Daigle used fresh tires to round out the top five.

The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a break for its annual Iowa gathering. Close to 40 members and family are expected to attend the IndyCar event at Iowa Speedway.

The iRace for Gage Indianapolis 500 follows, set for Sunday, July 15. The race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 4 p.m. EST.

For more information on the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment, visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.

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SAUNDERS STOMPS THE FIELD FOR RETRO WIN AT BARBER

Sometimes in auto racing, a driver is so good, nothing can stop him, and words don’t describe the perfection of his performance.

Alex Saunders had one of those nights Thursday. The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation rookie ran a flawless race, losing the lead only during the lone pit cycle and lapping all but the podium en route to his fifth win of the season in the Plasma-Tracks Grand Prix of Barber.

“I was really hoping to keep Adam (Blocker) from leading any laps, but he got great mileage,” Saunders said. “Barber is a really tough track to begin with…I know I struggled a little with the setup later in the stint…Adam is real fast, it’s fun racing with him, looking forward to Michigan next time out.”

Saunders closed the gap on runner-up Adam Blocker in the points, down to 53 despite missing the season opener.

Blocker led two laps when Saunders hit pit road, but relinquished the lead after stopping himself.

The second-year driver finished 7.9 seconds behind Saunders.

“Kinda disappointed a little bit, I think I could’ve done better in qualifying and I matched Alex in the second stint,” Blocker said. “I just didn’t put it all together.”

Brian Yaczik cruised to a third place finish, narrowly avoiding being lapped by Saunders himself.

“I passed Dustin Wardlow and I outbreaked Jake Wright, that’s probably the highlight of my career right there,” Yaczik said. “We had a decent effort tonight. I never really got comfortable with the car in testing, so it was one of those situations where you take the hand that you’re dealt and we made no mistakes and came home third, I’ll take that.”

Dustin Wardlow beat teammate Jason Galvin to round out the top five, and Travis Jegerlehner came home sixth, helping Raven Motorsports extend its points lead over Adrenaline Motorsports in the team standings.

A light field of 20 cars tok the green, with 16 finishing.

The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation takes some time off for the annual Lionheart Meetup at the Iowa IndyCar event.

The Retro Series returns to the track on July 12 at Michigan International Speedway for the HPP Simulation 200. That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at10:35 p.m. EST.

For more information on the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation, visitwww.LionheartRacingSeries.com. ​

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TOP 2 TEAMS PREPARE TO BATTLE FOR LEAD IN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

It is hot this time of year down in Alabama, but the only thing hotter than the temperature will be the action on the track for the Plasma-Tracks.com Grand Prix of Barber. Plasma-Tracks.Com is the title sponsor for the event and is also creating the custom trophies for P1-3 in the championship standings at the end of the season for both IndyCar and Retro Series.  For more information please visit: plasma-tracks.com

Last week out at Milwaukee, Alex Saunders ran away from the field, leading 180 of the 200 laps. Points leader Adam Blocker did everything he could to limit the damage to his points lead by finishing 2nd, but in the end had nothing for rookie sensation Saunders. Dustin Wardlow completes the top 3 in the race and in the championship standings, while Michael Goodman and Chris Stofer rounded out the top 5.
This is the 2nd season in a row the series will run an event at Barber Motorsports Park.  New for this season as with the rest of the road events for 2018 Barber will feature an additional 25 miles for a total of 125 or 53 laps.

Saunders after his win at Milwaukee has gained another spot in the standings and sits P2 overall.  Now 61 points back from Blocker with only 6 races this season he has put down some impressive numbers: 4 wins and 5 poles so far. The rookie has served the field notice that they will need to raise their game if they hope to beat him over the course of the full season.

Adam Blocker is the defending race winner from last season.  Adam Blocker beat Ryan Otis by a just        0.085 and Jake Wright not far behind with a 0.433 gap.  Barber featured a smaller field last year of just 22 cars but the series is expecting closer to 30 for 2018.  Blocker’s performance was a dominating one leading all 42 laps from the pole and setting the fastest lap and lap average of the race.  Will Blocker emerge victorious or will Saunders continue his impressive march towards the top of the standings.

Dustin Wardlow, now sitting P3 overall, is the next contender for the win at Barber.  Dustin must continue to run strong and be ready to capitalize should the top two make any mistakes.  Dustin could easily be sitting in P1 and has seen his share of the front of the field this season. Wardlow got his first win in the Indycar Series earlier this year at the Motegi Road course, can he follow suit at Barber?

Michael Goodman currently leads the league with the most laps complete with 802 laps or 1,248.11 miles.  2nd is Scott Johnson with 797 and 3rd is Wardlow with 780. Goodman’s trademark consistency has him sitting 4th in the overall championship, and could see the New York driver pounce if any of the top 3 fail to finish,

Two of our biggest movers after Milwaukee is Chris Stofer and David Altman who both gained 6 positions.  Altman ran his 2nd race after returning from his deployment has rejoined the series and already has a top 10.  He currently sits 40th in the overall standings, but look for Altman to continue climbing his way back up once the drop races take place.

Jason Galvin lost 7 positions in the standings and looks to be in serious trouble after missing Milwaukee last week.  With only 4 races this season Galvin seriously needs to have some great results to climb higher than his current position of P23.  The Raven Motorsports driver who has a victory on the season still has plenty of time to help Raven Motorsports in the Team Championship.

Raven Motorsports hangs on to the lead in the Team Championship for another week despite losing additional ground.  Now just 15 points ahead of Adrenaline who looks poised to take over the top spot if Raven cannot run well at Barber.  Adrenaline looks to have a slight edge on Raven on the road side of competition but reports around the paddock is that Andrew Kinsella may miss the event.  We might see more of an even match with his absence.  Which team will take the top spot after Barber?

The Plasma-Tracks.com Grand Prix of Barber will take place this Thursday at 10:35pm eastern only on GSRC and iRacing Live.

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LIONHEART RETURNS TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN ON HEELS OF 4TH ANNIVERSARY

From the ups and downs of Mosport to the high banks of Michigan, the Lionheart IndyCar Series rolls on to its last stop before its Indy 500 for the Midwesnt Simulation 200. Round 9 is presented by Midwest Simulations.  Owner Scott Rupp is an Iowa native who also is a sponsor for league veteran Dan Geren. Rupp designs and fabricates motion simulation systems. For more information please visit:   https://www.facebook.com/MidwestSim/

Last week at Mosport, Adam Blocker dominated from start to finish, only giving up the lead when coming in for pitstops. The Carolina driver barely put a foot wrong, but was kept busy at the tight and twisty Ontario track with lapped traffic almost every lap after some first lap chaos. Dustin Wardlow and Stephen Laarkamp put on a show for second place before the “Candyman” pulled away towards the end. Andrew Kinsella managed to get around Laarkamp for 3rd place, but the rookie was strong throughout the race and served notice of his intention of securing that Rookie of the Year trophy, and the Buttkicker prize that goes with it. James Krahula finished 5th, holding off Justin Weaver in photo finish.

Michigan is a special place for Lionheart.  It is where the series had its very first official race.  The inaugural event took place July 3rd 2014.  So much has changed in the nearly 4 years since that very first race. From humble beginnings the league has grown each and every year. For its first 5 races the Lionheart raced with splits, before moving towards a single roster.  The winner/s of the first ever lionheart event was Michael Chinn in the 1st server and Danno Brookins in the 2nd.   Several series veterans still remain nearly 4 years and 100+ races later, Joe Hassert, Jesse Vincent, Michael Gray, Ian Adams, Vincent Bluthenthal, Robert Blouin and Jorge Anzaldo.  GSRC’s own Amjed Yamin even raced in the Lionheart inaugural event.

Michigan hosted the season opener for the league’s first two seasons before being moved to the middle of the season for season 3, where it has remained ever since.  Michigan was also the home of the 3rd All-Star Race which saw Jason Galvin on Pole and Korey Connor come away with the win.  It is a track that has made an appearance each and every season in Lionheart and one that will most likely be on the schedule each and every year to come.

Adam Blocker is coming off his 2nd victory of the season climbing 5 spots in the standings, and now sits 8th overall, just 1 point behind Ron Hacker.  The Adrenaline team has now won 5 of the 8 races so far this season, with Blocker snagging 2 road course wins and points leader Andrew Kinsella winning on 3 ovals. Kinsella remaining the points leader through the first 8 rounds will be absent for Round 9 and will unfortunately use a drop week in the process.  That means that his teammates will be expected to up there oval game if they hope to continue their dominance.

That might not be a problem for the Adrenaline stable though. Last season’s race saw Chris Stofer taking the win over Michael Goodman.  Stofer led a race high 41 laps. While 22 of the 34 cars finished on the lead lap. Stofer has traditionally been fast on the big ovals, and the Adrenaline Motorpsorts driver will be looking to get his season back on track. Look for Stofer to be around the front on Wednesday night!

​Stephen Laarkamp has been the rookie to beat this season and is coming off an impressive run at Mosport.  Finishing 4th and gaining another spot in the standings, now sitting 5th overall only -4 points back from James Krahula.  Laarkamp has also been clean this season with just 7 total incs on the year for a 1.00 avg. This talented rookie has been knocking on the door of victory several times this season. If anyone is able to break up the Adrenaline party at the top, it might be Laarkamp. Krahula meanwhile stands to take over the iron man standings with Kinsella missing Michigan.  Both drivers sit currently at 845 laps / 1,475.32 miles on the season.  This consistent approach has severed Krahula incredibly well and looking toward the second half, could see Krahula moving further up the standings.

Adrenaline continues to pull away in the team standings after another strong running last week.  Now +131 points ahead of Synergy it appears the battle is more focused on who will take 2nd in the championship as No Name and Synergy are separated by just 22 points.

Which drivers will carry momentum through Michigan into Indy?  The anticipation builds as the league looks ahead to Round 10 for the iRace for Gage Indianapolis 500.  The 2nd leg of the 2018 Triple Crown will be ran on Sunday July 15th. But before we get there, the Midwest Simulations 200 will take place Wednesday June 26th at 10:35pm eastern, only on GSRC and iRacing Live.

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SAUNDERS UNSTOPPABLE AT MILWAUKEE

The race for the championship in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation is officially a three driver battle. Alex Saunders roared to his series-leading fourth victory of the season – and second in points despite missing a race – while looking impossible to beat in the Turf Monkey 200 at The Milwaukee Mile Thursday night.

“Passing is really tough here, a lot of aero push behind people,” Saunders said. “I was fortunate the lapped cars were really considerate, and then towards the end the car gets super loose so it was all you could do to hold onto it. Man I was exhausted by the end of the race.”

The win vaulted Saunders around Dustin Wardlow and into second, 61 points behind series points leader and early championship favorite Adam Blocker.

Blocker finished second while leading 19 laps, but Saunder proved too much, pulling away to win by over a second.

“I’m trying to keep that whole checkers or wreckers thing going,” said Saunders, who has either won or wrecked in each oval race this season.

Blocker said he had nothing for Saunders over the final stint.

“You couldn’t really get within a half second of someone with comparable pace,” Blocker said. “It was a really tough deal. I had hope because I thought I was faster.”

Wardlow finished third, proving he’s not going anywhere in the championship battle. Last season’s Indy winner has yet to score a victory this year, but scored his fourth top five and a comfortable spot on the podium.

“It was funny how it worked,” Wardlow said. “You couldn’t really pull away from anybody where we were. Very difficult, super technical track. The car was both tight and loose. Saunders and Blocker, they’re the real deal.”

The race was decidedly cleaner than last year, seeing just eight cautions for 32 laps.

That allowed for plenty of green flag racing, and plenty of chances for Saunders to open up the lead, often taking Blocker with him as the two pulled away from the rest of the field.

Michael Goodman and Chris Stofer spent much of the night up front, and finished fourth and fifth.

Goodman sits fourth in points, while Brian Yaczik moves up to fifth.

The Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation returns to the road for its next race, with the top four in points are all expected to vie for a win on the winding road at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

The Plasma-Tracks Grand Prix of Barber is scheduled for 53 laps on Thursday, June 28. The race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.

For more information on the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation visit www.LionheartRacingSeries.com.

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