GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Picture

DAN GEREN EARNS EMOTIONAL WIN,

REDEMPTION AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Fighting through tears after an emotional tribute to league admin Patrick Taylor, Dan Geren delivered a redemption drive for the ages to win the RaceCentre 100 at Australia’s Phillip Island.

“This win is for Patrick Taylor,” Geren said in an emotional victory lane interview. “Words cannot express how sad we all are of his passing, the shock is still here even a week later. We love him dearly, we miss him dearly, and this wins for Patrick.”

The race marked the first event for the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment since Taylor, a native of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, died following a brain aneurysm. The 35-year-old was remembered before the race with a two-lap salute, as race director Jesse Vincent paced the field in Taylor’s blue and grey No. 81. Drivers ran special rear wings with a memorial logo to honor Taylor, the inaugural winner of the Dan Wheldon Driver of the Year award in the series.

“This has just hit us so hard,” series founder Jorge Anzaldo said before the race. “Patrick meant so much to this league. Patrick did so much for this league that we will be forever grateful, and we will do everything in our power to continue to honor him for as long as the Lionheart IndyCar Series is in existence.”

Geren looked like a driver on a mission, leading all but two laps from the pole. In 2016, Geren appeared on his way to a win at Phillip Island, but a spin cost him the lead and the race, as he came home a close second to Jake Wright.

This time, Wright couldn’t find a way past Geren.

“Jake is a very tough person to race on a road course,” Geren said. “To best him finally, it’s just awesome.

Geren’s first career road course win propelled him into a tie with Wright in the championship battle.

“If I’m going to lose a race or the championship or anything, Dan is one of those people I’d be fine losing to,” Wright said. “Dan just dominated all week. I did everything I could to maybe pass him, but couldn’t.”

Brian Yaczik came home third, fending off challenges from Dustin Wardlow and Michael Goodman. The three crossed the line within one second of each other.

“I feel a little bit like I got some justice,” Yaczik said after the race. “I was probably going to finish on the podium back at Mosport and I sped on pit road. I had to come back and get me one.”

Only one major incident affected the race. With two laps remaining, Adam Blocker got into the back of Jason Robarge as the two battled for eighth. Blocker continued on, finishing 12th, but Robarge was unable to continue and fell to 29th.

James Krahula recovered from an early off-track incident to finish sixth. Andrew Kinsella drove from 15th starting spot to finish seventh. Jason Galvin, George Adams and Ryan Otis rounded out the top ten.

36 cars took the green flag. 16 cars finished on the lead lap, while 32 cars finished the race.

Wright and Geren extended the gap to third place Andrew Kinsella to 90 points. Goodman and Krahula round out the top five in the standings.

The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment now take a month off, before the #NailedIt 150 at the New Hampshire International Speedway. The time off will be good for the series, which continues to heal following the shocking death of one of its most popular drivers.

“Patrick will always be in our hearts, he will always be remembered, and he will always be our friend and our fellow Lionheart family member, and we cannot thank him enough,” Anzaldo said. “You were the best, and you were the glue that held this league together.”

Donations are being accepted on behalf of the Taylor family. You can donate by visiting www.PayPal.me/LionheartSeries.

The #NailedIt150 can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 7:40 p.m. EST on Wednesday, September 13.

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

20664512_10155339346841391_6302652942443185611_n

GONE TOO SOON – BUT NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN

Picture

REMEMBERING PATRICK TAYLOR

Written by: Jorge Anzaldo

Patrick Taylor, a fan favorite and invaluable admin member of the Lionheart Racing Series, died on Tuesday. His death was unexpected, the result of an unpredictable medical event over the weekend at his home in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, his family said.

For two years, Taylor was a fixture in Lionheart, running in the IndyCar, Retro and Challenge series. A member of Dragonfly Racing, Taylor quickly rose to become one of the most popular members in league history.

Every night Taylor’s friendly voice would welcome each member into the league chat. An optimist and kind soul, Taylor was the glue of the Lionheart family.

League founder Jorge Anzaldo grew especially close with Taylor as the duo worked on a remarkable project, the first ever Lionheart Yearbook. The hardcover, bound book was a labor of love, an idea sparked by Anzaldo but brought to life by Taylor, who remarkably helped write, design and edit a book with no formal journalism or design training, a true testament to his creativity and passion for the league and iRacing community.

“For nearly two years I talked to Patrick daily,” a heartbroken Anzaldo said. “Not just about league stuff. Patrick was just fun to talk to, and I looked forward to my conversations with him. I was looking forward to one day meeting him in person, and catching a real IndyCar race together.”

Taylor was recognized by the Lionheart community as its inaugural Dan Wheldon Driver of the Year in 2016. Named after the Lionheart himself, the award was given to the driver who best exemplified the spirit of the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion. The award was a complete surprise to Taylor, one the admin team kept secret from him until the ceremony following the 2016 season finale.

“The guy that I chose is always giving one hundred and twenty percent to the league,” series sponsor Brandon Limkemann said while making the announcement. “He’s always at the top of his game, always happy to help, always has a smile on his face it seems, I just can’t say enough about Patrick Taylor.”

The honor caught the jovial Taylor off guard.

“I guess this is a bad time to be speechless,” Taylor said while accepting the award. “Thank you very much. I appreciate it and I feel the same way Brandon does about the league, I’m honored to be a part of it. Getting to be part of the admin team is just an added bonus. Thank you, I’m very grateful for this and I appreciate it.”

The Lionheart community, known throughout iRacing not only for its talented group of sim racers, but for its camaraderie away from the computer, was still picking up the pieces Friday morning.

“Too often, when people die, we talk about how nice they were, what a good person they were; it becomes cliche,” league admin Jason Galvin said. “But in this case, it’s absolutely true. I felt like Patrick was one of my best friends from the beginning. Patrick Taylor is the type of person you hope your kids become. I’m distraught over this.”

Fellow league admin Pierre Daigle said the news devastated him.

“I’ve had no energy since I found out. I keep looking for a way this can’t be true, keep expecting him to message us,” said Daigle, who grew close with Taylor both as a fellow countryman and through his work as league historian. “I keep wanting to jump in teamspeak and hear his voice. He was truly special, the best.”

Former league champion and current race director Jesse Vincent offered his thoughts on the ability of iRacing to develop friendships like the one he shared with Taylor.

“Say what you want, but in today’s world, distance is no object when it comes to making friends. I don’t have many friends here in Huntsville, Alabama, but lord knows I have many in other places,” Vincent said. “Patrick Taylor was a friend to anyone he spoke to. The embodiment of kindness, he always had a smile, never spoke bad of anyone, never made a joke at anyone’s expense. I thought one time, if there was anyone I would just chill on a boat on a lake fishing with, he was probably the man for it. The world has lost one of its biggest hearts way too soon.”

Other league members offered memories through the iRacing forum:

“I’ll never forget the first time I met Patrick,” Travis Jegerlehner said.  “I joined the teamspeak channel for Lionheart and Patrick was one of the first people to say hello to me. He was a genuine person that I felt comfortable talking to immediately – the kind of thing you can’t fake. He was one of the people who made me feel most welcome and at home in the league.”

“I have crossed paths with so many people in my life and I can tell you I really can’t think of anyone more kind and caring than Patrick Taylor,” teammate Brian Greenlee said. “He dedicated so much of his time to the league and I promise you that if you spent more than ten minutes talking with him, you found yourself smiling and laughing, as was his easy going nature.”

“I have been with the league since the beginning and witnessed how Patrick transformed the league into what it is today,” Vincent Bluthenthal said. “Whenever I would hear Patrick, he would remind me of an airline captain; someone calm and collected, he just made you feel comfortable. Patrick to me never sounded like he had bad days.”

Taylor’s best iRacing friend and Dragonfly founder, Robert Blouin, is making the six hour commute to attend Taylor’s services, scheduled for Monday morning. Blouin spoke with Taylor’s mother, who asked him to be a pallbearer. She told Blouin that her son loved Lionheart, talked about it often and thought highly of its members.

“There is a reason Patrick was the inaugural winner of the Driver of the Year award,” Blouin said. “His spirit, determination, personality and commitment to the league made us all want to be like him. Patrick never had a bad thing to say of anyone and was always willing to step up to help his teammates or competitors.

“No words can be said on how much he will be missed by all the drivers in the league.”

The Lionheart community is working on ways to continue Patrick’s legacy. It has already been announced that his number, 81, will be retired, effective immediately.

Anzaldo also announced the Driver of the Year award will be renamed; from now on, the driver who best exemplifies the spirit of Dan Wheldon on and off the track will earn the Patrick Taylor Driver of the Year award.

Drivers will also carry a special memorial sticker on their cars in each series to honor their friend.

“Those who knew Patrick through our league are truly blessed,” Anzaldo said, fighting tears. “Those that become part of Lionheart in the future will know of him; we’re going to do everything we can to make sure his memory lives on forever.

“I will truly miss our conversations. I’ll miss our love of IndyCar. I’ll miss all of the on-track battles on iRacing. I will miss my fellow league admin…and I will miss my friend. I will never forget you buddy.”

Patrick Taylor was 35.

To pay your respects or offer your condolences to Patrick, visit:http://members.iracing.com/jforum/posts/list/1075/3258331.page

OCTOBER 1981 – AUGUST 2017

IN MEMORY OF PATRICK TAYLOR

It is a sad day in the Lionheart IndyCar / Retro Series as we have to say goodbye to a dear friend and teammate Patrick Taylor, Who was taken from us way too young, earlier this week in Kamloops BC.

Patrick Taylor

RIP #81

Patrick’s spirit will remain with us as we continue this season in his honour as he will be missed, but NEVER forgotten.

There is a reason Patrick was the inagural winner of the Lionheart Series Driver of the Year Last Season. His spirit, determination, personality and commitment to the league made us all want to be like him. Patrick never had a bad thing to say of anyone and was always willing to step up to help his teammates or competitors.

No words can be said on how much he will be missed by all the drivers in the league.

Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends on their loss.

Dragonfly Racing

Lionheart_FME_Logo

 

 

 

FIRST TIME WINNER TAKES GATEWAY

Picture

STRATEGY KEY TO BLOCKER’S FIRST LIONHEART RETRO WIN

Adam Blocker used a gamble on pit road, and the draft of a teammate, to finally breakthrough and win his first Lionheart Retro Series race Thursday night, in the Infinite 150 presented by Infinite Racing Group at Gateway Motorsports Park.

“That was wild, it was all strategy for the most part,” Blocker said while celebrating.

The rookie took the lead from pole sitter Joe Branch with three laps remaining and stretched his fuel a remarkable 57 laps. The teammates pitted after a caution, 10 laps short of the projected fuel window. Another yellow on lap 79 gave the duo hope, and put them up front when the leaders hit pit road. The final caution, inside of 20 laps remaining, gave Blocker what he needed.

“We got that second caution, and that was enough to get us close,” Blocker said. “Because I was behind Joe the whole time, that was enough to save fuel and still keep time, and obviously Joe wasn’t able to do that.”

Branch ran out of fuel on the final lap, handing second to Joe Hassert, who used a lightning quick final stop to leap ahead of the early race favorites, Ryan Otis and Jason Galvin.

“It was fun, but it was hard to pass once you got to the top five,” Hassert said after recovering from a 21st place starting spot. “We just ran out of gear there to make things really interesting.”

Otis led a race-high 55 laps, but couldn’t get back around Hassert or Galvin after the final stop. Galvin ran the fastest lap of the race with four laps to go, but ran out of time to catch the leaders.

“What a battle,” Galvin said. “Ryan and I were talking, we had a lot of fun. Our lines were so different, and neither of us practiced much…and he was killing us on entry, and I couldn’t figure it out until about eight laps to go. By the time I figured it out, we just ran out of time.”

The win was redemption for Blocker, who has been in the mix in every series start, including the last race at Laguna Seca. But each time, another driver has found a way to edge ahead and keep the rookie out of victory lane. This time, the role reversed.

“There was no way I was realistically going to pass Joe, so that’s why I just decided I was going to start lifting and saving fuel,” Blocker said. “I’m looking forward to Road America now.”

Pierre Daigle finished fifth, ahead of teammate and points leader Jake Wright. The No Name Racing team had the best team performance of the night, with Hassert second. AGR Motorsports also placed three cars in the top ten, with Galvin joined by Jorge Anzaldo in ninth and Travis Jegerlehner in tenth.

Bob Mikes and David Altman finished seventh and eighth. 15 cars finished on the lead lap, capped by Branch, who coasted to the line. 18 of the 28 starters finished the race.

Five cautions slowed the race for 20 laps, and six drivers led laps.

The Lionheart Retro Series takes a few weeks off before heading to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the Road America 100. Wright takes a 31 point lead over Otis into the event, with Galvin 105 points out of the lead.

The Road America 100 can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST on Thursday, August 24.

retro-series-logo

CHAMPIONSHIP RACE TIGHTENS AFTER ATLANTA

Picture

GEREN DOMINATES ATLANTA, CLOSES LIONHEART CHAMPIONSHIP GAP

In a season full of parody and close racing, there was little doubt who the dominant driver was on Wednesday night. Dan Geren led 80 laps from the pole to win the Utility Equipment Company 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his second win of the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by first Medical Equipment season.

“This race meant a lot for me tonight,” an emotional Geren said after the race. “I’m going to dedicate this to my mother-in-law who passed away from cancer earlier this year. Today would’ve been her sixty-first birthday. This one’s for her.”

Geren took the lead for good, passing newcomer Justin Weaver on a restart with 28 laps remaining, and held on until the final caution flew with three laps to go.

“I was very worried,” Geren said. “I haven’t raced (Weaver) very much; I know he’s a good driver, but I didn’t know if he could get to me.”

The win propelled Geren to within seven points of two-time defending series champion Jake Wright.

“Everybody kept it clean tonight,” Geren said. “It’s going to be a battle for Jake and I. I told him last year I was coming for him.”

Weaver was thrilled with the podium in his league debut, leading 38 laps with the help of solid strategy and proving he is a contender.

“I was just hoping to get a podium finish and just kinda ran my race, trying to stay out of trouble,” Weaver said. “Just tried to keep it between the lines and just made my way up there, and luckily the pit strategy played out for me and I was able to get up there.”

During a race where the prevailing strategy was to short-pit for tires and makeup time, Weaver chose instead to run his car on fumes, and it paid off. On lap 76, Adam Blocker crashed in turn three, bringing out the first caution of the event. Weaver and Patrick Taylor were the only two cars who had not made a stop, and cycled to the front of the pack, where they remained for most of the race.

Michael Goodman made a furious charge back through the field to finish third. It was a solid run for the ever-improving Goodman, who recruited Weaver to Lionheart.

“Everything lined up perfectly tonight, except the win,” Goodman said. “The strategy didn’t work out on the first stop, but I decided I was staying out and that’s all you can say. It worked.”

The second caution on lap 100 turned the race on its lid. Pierre Daigle, one of at least a dozen who had hit the pits, spun on the exit of turn two while trying to merge, bringing out the caution and trapping several cars a lap down.

Jason Galvin, Big Joe Hassert, Ryan Otis, Brian Yaczik, Chris Stofer and others who appeared set for a big night were all left trapped mid-pack for the remainder of the race.

Joe Branch used pit strategy to work from 21st to fourth, with James Krahula fifth and Wright sixth. Bob Mikes, Scott Bolster, Ron Hacker and Taylor rounded out the top ten.

The final caution ended the race when Ed Tutwiler ran into Pete Edwins on the front straight with two laps remaining. The duo were racing for 23rd at the time.

Wright and Geren distanced themselves from Andrew Kinsella, who finished 28th after issues on pit road. The Canadian is a full 100 points back of the points lead, after dominating the early parts of the season. Goodman moved up two spots to fourth, with Krahula fifth.

The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment takes a week off before heading down under, for the RaceCentre 100 at Phillip Island. That race can be seen live on the Global SimRacing Channel at 10:40 p.m. EST on Wednesday, August 16.

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

Lionheart_FME_Logo

LIONHEART DRIVERS TO DO BATTLE IN GEORGIA

Picture

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN ATLANTA

Atlanta Motor Speedway has a fairly unimpressive history with American open wheel racing. Since 1965, various sanctioning bodies have come and gone. USAC, CART, and the Indy Racing League have all staged events at the southern oval but none have stuck around for more than a handful of seasons. Indycars have not raced at Atlanta since 2001 when Greg Ray took the checkered flag.

Thankfully, things are very different in the virtual world!
iRacing’s version of the Atlanta Motor Speedway has become a mainstay for the Lionheart Indycar Series presented by First Medical Equipment. This week’s Utility Equipment Company 200 will mark the fourth consecutive season that the league has hosted a sim race at the 1.5-mile oval. There’s a very good reason why the series makes annual visits to Georgia: the track consistently produces exciting and unpredictable sim races.

Two seasons ago, Jason Robarge took the checkered flag in a thrilling three-wide finish with Dan Geren and Jake Wright. Last season, the race ended under caution but not before another exciting battle for the lead between eventual winner Jason Galvin, Brian Yaczik and Chris Stofer. In addition to the tight battles, both sim races also featured a healthy dose of fuel and tire strategy.

In each of the past two seasons, Atlanta has been the penultimate event on the schedule and the championship had already been decided before the virtual Dallara DW-12s hit the track. Not so this year. With ten rounds still remaining in the season, Jake Wright holds a modest 27-point lead over Dan Geren and despite a win last week in Dover, Wright has been unable to pull away.

Geren has finished higher than Wright in each of the past two visits to Atlanta and the upcoming sim race presents a perfect opportunity for him to close the gap. Of course, Wright has earned the pole position in each of his two previous Atlanta starts and he will undoubtedly be looking to finally convert that into a win after two failed attempts.

With fuel and tire strategy likely to play a role, teamwork could be a big factor in the race. As such, the search for potential contenders this week must go through the Adrenaline Motorsports garage. The team currently sits second behind No Name Racing in the standings and there’s every reason to think they will be strong this week. Chris Stofer, already a two-time winner in 2017, finished second in Atlanta last season and led 24 laps. Tony Showen finished right behind Stofer last season and also led laps, earning his first career podium in the process. Joe Branch has never enjoyed much luck at Atlanta but he’s usually strong on 1.5-mile tracks and the veteran sim racer could easily be a factor if he avoids trouble.

It may end up being Adrenaline’s rookie duo of Andrew Kinsella and Adam Blocker who overshadow their veteran teammates. Blocker has made only two career starts in the series and has yet to finish lower than fourth; he should be strong once again in Georgia. Kinsella, meanwhile, is looking to gain ground in the championship standings after a string of unlucky incidents have pushed him down to third overall. When he avoids trouble, Kinsella is usually a lock for the top ten and is expected to be a contender once again this week.

​Expect a strong fight from AGR Motorsports who happen to house the past two Atlanta winners, Jason Robarge and Jason Galvin. Defending winner Galvin, who has already visited victory lane at a 1.5-mile track this season, should be a contender again this week. Meanwhile, Jason Robarge is coming off a solid second-place run at Dover and will be looking for another chance to earn his first victory since that Atlanta win in Season 3.

The underdog team to keep an eye on this week is Blue Bayou Racing. Race sponsor Ron Hacker earned one of the best finishes in team history last season at Atlanta and he will be looking to put his Utility Equipment Company Dallara DW-12 back in the spotlight this week. Brandon Limkemann has been another sim racer bitten by bad luck in Georgia. Limkemann has started seventh in each of the past two seasons but he has not finished either race. Should his luck turn around this year, Limkemann could join

Hacker near the top of the standings.
Other drivers to watch this week include James Krahula, who is always a threat when fuel strategy comes into play; he finished fifth last season. Krahula’s No Name Racing teammate Brian Yaczik had one of his strongest races last season at Atlanta before wrecking in the closing laps. Yaczik is another sim racer that simply needs luck to go his way in order for him to finish strong.  Finally, Bob Mikes should not be discounted. Mikes won at Kentucky and finished third at Texas earlier in the year so another 1.5-mile track should play to his strengths this week.

​The Utility Equipment Company 200 will be broadcast live on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and iRacing Live on August 2nd beginning at 10:35PM ET. 

Lionheart_FME_Logo

WRIGHT SWEEPS ANOTHER 2 RACE WEEK

Picture

WRIGHT TOPS BLOCKER AT LAGUNA SECA

A month after earning his first career Lionheart Retro Series road course victory at Mid-Ohio, Jake Wright was back in victory lane again on Thursday night – this time at Laguna Seca. The series points leader topped pole-sitter Adam Blocker in a sim race that was decided during the first and only round of pit stops.

If that story sounds familiar, it’s because the Wright-Blocker showdown was almost a carbon copy of the previous round at Mid-Ohio. Once again, Adam Blocker scored the pole and led throughout the first stint. The lead would change hands when Wright, who pitted first, easily went by Blocker as he was exiting the pits on lap 25.

Wright would lead the remaining 20 laps, although Blocker refused to let Jake get away and finished just over three seconds behind. The victory was the third of the season for Wright, who has finished on the podium in eight of eleven rounds in 2017.

“Laguna Seca is one of my favourite tracks to race at. Any time I get a chance to race here, I love it!” said Wright, who also earned a Laguna Seca victory in the Dallara DW-12 last season.

The two-time Lionheart Indycar Series champion stuck to the same pit strategy that proved successful at Mid-Ohio.

“Me and Adam tonight, we were extremely equal in speed,” said Wright. “I was going to do the opposite of what he did to try to get a clean lap and see if I could get anything on him.”

For Blocker, the runner-up finish was his second in just three Retro Series starts.

“I had the pace for Jake, but I just didn’t have it quite as consistently as he did. I think when he was behind me for the first stint he was a little bit faster but he just couldn’t get by.”

“And then in the pit stop, he just killed it,” added Blocker. “It was basically a copy of our last race from Mid-Ohio!”

Third-place Travis Jegerlehner earned his first podium of the season thanks to a seemingly quiet run.

“I was kind of in no man’s land, which was dangerous,” offered the AGR Motorsports sim racer. “I really had to focus because I kind of was daydreaming! Jake and Adam were light-years ahead of me; I would have liked to have tried to track them down!”
David Altman would finish fourth, followed by Samuel Reiman in fifth and Dustin Wardlow in sixth.

Scott Bolster, Scott Johnson, Jesse Vincent and Bob Mikes would round out the top ten, with Bart Working finishing close behind in eleventh. Throughout the 45-lap event, those five sim racers battled for position almost non-stop.

The most notable name in that group was two-time Lionheart Indycar Series champion Jesse Vincent who was making his first career Retro Series start. Vincent, who has been sidelined for much of the past two years by back issues, started in twenty-first before climbing through the field to finish ninth.

“It was good fun; I’m glad I did it,” he said. “I’m disappointed in myself though because for the first time in my Lionheart career I had a self-spin and I lost a position.”

Overall, 24 classic Lotus 79s started the Grand Prix of Monterey presented byDewar’s Candy, although only six would finish on the lead lap.
Wright’s second-consecutive win solidifies his lead in the championship. Ryan Otis is now in second, just 37 points behind when drop weeks are taken into account. Dustin Wardlow sits third overall, followed by Jason Galvin and Travis Jegerlehner. Both Galvin and Otis missed this week’s event due to other commitments.

The series will be back in action next week with a visit to Gateway Motorsports Park on August 3rd. The Infinite 150 presented by Infinite Racing Group will be broadcast live on the Global Sim Racing Channel (GSRC) and iRacing Live beginning at 10:35PM ET.

retro-series-logo