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THE FIGHT TO THE FINISH STARTS AT MONTREAL

Pierre Daigle has seen little time off these past 2 weeks…the Quebecois driver has been very busy teaching his fellow league members enough French to get by in his native province. That’s right, the Lionheart IndyCar series is heading north for the No Name Racing Grand Prix of Montreal. Montreal saw its first appearance in Lionheart in 2015 for Season 2 which saw Jesse Vincent win the inaugural running for the series.  The series would not return again until Season 4 with Jake Wright claiming victory on the Canadian circuit.  With Wright’s absence from the series in 2018 it will create a 3rd different winner.

Last time out, Dan Geren was good to the last drop at New Hampshire, winning by less the 0.1 seconds over Andrew Kinsella. Geren ran out just has he was crossing the line, having stretched his fuel to the very limit. Kinsella hounded him for the final 15 laps of the race, but was unable to find a way past. James Krahula finished 3rd after leading the majority of the race followed by Justin Weaver and Chris Stofer. Points leader Adam Blocker came home 10th. Kinsella has gained some ground back in the championship standings, currently sitting 31 points back from Blocker.  Geren via his victory has solidified 3rd, overall 52 points clear of Michael Goodman. Brian Yaczik came home 7th and gained 4 points on Goodman, now sitting 11 points behind the New York driver in 5th.

Weaver has finally created some separation between himself and Stephen Laarkamp in the Rookie of the Year fight. Now by 14 points, the gap is larger than it has been in several races, however this is one battle which will clearly be going down to the wire.

Looking ahead to this week, it is a battle of a tight road course, which naturally skews the tables in the direction of Adam Blocker. Blocker has been nearly untouchable on road courses this year, and will look to rebound from New Hampshire with a win.

Don’t count out Dan Geren, however. Geren has finally caught fire after he seemingly could not buy a bit of good luck for the first half of the season. With just over 90 points separating Geren and Blocker, Geren will need every point he can get from the remaining 5 races to challenge for the championship in the finale. Based on Geren’s propensity for qualifying on the front row, that could mean that the already tight turn 1 will take on even greater significance, as the man who leads after turn 1 could very well be the winner of the race.

Andrew Kinsella, meanwhile has been using strategy rather then outright speed on road courses. On the last road course at Phillip island, the Canadian stretched out his first stint, allowing him to go full out as others fuel saved later in the race. This strategy netted him 4th. Will the Canadian be able to get closer in Montreal?

In the Iron Man standings, Matt Mercerhas 2,372 laps completed for 3,655.40 miles to take the lead in this catagory.  Ron Hacker and James Krahula sit P2 and P3.

Synergy Motorsports has finally made up ground on No Name Racing moving into the number 2 spot in the Team Championship standings.  No Name Racing is just 39 points back.  This may be the storyline for the team fight for the remainder of the season as Adrenaline Motorsport has placed a stranglehold on the top spot.

Tyler Graaf, Tony Showen and Chris Stofer were the biggest movers after New Hampshire each gaining 3 spots in the standings.  In total 14 drivers climbed between 1-3 spots after Round 18.

Chris Lanini is a driver on a bit of a hot streak.  Lanini has really upped his game during the second half of this season qualifying close to the front in the last few races.  He has led 77 laps on the year with 1 top 5 and 7 top 10’s he certainly is a candidate for this year’s turning point award.

Many drivers are already looking ahead towards 2019 in anticipation for the upcoming “silly season” and have officially thrown their hats into the ring looking to join teams with openings.  The off season is going to be an interesting one with many drivers fighting for roster spots.  43 spots are allotted for the Lionheart series and the series anticipates the addition of 7-8 rookies joining the series for 2019.

The No Name Racing Grand Prix of Montreal fires off on Wednesday November 7th at 10:35pm eastern only the iRacing Esports Network presented by GSRC

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THE LIONHEART RETRO SERIES WINDS DOWN IN THE MID-WEST

RACE TO BE RUN ON NOVEMBER 15 DUE TO AN UNPLANNED IRACING SITE UPDATE !!

Two rounds remain, two chances, two drivers locked in one of the tightest most exciting championship battles in lionheart history will face off at Road America and the finale at Auto Club Speedway.  What a fitting end to an exciting second Retro Series season.  The first of the two rounds will be on the greatest road course in the US; Road America, for the LPM Grand Prix at Road America. This is fitting as our two championship leaders have dueled this season to assert their road course dominance. However, the championship will be settled and won by the driver who dominates both road and oval disciplines. So far, Adam Blocker has proven to be the oval master, while Saunders has had the edge on the road.

Last time out in Montreal was the first time this season that someone not named Blocker or Saunders won the race, with real-world IndyCar driver Sage Karam capitalizing on a mistake by Alex Saunders in the last 10 laps en-route to a victory in only his second league start. Saunders would come home 2nd, with Adam Blocker 3rd. Andrew Kinsella was the only lead lap driver to run a 1-stop strategy, and used it to vault 3 places in the final standings to finish 4th. Marc Cohn came home an impressive 5th. With 2 races to go, the results in Montreal leave Saunders 18 points behind Blocker.

This fight certainly brings back memories of the S1 Lionheart championship which saw Jesse Vincent win the title over Richard Behr by just one point.  A lot has changed since the Lionheart Racing Series was formed back in 2014.  Back then, the only thing that was won was bragging rights, however, now the champions not only are winning the respect of their fellow drivers but now earn some serious prizes as well.  This year the Retro Series Champion will win a set of HPP Simulation top of the line pedals valued at over $1300.

Four drivers still have a mathematical shot at winning the championship with over 180 points yet to be decided thanks to the finale being double points.  Dustin Wardlow and Michael Goodman sit 3rd  and 4th  and will need a lot of help in order to make it happen.  They’re not out of it yet and are sure to give it everything they have to win this championship, but will need a lot of help, starting with the round at Road America.

Sage Karam has had a strong start to his first few races in the Lionheart Series.  Winning at Montreal over Alex Saunders.  Certainly, if Blocker or Saunders want the championship title they will have to contend with Karam for every point, and Karam could be the wild card that decides this championship one way or the other.

James Brant has had a strong season in the Retro Series with 3 top 5 finishes and 7 top 10’s. After last round, he has gained 3 positions in the standings and is now 12th overall.  Brant is certainly a driver to watch over the remaining two races.  If Brant continues this seasons success he certainly can finish within the top 10 in points for 2018.  Rumors around the paddock are that Brant will be moving over the IR-18 series full time for 2019.

The team championship has taken a swing after Montreal with Raven Motorsports gaining much needed ground over their closest rival 8 Ball Motorsports.  The difference is 100 points currently and Road America will be the final road event where each team can make up or lose ground before heading into the finale where a strong running can be a nail in the coffin for the other team. Adrenaline Motorsports sits 150 points back, and still have a shot at the title as well.

Last year at Road America, Adam Blocker was victorious over Wardlow by 4.5 seconds. David Altman rounded out the podium, while Travis Jegerlehner and Jason Galvin rounded out the top 5.

The 2019 season schedule has been finalized by league officials it is confirmed that 18 rounds will once again make up the season schedule.  The Lionheart series is happy to be officially announcing the inaugural running of both Imola and Sebring for season 3. Tune in to the season finale for more details .

But first, we have the penultimate round to get through. Tune in on Thursday November 1st, 2018 at 10:35pm eastern for all the fabulous Retro action only on the iRacing eSports Network and iRacing Live, presented by GSRC.

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KARAM VICTORIOUS IN 2ND LIONHEART START

Sage Karam has spent the better part of five season working towards his first win in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

It took two weeks to capture his first win in the Lionheart Racing Series.

​Karam took advantage of a late race pit stop by Alex Saunders, capturing the lead with three laps remaining and winning the Skidmark Motorsports Grand Prix of Canada Thursday night in the Lionheart Retro Series presented by HPP Simulation.

“Alex went off the track towards the end, and that was all I needed,” Karam said. “I saw that and figured I’d pit early for clear track, and it worked out. I was able to close the gap and get out in front after the last stop.”

Karam, the five-time Indianapolis 500 starter, battled in his series debut at Gateway Motorsports Park before being eliminated in a mid-race wreck.

But on the streets of Montreal, Karam was avoided trouble and was flawless, keeping the pressure on Saunders and Adam Blocker throughout the event.

When the championship contenders hit pit road with four laps remaining, Karam turned on the jets, sneaking past Saunders and holding the road course ace off over the final three laps at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“That was definitely a fun race,” Karam said. “I learned I need to practice more. I maybe did ten laps before qualifying, but as the race went on I figured out the track a lot more. I put my best lap in at the end of the race.”

Saunders felt like he let one get away, and declined a post race interview.

Blocker was a distant third, finishing ten seconds back after the final stop.

“I made a mistake and cut the chicane, and Sage dive bombed me at one point,” Blocker said. “Alex made that error which minimized a bad day for me, so it’s still a good day in the points.”

Andrew Kinsella came home fourth, with Marc Cohn capturing his first series top five in fifth.

Blocker’s lead slipped to 18 points with two races remaining in the season. Dustin Wardlow fell to 101 points out of the lead following a disappointing sixth place finish after early damage.

The pass for the lead was the only change up front, as 15 of the 21 starters finished the event.

The penultimate race of the season is set to take place Thursday, November 1, at Road America. The LPM Grand Prix of Road America can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network presented by Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.

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GEREN GOOD TO THE LAST DROP

To say Dan Geren was running on fumes at the end of the Skidmark Motorsports 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Wednesday night would be a lie.

He had used them already.

Geren ran out of gas on the front straight, but was able to coast across the line, 0.090 seconds ahead of Andrew Kinsella, to win for the second time in 2018 in the Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment.

“I was not expecting this one at all,” Geren said, celebrating his 100th start. “I battled James (Krahula) early in the race and just couldn’t get him. On the last stint, I got out in front and had to pace myself and I had not pitted for fuel and tires. I had to save and go and save and go. I barely made it.”

Geren stretched his fuel for 60 laps, an otherworldly effort, to seal the deal after battling with Kinsella, Joe Branch and James Krahula throughout the event.

“I was making both lines work pretty good,” Geren said. “It was one of those deals where it could’ve gone either way, but I think if Andrew was going to pass me it would’ve had to be on the high side.”

Kinsella was disappointed to finish second, given that Geren is closing in on the top two in the championship battle.

“I think I was on the right strategy until the two yellows near the end came out,” Kinsella said. “I was catching Dan and James and was looking really good, but the yellows came out and Dan was just able to hold me off at the end there.”

Points leader Adam Blocker had a down race, finishing tenth and failing to lead a lap. Combined with the one-two finish from Geren and Kinsella, the championship lead is down to 31. Geren is within 100 points for the first time in five months.

Krahula finished third, a half second behind the leaders, after leading the most laps.

“I thought if we went green to the end, there was no way on earth Dan was making it,” Krahula said. “You just have to admit that you got beat by the better drivers today.”

Pole winner Justin Weaver finished fourth, with Chris Stofer a strong fifth.

The race was slowed nine times for 36 caution laps. Eight drivers led a lap, although just eleven lead changes occured, showing the difficulty of making a green flag pass for the lead on the tricky mile long track.

The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment returns to the road, heading north of the border for the No Name Racing Grand Prix of Montreal. The 47 lap event is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7 and can be seen live on the iRacing eSports Network presented by Global SimRacing Channel at 10:35 p.m. EST.

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LIONHEART HEADS TO THE MAGIC MILE

The gruelling end of season schedule continues for the Lionheart Series on Wednesday afternoon, as the series breezes up to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Skidmark Motorsports 200.
Skid Mark Motorsports is a sim racing team that races in all disciplines within iRacing. While starting out racing in endurance events the team expanded into different road racing leagues piloting NASCAR vehicles and GT3 cars. In 2017 the team moved into open wheel racing and found a home in the Lionheart Indycar, Retro and Challenge series.
Last time out at Iowa, chaos reigned supreme, and the championship contenders couldn’t decide who was going to give it away first. It started lap one. After starting back to back in line in 15 th and 17 th respectively, Adam Blocker and Andrew Kinsella went roaring into turn 1 nose to tail. By the exit of turn two Blocker had made up 2 positions while Kinsella git the notorious Iowa bump and spun into the infield. Fortunately he was able to get away unscathed, albeit back at the back of the field. An incident between Pete Edwins and Scott Bolster in the same corner would slow the field for the first caution of the night. After the green flag flew again, up at the front Dan Geren and polesitter Connor Harrington swapping the position before Harrington eventually started to pull away.
Back in the championship battle, it was Blocker’s turn to blink. On the next set of stops, under yellow, a lap car made a late decision to enter pit road. This caused a huge checkup in which a number of cars including Blocker suffered damage. Blocker would require a rear wing replacement, sending him to the back of the field. By this point Kinsella was just outside the top 10, having avoided the chaos on pit road.
On the next set of green flag stops, the pendulum would, however, swing back violently in Blocker’s favour. Kinsella had worked his way up to 3 rd behind Harrington and Justin Weaver. Kinsella and Harrington would pit first, then as Weaver attempted to make his stop, he misjudged the rejoining car of Chris Stofer. The 2 made contact, sending the then leader of the race to the showers. Kinsella was trapped behind the pace car due to some unfortunate timing and unique iRacing pace car
rules. Blocker, meanwhile was 1 of 5 cars still yet to pit. This handed Blocker an insurmountable 2 lap advantage over Kinsella, who was down in 18 th place. Blocker restarted 3 rd and was quickly into 1 st and checking out. As Blocker caught traffic, Kinsella was able to track him down and get one of his laps back the hard way, however that was as close as he would get. A late caution and restart did little to change the order at the top, with Blocker sealing the win on the last lap over a charging Michael Goodman.
Scott Johnson charged from 29 th starting spot to finish 3 rd , while Chris Lanini and Dan Geren finished 4 th and 5 th , the later the first car 1 lap down. Kinsella rallied to finish 10 th , salvaging all he could from a race he would rather forget.
Looking forward to New Hampshire, leaves little time for rest for these Lionheart drivers. New Hampshire represents the 3 race in as many weeks for the tired drivers, and it is sure to be a tough one.
Much like Milwaukee earlier in the season, New Hampshire is a flat 1 mile oval with very little forgiveness and an even more difficult passing proposition.

Last season has good memories for Kinsella, as he overtook the future 3-time champ Jake Wright around the outside with only a handful of laps to go for the win. Similar to this season, Kinsella had just come off an off race at Iowa, where he lost a win in the closing stages to Wright. This season Kinsella is hoping to return the favour on Adam Blocker. With a 45 point deficit to overcome, he is going to need every point he can get.At the similarly configured Milwaukee Mile earlier in the season, it was not Kinsella, but Brian Yaczik who dominated the race, leading all but 7 laps. Yaczik has since seen his championship aspirations derailed to a certain extent (he now sits 5 th , 154 points back of the leader Blocker), however with a double points race in the finally, he still cannot be entirely discounted.

Dan Geren is another who should not be discounted. The qualifying king of Lionheart has finally shaken off his bad race luck of late, and has been strong for several races in a row now. This has put him 3 rd in points, just 102 points back of Blocker. With how difficult passing could be, Geren’s qualifying prowess may just be enough to see him into victory lane.

Dark horse favourites for the win include Joe Branch, Big Joe Hassert and Pierre Daigle. All 3 have been strong on short tracks this season, and are looking for their first win.

From the rookies, Stephen Laarkamp, Justin Weaver, Connor Harrington have all been strong this season. Laarkamp and Weaver have been trading the Rookie of the Year lead these last few races, with Laarkamp currently 2 points ahead of Weaver. Harrington meanwhile has come in late, but already earned 2 poles in 2 races, and if he can do it again, he might be able to out Dan Geren.
In the teams standings, No Name continued their off season, as the 3 time champs fell to 3 rd behind Synergy Motorsports. Adrenaline remains way out in front.
Tune in to the iRacing Esports network presented by GSRC for all your Lionheart action. Catch the the Skidmark Motorsports 200 this Wednesday at 10:35pm eastern.​

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DRIVERS PREPARE FOR BATTLE AT THE BULLRING

From the sun and fun down-under to the golden cornfields of Iowa, the Lionheart series trades a rolling road course for the most exciting short oval on the schedule for the Iowa 200 Presented by Birky Trucking. Tom Birkenstock owner of Birky Trucking operates his company out of Burlington Iowa, and has been a proud supporter of Lionheart for several seasons. Iowa has become a special place for the Lionheart Series as it has run every season at the bullring since being formed in July of 2014.  The short track also has played host to the annual Lionheart league meet up.  Each season, lionheart members have converged to the Iowa Speedway for a weekend of tail gaiting, fun and shared stories of all the exciting action members have experienced over the years.  The members also watch the real-world IndyCar Series drivers compete in the Iowa Corn 300.

Last time out at Philip Island, it was another strong road performance from Adam Blocker that brought the Carolina driver the win. Blocker got the fuel mileage right and fended off strong challenges from Michael Goodman, and Sage Karam. Goodman lead for 14 laps, however the 3 stop strategy he opted for did not pan out as he had hopped, relegating the New York driver to a 5th place finish after he could not pass Andrew Kinsella in a thrilling duel over the final 6 laps of the race. Sage Karam meanwhile rebounded from a 7th place qualifying in his Lionheart debut to race at the front all day, even leading a couple of laps. Fuel would ultimately undue Karam’s race as well, as he had to save fuel over his final stint, allowing Dan Geren to pass him for 2nd. Adam Blocker extended his lead to 31 points over Kinsella via his victory at Phillip Island. Dan Geren leap frogged Brian Yaczik, who finished 7th,  to take 3rd, 105 points back of Blocker. With 7 races remaining it’s still anyone’s championship.

Jake Wright was last seasons race winner who will not be present to defend his win.  Wright has focused his attention to defending his Retro Championship while working  with another former Lionheart IndyCar Series Champion, Jesse Vincent, in Race Control for the IndyCar.

After 17 Rounds Ron Hacker leads the Iron Man standings with 3,315 miles and 1,981 laps completed the Illinois driver who is a previous Cleanest Driver of the Year winner has been consistent all year with 3 top 10 finishes and a single top 5 on the year currently sits in P15. Consistency is a big part of Iowa as the short track has produced much excitement in the past. Will Hacker’s consistency earn him a trip to victory lane this week?

The Rookie of the Year battle is tighter than ever with Weaver and Laarkamp being separated by just 1 point.  The duo has been contenders for not only the Rookie honors but combined have 20 top 10’s and 8 top 5’s and Weaver has found victory lane this year.

Dan Geren, coming off of a podium finish at Phillip Island, returns to his home track in search of his second victory of the season.  Geren has showed pace at the short track securing the Pole Position last year and had a podium finish in Season 3.

Will we have a new first-time winner at Iowa?  Iowa has been the home to several first-time winners. Jorge Anzaldo found his one and only Lionheart victory and Ian Adams also found his first Win at the Iowa Speedway.  Sage Karam made his Lionheart debut on the road course last week and finished 3rd, will he be able to repeat that type of performance on the short oval of Iowa?

Adrenaline has dominated the team championship fight however the battle has now shifted to which team will take the 2nd spot in the standings.  No name leads Synergy Motorsports by just 20 points,  while 4th through 7th is separated by less than 150 points.

The Iowa 200 Presented by Birky Trucking will go off Wednesday October 17th at 10:35pm eastern only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.

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DRIVERS PREPARE FOR REMAINING 1 OF 2 ROAD COURSES LEFT IN 2018 SEASON

It’s crunch time. 3 to go in this epic season, and for this race, we head north to Montreal for the Skid Mark Motorsports Grand Prix of Canada. Skid Mark Motorsports is a sim racing team that races in all disciplines within iRacing.  While starting out racing in endurance events the team expanded into different road racing leagues piloting NASCAR vehicles and GT3 cars.  In 2017 the team moved into open wheel racing and found a home in The Lionheart Indycar, Retro and Challenge series.

Last time out it was Adam Blocker and Alex Saunders putting the pressure on each other all night long, with both drivers hardly out of the top 5. It was Saunders who would make the mistake however, as a late race spin and crash relegated him to a 17th place finish. Blocker meanwhile would go on to take the win, reclaiming the championship lead from Saunders. Jake Wright put in his best performance of the season to finish 2nd with an equally strong performance from James Brant in 3rd. Jason Galvin and Bart Workman rounded out the top 5. Adam Blocker and Alex Saunders have been in a close championship battle all season long.  Both drivers have had their share of victory celebrations, heartache, luck and misfortune.  With Saunders’ misfortune at Gateway, the gap is now at 27 with drop weeks considered. With just 3 races left in the season it may come down to the double points finale being the deciding factor in this year’s Championship.

Dustin Wardlow climbs back up to 3rd overall in the championship despite having a tough race at Gateway.  Wardlow hung on to a damaged car all race to finish P16.  Wardlow now sits 112 points back from Blocker, which is still within striking distance with double points looming.

Rookie Cody Eldred was among 3 drivers to gain +4 positions in the standings after Gateway.  Eldred, Galvin and Workman made up ground after solid runs at Gateway.  Anzaldo gained 2 positions and now sits P16 overall.

The team championship continues to be a slugfest.  Raven Motorsports has reclaimed the lead after Gateway.  8Ball Motorsports had their share of misfortunes with its drivers being caught up in several incidents.  Raven currently leads the standings by 75 points over 8 Ball Motorsports. Adrenaline also sits just a further 78 points back and could still factor into the results at the end of the season.

Last Season Ryan Otis was victorious at Montreal. Otis has been on a hiatus and Lionheart is hoping for a 2019 return to the series.  Additionally, Glavin, Wardlow, and Jegerlehner finished 3rd 4th and 5th If the trio can manage to get up front again for this years running it would help push Raven even further ahead of 8 Ball Motorsports.

Chris Lanini has taken over the cleanest driver standings and now sits with 4 fewer incs over Sam Reiman who had led the standings for most of the season.  Lanini sits with just 15 incs on the year for an average of 1.15 incs per race.

The Admin team has announced that the schedule for 2019 has been finalized.  The series will run 18 rounds and will add an additional road course to the schedule.  The Retro Series will also run Mosport, Imola and Sebring for the first time in 2019.

Tune into the Skid Mark Motorsports Grand Prix of Canada on Thursday October 18, 2018 at 10:35pm Eastern, only on the iRacing Esports Network presented by GSRC.

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