DRIVERS PREPARE FOR TIGHT QUARTERS AT CHARLOTTE
After a couple of months of relative inaction for the Lionheart series; just 3 races in the past 45 days, it is a quick turn around for the IndyCar drivers as the take to the track in back-to-back weeks. This time it will be at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Fisch Motors 200.
Last time out at Monza, was one of the most competitive road course races Lionheart has seen in some time. With Sage Karam missing the race, it fell to his good friend Damon Martinez to take the charge to the reigning road course king, Adam Blocker, and take it to him he did. Martinez nipped Blocker for Pole position, and lead for most of the first half of the race. Blocker, however, was never more then a second behind the rookie, and in fact the top 5 were rarely out of touch through most of the race. Blocker would get by Martinez when the rookie made a small mistake during the second stint of the race. Martinez got on the gas just a little to hard through the 3rd chicane, and spun right infront of Blocker. Somehow, the Carolina driver avoided Martinez, and both drivers avoided the wall allowing Blocker to inherit the lead, while Martinez fell down to 5th behind Dustin Wardlow, Bryan Carey and Dan Geren. Martinez would battle back to 3rd, but no one was touching Blocker from there out. Wardlow came 2nd, while Geren and Tyler Graaf would get by rookie Bryan Carey after Carey spun on the last lap battling with Martinez for 3rd.
Now the series turns to a different kind of challenge. Charlotte Motor Speedway is a fast D-shaped 1.5-mile oval, but the track is much narrower than its sister tracks in Atlanta and Texas. This will lead to tight action and the draft and aero-push will play a big factor in the race.
Last year’s winner, Dan Geren, will certainly be looking to repeat this year. In last year’s race, Geren won for the first time all year and got a monkey off his back that proved pivotal to mounting a late season charge. Geren will be hoping to replicate his success at this track and carry the momentum through to get within striking distance of points leader Adam Blocker.
If there is one driver hoping to use Geren’s template from last season, it might be the driver directly behind him in the standings. Despite winning the Indy 500, Andrew Kinsella has been caught up in more then his fair share of wrecks this season, almost none of which have been of his own making. The double points from his 500 win keeps the Canadian in outside contention, but he will need a big swing in fortunes over the final races to catch his Adrenaline Motorsports teammate.
Finally, rounding out the top 5 is Justin Weaver. There are certain drivers that you associate with different styles of track. Obviously, as this season has proven, Adam Blocker can do it all. Kinsella, excels at the flatter ovals like Motegi, New Hampshire, Kentucky, or Homestead, where throttle control is important. But for these high-speed ovals, the Lionheart drivers you think of are guys like Geren, Big Joe Hassert and Chris Stofer. Increasingly, however there is another name to add to that list. Justin Weaver has become known for his foot to the floor style, and that often finds the 8 Ball Motorsports driver at the front of races like this. Watch out for the Moby Dicky’s machine on Wednesday.