It has all been leading to this. 23 rounds down, and just 1 remaining. The Lionheart IndyCar Series presented by First Medical Equipment heads back to Auto Club Speedway for the 6th time in as many seasons to close the door on another championship. This time 3 drivers will battle on the 2-mile oval to determine who will be the 2018 champion. Adam Blocker, Andrew Kinsella and Dan Geren have separated themselves from the pack this season, and will use Auto Club to decide which one of the 3 will reign supreme.
Last time out at Road America, the title contenders went 1, 2, 4, with Adam Blocker leading from start to finish on his way to victory. Dan Geren used a steady drive and last lap mistake from rookie Stephen Laarkamp to finish 2nd. Kinsella meanwhile had an up and down day, going from 9th to 4th in the opening laps before a speeding penalty on his first pitstop put the Canadian all the way down in 14th. Kinsella would battle back to finish 4th and keep his championship hopes alive. This leaves Blocker 28 points in front of Kinsella and 39 points in front of Geren. This means all Blocker needs to clinch his 2nd Lionheart Championship of the year (Blcoker won the Retro Series crown by 1 point over Alex Saunders at the end of November) is to finish in the top 5. If he does that, neither Geren nor Kinsella will be able to catch the Carolina driver. If Blocker fails to crack the top 5 at races end, bonus points could play a pivotal role in deciding this years champion as the series recently witnessed when Blocker beat Alex Saunders for the 2018 Retro Series title by just one point.
Looking at the stats coming into the finale paints the following picture of our top 3:
Adam Blocker – 5 poles, 9 wins, 13 Top-5’s, 15 Top-10’s: 7 of Blocker’s 9 wins have come on road courses as the Carolina driver was in a league of his own much of the season. Only a mistake at Motegi kept him from being perfect on the season’s road courses. His oval wins came at Iowa and Indianapolis, 2 of Lionhearts biggest prestige races. Auto Club is another of those prestige races.
Andrew Kinsella – 0 poles, 3 wins, 16 Top-5’s, 18 Top 10’s: Kinsella was off to a lightening start this season with 3 wins in the first 5 races, but since then has settled more often for consistent finishes then wins. While always fast in the race, Kinsella’s qualifying may be the weak link in his armour, having never won a pole and too often finding himself fighting to get in contention. That being said, Kinsella’s fuel strategy and long-run pace has shown time and again that at the big ovals and the long race distances, he is one to watch out for. He also happens to be the defending race winner.
Dan Geren: – 8 poles, 3 wins, 13 Top-5’s, 14 Top-10’s: Dan Geren’s has been a tale of two seasons. For the first half of the season, Geren was unable to convert his 7 poles into any race wins, and too often found himself on the wrong end of luck or pit strategy. That all changed after Round 15 at Charlotte where the Mid-West driver finally took his first win of the season. Geren has been in white-hot form and luck ever since, has not finished outside the top 5 since then, taking 2 more wins along the way. No one is hotter then Dan Geren going into this race. Is he peaking at the right time?
Lionheart traditionally ends its season each year at Auto Club. This year’s race will feature, for the first time in league history, the newly added day to night transition. The race will begin at dusk and end at night during the 300-mile event. The drivers will face different challenges throughout the event as the track will go through various changes in temperature and grip levels.
Immediately following the event several drivers will receive numerous awards such as Cleanest Driver, Iron Man, Driver of the Year, Turning Point Award and Rookie of the Year. All 4 of these championships are still up for grabs, with the closest of the 3 being the Rookie of the Year battle as Stephen Laarkamp and Justin Weaver have been neck and neck with each other since the midway point of the season.
The Team Championship was already clinched by Adrenaline Motorsports comprised of Blocker, Kinsella, Joe Branch, Tony Showen and Chris Stofer. This was the first team championship won by the veteran group, and is the first Team Championship not won by No Name Racing since the award was begun in Season 3.
The 2019 Schedule will also be announced live during the awards presentation following the race. New for this season will be a 25-round schedule and a few new events will be added, most notably the series will have its first ever “Dual at Detroit” at Belle Isle Park.
Series organisers will be busy during the off season preparing for the upcoming 2019 year. New rule packages for all Lionheart series will bring some exciting changes to Lionheart. The league also hopes to continue its partnerships with its current sponsors as it continues to expand its purse and prize package for its drivers. All Lionheart broadcasts for 2019 will continue to be shown live via the iRacing eSports Network. The league will also be looking to add on drivers to its current roster and interested parties should submit applications through the league website www.lionheartracingseries.com
The Lionheart Challenge Series will also begin 12-27 at ISM Raceway. The 2018 Season will feature the iconic Nissan GTP. The series will host 8 rounds and drivers will compete on both oval and road courses. Each season the league chooses different cars typically non-open wheel vehicles to test driver’s versatility with cars and / or tracks that members are not familiar with.
IndyCar action will return again in 2019 for the 6th Annual All-Star Race this time from Rockingham Speedway. The race will take place on 2-27. Round 1 of the 2019 Season will be 3-6 from the Homestead Miami Speedway.
But before all the pageantry and off-season fun we have 300 miles of hard-fought, non-stop action to decide our championship. Catch all the action at 10:35pm EDT on Wednesday December 19th only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by iRacing live, and stick around for the end-of-season awards immediately following the broadcast.