The long offseason is over, the 2019 All-Star Race winner has been crowned. Now it is time for the drivers of the Lionheart IndyCar season to get back down to business at the first race of the 2019 season, the First Medical Equipment 200 from Homestead Miami Speedway.
It has been an offseason of changes for the Lionheart Series, with a completely revamped rulebook, highlighted by a new team championship. In years past, each team scored points with up to 5 drivers. This year, it is down to 3 drivers per team maximum. Never fear for some of the powerhouse teams though, a new “organization” championship allows 2 teams to team up and earn points towards a separate prize. This change has seen a number of teams and drivers change places.
Perhaps the least changed is the Adrenaline Motorsports team. Andrew Kinsella, Adam Blocker, Joe Branch, Tony Showen and Chris Stofer are all back for another year at with rookie Bryan Carey joining last season’s team champions. Kinsella, Blocker and Carey will make up Adrenaline Red, while Stofer, Showen and Branch will make up Adrenaline Black.
Also returning largely intact is Synergy Motorsports. Jorge Anzaldo, Brandon Limkemann, Dan Geren, Dustin Wardlow and Ron Hacker are joined by Ron’s Brother Ken Hacker. Anzaldo, Limkemann and K. Hacker will make up Synergy West, while R. Hacker, Dan Geren and Dustin Wardlow make up Synergy East.
No Name Racing folded at the end of last season, with 3 of their drivers, James Krahula, Jason Galvin and Big Joe Hassert joining Brian Yaczik and Brian Greenlee at Loud Pedal Motorsports. Chris Lanini rounds out the 6th entry for the organization. Thumbs Up Cancer Down has also come on board as a sponsor, with Yaczik, Greenlee and Krahula on LPM Thumbs Up, while Galvin, Hassert and Lanini are on the Cancer Down team.
Skid Mark Motorsports has expanded this season. Joining Scotty Johnson, Bart Workman and Brian Beard are rookies Paul Jenkins and James Brant. Johnson and Workman will be on the Skid Mark Gold, while Brant, Jenkins and Beard will be on the Skid Mark Black.
The final organization will be an alliance formed between NLR and Controlled Chaos Racing. The NLR trio of Tyler Graaf, Isaiah Dupre and Greg West will for one team, while the Controlled Chaos duo of Bob Mikes and Samuel Reiman will form the other.
The 8 Ball Motorsports team of Michael Goodman and Justin Weaver, The NHR e-Sports team of Stephen Laarkamp and Connor Harrington, and the Dragonfly Racing team of Robert Blouin and David Altman all return for another season largely unchanged, but all have elected not to go for the organization championship, instead choosing to remain independent.
Finally, we have new teams. SimPit Racing with Shaun Cole and John G. Hill, Darkside Racing with Scott Bolster and Jason Robarge, Fat Dog Racing with Joe Flanagan and Mike Rigney all enter the league this season and look to chase after the team crown.
Last but not least, sim racing giants Coanda Sim Sport join the Lionheart IndyCar Series with Sage Karam at the wheel.
Got all that? Good, because the action is just about to kick off, and there is still much more to talk about. Last season, Adam Blocker took the crown by doing just enough in the finale at Auto Club to hold off Dan Geren. The road course races that he used to seal his championship got a whole lot less straight forward for Blocker this season, with road course aces like Bryan Carey and Sage Karam joining an already talented field of drivers.
Andrew Kinsella, Brian Yaczik, and Dan Geren all had spells of dominance on the ovals last season, but in the end, none were consistent enough to keep Blocker from raising the championship at season’s end. Will one of these drivers be able to put together a full season and take the championship back from Blocker?
What about Michael Goodman? The most consistent driver over the last 2 seasons, Goodman won the all-star race and looks ready to take the next step and launch his challenge for 2019.
Then there is the old guard. Jason Galvin, Chris Stofer, Big Joe Hassert, James Krahula and Joe Branch. All contended for wins last season, but not as consistently as any of them were hoping. Will a veteran of the series step up in 2019 and reclaim the Lionheart Series for their own?
Then there is the new blood. Last year’s rookie battle came down to Stephen Laarkamp and Justin Weaver, with Weaver ultimately taking the crown. They finished 5th and 6th overall in last year’s standings. Will one of them up their game another notch and be contending for the crown at the end of the season.
Then finally there is this year’s rookie crop. Sage Karam is quick in both real life and sim racing, but he may never have been tested on iRacing as much as this series will test him. Will he rise to the occasion? Shaun Cole and John G. Hill are veteran sim racers who will be in the hunt on many tracks. Bryan Carey is a road course ace, while Mike Rigney has shown pace in practice so far.
This season undoubtedly marks the most competitive IndyCar season in Lionheart and iRacing history. Who is left standing at the end of this race, let alone this season is anyone’s guess?
Tune in this Wednesday, March 13th at 10:35 pm Eastern time for all the action only on the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.