This is it. The big one. The one race that means more than any other for every driver in the Lionheart Retro Series. 4 corners that from above look so similar, but are so different when you get up close and personal. Turn 1 is a tunnel. The grandstands with the overhanging roof to one side, the pit lane wall to the other. It seems so narrow, even though it is just as wide as any other turn. Turn 2 with its bump just before the apex. Waiting to snatch the unsuspecting or underprepared driver and propel them straight towards the wall. Turn 3, which seems so wide open, that it dares you to go three-wide. But it is all an illusion. And finally Turn 4, the turn where dreams are made and dashed. One good run out of this turn could win you the race, but one poor turn could just as easily lose it for you. These are the 4 turns of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The hallowed grounds that every fan of IndyCar can close their eyes and see. Now, it’s time for the drivers of the Lionheart Retro Series to stamp their mark on the speedway in the ButtKicker Indy 250.
Last time out it was Sage Karam just making his fuel last over a charging Adam Blocker. Blocker, last year’s champion was making his season debut in the Retro Series and nearly stole the win from the championship contender. Ryan Otis finished a fighting 3rd place, barely holding off George Sandman for the final podium position. Aaron Morgan, making only his 3rd start of the year, finished a strong 5th from 11th on the grid. The win moved Sage Karam up one position into 2nd place in the Retro standings. Ryan Otis continues to lead with a lead of 91 points. Dustin Wardlow fell down one position to 3rd as George Sandman rose 2 places to 4th. 50 points are all that separate Sandman in 4th from Taft Baldwin in 12th, meaning that this week’s double points event could have monumental repercussions on the standings.
This week 100 laps around the most famous race track in the world await, and for several drivers, the 4 weeks off since the last round can’t end soon enough.
Dustin Wardlow has to be considered one of the favourites this week. The “Candyman” has been fast all year in the Retro series, especially on the ovals, and Wardlow has traditionally faired well on the biggest stages. Look for the Raven Motorsports driver to be at the front of the field on lap 100.
But if there is another driver who could be even more heavily favoured, it might be Big Joe Hassert. Hassert has traditionally made Indy a bit of his playground in years past. The NLR Sim Racing driver has been quicker but also involved in too many incidents this year. If Hassert can keep it clean, there is little reason he won’t be at the sharp end of the field on Thursday night.
If you are looking for a rookie to back, Dean Moll might be the driver to root for. Moll, who is known for his flashy car liveries is heating up on the track as well, sitting 6th in points.
Another rookie to watch out for is David Clymer of Simpit Racing. Clymer has been steadily moving up the standings after some early season wrecks brought his campaign off to a rocky start. Of late, however, Clymer is heating up, and what better stage to ignite your season than Indy?
Then there is the big question mark. Sage Karam has had real-world IndyCar duties to attend to along with all the personal engagements that come along with that. Will the Pennsylvania driver be prepared to go for it this Thursday and chase down Ryan Otis? Karam is still well within shouting distance of Otis considering the double points at stake here.
For all the Thursday Night Retro action, tune in August 29th to the iRacing eSports Network presented by GSRC.