Kinser Racing Sim Team’s Braden Eyler became the second driver in as many weeks to score his first iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship win by taking the checkered flag at Knoxville Raceway on Monday night. Eyler powered around polesitter James Edens on the high line to take the lead with 10 laps to go before staving off a challenge from defending series champion Alex Bergeron that was abruptly cut short just a few laps later. Cameron Merriman scored his second podium of the year in second, while Edens held on for third.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Eyler admitted after his breakthrough victory, which allowed him to climb to sixth in series standings. “I was kind of getting worried, because we were out of fuel crossing the line, and that was a factor. I wasn’t expecting to run the top the whole race—I was going to if I could, but I really didn’t think it was going to be there. We were just flying up there, and then I headed to the bottom and held my own against Cameron and Edens to save some fuel. That was insane!”
One of the most iconic dirt ovals in the world, Knoxville looked like it might go to Edens for the second year in a row, as the Swindell SpeedLab driver earned the top qualifying spot and won the first heat. David Heileman, Rusty Kruger, and Dylan Houser took the other three heat wins, while Justin Thomas and Logan Clampitt scored the LCQ wins to set the 20 car grid.
But unlike last year, Edens couldn’t hang on to the finish, as Eyler came with a full head of steam and rode the cushion to the top spot. From there, fuel strategy became paramount, as Bergeron charged through the field to set up what could’ve been the finish of the year. But technical problems for the Quebec native ended the battle with the checkered flag just a few laps away. The resulting drop from second to 18th, a roughly 40-point difference, meant that four drivers remain within 13 points of Bergeron for the championship lead.
Full results from iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship action at Knoxville Raceway were as follows:
|5||4||2||Dylan R. Houser||35||0||-2.653||17.452||66|
|8||3||55||Rusty L Kruger||35||0||-5.892||17.505||57|
|14||14||71||Cole V Cabre||35||0||-10.212||17.717||40|
|17||18||99||Logan Clampitt||34||0||-1 L||17.484||31|
|18||9||12||Alex A Bergeron||31||0||-4 L||17.449||33|
|19||20||35||Nick Cooper||31||0||-4 L||17.716||29|
|20||13||3||Lewis Hewett||14||0||-21 L||17.728||28|
iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship standings through four rounds are as follows:
- Alex Bergeron, 237
- Kendal Tucker, 228
- David Heileman, 225
- James Edens, 224
- Cameron Merriman, 213
- Braden Eyler, 212
- Adam Elby, 199
- Cole Cabre, 194
- Blake Cannon, 192
- Alex Smolders, 187
The 2020 iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship season continues next Monday, hitting its halfway point with a return to Limaland Motorsports Park. In the meantime, professional drivers will return to action tonight with the World of Outlaws iRacing Invitational at Lernerville Speedway, airing on DIRTVision at 7PM ET. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.
Images via Kinser Racing Sim Team (1); Swindell SpeedLab (2)