Hayden Cardwell had his sights set on a second consecutive iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship win in the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park. Drew Hopkins had other plans.
Hopkins made his series debut one to remember, taking the checkered flag in the 50-lap feature after outdueling Cardwell and polesitter James Edens for his first career victory in his first start. The Kentucky native took over the top spot with less than 10 laps to go, backing up his third place qualifying effort and heat victory with a statement win.
“Let me tell you, I’ve gotta give this win to my teammate Shane James for helping me with this thing,” Hopkins said after the race. “He had it on a rocket tonight. I was just happy to make the race, much less win this thing—I’m so happy to get the win. This is the biggest win of my career, and I’m ready to go for this championship.”
In the first race in series history not to count caution laps, four yellows slowed the pace of the 50-lap feature without threat of robbing the fans of an intense battle for the win. Cardwell initially took the lead during a stretch of back-to-back cautions in the first half of the race, but the final 18 laps of the main event were run caution-free. Cardwell would have to settle for second, ahead of Edens, Dylan Wilson, and returning championship contender Blake Cannon.
Shortly before the start of the event, iRacing was made aware of insensitive comments shared on social media by a series driver. iRacing is committed to an inclusive environment and does not tolerate offensive and inappropriate behavior, and immediately suspended that driver from the championship. Due to the proximity between the incident and the race itself, a pre-race statement was not issued.
Full results from the iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship main event at Volusia Speedway Park were as follows:
|9||14||12||Alex A Bergeron||50||-3.983||0||17.235||51|
|12||17||2||Dylan R. Houser||50||-6.569||0||17.145||43|
|17||15||18||Daniel Cummings Jr||50||-8.684||0||17.28||34|
|18||9||71||Cole V Cabre||50||-10.953||0||17.223||33|
|19||20||11||Blake L Brown||30||-20 L||0||17.255||29|
|20||13||1||Austin M Carr||16||-34 L||0||17.261||28|
The second round of the iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship sees the series head to Lernerville Speedway for the first time, challenging drivers to conquer the unique bullring without sliding off of the cushion due to the lack of an outside retaining wall around most of the circuit. As always, the race can be seen live on Monday at 9PM ET/6PM PT on the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.
Image via Justin Prince