Hayden Cardwell and Dylan Wilson left the door open on Monday night. Kendal Tucker and Devon Morgan took full advantage.
In a race that may come to be the defining one in the chase for the 2020 iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship, Tucker and Morgan took advantage of the first truly bad finishes of the year for Cardwell and Wilson by finishing first and second at Knoxville Raceway. For Tucker, it was the first victory of his career after a number of near-misses and runner-up results, including one just last week at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, and puts him back in the hunt for the lion’s share of the $25,000 season purse.
“We’ve been trying for a while to get one of these,” Tucker said after the breakthrough win. “Everything just kind of fell into place tonight. We laid down a really good lap in qualifying, were able to win our heat, and didn’t mess around getting to the front. We controlled the pace, and I was glad to see that after the last restart we went green the rest of the way, because the car was a lot better on the longer runs.”
Aggressive driving was the defining factor of much of the night, as drivers’ tempers flared in the battles for both the points lead and a guaranteed series license for 2021. Zach Leonhardi and Blake Matjoulis, both former series champions, were among the numerous drivers involved in incidents in the last chance qualifier, while three closely packed cautions in the first 15 laps of the main event claimed plenty of their own victims. Among them were Drew Hopkins, winner of the season opener from Volusia Speedway Park and Monday night’s polesitter; Evan Seay, one of last year’s Knoxville winners and the third place starter after a heat win; and Wilson, who became an unwitting victim of contact stemming from the rivalry between Dylan Houser and Alex Bergeron.
The racing cleaned up after the third restart, with Tucker retaining the lead and Cardwell in position to capitalize on Wilson’s misfortune after clawing his way up from eighth on the grid. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a connection issue dropped Cardwell from the race for nine laps, completely removing him from podium contention. He’d manage to return to the track after a few agonizing minutes, but the damage was done, and he’d only muster 17th at race’s end.
Morgan would finally score his first podium in second, while Davin Cardwell—Hayden’s cousin—fought his way past Blake Cannon and James Edens to claim the final spot on the box despite starting 18th. With the incoming points leaders giving up well over 30 points apiece to Tucker and Morgan, and Wilson now the leader by just a single point, fans will see a dramatically tighter championship battle with just two races remaining.
Full results from the iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship feature at Knoxville Raceway were as follows:
|6||9||12||Alex A Bergeron||50||-5.341||0||19.272||61|
|10||14||18||Daniel Cummings Jr||50||-14.285||0||19.517||48|
|12||12||2||Dylan R. Houser||50||-18.552||0||19.253||45|
|14||19||46||Dillon Raffurty||49||-1 L||0||19.335||39|
|15||4||33||Evan Seay||49||-1 L||0||19.282||41|
|16||2||9||Tyler Ducharme||49||-1 L||0||19.261||39|
|17||8||07||Hayden Cardwell||41||-9 L||0||19.213||36|
|18||20||49||Joel Berkley||32||-18 L||0||19.263||30|
|19||17||3||Shane James||30||-20 L||0||19.419||29|
|20||1||157||Drew Hopkins||16||-34 L||2||19.314||31|
iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship points through eight rounds are as follows:
- Dylan Wilson, 513
- Hayden Cardwell, 512
- Kendal Tucker, 498
- Devon Morgan, 481
- Evan Seay, 467
- Alex Bergeron, 425
- Zack McSwain, 415
- James Edens, 384
- Blake Cannon, 378
- JD Brown, 357
Just two races remain before the 2020 iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Champion is crowned, and both will take place on half-mile tracks. Williams Grove Speedway hosts the penultimate round of the season next Monday, while the season concludes at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on August 24. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.