Surviving one of the most intense, lap-after-lap battles in DIRTcar eSports history, Drew Hopkins bagged his first career Street Stock League victory Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway. The former World of Outlaws championship series racer from Kentucky out-paced a relentless Kyle Jared and Johnny Ratley over 30 laps to claim victory in his first career start with the League.
Though he led 19 laps after starting on the pole, Hopkins did not have an easy path into the Final Round. He placed 11th in his Preliminary Round Feature after starting P5, narrowly making the cut into the main event with the penultimate transfer position. But, he turned it on in Final Round Qualifying, laying down the fastest lap overall at 19.520, giving him the pole position on the starting grid.
Hopkins encountered heavy competition early on from Preliminary Round Feature #2 winner Kyle Jared, swapping the lead back-and-forth several times over the course of the race. But Hopkins came out on top in the end, staying strong on the final restart in the closing laps to keep Jared at bay and seal the $100 victory.
“I’ve just got to thank Kyle for racing me clean there,” Hopkins said in the DIRTcar eSports Twitch post-race interview. “I knew early we had a little bit of contact, but that was fun. I knew that one restart with about six or seven-to-go there, he could’ve had me, and I told him when the yellow came out that I got lucky.
“I’ve just got to thank him for a clean race. All-in-all, I had to work for that one, but it was fun.”
Jared crossed the stripe in second with Ratley right behind in third, while Billy Northcutt scored his best League finish in fourth and Shawn Hayes rounding out the top-five.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps) – 1. 157-Drew Hopkins ; 2. 045-Kyle Jared ; 3. 1-Johnny Ratley ; 4. 052-Billy Northcutt ; 5. 9-Shawn Hayes ; 6. 822-Tyler Jackson ; 7. 51-Kyle Ramsey ; 8. 37-James Stockton ; 9. 71-Daniel Stiffler ; 10. 002-Clifford Bellomy ; 11. 20-Colt Currie ; 12. 00-Bradlee Means ; 13. 2-Ty Dickenson ; 14. 68-Ronald Pyles ; 15. 43-Grady Ehrman ; 16. 01-Joshua Ringer ; 17. 5-Dylan Petty ; 18. 91-Ben Choate ; 19. 97-Butch Baker ; 20. 4-Joey Brewer ; 21. 48-Kyle Vaughn ; 22. 8-Aidan Skraha ; 23. 41-Nick Davis ; DNS. 121-Kevin Davis