Kilgore, Hackney collide in closing laps, Bellomy Hard Charger in 24th-7th drive
DIRTcar eSports’ all-time winningest Dirt Street Stock driver is back.
Tyler Jackson, of Rockford, IL, put it in Fairbury Speedway Victory Lane Wednesday night, winning the fourth race of the Chevy Performance Street Stock League for his fourth career victory with the League in a very rough-and-tumble Feature event.
“I’m not gonna lie, it took a little longer than I would have liked it to in race #4,” Jackson told DIRTcar eSports announcer Chase Raudman in the DIRTVision post-race interview. “But the competition level is a lot higher than it was last year. It was a great race – I’m still catching my breath.”
While Jackson started inside Row 2, just ahead of him was last week’s Feature winner and Street Stock bigwig, Carl Kilgore. He and his #021 took off from the pole and appeared to have the car to beat until Jackson’s car came in and took the lead just slightly past the halfway point. The two played cat-and-mouse around the virtual quarter-mile before a dramatic ride to the finish presented itself on a restart with just three laps remaining.
Jackson took the inside lane for the restart and threw a big slide job on Kilgore in Turns 1-2. Kilgore, of Greenville, MS, turned it back underneath him and returned the favor in Turns 3-4, but only slightly. Jackson kept his foot in the accelerator on the very top side and retained the spot as they crossed the stripe.
“That’s what won me the race,” Jackson said. “I knew I had to get a good start with him.”
Two more slide jobs by Kilgore on the following lap were unsuccessful in stealing Jackson’s spot. But as he prepared for what was likely going to be a third, Kilgore received a rear bumper full of former Extreme Savage teammate, Keith Hackney.
Hackney’s and Kilgore’s bumpers met at the entrance to Turn 1, sending Kilgore around, collecting several other cars.
“I got into him a little bit. I apologize for that, majorly. I didn’t want to have second that way, by no means,” Hackney said after the race.
As Hackney, of Calhoun, GA, drove away with the spot, several other wrecks unfolded around the track, and Kilgore was left with a 17th-place finish. Hackney was later penalized to the tail of the lead lap (21st) by League admins in post-race examination for the incident.
This moved Nathan Lemons up into second and Jamie Massey into third, marking the best finishes of their DIRTcar eSports careers.
The Chevy Performance Street Stock League action continues next Wednesday night, April 21, at the Cedar Lake Speedway. Catch all the action live and FREE on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Tucker runner-up for third time in Season 2, retains points lead after lapped-car tangle
Just two weeks after suffering a last-place finish in his DIRTcar eSports Tour Season 2 debut, Hayden Cardwell now sings a sweet song of redemption.
The iRacing Pro driver from Knoxville, TN, exited the DIRTcar eSports Tour lobby early back on December 16, his Season 2 debut in shambles after starting on the pole of the Big-Block Modified Feature and crashing out less than 10 laps in.
But Wednesday night made up for all of that, as he took his Mike McKinney-identical #96m-painted Summit Racing Equipment UMP Modified to Victory Lane at the Fairbury Speedway for the second time in his DIRTcar eSports career, picking up the $250 winner’s check for the first time since July 1 in Season 1.
“It means a lot to come out here and pick up a win in something that isn’t a Sprint Car,” Cardwell told announcer Chase Raudman in the DIRTVision post-race interview. “It feels pretty good.”
Cardwell began his march to Victory Lane from fourth on the starting grid and had front-row seats to a slide job-fest in the opening laps between polesitters Austin Carr and current Tour points leader Kendal Tucker.
Tucker, of Mt. Airy, NC, eventually won the passing battle and began to open up a gap between he, Carr, Cardwell and 2019 World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model iRacing World Champion Blake Matjoulis.
Cardwell eventually wrestled the runner-up spot away from Carr and set his sights on leader Tucker. He stayed glued to the top side of the virtual quarter-mile and closed the gap on Tucker as the race neared the halfway point. Then, opportunity knocked.
The slower lapped car of David Ortiz II had been running right through the middle groove when Tucker reached his rear bumper and dove to the inside in an attempt to make the pass; Cardwell a half-car-length behind. Tucker slid up the track and right into the side of Ortiz, throwing him off-kilter, opening the door for Cardwell to make the pass on the top.
“I much rather would have gotten passed straight-up than getting into it with a lapped car right there,” Tucker said of the incident. “[Ortiz] was entering in the middle in no-man’s land and I was trying to slide him, but… he should have gotten out of the way in my opinion, but that’s just racing. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Cardwell raced into the lead as they crossed the line to complete Lap 17, Tucker a few car-lengths behind. One final restart gave Tucker and Matjoulis behind him a chance to make a move, but both stumbled as the green flag dropped, allowing Cardwell to pull away and bring it back home for his second career DIRTcar eSports Tour victory.
“They are probably one of the hardest cars to run on the top, in my opinion,” said Cardwell, an iRacing Sprint Car regular, of piloting the DIRTcar UMP Modified. “In these, it’s kinda tricky because if you barely miss it, you’ll be off the pace. But if you get the right-rear in the wall too much and the front end comes around, you’ll pretty much knock the right front off and can’t drive it anymore.”
Despite the earlier tangle with the lapped car, Tucker was able to nurse his beaten Swindell SpeedLab eSports #00 home to his fifth-straight podium finish of Season 2. Bottom-feeding for most of the 40-lap contest, Tucker once tried the high line but couldn’t make it work in order to regain the lead.
“I just had too much damage to run up there with them guys. Luckily, I was able to put around that bottom on the slider line in [Turns] 3 and 4 and keep enough speed to keep them guys behind me,” Tucker said.
Matjoulis crossed the line in third after a solid outing in only his third appearance with the Tour this season. Coming from fifth, the Ashville, NY-native picked up $100 for his efforts, but was left with much to be desired from his performance.
“Hayden would have been hard to get by,” Matjoulis commented on his perceived chances to make a move for the lead. “I couldn’t pass; just couldn’t go anywhere. In [turns] 1 and 2, there were a couple grooves but in 3 and 4, it was so single-lane. It was a bummer, honestly.”
The DIRTcar eSports Tour action picks back up next Wednesday night, Jan. 6, with the NOS Energy Drink 305 Sprint Cars at the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision!
Taking the lead from Tyler Jackson in the final laps after a race-long battle with he and Kendal Tucker, Bergeron showed the DIRTVision presented by Drydene audience just how exciting and competitive the DIRTcar eSports league is every week.
“Qualified first, won the Heat Race and won the Feature, so I can’t ask for more,” Bergeron told announcer Chase Raudman in the DIRTVision post-race interview.
Bergeron may have won the war, but he initially did not win the battle of the opening stages, despite leading the first lap.
Jumping to the early race lead was DIRTcar Street Stock guru Tyler Jackson, who had a very impressive run inside the podium throughout the race, mixing it up with the iRacing Pro-license drivers while trying to become the very first non-Pro driver to win a DIRTcar eSports event.
Through the first three quarters of the race, it looked as though Jackson was going to break through and accomplish the feat, leading laps 2-27 of the 30-lap contest.
Bergeron was running third with four laps to go after chasing fellow iRacing Pro Kendal Tucker and leader Jackson for most of the race in traffic. With the race going caution-free, lapped traffic played a big role in the outcome, as a slower car was thrown right in the middle of the leaders’ race with just three circuits remaining.
Going down the backstretch with just five laps remaining, Jackson had committed to the low side of a lapped car heading into Turn 3 while Tucker went to his outside. The slower car bobbled and made contact with Tucker, sending both into the outside wall and opening the door for Bergeron to slip right through the middle for second.
“The lap car was there, Tucker went to the outside, I took the middle and just sent it in there. [Tucker] got shoved out, so I took the spot. I ran the top and just tried to be as fast as possible and get around Tyler [Jackson], and that’s what I did,” Bergeron said of the pass for second.
With Tucker behind him, Bergeron made a beeline for Jackson’s spot out front. Using that high side momentum, the Team ABR-pilot took advantage of another slower car right in Jackson’s middle groove just two laps later and took the lead away as they crossed the line with two-to-go.
Jackson and Tucker came together on the white-flag lap, allowing Tucker to scoot by for second and moving Jackson back to third. Back out front, it was all Bergeron, who crossed the line first on Lap 30 to pick up the $300 victory and the $25 bonus from VP Racing Fuels.
After the checkered, Bergeron commended Jackson and his skills, running out front with he and Tucker as a non-iRacing Pro.
“He was pretty good. I didn’t know who he was, but he was pretty good, for sure. I’m glad that he was able to get up here; it was a fun race,” Bergeron said of Jackson.
Back in second, behind Bergeron for what is now the third time in his DIRTcar eSports career, and fifth runner-up finish overall, Tucker felt the bad luck falling on him again Wednesday night.
“Honestly, just another Kendal Tucker-type of run,” Tucker said after the race. “Always up front, and something just always happens. I was able to catch back up to Tyler [Jackson] right there with about four-to-go, and I was going to make a move on him… I guess the dude who was apologizing was the lapper who slid all the way up the front stretch and pretty much ended all hope for me in winning that race.”
As for the Street Stock prodigy and his impressive run up front, Jackson was just thrilled to even be up front with such great competition, especially in a car class he very rarely is seen in.
“I’m pretty excited to run that well, but it sucks leading all those laps and losing,” Jackson said. “But, [Bergeron and Tucker] are pros for a reason. I don’t really even drive the Sprint Cars much, I just drive Street Stocks and Late Models.”
South Carolina racer Evan Seay tops more than 110 Street Stock foes at virtual Fairbury Speedway
CONCORD, NC — More than 110 racers battled Saturday in the inaugural Weekly DIRTcar eSports Showdown at virtual Fairbury Speedway, where Evan Seay and his Street Stock did everything but knock down the walls to survive a full day of qualifying and preliminary events to ultimately capture the victory.
Seay, no stranger to the world of eSports as a winner in the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model iRacing Championship Series, rode the high line to Fairbury’s Victory Lane in the 50-lap DIRTcar Street Stock Chevrolet Performance Feature.
Dylan Wilson chased Seay across the finish line with Hoosier Racing Tire Preliminary Round 2 COMP Cams Qualifying Feature winner Hayden Cardwell in third.
“It honestly couldn’t have gone any better,” said Seay, of Chesnee, SC. “You gotta run the top and it’s tough especially with these guys right behind you. They don’t make a whole lot of mistakes so staying smooth is big.”
Seay slung his DIRTcar Street Stock around Fairbury Speedway in 15.133 seconds during Racing Electronics Qualifying, which was good enough for pole position in the 50-lap Feature. Braden Johnson and COMP Cams Qualifying Feature winner DJ Kilanowski qualified less than a tenth behind in second and third.
“I knew I needed to qualify to be up there with the way this track races with Street Stocks,” Seay said. The main thing was getting the pole, keeping it clean, and not making any mistakes.”
In the early going it was a three-car contest for the lead with Seay holding off charges from Braden Johnson on the low side and Dylan Wilson on the top. On Lap 10, just seconds before the caution flag flew, Wilson made a steely pass on Johnson, who unfortunately finished in the back of the pack nine laps down.
Just as in real-life, the inaugural DIRTcar eSports Feature winner receives a VP Racing Fuels Victory Flag, Hoosier neckband, Feature winner wheel sign, plus two tickets to the World Short Track Championship Oct. 29-31 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, in addition to the $250 payday.
Throughout multiple restarts, runner-up Wilson managed to keep the pressure on Seay. With a handful of laps to go Wilson took a chance and went for the lead.
“A slider in these cars takes about a year and a half,” Wilson joked. “He [Seay] made a mistake on a restart which allowed me to get a run on the straightaway and that was about all I had. I just wanted to settle into P2 and not throw away a good payday for second.”
Unfortunately, for Johnson, while running third a lapped car got crossed up in front of him and forced him to drop rapidly to the rear of the field. This allowed Cardwell to take advantage and move up into fourth. Cardwell then pounced on Kyle Sirratt in the closing stages to claim third.
Cardwell plans to return for the next two rounds of Weekly DIRTcar eSports Showdowns in a UMP Modified and Pro Late Model.
The jam-packed day of virtual racing started with the Racing Electronics Qualifying Round 1 when 114 DIRTcar eSports Street Stock drivers scraped and clawed around the virtual Fairbury Speedway until only 24 hungry iRacers were left standing.
With the field cut after round one, 60 drivers entered Hoosier Racing Tire Preliminary Shows Round 2 featuring two COMP Cams Qualifying Features.
COMP Cams Qualifying Feature 1 took the green with Hayden Cardwell, Braden Johnson and Larry Barber Jr. locked in a battle in the early going.
After several cautions, Cardwell stayed smooth and fast and checked out on the field to take the win.
Notably, Joel Berkley was well within a transfer position but he was involved in a wreck on the front stretch at the end of the race. Berkley then missed the VP Race Fuels Final Round by just one position.
Blake Brown was the DIRTVision Hard Charger Award winner after passing 14 cars from the 22nd starting position.
COMP Cams Feature 2 got off to a wild start when multiple flips marred the first half of the Feature. DJ Killanowski started on the outside pole, took the lead, and never looked back at the field of Street Stocks nipping at his heels.
With five laps to go, Dylan Wilson threw a slide job on the leader, but Kilanowski saw it coming and powered back under Wilson to retain the lead.
At the white flag Evan Seay benefited from Wilson’s second slide job attempt, but this time he put Kalinowski up onto the wall. Although Seay was gifted the win, all drivers involved crossed the line to transfer in the VP Racing Fuels Final Round.
The COMP Cams Qualifying Feature winners received $25 and two tickets to the World Short Track Championship.
DIRTVision Hard Charger Tom Gajdorus picked up 11 spots to finish 10th.
Next week, Saturday, May 2, the Weekly DIRTcar sSports Showdown moves to Limaland Motorsports Park, where DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will battle on the virtual quarter-mile oval.
Real-world drivers and iRacers are encouraged to join the Weekly DIRTcar eSports Showdowns, which feature three rounds of competition, cash payouts, and professionally organized and race-directed sessions, with rounds two and three airing live on DIRTVision.