Points difference now at 75, Tucker will clinch championship next week at Charlotte
He’s a multi-time World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Series Sprint Car iRacing World champion, and now the winner of the first-ever DIRTcar 358 Modified race contested on the DIRTcar eSports Tour.
Alex Bergeron showed an impressive display of resiliency Wednesday night at USA International Speedway, holding off defending Tour champion Kendal Tucker for over half the race to pick up his first Tour victory of the season with the VP Racing Fuels 358 Modifieds.
“We did what we had to do – protect the line there in [Turns] 3-4 and got the win. Pretty happy about this,” Bergeron said.
This win comes as a bit of redemption for the Team ABR leader after a costly penalty nixed his win in the 360 Sprint Car race last week, handing the victory over to Tucker. But this week was a different story – both drivers battled hard, but clean, and put on a show for the DIRTVision presented by Drydene audience.
While Richard Murtaugh Jr. led the field around the big 3/4-mile for the first 18 circuits, Bergeron was forced to wrestle the lead away from him in a big slide job-fest that lasted several laps and involved most of the top-five.
Once Bergeron grabbed the lead, his competition was in trouble. Tucker was his biggest thorn-in-the-side through the rest of the race, clinging right to his rear bumper, just waiting for a mistake to be made by the leader.
But a mistake never showed from the ABR #12. Bergeron led the final 22 laps to pick up his first $250 check of the season and first since January 6 of Season 2.
“I always had great restarts, and made the most out of it,” Bergeron said. “We just had to stay really patient and try not to make any mistakes out front – it’s always easy to make mistakes when you’re leading.”
Tucker crossed the stripe in second, extending his streak of top-two finishes to a whopping eight in his eight starts this season. Now sitting an even 75 points ahead of Bergeron in the standings, Tucker will hoist his second consecutive DIRTcar eSports Tour trophy next week after the Big Block Modifieds wrap up the season in the 10th and final race of Season 3 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Jackson notches another podium finish, Hackney places third in debut
After leading all but one lap of the 30-lap Feature in his Chevy Performance Street Stock League debut Wednesday night, Carl Kilgore could barely believe his eyes when the caution flag flew with just three laps remaining.
“It all started at that restart,” Kilgore told announcer Josh Pike in the DIRTVision post-race interview. “When we had that caution come out… man, my guts were turning, I ain’t gonna lie to you.”
Tyler Jackson, the two-time Feature winner in Season 2, had been breathing down his neck for several laps before the caution, and was ready to make the move to put himself in DIRTcar eSports Victory Lane at USA International Speedway.
“I knew Tyler Jackson was going to have something because right before the caution came out, I saw him go to the top of Turns 1 and 2. Those last two laps when he came off of 2, and had the run down the backstretch, I was watching my mirror and seeing where he was wanting to go,” he said.
Green flag; pedal down. Kilgore stayed glued to the bottom lane in the corners and hugged the outside wall down the straightaways as the field raced out the final laps in green-white-checkered fashion.
Jackson was unable to make the move on the top side that he found advantageous to his run earlier, but he had one option left as he flew down into Turn 3 for the final time around the virtual three-quarter-mile oval.
A bump, a tap, a shove… call it what you will, but it didn’t work to Jackson’s favor in the end. Kilgore somehow was able to hang onto his #021 Street Stock through Turns 3-4, beating Jackson in a drag race to the stripe to pick up his first career DIRTcar eSports victory.
“Going into 3 on that last lap, I had a feeling something was coming… so I just kinda prepared myself for it, drug the brake a little bit though the center to keep the side-bite in there, and we got the drive off to get the win.”
Kilgore’s teammate, Keith Hackney, crossed the line in third after running a good slice of the race in second and smashing into a spinning lapped car towards the home stretch. He also picked up his first career podium with the League and a $50 check for his efforts.
The Chevy Performance Street Stock League action wraps up in just two weeks’ time on Wednesday, January 27, with the eighth and final race of Season 2 at Lanier National Speedway. Register today at DIRTcar.com/eSports and watch all the action live on DIRTVision!
LAKELAND, FL – He may have been beat by Yost & Co. last week, but Tyler Jackson was not going to be denied in week #2.
Jackson, of Rockford, IL, hung tough in Wednesday night’s Chevy Performance Street Stock League Feature, going 30 long laps around the virtual 3/4-mile of USA International Speedway. A plethora of caution flags scattered throughout the race made it seem marathon-like, but the race was completed under green in the waning seconds of the time limit.
Numerous restarts were required of Jackson to pick up the checkers, and not a single one of them was easy, as previous Feature winner Richie Yost, of Griffith, IN, was all over his rear bumper for the duration of the race.
“These restarts here with these long straightaways, they’re tough,” Jackson told League announcer Chase Raudman on the DIRTVision broadcast. “You almost have to do a bit of mirror driving here with the run they can get off the top [groove] on you.”
Despite the challenges in his rearview, Jackson found a way to keep composed, leading every lap for the $100 victory – the first of his DIRTcar eSports career.
Last week’s winner at Lanier, Richie Yost, put pressure on Jackson the entire distance but could not find a way to make a move for the lead. He gave it everything he had in the final laps and was still satisfied with a runner-up finish.
“At a big track like this, it’s easy to mess-up,” Yost noted. “At the end, I had to go for hero or zero… I had to try to do something.”
Grant Parr, a newcomer to DIRTcar eSports, brought it home in third to wrap-up a very solid League debut. Coming from seventh on the starting grid, Parr battled it out with Richie Yost’s brother Zane for much of the race and came out on top for a $50 prize check.
“On one of the restarts, I got shuffled up high and was able to make it work, came up through the field and ended up with a solid top-three,” Parr said.
The Chevy Performance Street Stock League action continues next Wednesday night, Dec. 16, from the Limaland Motorsports Park – don’t miss a moment of the action LIVE on DIRTVision! Head to DIRTcar.com/eSports to register for an event today.
With $250 on the line and a field of 23 other hungry drivers behind him, Greenville, SC’s Devin Morgan never cracked once under the pressure in the Chevy Performance Final Feature, leading all but one circuit in the 30-lap contest for the first DIRTcar eSports victory of his iRacing career.
“I was feeling the pressure there,” Morgan told DIRTcar eSports announcer Chase Raudman in his DIRTVision post-race interview. “It’s been forever since I’ve ran a Street Stock race, and I was really surprised to even be as quick as I was.”
Morgan and 73 of his fellow virtual competitors were first split up into two preliminary events to kick off the night’s racing action. The top 12 finishers from each of the preliminary Features were then called back to answer the bell for the Chevy Performance Final and a chance at the $250 top prize.
Johnson got a big run to Morgan’s outside on Lap 3 and crossed the stripe ahead of him, scoring the only lap throughout the rest of the race not led by Morgan’s #112. Heading back into Turns 3-4 on the next lap, Morgan threw a slide job on Johnson and reclaimed the lead, going right back on defense as he crossed the line to complete Lap 4.
From that point onward, Morgan had a full rearview mirror as he fended-off charges to his inside and outside for the lead from Johnson and Bishop. Inaugural DIRTcar eSports winner Evan Seay soon made a late-race push for a spot on the podium but got into Johnson while attempting a pass to his inside with seven laps remaining and gave up wholesale track position, allowing Bishop to scoot on by with the final podium spot.
In their valiant efforts to catch race leader Morgan, Johnson and Bishop were handed a ripe opportunity to make a move in the closing laps. Morgan was having trouble clearing the lapped car of Trent Beaver and was being held up a bit on the bottom, allowing Johnson and Bishop to close the gap.
But in the end, they couldn’t get close enough to make the pass. Bishop got around Johnson after being held up by more traffic with two-to-go but was unsuccessful in his final pursuit of Morgan.
Crossing the finish line, now $250 richer, Morgan certainly took notice of Bishop’s speed in the final laps and suggested things may have gotten dicey had the race extended a few laps longer.
“About the middle part of the race, I started driving away and then Barrett [Bishop] got to second, he was a lot faster and was putting the pressure on me. It probably would have been a good race with another lap or two,” Morgan said.
Bishop crossed the line in second with DJ Kilanowski nipping Johnson at the line for third – both career bests for those drivers with the DIRTcar eSports league. Former eSports Street Stock Showdown winner Kevin Dedmon completed the top-five.