September 20th, 2019 by Chris Leone
Slick Simsport locked out the iRacing USAC World Championship presented by FloRacing podium on Wednesday night, as David “The Heilemaniac” Heileman scored his first victory of the season at Kokomo Speedway after inheriting the lead late and running first when a late caution came out. Teammates Joel Berkley and Zach Leonhardi finished second and third in the second race of the nine-event championship, as Heileman became the first driver in 2019 to win iRacing World Championship events in both winged and non-winged sprint cars.
“They don’t call it the Smackdown here at Kokomo for nothing,” said Heileman, referring to the real-world USAC National Championship event held at the track each August. “I gave away the heat race, but I had the pace at the end. We were throwing sliders back and forth, but I was able to get the best of them. That was so much fun. 1-2-3 for the boys, that’s just a perfect night.”
The early stages of the 30-lap feature must have looked familiar to anyone who saw last week’s season opener at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, as winner Brennan Rogers, runner-up Leonhardi, and third place finished Heileman ran in the exact same order early on. With Berkley also in the mix, the quartet fought amongst themselves at the front for most of the race, even as multiple cautions bunched up the field.
But an uncharacteristic error for Rogers with nine laps remaining changed the trajectory of the event. He slid wide coming out of Turn 2 while in the lead, clipping the outside wall, tumbling down the backstretch, and causing the third of four cautions on the night. That enabled Heileman to inherit the lead over his two teammates, and a subsequent fourth caution for Trevor Royer not long after the restart finished the race under caution.
Polesitter Alex Bergeron, going for his second iRacing Dirt Oval World Championship of 2019, suffered contact in his heat race and had to earn his way into the main event through the last chance qualifier. He climbed his way back up tot fourth place, while Aiden Purdue completed the top five.
Despite winning his heat and leading the first 21 laps of the final, Rogers’ DNF relegated him to 16th place, and dropped him to sixth in the standings.
Dual podiums to start the season for Leonhardi and Heileman allowed them to climb to first and second in the standings, while Bergeron cracked the top 10 after a potential race-winning run at Fairbury last week was spoiled by contact with the inside boundary of the track as he ran the low line.
The iRacing USAC World Championship presented by FloRacing standings through two events are as follows:
1. Zach Leonhardi, 156
2. David Heileman, 151
3. Joel Berkley, 137
4. Cole Cabre, 127
5. Aiden Purdue, 126
6. Brennan Rogers, 121
7. Alex Bergeron, 115
8. James Edens, 109
9. Austen Semmelmann, 93
10. Josh Fox, 78
Next Wednesday, the iRacing USAC World Championship presented by FloRacing makes its first of two stops at Limaland Motorsports Park. As always, the action can be streamed live at 9PM ET on the iRacing eSports Network and on FloRacing. For more information on iRacing and to become a member, visit www.iracing.com/membership.