With just three rounds remaining in the iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship, only two drivers remain in control of their own destiny atop the point standings. And with two very different paths to the top, tonight’s action from the legendary Knoxville Raceway could prove a huge determining factor in which of them takes home this year’s championship.
Sophomore driver Hayden Cardwell and rookie Dylan Wilson are separated by just five points coming into the eighth event of the championship—less than the difference between first and third in a feature race. Cardwell has earned his way there with three race victories, including last weekend’s inaugural visit to Fairbury American Legion Speedway, where he took the top spot from Kendal Tucker late in the race and denied the latter his first career series victory. But Cardwell’s ability to stretch a points lead has been mitigated by feast or famine heat races; he’s won them four times to earn top-four starting spots in the feature, but in the other three rounds, he’s had to come from 15th in the field or deeper.
Wilson, on the other hand, has been remarkably consistent all year long. Twice a heat winner in the past three weeks, he stole the points lead from Cardwell briefly after leading the most laps and eventually finishing second at Kokomo Speedway two races ago. While he’s been unable to find the winner’s circle in the main event just yet, he’s got two runner-up results to his name, and hasn’t finished any worse than seventh yet in a perfect record of final appearances so far in 2020.
If either driver falters, however, the door is wide open for a number of others who have only made one or two mistakes so far this season. Evan Seay, Tucker, and rookie Devon Morgan complete the top five, and are all mathematically within range of the points lead tonight should something unexpected happen with the front-runners. All three have also been mainstays of the main event this year, but each has had one blemish—Morgan placed 18th at Limaland, Tucker was 17th the next week at Eldora, and Seay took a poorly timed DNF last week at Fairbury despite entering the race well within reach of Cardwell and Wilson.
The good news for Seay: he was one of last year’s Knoxville race winners, taking the checkered flag in the second visit after Alex Bergeron won the first. Seay and 2019 series champion Blake Matjoulis completed the podium in the first Knoxville race, while Tucker and Matjoulis were second and third in the other race. 11 of the drivers on tonight’s entry list scored at least one top-10 finish at Knoxville last year.
iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship action from Knoxville Raceway kicks off tonight at 9PM ET and can be seen on the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages. Knoxville is the first of three consecutive half-mile tracks to wrap up the 2020 season, which continues next Monday at Williams Grove Speedway before wrapping up in two weeks’ time from The Dirt Track at Charlotte. For more information on iRacing and for special offers visit www.iracing.com.