August 23rd, 2022 by Chris Leone
Blake Matjoulis became the second two-time winner in five rounds of the 2022 iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series season on Monday night, taking the checkered flag in action from Federated Auto Parts Raceway I-55. To do it, he’d have to outduel his teammate and series points leader Evan Seay in a dramatic late-race battle that marked the end of one of the cleanest races of the season.
Matjoulis and Seay set themselves up to decide the race between them from the very beginning of the night, qualifying first and second and leading every lap of their respective heat races. Zack McSwain and Barrett Bishop would win the remaining heat races, while 2020 series champion Hayden Cardwell and multi-time iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car champion Alex Bergeron would take the checkered flag in the respective LCQs to make their respective returns to the feature.
After an immediate caution for Nathan Waddell on the start of the 50-lap main, drivers figured out the high-banked third-mile quickly afterward, and the yellow flag never came out again. For much of the race, that also meant the top four qualifiers staying in those positions, although McSwain did spend a handful of laps in second early on after getting around Seay. That allowed Matjoulis to widen the gap early on top more than a second.
But as the race carried on, with Seay back in second, the gap would continue to shrink and shrink. Finally, with fewer than 10 laps to go, Seay closed the gap fully and made his move, with the duo crossing the line in a dead heat at one point as they went side by side for the final few laps. After Seay made the move from the inside to pull out front, Matjoulis would cross him over to the inside to regain the spot, and with Bishop breathing down his neck, Seay couldn’t pull back even coming out of the final corner.
Still, the night wasn’t a total loss for Seay. Thanks to a 14th place finish for Kendal Tucker, allowing Matjoulis to move to second in the standings, the gap to first is now up to 46 points at the halfway point of the year. Tucker is now just three points clear of Dylan Yeager for third, while Logan Rumsey and Dylan Wilson are separated by just three points for the final spot in the top five.
iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series results from Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 were as follows:
|16||18||12||Alex A Bergeron||50||-10.168||0||12.365||35|
|17||20||5||Nathan R Waddell||50||-10.210||0||12.288||33|
|19||15||46||Matthew Selby||48||-2 L||0||12.316||30|
|20||17||07||Hayden Cardwell||39||-11 L||0||12.320||27|
iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series points after five rounds are as follows:
- Evan Seay, 380
- Blake Matjoulis, 334
- Kendal Tucker, 309
- Dylan Yeager, 306
- Logan Rumsey, 285
- Dylan Wilson, 282
- Dezmond Busby, 240
- Barrett Bishop, 226
- Damian Kiefer, 223
- Mike Augustine, 196
The iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series season continues on Monday, August 29 at 9PM ET with a visit to Kokomo Speedway. As always, the action can be streamed live across iRacing social media platforms and DirtVision. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.