November 7th, 2019 by Chris Leone
D1RT’s Ryan Diatte made the deciding pass halfway through Wednesday night’s iRacing USAC World Championship presented by FloRacing feature at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, ending the season on a high note with his first World Championship victory. Championship runner-up Alex Bergeron made a late-race charge to finish second, while Bobby Sandt Jr. completed the podium after winning the pole and leading the first half of the race.
“My whole body is shaking,” said Diatte. “It’s pretty exciting—I have to thank my teammates. I qualified on the same setup that Brennan Rogers used to win here the first week. Getting ready for the series, he told me we had to be good on entry, and it would help us through the whole corner. So I tried to stay as close as I could to the wall without killing it.”
Fairbury is iRacing’s newest dirt oval, and served as host of both the season opener and finale of the new-for-2019 iRacing USAC World Championship. Both times, the new track produced surprise winners; Rogers took his only checkered flag of the season in the opener, while heat wins by Sandt, Diatte, and James Tiernan suggested that a new winner in the finale would be inevitable too.
Sandt jumped out to a quick lead before a flip from Joel Berkley brought out the first caution. He would retain the top spot on the restart before making a mistake just before the halfway point, allowing Diatte to get by just as a caution came out for two-time 2019 winner James Edens. From there, just one more caution for Alex Smolders on Lap 22 would slow the race, setting up a heated battle to the finish. Despite racing away from his typical home setup, Bergeron used his typical prowess on the low side of the track to put the pressure on, but would have to settle for second place in the end.
“It was wild out there,” added Bergeron. “We got behind a little bit in the middle of the race running the low line, and toward the end of the race I just tried to throw a slider and see what would happen. I got really loose out of Turn 4, and if I hadn’t, I probably would’ve won the race. But Ryan did an awesome job of keeping the stress down to win the race. The track was awesome to race on.”
David Heileman locked up the championship a week early at Limaland Motorsports Park, and will claim both a two-day Cory Kruseman Driving School experience and the largest share of a $10,000 prize pool. Bergeron will take home $3,000 for his efforts in second, while the early accidents for both Edens and Berkley put an early end to a heated battle for the $1,000 third prize in Edens’ favor.
The final 2019 iRacing USAC World Championship presented by FloRacing standings are as follows:
- David Heileman, 602
- Alex Bergeron, 565
- James Edens, 485
- Joel Berkley, 460
- James Tiernan, 415
- Bobby Sandt Jr., 415
- Cole Cabre, 405
- Adam Elby, 396
- Alex Smolders, 391
- Josh Fox, 390
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