The iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship heads into its second round of the season from Limaland Motorsports Park tonight with one question in mind: will the newcomers continue to exert control over the series, or was last weekend’s season opener a fluke?
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D1RT Racing’s Hayden Cardwell led a 1-2-3-4 sweep by series rookies in last Monday’s opener from Volusia Speedway Park, winning the pole and his heat race before taking the checkered flag in a mostly clean 50-lap feature. With only a single caution to bunch up the field, due to Austin Carr’s spin near the front of the pack, it was smooth sailing for the Tennessee native for most of the night.
Swindell Speedlab Esports’ Blake Cannon and Victory Lane Racing’s Evan Seay completed the podium after a hard-fought battle for second, which saw Cannon come out on top after throwing a last-lap slider. Cardwell’s teammate Shad Prescott was fourth, while defending series champion Zach Leonhardi of TTL Esports completed the top five as the best finisher of the returning drivers.
Now, the series’ attention turns to Limaland, the Ohio-based, quarter-mile bullring that will appear twice on the 2019 calendar. Limaland has a completely different feel from Volusia, the Florida-based half-mile that opened up the championship, and is one of the shortest tracks on this year’s calendar.
“It should be a pretty good race,” Cardwell said of the upcoming event at Limaland. “Limaland is one of my favorite tracks—it’s a little bullring that produces three-wide racing all the time. It should be interesting this week with all the competition we have in this series. I think it’s going to be tough to make the show every week. Top fives and top 10s are what it’s going to take to win this championship.”
“(Limaland is) a completely different ballgame,” Cannon admitted after his runner-up finish at Volusia. “I haven’t been there in a while, so I’m hoping we’re alright. If I can just ride around in the top five, I’ll be happy with that.”
“Limaland is always a fun, action-packed track,” added Seay. “I don’t really know what to expect, but it’s always been a three, four, or sometimes five-wide track. I’m sure we’ll put on a show!”
Limaland hosted two races in last year’s championship chase, with returning drivers making up nine of the combined 10 top five finishing spots between them. Alex Bergeron, who won this year’s NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship, and Leonhardi split the victories, while Nick Cooper, Howard Weaver, Drew Herchko, Jacob Fields, and Tyler Ducharme also scored top fives at Limaland last year. Each will look to return to the front of the pack tonight.
As always, the iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship round from Limaland Motorsports Park can be streamed live at 9PM ET on the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. Next week, the series will return to action from Knoxville Raceway, where Matthew McKinney is the defending winner.