Make it six weeks in-a-row that Kendal Tucker has finished no worse than second aboard the DIRTcar eSports Tour.
The defending Tour champion bagged his second Feature win of Season 3 Wednesday night with the Hoosier Racing Tire Big Block Modifieds in impressive fashion, winning a very close battle with Blake Matjoulis, of Ashville, NY, after a restart to grab the lead for good and pocket another $250 check.
In short, Tucker had a perfect night – setting quick time in Qualifying, winning his Heat Race and eventually the 50-lap Feature from the pole with a hard-charging cast of virtual racers behind him.
Tucker, of Mt. Airy, NC, led Lap 1 but gave it up on the next circuit to outside polesitter Matjoulis. He and his 127 Industries machine fended off his rivals out front for the next 26 laps before the caution flag was displayed, resetting the field.
The green dropped once again and Tucker got a great run on the top side to challenge Matjoulis for the lead. Using that high-side momentum out of Turn 2, Tucker pulled ahead of Matjoulis as they slid into Turn 3 and took the line away to seal the spot.
“Once we got a couple of restarts in, I started being pretty aggressive and wanted to make some moves,” Tucker said. “That last restart there – we got a really good start on [Matjoulis] and was able to wheel around the top in [Turns] 1 and 2 on him.”
From there on out, it was all Tucker and his #00 Swindell SpeedLab entry. He had opened a two-second advantage over the rest of the field by the time he crossed the finish line, fully displaying his fixed-setup prowess on iRacing.
It comes in as another great points night for Tucker, as he extends his advantage over runner-up Tyler Schell, despite having entered one less race than each of his closest competitors. Still, he seeks his second Tour championship as Season 3 begins to wind down to the final three races.
“I definitely didn’t think we had a shot at the points this season at all. Luckily, these six races we’ve ran so far, we’ve been able to have some pretty good speed in all the different cars we’ve ran so far,” Tucker said.
The DIRTcar eSports Tour is back in action with the NOS Energy Drink 360 Sprint Cars at Kokomo Speedway next Wednesday night for Round #8 of Season 3. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Hoosier Racing Tire Feature (50 Laps) – 1. 00 Kendal Tucker (1), 2. 127 Blake Matjoulis (2), 3. 12 Alex Bergeron (3), 4. 41 Logan Rumsey (7), 5. 33 Evan Seay (19), 6. 22 Mason Hannagan (5), 7. 85 Tyler Schell (6), 8. 09 Tanner Tomasi (18), 9. 000 Kevin Dedmon (20), 10. 115 Boddie Parker (9), 11. 717 Bobby Rafferty (14), 12. 1 Jesse Enterkin (12), 13. 19 Christopher McGuire (10), 14. 331 Dustin Hall (16), 15. 033 Richard Murtaugh Jr. (8), 16. 17 Brett Rowles (22), 17. 8 Austin Hunter (4), 18. 48 Dylan Yeager (17), 19. 13 Matt Remick (21), 20. 78 Justin Bishop (23), 21 9 Ken Burns (15), 22. 06 Rylan Gray (13), 23. 185 Hunter Heck (11), 24. 88 Chris Olson (24)
JACK-vs-HACK: Jackson Goes Back-and-Forth with Hackney, Wins Street Stocks at Limaland
Kilgore places 19th, loses ground on points leader Jackson while Hackney rebounds
Although he recently traded-in some of his iRacing experience in for some seat time in a real-world DIRTcar Stock Car, Tyler Jackson proved Wednesday night that he still knows how to wheel it in the virtual world, too.
Leading all but four laps in the seventh race of the Chevy Performance Street Stock League, Jackson, of Rockford, IL, went head-to-head in a fierce home-stretch battle to the checkers with defending Limaland Feature winner Keith Hackney, of Calhoun, GA, to collect his third win of DIRTcar eSports Season 3.
Jackson took off from the third starting spot, grabbed the lead from polesitter Aidan Skraha on Lap 3 and began his defense of the top spot right away, as Hackney went right with him and slipped into second shortly thereafter.
Hackney hammered the top side of the 3/10-mile lap-after-lap and kept pace with Jackson’s #25 until he decided to make a daring move for the lead with under five laps remaining. A big slide job in Turns 3-4 by Hackney caused a bit of contact as they sailed through the turns, but Jackson was able to keep momentum and returned the favor in Turn 1-2.
“I saw Keith coming and had to make a move to try and win the race,” Jackson said. “So we battled it out, and he threw kind of a nasty slide job but he owed me one from the Heat, so it’s all good from here.”
The two exchanged slide jobs several times more over the final two laps until Jackson went low to protect the lead on the final lap. Hackney drove it in deep underneath one final time in Turn 3, but it wasn’t enough. Jackson survived the bumper tap and drove away with his third $100 payday of the season.
With his third win of the season, Jackson now extends his points lead over Carl Kilgore. It was a rough night for the Greenville, MS-native, who had made it up to fifth before contact with Skraha sent him backwards in the final laps, leaving him with a 19th-place finish.
To a bunch of his on-virtual-track success, Jackson attributes his time on the sim rig. Last weekend, he got his first taste of a real-life DIRTcar Stock Car in a weekly event at Fairbury Speedway – just one of several events he plans to compete in this year, using what he’s gathered on the virtual track.
“Even though we crinkled-up some fenders, I went down and helped Greg [Osman, car owner] beat some of that stuff out. We’ll be back racing Macon [Speedway, Illinois] Memorial Day,” Jackson said.
The Chevy Performance Street Stock League is back in action next Wednesday night for Round #8 of DIRTcar eSports Season 3 at the Eldora Speedway. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Chevy Performance Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 25 Tyler Jackson (3), 2. 69 Keith Hackney (6), 3. 17 Brett Rowles (2), 4. 121 Edward Farness (5), 5. 717 Bobby Rafferty (4), 6. 05 Devin Ramsey (12), 7. 48 Kyle Vaughn (7), 8. 71 Daniel Stiffler (10), 9. 21 Jim Reavis (9), 10. 077 Holden English (17), 11. 93 Steve Miskolczi (13), 12. 225 Nathan Lemons (24), 13. 18 Justin Henson (19), 14. 111 Jaron Valley (11), 15. 77 Anthony Corini (23), 16. 38 Ryan Carlisi (21) 17. 73 Scott Reid (20), 18. 6 Mitch Erickson (15), 19. 021 Carl Kilgore (8), 20. 53 Aidan Skraha (1), 21. 92 Payton Gries (16), 22. 23 Brayden McMahan (14), 23. 546 Randy Axner (22), 24. 026 Sage Luther (18)