The 2023 iRacing World of Outlaws Buttkicker Late Model Series should be referred to as the battle of Evan Seay vs Blake Matjoulis following the series’ inaugural visit to Port Royal Speedway on Monday (31st July).
The two former champions have been trading blows back and forth all season, and while Seay has clutched the lead since the start, Matjoulis has answered with wins in the second and third races, closing the gap in points down to seven.
Seay looked to be out of it, qualifying 21st and only finishing third in his Heat. Had a late caution not flown in the Feature, it was looking to be a possible third-in-a-row for Matjoulis as he battled with Logan Rumsey for the top spot. Seay was able to capitalize in the final laps and score his second win of the season.
Nathan Waddell was the fastest qualifier of the night, putting him on the pole for the first Heat. However, Waddell would not even qualify for the Feature. In the first corner of the first Heat, Waddell missed the groove and fell all the way back to sixth as Kendall Tucker took control. Evan Seay moved from sixth to finish in third.
Heat 2 was won handedly by Logan Rumsey and the third Heat went to Dylan Yeager, both mini races clean and uneventful, for the most part. Things started to go crazy, however, in the fourth and final Heat.
While Matjoulis was easily in control, the battle behind was not even remotely controlled. The second, third and fourth place starters for the heat, the other transfer positions, would not end up transferring after a wreck in Turn 1 on the opening lap.
Feature advancements via Port Royal Speedway Heats
|POS||HEAT 1||HEAT 2||HEAT 3||HEAT 4|
|1||Kendal Tucker||Logan Rumsey||Dylan Yeager||Blake Matjoulis|
|2||Dylonn Fox||JD Brown||Barrett Bishop||Dylan Wilson|
|3||Evan Seay||Damian Kiefer||James Edens||Chase Barbara|
|4||Chase Hardy||Drew Hopkins||Robbie Buchanan Jr||Payton Stevenson|
In the first Last Chance Qualifier, Dezmond Busby was able to pull away for the victory on a solid start, but that left Colton Zimmer in the clutches of the field behind for the battle for second. It would be Tristan Ladouceur taking the position and the transfer spot.
The final LCQ was the craziest of the season, it felt like. On the start, Blake Murray got hooked together with Mike Augustine. By the first corner, they were four-wide with Kaden Honeycutt on the bottom and Travis StClair just above him. StClair dove in but parked it in front of Murray, and that triggered a hellacious incident that wiped out most of the field.
With only four drivers left to contest the final two transfer spots, Murray looked to be in control, but Honeycutt, Augustine and Logan Herbert were all battling brilliantly. On the final lap, they all sent it. Honeycutt came out smelling like a rose, and made the transfer, as the others would all have their nights ended early.
|POS||LCQ 1||LCQ 2|
|1||Dezmond Busby||Blake Murray|
|2||Tristan Ladouceur||Kaden Honeycutt|
On the pole would be Tucker with Rumsey alongside, Matjoulis back in third and Seay all the way back in ninth. Tucker got a good jump and led the first two laps, but an early caution regrouped the field for another restart. By that yellow, Seay had worked his way up to sixth.
Tucker continued to lead, but Rumsey would challenge and succeed at Lap 12. Matjoulis would move around into second around Lap 16. Around the 22nd lap, Matjoulis was aiming for taking the lead.
Both Rumsey and Matjoulis would fight but the two-time winner on the season continued his pace and pulled out to a decent lead. With 12 laps to go, however, Rumesey was back and started to look at taking the lead back. Then, a caution would bunch the field back up one last time.
By this time, Seay was up to fourth and with no shot at catching the Top 2. With the restart, he would have another opportunity. Seay grabbed third and waited behind the battling Rumsey and Matjoulis. With five laps to go, Seay made his move and took the lead.
Rumsey made a dive, but Seay was able to cross over safely. Matjoulis also took a shot, but it was not to be. Seay scored the win ahead of Matjoulis as Dylan Wilson would come home in third. Rumsey wound up fourth with Barrett Bishop rounding out the Top 5.
The points gap between the Top 2 is now at eight, with Seay still in the lead despite his rough Qualifying and Heat positions.
WoO LM Race #4 – Port Royal Speedway Feature Top 10 Results
|1||9||33||Evan Seay||50 LAPS||6||76|
|2||4||127||Blake Matjoulis||+0.812 secs||21||75|
|3||8||80||Dylan Wilson||+1.001 secs||0||71|
|4||2||41||Logan Rumsey2||+1.197 secs||12||69|
|5||7||3||Barrett Bishop||+1.718 secs||0||65|
|6||12||23||Chase Barbara||+2.143 secs||0||61|
|7||17||82||Dezmond Busby||+2.736 secs||0||56|
|8||15||31||Robbie Buchanan Jr||+3.149 secs||0||54|
|9||20||10||Kaden Honeycutt||+3.443 secs||0||48|
|10||1||00||Kendal Tucker||+3.704 secs||9||51|
Points Standings following Race #4 – Port Royal Speedway
Next up: Knoxville Raceway
The fifth race of the 2023 season will take the Late Model World of Outlaws tour to Knoxville Raceway, the final race in the first half of the schedule. If you’re looking for trends, Evan Seay was victorious at Knoxville last season, extending his point lead then en route to the championship. Will he do the same again this year?
Things will kick off at 9:00 pm ET with the call from Tim Terry and Terry Radford, broadcasted live on DIRTvision or on the iRacing social channels.