BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Alex Bergeron stormed his way to the front of the field Saturday night to win the weekly DIRTcar eSports Showdown at virtual Volusia Speedway Park.
A force to be reckoned with, the 2019 iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car World Champion from Drummondville, Quebec, managed to find his way around the virtual DIRTcar Pro Late Model well enough to claim the $300 winner’s share at the end of the 35-lap Chevy Performance Feature.
“I was following Mike [McKinney] and Tucker while I was running third, and I decided to take it easy until the final couple laps when I made my move on the outside and I was able to get the run off of turn two,” Bergeron said of his race-winning lap-29 pass on real-world driver Mike McKinney.
Contact, however, was prevalent throughout the race although rarely was it enough to result in caution flags.
“It was pretty rough for sure,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron is notable for his new role as an iRacing mentor to the pros, who are finding themselves in the virtual cockpit more than ever. His experience in simulators allows him to anticipate the changing track conditions, and be able to quickly analyze how to wheel a DIRTcar Pro Late Model around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile:
“The bottom was not really there,” he said. “It was pretty much middle in Turns 1 and 2. Going into Turns 3 and 4, the high side wasn’t there at all and if you got off the line you’d fall back a lot. Going into 1 and 2 you get into the middle and hit the apex, then let the car go up and get the moisture off the back straightaway.”
An obviously disappointed Kendal Tucker finished second to Bergeron, who took advantage of a battle between Tucker and Mike McKinney.
His race day started by grabbing the Cometic Gasket Fast-Time Award in Racing Electronics Qualifying with a lap around the World’s Fastest Half-Mile in 16. 561 seconds.
After leading the first 18 laps, pole-sitter Tucker was forced out of the lead by Mike McKinney gave him a few taps before barging his way to the lead.
After retaking the lead, Tucker was dispatched similarly by Bergeron but not without dishing out some hard-nosed racing of his own in the closing stages.
“Alex [Bergeron] got to us and instead of trying to pass he hit us four times in one lap and to finish it off he doored us out of the way,” said the fired up Tucker.
The battle in the top 5 was wild over the course of 2 green/white/checkered flag attempts where the field fanned out going for the lead.
Evan Seay, a World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models iRacing World Champion, crossed the line in third hoping to make that top-side work on the leaders. Seay fell just short, but knew from Lap 1 the competition at the front would be extremely tight.
“This was a good finish tonight,” Seay said. “With Fixed Setups it’s always going to be close. You get into tight battles like that. I was kind of rolling the top there in three and four. It was just as fast as the middle. I stuck with that plan on the last restart and it worked out.”