RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond-area drivers Parker Brookfield (LMSC) and Ryan Matthews (SLM) split the victories in Friday night’s CARS eSport Tour races at Richmond Raceway.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers scored podium finishes in both features.
Brookfield, who has real-life racing experience at Langley Speedway and Southside Speedway in Virginia, took the lead from Chris Carroll with 33 laps to go in the virtual late model stock feature.
After taking the lead, Brookfield survived a handful of late-race restarts and pulled away from a thrilling battle for second to score his first win of the CARS eSport Tour season.
“It was good from the start,” Brookfield said. “We were just riding around saving during the early part of the race. We had a couple laps there where we started to push and I said I had some decent pace, but if I could get to Chris [Carroll], I could probably get around him. Once I got to first place, I knew not to look back and keep going.
“I was able to pull out a nice lead at the end, so I was happy about that.”
Behind Brookfield, Matt Kocher, Aaron Rodgers, and Layne Riggs staged a thrilling duel for the runner-up spot. Kocher eventually passed Riggs for second and held on to the position, while Rodgers passed Riggs on the race’s last lap.
Riggs, a full-time competitor in the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour, came home fourth while Carroll faded back to round out the top-five.
Matthews led wire-to-wire in the virtual super late model feature, leaving no doubt in his dominant performance.
Racing regularly in Legend cars, Matthews has scored victories in Legends competition at Carteret County Speedway, Langley Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park, all venues on the real-life Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour.
“In the first 20 laps or so, I was pretty sketchy coming off the turns,” Matthews said. “Richmond’s kind of known for being snappy loose on (corner) exit, so I found out that if I kept it lower on exit, I’d have more drive off. It felt slower but it was actually faster. I just did that until we had a caution on lap 75, then I saw Aaron Rodgers coming pretty quick. He was probably my only competition at the end.
“Aaron was pretty fast. I don’t think he was consistent as me, but him and Drew [Wooten] battling back-and-forth helped me out.”
The winners of the races got tickets to the fall NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, which is currently scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12.
“Richmond’s my home track, I can see it outside my apartment building,” Brookfield said. “It means a lot to me to win this race and I really need to thank Richmond Raceway for providing those tickets.”
Matthews, who lives in nearby Mechanicsville, Va., echoed Brookfield’s sentiments.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Matthews said. “I actually didn’t even know the tickets were up for grabs tonight until the race started but I live like 20 minutes from the track so that will be a cool experience. I actually know Parker. We met at [Southside Speedway] near us, so that will be pretty sweet.”
After finishing third in the late model stock feature, Rodgers finished second in the super late model race over Andrew Wooten, Blake Bottoms and Guillaume Fortin.
The next event for the CARS eSport Tour will take place on Wednesday, April 1 at the virtual rendition of Five Flags Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on Twitch through Podium eSports.
Late Model Stock Cars (100 laps): Parker Brookfield, Matt Kocher, Aaron Rodgers, Layne Riggs, Chris Carroll, Lewis Grounds, Blake Bottoms, Jake Brooks, Michael F. Willman, Mark Karrer, Kenny Kibbey, Matt Shinoski, Spencer Dickinson, James Windrow, Derek Nichol, Jeremy Line-Watkins, Brad Carpenter, James Dowen, Ben Kallin, Dustin Sluiter, Kenny Lowry, Richard Thomas, Robert Arch, Wally Wilson, Bryce Bezanson, Jonathan Lawrence, Gray Cronenwett, Bradley Yeo, Wesley Whitfield, Timothy Barnes.
Super Late Models (100 laps): Ryan Matthews, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Wooten, Blake Bottoms, Guillaume Fortin, Derek Nichol, Justin LaDuke, Tyler C. Daniels, James Dowen, Matt Kocher, Jeremy Line-Watkins.