BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Over his previous eight World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model iRacing starts, Corey Gordon felt he should have had a few more victories if it weren’t for some mishaps on final restarts.
On Monday night with six laps remaining, Gordon wasn’t about to let another one slip through his fingers.
With a hungry field of drivers looking for their first win behind him, Gordon looked for the green off of turn four and was almost beat into turn one by outside starter Nick Stroupe, but Flash and his Drydene No. 0M Team Zero Race Car were just too good on virtual Volusia Speedway Park’s slick surface in the low groove. Gordon threw it into the corner and made it stick coming out of turn two to take the lead back and eventually the checkered flag for his third career Morton Buildings Late Model iRacing Invitational win.
“I feel like all these races, I keep on losing them right on these last restarts with five to go or whatever,” Gordon said to Chase Raudman in the Morton Buildings post-race interview. “Eldora kinda slipped away from me last week. I thought the leader starts the race on that last restart, but I guess not. It’s all good.”
On that final restart, Stroupe did seem to fire just a bit ahead of Gordon, but ultimately it didn’t matter as Gordon was able to hang onto it and drive away with the lead. However, Stroupe seemed to see the race into turn one a little differently.
“I got a good restart there with five-to-go, and thought I had a pretty good shot at it. Had [the lead] by a nose going into Turn 1 and just got drove through. But it is what it is, no big deal,” Stroupe told Series Announcer Rick Eshelman in the Morton Buildings post-race interview.
Aside from the finger-pointing, it made for an edge-of-the-seat ending to what was a very exciting race up front the whole way through.
Kaeden Cornell led the field to the initial green flag and was quickly passed by Mike McKinney for the lead as they rounded turn four to complete the first circuit. Gordon wasted almost no time in his pursuit for the lead, making the move to McKinney’s inside on lap eight from his fifth-place starting spot.
McKinney gave Gordon a run for his money and a big slide job on the next restart but was unsuccessful. Gordon crossed back underneath McKinney’s NOS Energy Drink #96 and sped down the backstretch to start the defense of his lead. Gordon was not seriously challenged again until under 10 laps were left.
After building up quite a gap between he and then second-place-running Stroupe over a long green-flag stretch, the race’s final caution flag was thrown with nine laps remaining. This erased Gordon’s lead that Stroupe was actually cutting into ever-so-slightly before the break and stacked the field behind them.
Coming out of turn four to get what would be the final green flag, Stroupe appeared to have jumped a bit in the outside lane, but noticeably hit the brakes when he realized Gordon hadn’t yet fired. The two got mostly evened back out as they crossed under the flag stand, and Gordon was able to wrestle away the top spot from Stroupe’s strong grasp in turn one. Winger got a terrific restart and jumped from fourth to second out of turn two, challenging for the lead as the top-four dove into turn three.
Winger slightly nudged Gordon up the track in his bid for the lead and had the point briefly as they crossed the stripe with four laps to go, but Gordon was just too good on the outside. He powered back by Winger down the backstretch and led the field back to the checkered flag for his second win in the last three weeks.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about wrecking [Gordon] there, but I wasn’t really going to, that’s not how I race,” Winger said about his charge into Turn 3 after the last restart. “It was fun, I really like the racetrack when they keep it slick like that. Hopefully the track will be something like that tomorrow.”
Winger, of Hampton, Ga., is running for the Rookie of the Year Award on the real-life World of Outlaws tour in 2020, and often finds himself implementing the same advice he gets on the real track to the virtual one.
“My dad keeps telling me, it’s just like real-life – if I quit starting 20th, I might have a shot to win one of these things,” Winger joked, actually beginning his run to the front from 13th.
1. 0-Corey Gordon  [$1,000]; 2. 12-Ashton Winger ; 3. 6-Nick Stroupe ; 4. 50-Kaeden Cornell ; 5. 47-Eric Riggins ; 6. 1-Logan Seavey ; 7. 5-Chase Briscoe ; 8. 999-Kyle Hardy ; 9. 23-Bryce Weldon ; 10. 66-Matt Cosner ; 11. 29-Ethan Toedter ; 12. 76-Andrew Haus ; 13. 28-Jimmy Mars ; 14. 18-Eric Wells ; 15. 55-Chris Hile ; 16. 121-Michael Hensley ; 17. 39-Kevin Swindell ; 18. 100-Garrett Alberson ; 19. 14-Tyler Clem ; 20. 118-Michael Seibers ; 21. 88-Trent Ivey ; 22. 96-Mike McKinney ; 23. 7-Drake Troutman ; 24. 39-Austin Yarbrough .