SARVER, Pa. – In the span of a week, James Edens went from the outhouse to the penthouse with the iRacing World of Outlaws Sprint Car World Championship.
Edens, who finished last in the feature during the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park on March 23, came roaring back Monday night to win round two of the series at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway.
He nearly had a perfect night, too. Edens timed in second-fastest before going on to win his heat race, then led all but one circuit in the 35-lap main event for his third career series victory.
The Petaluma, Calif., native charged past polesitter Kendal Tucker on lap two around the virtual four-tenths-mile clay oval, then never looked back as he dominated the field during the second half.
Edens drove away from a torrid battle for second in the closing laps and took the checkered flag over runner-up Lewis Hewett by 1.033 seconds in the Swindell SpeedLab eSports No. 52 sprint car.
“Man, last week was a bummer to say the least, so to bounce back like this is huge for us,” Edens said in victory lane. “We spent some time this week preparing and it paid off in a big way. It seemed like every practice race … wherever you were running, there were good battles, and we definitely saw that tonight. It feels good to knock one off at a new track and to do it in the fashion we did tonight.”
The race was slowed by caution twice for six laps. The first yellow waved on lap four for a spinning John Battista in turn four, and the second and final slowdown was with 15 laps scored when Blake Cannon – a podium finisher from the Volusia opener – went over the edge in the fourth corner and spun as well.
From there, the race went green to the finish following the last restart on lap 19, with Australian Lewis Hewett ultimately coming out with second place in the end.
Hewett admitted, however, that he had no time to try and run down Edens in the closing stages.
“It was a good race,” Edens noted. “I had a tough time with Cameron (Merriman) and Kendal (Tucker); I just didn’t really know what to do when I was behind them, but I managed to get Cameron after a restart and just kept cruising around the top from there. It was a pretty good night.
“I’m not sure what we might have had for James, but we’ll take this one.”
A second Aussie, Joel Berkley, completed the podium after committing to the bottom late and making some spectacular tracks on the bottom groove of Lernerville’s four-tenths-mile oval.
Tucker faded to fourth down the stretch. Meanwhile Cameron Merriman, who finished fifth, assumed the points lead by one marker over Volusia winner and sixth-place finisher Alex Bergeron.
Bergeron was the night’s hard charger, clawing his way into the main from one of the twin Last Chance Showdowns and advancing 11 positions from 17th on the starting grid.
Dylan Houser, Cole Cabre, Alex Smolders and David Heileman completed the top 10 at the finish.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.