CONCORD, N.C. – On a night when all eyes were on the biggest names in dirt-track racing, a 25-year-old from Union, S.C., stole the spotlight live on FOX Sports 1.
Trent Ivey shocked a 20-car field of some of the best talents across multiple disciplines of motorsports to win Wednesday night’s nationally-televised Morton Buildings Late Model iRacing Invitational at the virtual Dirt Track at Charlotte in dominant fashion.
After taking the lead from Nick Stroupe on lap 10 of the 50-lap, $1,000-to-win feature, Ivey paced the final 41 laps en route to what he called “the biggest win” of his career.
That was a big statement, too, coming from someone who banked 10 times the winner’s share of Wednesday’s race during a Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals Series race at his home track – Cherokee (S.C.) Speedway – last July.
This one took the cake easily, however, considering the size of the stage it put Ivey on.
“My phone hasn’t stopped blowing up since the checkered flag,” Ivey told SPEED SPORT after the race. “Union is a pretty small town, and I figure 75 percent of the people down here were probably watching that race tonight. It’s unbelievable that we won it.”
Ivey’s pass for the lead – courtesy of a big slide job exiting turn four – came just before the caution flag waved for contact between dirt late model legend Scott Bloomquist and Cruz Pedregon that sent Pedregon flipping over an infield tire at the bottom of the first turn.
After that, Stroupe pulled away on a lap-14 restart and appeared to have the race well in hand, save for a pileup that sent Ashton Winger flipping on the 19th lap and set up another restart just past the halfway point.
From there, no one could contend with Ivey, who cruised out to a 1.63-second victory despite one more caution with 19 to go that set up a 15-lap sprint to the checkered flag.
“I really get a kick out of racing on this sim,” Ivey noted. “I know it’s not the real thing, and it never will be, but man … I’m shook up! I can’t believe it. This is an incredible feeling and an amazing night. I was racing Monday night and my computer blew up coming to the green; I was supposed to be on the outside pole with (Mike) McKinney.
“To bounce back from that and win this one … on this stage, I really can’t believe it.”
Polesitter Kaeden Cornell finished second after leading the opening circuit, with Monday night late model winner McKinney completing the podium ahead of Kyle Larson and Corey Gordon.
Dirt late model aces Bobby Pierce and Chris Madden, past USAC champion Logan Seavey, Mike Mahaney and Nick Hoffman completed the top 10.
Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, a guest driver in both the sprint car and late model invitationals, finished 17th and was one spot ahead of Bloomquist in the final rundown.
Christopher Bell won the sprint car invitational, which led off the broadcast on FS1.
Both of Wednesday night’s races were lined up according to an algorithm of average iRacing lap times, adjusted for track conditions, followed by a pill draw for the inversion.
1. 88-Trent Ivey , 2. 50-Kaeden Cornell , 3. 96-Mike McKinney , 4. 57-Kyle Larson , 5. 5-Corey Gordon , 6. 32-Bobby Pierce , 7. 0m-Chris Madden , 8. 1-Logan Seavey , 9. 35-Mike Mahaney , 10. 2h-Nick Hoffman , 11. 2-Carson Macedo , 12. 9-Devin Moran , 13. 45-Nick Stroupe , 14. 66-Matt Cosner , 15. 5b-Chase Briscoe , 16. 71-Cruz Pedregon , 17. 51-Kyle Busch , 18. 0-Scott Bloomquist , 19. 12-Ashton Winger , 20. 99-Matty Watkins .
Lead Changes: Four among three drivers.
Lap Leaders: Kaeden Cornell 1, Nick Stroupe 2-9, Trent Ivey 10-50.
Laps Led: Trent Ivey 41, Nick Stroupe 8, Kaeden Cornell 1.
Hard Charger: 0m-Chris Madden (+12)
Caution Flags: Four for 18 laps
Margin of Victory: 1.630 seconds
Average Speed: 61.633 mph