Blake Cannon assumed the iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship points lead after withstanding 50 laps of high pressure from Alex Bergeron to win at Limaland Motorsports Park on Monday night. Cannon led a Swindell Speedlab Esports assault on the front of the field, as only Bergeron in second place kept the team from sweeping the top five.

“(Alex) was a little bit quicker than me, but that was a good race, and we had a clean, hard-fought race,” admitted Cannon. “He kept me honest for the 50 laps. I really felt like when we got going, I was a little bit faster, but he was a little bit better on the restarts. Nonetheless, man, I’m out of breath. What a race!”

The quarter-mile bullring at Limaland is a fan favorite for its three and four-wide racing, and this week’s action was no exception. The drama kicked off early in the preliminary rounds, as a number of the top names in the series found themselves in the last chance qualifiers. A number of series veterans, including defending champion Zach Leonhardi, Adam Elby, and Austin Carr missed out on the 20-car final.

That didn’t mean the main event was lacking in talent, though. Cannon and Bergeron put on what may have been the most exciting show in any iRacing World Championship event this season, trading the lead numerous times as Bergeron threw repeated sliders to take the spot and Cannon held strong to defend the spot. Both drivers made small mistakes throughout, but nothing that separated the duo in any meaningful way until Bergeron clipped the wall on the final lap.

“We were fast tonight, for sure, and it was a good race with Blake,” said Bergeron. “The top was very dominant there, and you really had to make good moves, but we missed a bit on that tonight. We wanted to take it easy for the championship—we were ninth before this race, and now we’re second, but Hayden (Cardwell) was on top coming in and now he’s sixth. Everything can change quickly, and you just have to be patient.”

Even behind the leaders, there was plenty of drama throughout the field. A spin for Dylan Houser caused the first caution, and on the resulting restart, last week’s winner Hayden Cardwell spun and fell to the back of the pack. Just before the halfway point of the race, another chain reaction got the best of Jeremy Capron, who spun while trying to avoid Nick Cooper and took contact from Chris Beck.

Despite all the drama in the middle of the field, Blake Matjoulis clawed his way to the final spot on the podium. Matjoulis, who advanced to the final through the last chance qualifier, sliced through the pack to reach the top five before the halfway point of the race, and eventually secured third place over teammate Kendal Tucker in the race’s final laps.

“I was very pleased with the run,” said Matjoulis. “Maybe if we had a little better qualifying run and didn’t have such bad luck in the heat, I think we would’ve been good. I was surprised with the speed we had, keeping up with the leaders with all the damage we had coming from the back.”

iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship points after two of 10 rounds are as follows:

  1. Blake Cannon, 154
  2. Alex Bergeron, 135
  3. Kendal Tucker, 126
  4. Blake Matjoulis, 124
  5. Evan Seay, 123
  6. Hayden Cardwell, 121
  7. Shad Prescott, 104
  8. Dylonn Fox, 103
  9. Dylan Houser, 102
  10. Steven Wilson, 99

The iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship resumes next Monday with a stop at the iconic Knoxville Raceway. As always, the race can be streamed live on the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.