Sure, you could say that Alex Bergeron is on pace for his second straight iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship based on the fact that he once again leads the standings at the halfway point of the season. But the Team ABR driver and Quebec native has faced a stiffer challenge so far in 2020, scoring only one win and one pole in the first five rounds of the 10-race championship, and suffering a heartbreaking DNF at Knoxville Raceway while going for the win.
Behind Bergeron, there’s a deep pool of talent ready to knock him off the top spot, as six others are within the race maximum of 84 points of the championship lead and four could mathematically make up the gap in just the main event on Monday at Lernerville Speedway. Here’s a look at the top five drivers in the season so far, and how they’ve gotten here:
Alex Bergeron, 311 points
Around this time last year, Bergeron’s dominance in the series was clearly established, with multiple victories putting him well ahead of the pack. But losing connection in Knoxville while hunting down Braden Eyler resulted in a nearly 40-point swing that has thus far kept the series’ other front-runners in the hunt. A runner-up finish to Edens in Limaland ensured the battle would stay that way another week.
James Edens, 302 points
It’s no surprise that Edens, a factor in the first two championship battles in this series, would win multiple races in 2020. What is a surprise, though, is that he did it before Bergeron. The Swindell SpeedLab Esports driver’s checkered flag at Limaland marked his second in four weeks after a triumph at Lernerville. If not for his own 19th place finish in the Volusia opener, he’d be in the points lead.
David Heileman, 296 points
Heilemania hasn’t quite run wild in the winner’s circle yet, but one of last year’s breakout performers has made it known that he’s right there with Bergeron and Edens in terms of performance. The Slick Simsport driver has three top-five finishes on the year thus far, and is the defending winner in Charlotte, site of this year’s finale. He’s just hoping to spend more time in first, leading just four laps this season.
Braden Eyler, 281 points
The breakout competitor of this year’s campaign, Eyler scored his first career victory at Knoxville after getting around Edens with 10 laps to go and managing his fuel load even with a hard-charging Bergeron in his mirrors. Nervous about his prospects at Limaland the next week, a track he called one of his worst, the Kinser Racing Sim Team driver went out and won his heat before finishing fourth.
Kendal Tucker, 280 points
Bergeron’s misfortune in Knoxville kept the door open for Tucker going into Limaland, but the Swindell SpeedLab Esports driver could only muster a ninth place finish and fell from second to fifth in points. Like sixth place Cameron Merriman, consistency has been Tucker’s hallmark so far in 2020—but the four drivers ahead of him have three top-five finishes each, and he’s only got one of his own so far.