It came down to a single point to decide the 2023 iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series championship, but for the second season in a row, it was Evan Seay on top, this time over Logan Rumsey. Seay’s race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Monday night would end early, so he’d have to watch it come down to the battle for the win at the end, with Rumsey trailing Blake Matjoulis in the closing laps. Matjoulis held on for the win, and that was enough for Seay to claim his second title in a row by the slimmest of margins.
The results of the heat races would also play a factor in determining the champion as well, as points were gained or lost in the feature race qualifications. Nathan Waddell put down the quick time for the night. The third championship contender on the night, Kendal Tucker, qualified the best of the group in sixth, while Matjoulis was seventh and Seay’s lap was good enough for ninth.
Rumsey was all the way back in 17th, and that would put two of the title fighters in the same opening heat race with Seay starting third and Rumsey below the cut in fifth. Waddell went on to win Heat 1, but Seay scored seven points in finishing second to Rumsey’s four points in fifth, increasing the gap between the two from 42 to 45 points. Tucker would start second in Heat 2, passing JD Brown for the win and claiming max points to decrease his gap from 46 to 45 points and tie Rumsey. Matjoulis scored the win in Heat 3 and Dezmond Busby led the way in the final heat.
To even have a chance at the title, Rumsey would have to fight through the last chance races, but thankfully he was positioned in the top spot to open the first of the two. He easily advanced with the win, along with Colton Zimmer, while the second race saw Talan Willis and Cameron Cason advance in a wild 10-lap event.
Thanks to Seay’s sizable points lead, both Rumsey and Tucker would need to win to be the champion, but if Seay finished 18th or better, it wouldn’t matter. Seay was lined up in fifth, behind Tucker in second and well ahead of Rumsey down in 17th. From the third starting spot, however, it was Matjoulis who claimed the lead early, leapfrogging both Waddell and Tucker before the end of the first lap. The second lap saw the leaders go nearly five-wide, the result almost a disaster for Seay, as he got into Busby before the two resolved the conflict and moved onward.
All the craziness saw Rumsey move into the top 10 by the end of Lap 3, but there was still a long way to go. Lap 15 would be the first crescendo as Seay came together with Chase Barbara, slamming hard into the wall and flying high into the air after contact with a trailing Waddell.
With his night over early, the scenario in which Seay could lose was officially on the table. He was scored in 19th after it settled out, with too much damage to continue. Eventually, Barbara was able to get back on track and move Seay into 20th, and that meant the title would belong to Tucker or Rumsey if either could chase down the dominant Matjoulis and win the race.
On Lap 23, with Tucker in second and Rumsey now scored in third, the two title contenders began to battle for the second position. They would make contact and crash into Turn 1, neither receiving race-ending damage, but it was a huge blow to Tucker who would falter to restart outside the top 10. Rumsey escaped with less damage and control of the second position.
The race would resume on the 24th lap with no more interruptions. Rumsey’s goal was to get past Matjoulis, teammate to both Seay and Tucker. But he just couldn’t get it done, finishing runner-up in both the race and the final standings. Matjoulis took his 11th career win and fourth of the season, two more than anyone else despite finishing the season fourth overall.
Seay put on enough of a masterclass early in the season to claim his second straight championship, despite not winning since July at Port Royal. He, Rumsey, and Tucker all ended the year with two wins apiece, separated by 16 points at the end of it. Seay cashes in on the $10,000 champion’s payday and will be recognized as the champion of the series once again at the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Nov. 1-4.
iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series Round 10 results at Charlotte were as follows:
|5||14||223||Ethan C Toedter||50||-3.442||0||15.438||63|
|15||1||5||Nathan R Waddell||41||-9L||0||15.347||41|
Final iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series points through Round 10 are as follows:
- Evan Seay, 663
- Logan Rumsey, 662
- Kendal Tucker, 647
- Blake Matjoulis, 603
- Dylan Wilson, 538
- Chase Barbara, 501
- James Edens, 488
- JD Brown, 447
- Dylan Yeager, 437
- Mike Augustine, 396
The top 15 finishers in the final standings have all earned the chance to return to the series again in 2024, the final five consisting of Barrett Bishop, Busby, Tanner Tomasi, Kaden Honeycutt, and Chase Hardy. Everyone from 16th on back will have to take on the Qualifying Series next year if they want a chance to return. The World of Outlaws esports division will return with the iRacing World of Outlaws Thrustmaster Sprint Car Series in November. The qualifying series for that begins next Monday, September 25.
For more information on the iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series, visit www.iracing.com/woolm. For more information on the World of Outlaws, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.