Dylan Houser became the fourth winner in four weeks, and gave Slick Simsport its first-ever victory, by taking the checkered flag in Monday’s iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship round from Eldora Speedway. Houser, who muscled his way from fifth to first in his heat race to earn a front row starting spot for the feature, got past polesitter Evan Seay on a mid-race restart and held off Kendal Tucker for the victory.

“Qualifying threw us a curveball a little bit, and only maybe two or three drivers were prepared for it,” Houser explained of his wild night. “So we didn’t qualify well, but in the heat race I was super aggressive and trying to move forward, because when you get behind in these races, it’s hard to win from deep in the field. We were really, really fast in the feature—it was crazy, and then they got together, I snuck under them and took the lead.”

Monday night’s race was one of the most hard-fought of the season, with three cautions in the first half of the race as most drivers found contact with each other at some point. Incoming points leader Alex Bergeron was one of a number of big names to get caught up in the last one on lap 26, suffering enough damage to force him out of the race early. Other front-runners who were caught in trouble in the main event included heat winner Dylonn Fox, who found himself in two separate incidents, and Blake Matjoulis, who was on the podium last weekend at Knoxville Raceway.

Evan Seay and Kendal Tucker battled at the front of the pack early in the feature.

At the front of the pack, though, the battles were as exciting as they’ve been all season. Houser snuck past Seay for the first time after the first restart on lap 5, and dispatched him for good after the next restart as contact between Seay and Tucker bunched up the entire field. From there, Tucker was the biggest challenger for the lead, trailing Houser for the remainder of the race but never quite getting close enough to make the pass.

“I knew that if I was going to be able to keep up with Houser, I was going to have to keep right in his footsteps,” said Tucker. “I was pounding it for all it was worth, but he’s pretty good at pounding it here at Eldora. If he would have tagged the wall just one time, we would’ve been right there—we were running neck and neck lap times. Congrats to him, and to be able to come home second, I’m just happy to survive.”

Meanwhile, Houser’s Slick Simsport teammate Casey Kirwan, carrying the real-world colors of Clint Bowyer Racing, was dicing through the field by riding the inside line. As a majority of the field favored the outside line typically run at Eldora, Kirwan clawed his way from outside of the top 10 to third at the checkered flag.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Kirwan said of his first podium of the season. “Normally, I tend to think I’m better at the stock car stuff, but to do Late Model racing is a whole lot of fun. I find myself to be a whole lot better when I can go down to the bottom. It seemed to be just me down there, and I just slowly but surely started working my way through the field.”

The action was intense as many of the series’ top drivers found themselves battling in the middle of the pack all night long.

Swindell SpeedLab Esports’ Blake Cannon finished fifth, and inherited the points lead by avoiding the trouble that befell many of his top title rivals. The iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship standings after four rounds are as follows:

  1. Blake Cannon, 283
  2. Kendal Tucker, 269
  3. Evan Seay, 258
  4. Alex Bergeron, 248
  5. Blake Matjoulis, 241
  6. Dylan Houser, 234
  7. Kevin Dedmon, 226
  8. Zach Leonhardi, 189
  9. Dylonn Fox, 177
  10. Shad Prescott, 163

The iRacing World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model World Championship resumes on Monday, July 22 from Volusia Speedway Park, visiting the Florida oval for the second time this year. As always, the action will stream live beginning at 9PM ET on the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.