By Justin Melillo

Williams Grove Speedway belonged to Blake Matjoulis on Monday night, as he scored his third win of the 2023 iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series season in dominant fashion. From the pole position, the 2019 series champion won his heat and led every lap in the feature en route to the 10th win of his storied career, holding off defending champion and current points leader Evan Seay to do so. Logan Rumsey finished in third after a late race scrap with Kaden Honeycutt, who finished fourth, while rookie Robbie Buchanan Jr scored his best career finish in fifth.

The field was smaller than normal, with only 27 of the 35 entries present to take on The Grove. With that, there would only be three heat races instead of the normal four, and that would change the complexion of the last chance races later in the evening as well. In Heat 1, it was all Matjoulis, taking the point from Dylan Yeager alongside early and never looking back. The top four starters were also the top four finishers as Drew Hopkins and Buchanan Jr rounded out the transfers to the Feature.

For the second heat, Seay was in control, as the defending winner of the race continued those winning ways around the half-mile clay oval in Pennsylvania by parading Kendal Tucker and Colton Zimmer through to the feature. The fourth and final transfer wouldn’t be as clear cut as cars came together around the position. Logan Herbert, who started shotgun on the field in the battle in ninth, worked his way up into that final spot.

In the third and final heat of the evening, things got even wilder. To nobody’s surprise, Knoxville winner Logan Rumsey was dominant, also leading every lap in his heat to transfer. But the battle behind was anything but conclusive, and a last lap crash would mix it up further. JD Brown managed to take the second spot from Dylan Wilson, and the two fought until the final corner of the final lap as Wilson went around. Brett Caudill moved into third while Wilson tried to get it going again just yards away from the line. Before he could, Chase Barbara managed to sneak through to the fourth and final transfer with Blake Murray also getting through for fifth.

This placed Wilson in the second last chance race, but those rounds would be a little different than normal. With 20 cars set to make each Feature and only 12 positions taken entering, that meant that instead of two cars transferring in each race, it would be four this week. In the first of the two final shots, Tristan Ladouceur was able to win the mostly calm 10-lap race, with Blake Murray, Honeycutt and Mike Augustine also transferring through. The second race had its share of sends and sliders, plus a shake up in the running order that saw the front runner Nathan Waddell fall out of a transfer spot by the end of the race. There, it would be Wilson, Chase Hardy, Barrett Bishop and Talan Willis moving to the main event.

Cautions would be prominent early on in the feature, with two coming in the first two laps of the race in the mid to back section of the field. Matjoulis had Seay on his corner for both of those early restarts as it seemed that passing was a premium on the fresher, less worn surface. Matjoulis led the field back to the green on the third lap and up front were the four best drivers in the series to date, nose to tail, with Matjoulis leading Seay, Rumsey and last week’s winner Tucker. During the stint, Honeycutt was working the lanes and making moves, taking away the sixth position before the third caution flew on Lap 28.

Honeycutt managed to break up the top four on Lap 34, moving around Tucker for the spot. After a fourth caution on Lap 38, Honeycutt made the move into third on the restart around Rumsey. The fifth and final caution flew on Lap 45, meaning the final restart would be single file. Matjoulis was flawless, maintaining the line and gap over Seay for the victory. Honeycutt gave it his best effort, but hopped the cushion with two laps to go and gave back one of the spots to Rumsey. Tucker, meanwhile, slipped back to finish in seventh.

Leaving Williams Grove, Seay now has a full race lead over Rumsey with three races remaining on the 2023 schedule. Tucker slips to third in points, five back of Rumsey. Matjoulis is fourth, 104 points behind Seay for the lead, but only 19 points behind Tucker for third. Wilson recovered to finish ninth in the feature after his heat race mishap.

iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series Round 7 results at Williams Grove were as follows:

Fin. St. No. Name Laps Interval Led Best Pts
1 1 127 Blake Matjoulis 50 0.000 45 19.919 78
2 2 33 Evan Seay 50 -0.367 0 19.900 75
3 3 41 Logan Rumsey2 50 -0.670 0 20.004 72
4 17 10 Kaden Honeycutt 50 -1.133 0 19.964 63
5 10 31 Robbie Buchanan Jr 50 -1.392 0 20.050 63
6 16 99 Chase Hardy 50 -1.947 0 20.031 58
7 5 00 Kendal Tucker 50 -2.539 0 19.956 59
8 18 3 Barrett Bishop 50 -2.693 0 20.293 51
9 14 80 Dylan Wilson 50 -2.922 0 20.253 49
10 6 14 JD Brown 50 -3.143 0 20.026 50
11 12 23 Chase Barbara 50 -3.493 0 20.144 46
12 4 48 Dylan Yeager 50 -3.897 0 19.985 46
13 15 83 Blake Murray 50 -4.231 0 20.188 41
14 8 20 Colton Zimmer 50 -4.662 0 20.039 41
15 13 92 Tristan Ladouceur 50 -6.549 0 20.135 37
16 19 19 Mike Augustine 50 -6.613 0 19.998 34
17 11 6 Logan Herbert 50 -15.155 0 19.989 34
18 20 22 Talan Willis 44 DNF 0 20.238 28
19 7 157 Drew Hopkins 27 DNF 0 20.103 31
20 9 93 Brett Caudill 0 DNF 0 ——— 29

iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series points through Round 7 are as follows:

  1. Evan Seay, 525
  2. Logan Rumsey, 445
  3. Kendal Tucker, 440
  4. Blake Matjoulis, 421
  5. Dylan Wilson, 389
  6. Chase Barbara, 363
  7. James Edens, 311
  8. JD Brown, 308
  9. Kaden Honeycutt, 297
  10. Barrett Bishop, 292

Next week, the iRacing World of Outlaws ButtKicker Late Model Series heads to one of the Meccas of Dirt Late Model racing, the famed Eldora Speedway. In the 2022 running of the Eldora event, it was where Seay scored his first win of the season, the third race on that schedule, leading to his eventual title. Tune in for the show live on Monday, Aug. 28, starting at 9 p.m. (ET) on DIRTVision and at twitch.tv/iracing.

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.