By Justin Melillo

There’s a new winner in the iRacing World of Outlaws Thrustmaster Sprint Car Series following Monday night’s events at Fairbury Speedway. In the first race on the 2024 side of the calendar, Aiden Forster capitalized on a late Hayden Cardwell mistake to lead the final lap—his only led lap—to take his first career win in 17 starts.

Cardwell was the man to beat through the entire night, winning the pole and dominating his heat. Up until two laps to go, it looked to be wrapped up. Cardwell drifted up and caught the wall coming to take the white flag. Forster pounced on the opportunity, diving low to take the lead on the backstretch. Cardwell took the low lane into Turn 3, but Forster crossed back to claim the win. Current points leader Ryan Avila managed to finish in third.

The short and quick Fairbury Speedway produces lap times around 11 seconds. Races are over in an instant, so track position is usually the biggest key. Cardwell, along with Clayton Davies, Avila, and JD Brown, scored respective heat victories after having ideal starting spots. Davies was the only driver who didn’t have the top spot for his heat race, starting second, where he outdueled Alex Bergeron in his own game—the bottom lane—to win it.

Other drivers who were able to make quick moves in the heats to get into the show included Aiden Bierlein, from fifth in Heat 1, Tyler Ducharme, from fifth in Heat 2, Kenny Hoffman, from seventh in Heat 3, and Casey Simons, from sixth in Heat 4. These inclusions would be at the expense of Kenny Miller, Joey Lingron, Tanner Miller and Tyler Schell, all who were qualified in great position to advance and instead were tasked with taking on the Last Chance Races, or LCQs.

Miller, a two-time winner on the season, had a great starting spot in his heat after qualifying ninth, but wound up out of it immediately and was forced into the LCQ. That first LCQ belonged to Blake Matjoulis, but it was Miller with the hero drive from the back of the field to take the other transfer spot in. The final LCQ went to Lingron. Behind him, the battle was fierce between Schell, Lane Snook, Timothy Smith and Adam Elby. The defending series champion, Schell, was able to take it and move into the main event.

On the opening lap of the Feature event, a caution flew behind Cardwell as Brown spun out of the top 5 and into the path of Bierlien and others. The caution laps were quick as well, as the field immediately went back racing. Cardwell pulled a gap as Forster worked on getting around both Avila and Davies. Davies painted the inside lane better than anyone, which made moves tough for Avila and Forster, but both eventually got by.

In the closing laps, Forster was knocking on Cardwell’s back door, but the gap appeared to be too big to overcome. While the kiss to the wall did not hurt Cardwell’s suspension, it slowed him down enough to bring Forster into the conversation. The result of the win earned Forster five additional points than Avila, which means the battle for the championship is down to a three-point separation with only three races to go in the season.

iRacing World of Outlaws Thrustmaster Sprint Car Series results from Fairbury Speedway were as follows:










1 5 20 Aiden Forster 35 0.000 1 10.988 77
2 1 07 Hayden Cardwell 35 -0.089 33 11.022 75
3 3 49 Ryan Avila 35 -0.549 0 10.968 72
4 2 50 Clayton Davies 35 -0.833 0 10.983 69
5 8 41 Logan Rumsey2 35 -1.381 0 10.986 65
6 9 5 Braden Eyler 35 -2.062 0 11.064 61
7 6 12 Alex A Bergeron 35 -2.286 0 11.091 59
8 7 33 Evan Seay 35 -2.856 0 11.163 56
9 12 24 Tanner Pettit 35 -4.236 0 11.092 52
10 14 25 Tyler Ducharme 35 -5.346 0 11.081 48
11 18 16 Joey Lingron 35 -6.026 0 11.060 45
12 19 23 Kenny Miller 35 -6.487 0 11.091 40
13 20 85 Tyler Schell 35 -7.386 0 11.209 41
14 16 54 Casey Simons 35 -7.816 0 11.067 40
15 17 127 Blake Matjoulis 35 -8.677 0 11.229 37
16 10 52 James Edens 35 -10.375 0 11.129 37
17 4 14 JD Brown 28 -7L 0 11.248 37
18 15 00 Kendal Tucker 22 DNF 0 11.192 32
19 11 11 Kenny Hoffman 11 -24L 0 11.332 31
20 13 13 Aiden Bierlein 5 -30L 0 12.251 28

iRacing World of Outlaws Thrustmaster Sprint Car Series points after Race #7 are as follows:

  1. Ryan Avila, 445
  2. Aiden Forster, 442
  3. Logan Rumsey, 406
  4. Tyler Schell, 371
  5. Alex A Bergeron, 370
  6. Evan Seay, 324
  7. Tanner Pettit, 322
  8. Noah Carpenter, 318
  9. James Edens, 301
  10. JD Brown, 289

The 2023-24 iRacing World of Outlaws Thrustmaster Sprint Car Series returns in a week’s time, on January 15th for the eighth race of the season, at Port Royal Speedway. This will be the first visit by the Sprint Cars to “The Speed Palace” In Pennsylvania. It debuted in the Late Model ranks in 2023 with Evan Seay claiming the win.

The virtual Sprint Car racing action from Port Royal will stream live on that Monday night, at 9PM ET, on both DIRTVision and across iRacing social media channels.

WATCH: iRacing World of Outlaws Thrustmaster Sprint Car Series Race #7 at Fairbury

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