Story By: STEVEN OVENS / LAND OF LEGENDS RACEWAY – VIRTUAL BARBERSVILLE, FL – With all race facilities closed and facing uncertain opening dates for the 2020 season, Land of Legends Raceway promoter Paul Cole and the LOLR production team set out to provide a bright spot for their drivers and fans.
An invitational event, featuring 24 drivers from Land of Legends weekly competition and some outside ‘ringers’, gathered together virtually at Volusia Speedway Park for a 50-lap A-Main.
All 24 competitors utilized iRacing’s dirt 305 winged sprint cars with each car using the same setup. Drivers could only make adjustments with the wing slider during the race to adjust to car and track conditions. The race was broadcast live on the LOLR Facebook page to tens of thousands race-starved fans and was the very first event streamed live on the track’s new livestreaming platform- Land of Legends TV.
Waterloo, NY DIRTcar Sportsman competitor Nick Cooper was able to show off his racing skills on the iRacing platform for which he competes weekly as a “Pro Series” competitor, competing against the best iRacers in the world. Cooper set the Land of Legends TV Quick Time award with a time of 15.325 seconds awarding him with the pole for his heat race.
Cooper would go on to win the first heat race of the night, placing him on the pole position for the 50-lap A-Main presented by Hand’s Performance, Schultz Heating & Cooling and Land of Legends TV. DIRTcar Sportsman pilot Dylan Zacharias and Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint driver Sammy Reakes locked down wins in heats two and three.
When the green flag dropped on the 50-lap feature it was Cooper and Zacharias leading the field to green with Cooper jumping out to the early race advantage. The first yellow flag of the night flew on Lap 3 when 2019 LOLR DIRTcar Sportsman track champion Kevin Root and LOLR 305 Sprint Car competitor Brandyn Griffin had a dust up on the frontstretch of the virtual dirt track in Barberville, FL.
With the invitational event featuring drivers with vast iRacing experience and those with limited experience, the event would see several caution periods for incidents on track. But with names like Super DIRTcar Series driver and Weedsport Speedway promoter Jimmy Phelps, ESS 360 Sprint Car driver Jordan Poirier and Super DIRTcar Series 2019 Modified Rookie of the Year Dillon Groover, everyone had someone to cheer for.
A late race restart would see Ransomville, NY’s Ryan Susice, Reakes, 2019 Freedom Motorsports Park track champion Adam Hilton and Brewerton/Fulton Speedway announcer Adam Buchanan make a last ditch run at Cooper. Cooper was up to the task in winning the inaugural event by 1.309 seconds over Hilton, winning himself a pair of 2020 pit passes and winning the fan he was paired up with, Krista Root, a 4-pack of tickets and an ESS hooded sweatshirt.
24 fans won the opportunity to be matched up with each driver, with the top 5 finishers earning pit passes for the drivers and race tickets for their paired fans.
“It was a blast to race with these guys just like we do in real life,” noted Cooper in Schultz Heating & Cooling Victory Lane.
“I didn’t know (where on the track) to go early on but it came in on the bottom and you had to run it just like the Land of Legends- nice and smooth. Just like real life.”
Land of Legends Raceway is already planning their next event this coming Saturday from the virtual Knoxville Raceway, featuring many of the same drivers with a new twist allowing a select group of fan qualifiers to participate.
SIM PIT NOTES: Competitors from Land of Legends Raceway, Outlaw Speedway, Freedom Motorsports Park, Ransomville Speedway, Genesee Speedway, Brewerton Speedway, Fulton Speedway, Utica-Rome Speedway, the Super DIRTcar Series, Empire Super Sprints and Patriot Sprint Tour were in competition.
Fans interacted on the Facebook livestream coast to coast including Canada, with 15 states and 3 Canadian provinces represented. One fan noted in the comments on Facebook that this event was, “a nice distraction from everything going on.” Nearly 200 fans registered for their free LOLR TV streaming account to watch the race live.
Adam Buchanan won a pit pass for finishing fifth and donated to the next highest finishing LOLR regular- Alex Payne.
Land of Legends Raceway iRacing Dirt Track Invitational official results 3/28/2020:
50 Laps, (starting position)
1. Nick Cooper (1)
2. Adam Hilton (12)
3. Sammy Reakes (3)
4. Ryan Susice (5)
5. Adam Buchanan (16)
6. Alex Payne (4)
7. Frank Guererri Jr. (6)
8. Trevor Years (7)
9. Mike Schultz (9)
10. Jim Smith Jr. (22) *Hard Charger
11. Emmett Waldron (13)
12. Daniel Johnson (11)
13. Kevin Ridley (20) -3L
14. Addison Bowman (10) -4L
15. Kevin Root (24) -4L
16. Jordan Poirier (21) -9L
17. Brandyn Griffin (23) -12L
18. Dylan Zacharias (2) -15L
19. Dalton Martin (18) -18L
20. Justin Eldredge (19) -19L
21. Dillon Groover (14) -22L
22. Zach Payne (15) -27L
23. Jimmy Phelps (17) -46L
24. Alex Hoag (8) -50L
Heat Winners: Nick Cooper, Dylan Zacharias, Sammy Reakes