SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — The CARS eSports Tour contested two 125-lap features to decide its champions in the late model stock and super late model divisions Wednesday night, and although the final point standings were dominated by Matt Kocher and Christian Pedersen, the league saw two new faces claim their first wins in the series.
Scott Eckrich (late model stock) and William Hale (super late model) each claimed race victories during the final outings of the season, while Kocher and Petersen clinched the respective series championships.
In a race that was plagued by cautions early on and, the late model stock feature saw Kocher lead the field to the green flag, hoping his points lead of seven markers would hold up at the end of the night.
Kocher was able to dominate the field on restarts, playing the cautions to his advantage. However, his lead was ultimately cut short at lap 39, when Scott Eckrich — a new driver to the CARS eSport Tour but no stranger to short track racing — made his way to the front of the field and never looked back.
Eckrich ended up winning the final late model stock feature for his first-career series victory.
“Tonight was big for us,” said Eckrich. “We’re new to this series so we had one objective: to claim the bounty that Team Vincere put out for their win streak, and we did just that.”
Asked about his future in the CARS eSport Tour, Eckrich smiled.
“ I think you’ll probably see us back here,” he said coyly.
Conner Blaise and Jon Ouellette finished second and third, respectively, while Kocher crossed the line fourth to hold onto his slium points lead when the dust settled. John Lyday completed the top five in the late model stock field.
Kocher’s late model stock title saw him tally five wins and top-five finishes in every one of his 12 starts, including a stunning average finish of 1.92.
Although Kocher and Pedersen were one and two in the super late model points standings, the championship was locked up for Pedersen by 31 points before the green flag ever waved,, leaving everyone else to scrap it out for the win.
Mike Iannarelli led the super late model field down to the green flag, but his lead was short-lived, as Scott Austin and then Kocher traded the lead within the first 20 laps of the race.
Kocher then dominated on the restarts just as he did in the late model stock race, as four cautions flew before the next battle for the lead took shape at lap 90.
Jon Ouellette would eventually work his way up into the hunt, but not before the fifth caution of the night came out with 33 laps to go. Another quick caution would follow, allowing the debuting Hale to make a quick move to the lead.
Hale almost got to the end of the race without looking back, but a restart after the eighth caution of the evening caused the most controversy.
Barrelling down into turn one for the final time, Hale got a huge bump from Ouellette that got both cars out of shape.
As both drivers battled to save their cars down into turn three, second-running Kocher overdrove the corner and washed up into Ouellette, with the contact resulting in the final caution of the night and Hale ultimately picking up the win in the final race of the season.
League admin Kyle Barnes snuck through the chaos to finish second, ahead of Scott Austin, D.J. Beverly and Devon Morgan.
Petersen came home in ninth, completing a championship super late model season that included a run of seven-consecutive race wins and eight victories overall in 12 starts.
Though the 2017 season has come and gone for the CARS eSport Tour, archive video of the entire season is available through the LSRTV YouTube channel as the days count down towards the start of the 2018 season.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…