A popular song once boasted, "This opportunity comes once in a lifetime." This especially rings true in the sports world. Often times the opportunity presents itself in the Wally Pipp fashion. Pipp missed a major league baseball game for the New York Yankees, was replaced by Lou Gehrig and the latter went on to become one of the game's all-time greats.
Matching an opportunity with success is exactly what David Seibers took advantage of on Friday night to claim the Lucas Oil eSports victory at virtual Kokomo Speedway (IN) in the Super Clean Late Model Nationals presented by OPTIMA Batteries. The race was an iRacing platform event featuring the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) and was broadcasted live on the Lucas Oil Facebook page.
Seibers did not transfer from Thursday's "Open" race, which pits real-world racers not yet locked-in to the following day's event. Yet, when a locked-in driver declared he couldn't compete due to work obligations on Friday, Seibers jumped at the opportunity. The spot in the event was given to him due to the fact that he competed during the Georgia/Florida Speedweeks to open the 2020 season.
Tennessee's Seibers was blasted by Corey Gordon during a restart late in the 75-lap main event but was able to retake the lead before the final lap and cruise to victory. However, it was contact with teenager Kaeden Cornell that was still on his mind in the virtual victory lane.
"My heart was pumping," said an elated Seibers, who is also the 2019 Mid America Racing Series champion. "I was hoping to get a caution at the end and then me and Cornell got into that. I apologize for that, but it was a fun race.
"It was hard. I had to work the gas and the brake (running the high line around Kokomo Speedway). Once you get in the wall, it sucks you into it and you have to turn off of it. This is a fun bullring. This is very exciting to be part of this. Hopefully, we'll get back to real racing soon."
Kaeden Cornell, who competes in a partial Lucas Oil Midwest Latemodel Racing Association Series, rebounded to finish second.
"I ain't gonna lie; I was pretty mad. I didn't care where I had to run; I just had to go where they weren't," stated Cornell. "It was fast, but I guess that ol' boy just decided to turn me around. It just wasn't our night, but hopefully, we'll get to do it again."
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team, Justin Allgaier finished 15th.
"I had a blast. I hope everyone tuning in at home enjoyed it as well," said Allgaier, who has roots in dirt track racing. "I got banged up more than I thought I was going to. We can't wait to get back to making laps at the real track, but to get to do this tonight is really, really cool. I took Ross Bailes' spot, so hopefully, I didn't let him down.
"I have a ton of respect for the dirt late model racers," added Allgaier. "For me to come in tonight and try to mix it up with these guys is awesome. I think at one time I was three-wide with B-Shep (Brandon Sheppard - current LOLMDS point leader) and Jonathan Davenport (defending LOLMDS champion) and there's nowhere would I be able to go in the United States on a given weekend and be able to do that."
Some of the best LOLMDS drivers in America will race with Lucas Oil eSports this Friday, April 24, at 8 pm ET on the iRacing platform. More information regarding the broadcast for the event will be made soon.