Murtaugh Jr., Wins a Very Successful Spring Nationals

May 7th 2024, words by the League of Outlaws, photos by Aaron Bowman, James Murphy, Jared Murphy, & AJ Hunsinger

52 total drivers, registered for the 2024 LoO IMCA Style Modifieds Spring Nationals Presented by Rick Sparks Auto Sales on Sunday evening. With a $1,190 in total on the line between the driver purse & several sponsor paid driver bonuses, drivers were eager to make the Big Dance that fielded a 21 driver A-Main. Richard Murtagh Jr., drove a smart and patient race to make a late race pass for the win.

The Spring Nationals was the first ever big money race the League of Outlaws had ever hosted. Months worth of work went into the event, but nothing could better prepare them for an event of this size than doing it first hand. LoO plans to run a Super Nationals later this year in October and wanted to get that experience before hand and came up with the idea of doing the Spring Nations.

The entire night, beginning to end, couldn’t have gone any better an the League of Outlaws staff were extremely happy with the product they were able to present to drivers and race fans all over the world. The racing went very well as drivers raced each other with a ton of respect and showed some great sportsmanship.

A perfect example of this great sportsmanship was in heat race #5 when Max Miriovsky was challenging for the third and final transfer spot. There were a total of 5 heat races and the top 3 in each heat race transferred straight to the A-Main. Miriovsky, was trying everything he could to make the pass to get around 3rd place Mark Manno on the final lap. Miriovsky, had an opportunity to force his way into a transfer spot on the bottom of Manno, but elected to race respectful and he came up just short if a transfer spot, finishing in the 4th position.

Miriovsky, would have to try his luck in the C-Main that took the first two positions into the A-Main. Miriovsky, would unfortunately again fall short of a transfer spot and would not make it into the Big Dance. League owner and driver of the #33A ESD Performance IMCA Style Modified, said

“I loved seeing how clean and respectful Max drove Mark in their heat. Max could have really drove it in hard and used up Mark but he didn’t want to race like that and I respect that. I was really pulling for him in the C and it sucked to see he wasn’t able to place in a transfer spot.”

Our QuickTime Promotion Series fastest qualifier was Blade Wisdom and he would collect the $50 award for setting the quickest lap in qualifying. 2nd fastest was Nathan Waddell, 3rd Matt Pridgen, 4th Matthew Selby, and 5th was Blake M. Andrews.

The top 3 finishers and 3 transfer drivers of a pretty calm and tame heat race #1 was QuickTime qualifier Blade Wisdom, National Tour points leader James A. Murphy in second, and the 3rd and final transfer spot went to Connor New with his 3rd place finish. Each heat winner received $10 from QuickTime Promotion Series as well as another $10 from Williams Junk Removal.

Heat #2 would a little more intense as drivers were throwing elbows trying everything they could to lock themselves into the A-Main with a top 3 finish. Hunsinger started in 8th after a poor lap in qualifying, but was the biggest mover in heat 2 as he avoided most of the scuffles and ran up to 3rd place where he would finish behind Trevor Doyle in 2nd and Nathan Waddell, the winner of heat 2.

On the front row of heat was Matt Pridgen and eventual Spring Nationals winner, Richard Murtagh Jr. “Big Papa Pridge” took control of the race immediately following the green flag. Murtagh Jr. stayed close and was able to wrestle his way past the #14 of Pridgen. Murtagh Jr. would pick up the win in heat 3 with Pridgen finishing just behind him in second with Brody Duescher (9) finishing in the 3rd and final transfer spot.

Heat #4 went green the whole way as did the previous heat races thus far and Matthew Selby captured the victory after leading all 8 laps. Damian Kiefer finished in the 2nd position and one of our latest drivers who entered for the Spring Nationals Laken Martin, finished 3rd.

One of the drivers in heat #5 was IRL IMCA Modified driver and Eastern Region IMCA Director, Jake Maynard. Jake, is the older brother of Mitchell Maynard, who is the owner of the 2 Fat Guys Sim Racing Promotions as well as a League of Outlaws admin.

Mitchell gave up his seat at his racing simulator so brother Jake could put is real life racing skill to the test on iRacing. Unfortunately it was a rough go for Jake Maynard in his heat race. He would start 7th and would make some contact with a couple of other cars that sent him spinning into the inside wall. Jake would later try to transfer into the Big Show from the C-Main.

Up front in heat 5 would be Blake M. Andrews capturing the win with Luke Bishop in 2nd. The final driver to transfer into the A-Main and finish P3 in heat #5 would be Mark Manno, a driver that was with the League of Outlaws at the very beginning of the leagues existence but hadn’t been on the racing sim since the end of last year. He caught wind of the big money Spring Nationals so he dusted the cob webs off, did a ton of updates on his PC, and was able to climb back behind the wheel.

Manno’s 3rd place finish wouldn’t come easy though as Max Miriovsky gave him the beans in the closing laps. Miriovsky, looked to be a tick faster than Manno but could not make the pass, falling short of the transfer and would have to try racing his way in through the C-Main.

Each of the consi’s (C & B-Main) would be a 20 lap race where 17 drivers in the C-Main and 18 drivers in the B-Main would have one last chance to race their way into the show. With only the top two finishers transferring, drivers had their work cut out for them and if they wanted to make it, they had to earn it.

In the C-Main, Max Miriovsky was one of the many drivers trying to place in a transfer spot after he just missed the transfer in his heat race. Corey M. Boudinot, who is typically playing the Race Control role for the League of Outlaws, battled as hard as he could all 20 laps but was not able to transfer. Max Miriovsky’s night would also end in the C-Main as he wasn’t able to make the show either after finishing in the 6th position, one spot behind Boudinot.

After 20 green flag laps, the top two cars checked out from the rest of the field. Devin Cardwell would score the C-Main win with Jarry Walford in 2nd. The driver that started P1 on the C-Main, slid back to a 3rd place finish but that is all he needed to have a shot at the Spring Nationals title. Dakota Osborn would finish 4th.

With one race left to determine the starting roster for the LoO IMCA Style Spring Nationals Presented by Rick Sparks Auto Sales, 18 drivers buckled into their racing machines to hash it out on the now very slick Lanier National Speedway.

Early on, Matt S Sanders threw a slider on Gabe Griffin to take the lead. Behind them, it was a couple LoO regulars, Jared Murphy and Trevor William’s, duking it out fiercely for the final transfer spot.

At the mid-point of the race, the Plum-Wild Podcast yellow flag would wave. Dustin Glenn and James Braswell got stuck together on corner entry. Both cars would shoot up the track and into the wall with Bradwell taking the brunt of it and would not be able to continue on due to the amount of damage.

On the restart, some controversy ensued when race leader Matt S. Sanders’ car got very sideways when trying to fire off through the slick. 3rd place Jared Murphy had to pedal it to keep from spinning Sanders out and an accordion effect happened, causing 5th place to spin Jared Murphy and resulting in several others spinning.

League admins instructed Race Control to direct the field to line back up in the original restart which drastically impacted the top few positions of the race. The next restart went much cleaner and the top 3 were Matt S. Sanders, Gabe Griffin, and Jared Murphy with Trevor William’s just missing the show in 4th place.

Finally, it was time for the big dance, the A-Main. 50 laps aren’t the tricky and slick Lanier National Speedway with over $1,000 on the line. A mix between League of Outlaws regulars, some big hitters that were here chasing the money, and several random and new faces to the Series that were trying to do the same. 21 drivers rolled off the grid and participated in the first ever LoO “4 wide solute”,  a formation where the guys ride around 4 obsessed during the parade laps. Such a beautiful site to see that can only be seen in dirt track racing.

Leading the field to the green flag was QuickTime winner and heat race #1 winner, Blade Wisdom with Nathan Waddell to his outside. Wisdom, jumped out to an early lead and by the time they got around turns one and two, he cleared himself of Waddell down the backstretch.

On lap 5, the Spring National’s A-Main would have its first Plum-Wild Podcast yellow flag of the night for an issue with B-Main winner, Matt S. Sanders. Sanders, had made some kind of contact with a few others, resulting in some front end damage. He wasn’t able to steer the car well and came to a stop in a scary part of the track as the field was getting ready to roar past him as he was stopped on the bottom of the track in the middle of the corner. Luckily, nobody made contact with him and he would finally make his way pit-side.

On the restart, Blade Wisdom again pulled out to the lead and began controlling the race. Behind him, cars would be 2, 3, and even 4 wide at times around mid-pack. Some drivers were charging to the front, some playing the tire management game and displaying heavy patience early on.

Connor New, was one of the drivers electing to get up on the wheel and work him way to the front of the field quickly. New, started in the 11th position and by lap 7, was inside the top 5. Nearly every lap, drivers were throwing elbows, racing hard, throwing sliders, rubbing on one another but doing it in a very respectful way. Just some good ol’ hard door-to-door racing.

The second Plum-Wild Postcast yellow flag would wave on lap 10 for an incident between Trevor Doyle and Aaron Bowman. Doyle, lost traction on corner exit and his car jumped a little sideways. Bowman, had no time to check up and ran into the back of the slowing #024 machine of Doyle and Bowman would solo spin to the outside wall.

One lap after the restart, another Plum-Wild Podcast yellow flag would wave. Matt Pridgen, running in 17th position, would get spun out as the driver of the #05, Gabe Griffin, would enter the corner below Pridgen just a little too hard and washed up into Pridgen. The two cars got hung up on one another before some contact with the tires caused the #05 to run up over the left front of Pridgen’s #14. Both cars would be able to continue, but not before Matt Pridgen would make a trip to the pits to repair some damage.

Green flag back out, Wisdom on point, Waddell still P2, Murtaugh in 3rd, and Connor New in 4th. New, would make quick work around the outside of Rich Murtagh and he wasn’t done. New, kept rolling the top and a few laps later would overtake Nathan Waddell for the 2nd position. By lap #22, most everyone was settling in, all running the lower line in the turns. The track was getting slicker and slicker and several guys were just logging laps and conserving their tires, hoping to have a little more tire than their competitors near the end of the race. That riding around and logging laps began to change as the field crept up on the halfway point of the race and decided to turn the wick up. Drivers that were saving tires the most in the rear of the pack really started trying to charge their way to the front.

Things started getting hot up front as Connor New began working on Wisdom for the lead. New, right back to the higher line he used to get past Murtagh and Waddell. Coming out of turn 4, Connor New clipped the right rear of Blade Wisdom’s car and Wisdom got real sideways, but was able to gather it up. This allowed for a 3 car battle as Waddell was breathing down the necks of the top two.

Things were shaping up to be a great battle for the lead with the top 3 but the fans would have to wait as our 4th Plum-Wild Podcast yellow flag came out. Blake M. Andrews and Luke Bishop were battling when the right rear of Andrews swung out on corner exit and hooked itself on the left front of Luke Bishop. This allowed the #9 of Brody Duescher to sneak past both drivers on the inside. The #2 of Bishop had a shallow arc into the next corner and washed up into Andrews and just barely tagged Duescher in the left rear, causing Duescher to go for a spin.

On the restart, race leader Blade Wisdom would not fire off very well as others have had issues with on restarts while restarting as the leader on the inside lane. Waddell was able to get a fender on him and the top 3 were nearly 3 wide going into turn one. By the time they exited turn 2, we would have a new leader for the first time of the night as Connor New running the higher line would prevail.

Heading full steam down the backstretch getting ready to approach turn 3, there was some contact amongst the leaders that caused a massive pile up and later on, some internet controversy. Richard Murtagh in the #33, made contact with the rear of Blade Wisdom’s #22 machine which sent Wisom sideways down into Nathan Waddell. About 14 cars were involved in this wreck that made some sort of contact with either the wall or another car. Blade Wisdom had his left front knocked off, although was able to finish the race and Nathan Waddell would eventually not be able to continue with the amount of damage he had.

This really shook up the field but back up front on the restart, it was Connor New and Richard Murtagh leading the field back to the green flag. New, jumped out to the early lead and for a brief moment, Matthew Selby had wrestled his way past Murtagh, but Murtagh would quickly reclaim the 2nd position. Davin Cardwell, was one of the drivers making a late race charge as he found himself up to 6th place after starting all the way back in 16th position. Up front, Murtaugh was able to break free from Selby and began working on Connor New for the top spot.

With about 16 to go, the question everyone had was did Connor New use up his tires too much on his way to the front or did he have enough tire left to hang on in the closing laps? Well, we were all able to find out as we watched the battle unfold. The top 3, New, Murtaugh, and Kiefer had separated themselves just a little bit over LoO National points leader James Murphy and the rest of the field. 12 to go now and Murtagh worked his way below Connor New. As the two of them battled for the top spot, Kiefer was now under attack from James Murphy for the 3rd position.

Coming to 10 laps to go, Murtaugh was able to complete the pass for the lead over New. The very next lap, Kiefer was also able to get past Connor New and was now at risk of losing 3rd place to James Murphy. New started driving defensive and for the time being, was able to maintain 3rd place over James Murphy. It was clear now just how important saving your tires early on was. Drivers that were showing patience and great throttle control, were starting to get rewarded. Right behind James Murphy was his brother Jared Murphy in 5th. Jared started the race dead last in 21st position.

Right behind him was an intense battle between several other cars including LoO league owner, AJ Hunsinger. Hunsinger, was one of the drivers being easy on the tires early on but also got swept up in that bug wreck earlier and had to pit for repairs.

Less than 5 laps to go now. Murtagh and Kiefer have stretched it out to about 2 seconds over Connor New in 3rd. New, in worn out tires, was really holding up James Murphy as Murphy was still trying to work his way by. This allowed brother Jared Murphy and AJ Hunsinger to close in. Jared Murphy, went top side to try and make the pass on his brother James.

In the end, it would be Richard Murtagh claiming the checkered flag in the first ever LoO IMCA Style Spring Nationals Presented by Rick Sparks Auto Sales. Damian Kiefer would come by the line in 2nd, Connor New would somehow hang onto 3rd, James and Jared Murphy in 4th and 5th, with Hunsinger right there apart of that close 4 car battle in 6th.

Davin Cardwell would finish 7th, Matthew Selby in 8th, youngster Brody Duescher with a great finish in 9th, and Gabe Griffin rounding out the top 10. 11th place finisher was Aaron Bowman, Mark Manno finished in 12th after lying dormant in the sim racing world for months, 13th was LoO Trevor Doyle in the awesome LoO Spring Nationals paint scheme, Luke Bishop in 14th, pole sitter and leader of the most laps, Blade Wisdom in 15th after that big wreck, Matt Pridgen not having the night he had hoped for after a great start to the night I 16th, Matt S. Sanders would find himself in 17th, Jarry Walford 18th, 19th Nathan Waddell, 20th Blake Andrews, and Laken Martin rounding out the field in 21st position.

The League of Outlaws couldn’t be any happier with how the event turned out. The racing was better than we all expected considering the amount of drivers and amount of new faces. We were fortunate to have some amazing and generous sponsors that wanted to support us in what we are doing and trying to achieve.

The guys at Buckeye Racing Network did a fantastic job in the booth and it was really cool of them to allow Steven Ovens, who is a real life announcer for the Land of Legends Raceway, to climb into the booth with them for the Spring Nationals.

The feedback from everyone that participated in some way, shape, or form or watched live on the broadcast, was very heart warming and meant a lot. It truly was a group effort though as a ton of people helped one way or another by sharing the event on social media to get the word out or to bring in more drivers. We couldn’t be happier.

The 2024 Spring Nationals sole intention was to prepare us for the 2024 Super Nationals at the end of the season, coming this October. We hadn’t done any sort of big money race before and wanted to get experience doing an event of this magnitude with a hefty purse and a lot of drivers. We learned a lot that we otherwise wouldn’t have known without doing the event.

The biggest thing we learned is we need to get our very own bank account, cashapp, PayPal, and Venmo established for use specifically to do with League of Outlaw related things. AJ Hunsinger, had a helluva time trying to keep things separated with his personal every day use bank account and the League financials.

He was able to use a secondary bank account to temporarily dedicate for league stuff, but having to go through his personal cashapp, PayPal  and Venmo made things hectic with fee’s or having to wait 1-3 days for transfers to go through to avoid fee’s, etc. So we are working hard on creating these accounts to use for all league needs.

One thing that we really want everyone to be aware of his how thankful we are for everyone that sponsored the event. Within seconds of announcing the LoO IMCA Style Spring Nationals, people were messaging us asking how they could be a part of the event via sponsorship. People were coming to us, not the other way around. That is something that was a surprise to us and were why things went as smoothly as they did.

The one sponsor we did go after was We really wanted them to be apart of this event because their product is one of the only reasons we are able to do our National championship, which is a combined schedule of points paying races between multiple leagues that run our cars and our points.

The League of Outlaws, has a vision. We want to put on as close to realistic racing as possible with respect, give and take, give incentive to checking up when the car in front of you has a bobble instead of plowing into them and dish out consequences when we don’t check up. In real life, you don’t want to have to replace your front bumper when you could have avoided it. In real life, those big hits hurt. We don’t have to worry about that stuff in sim racing and we want to do what we can to ensure people race in a less “video game like” way.

We care about the quality of our racing and the way our drivers race. If they have a different way they want to race in mind, we simply don’t allow them to race with us. We want all of our drivers to want the same thing we do and pull in the same direction by working together. Our incident points program, penalizes that type of driving. Drivers have 1 point reduced from their end of race points by 1 point for every incident point they acquire throughout the entire night, not just the feature. From the time the drivers pull onto the track, till they pull back off the track, we want it to look and feel real.

There is no set date yet for our LoO IMCA Super Nationals, but we do know that it will be some time in October. Our yearly seasons is any race between November 1st and October 1st of the following year. This gives us a 1 month off season and this is the window we plan on racing the Super Nationals. Stay tuned and plugged in here on the website, on our Discord, and on our Facebook page to get updates as they trickle out.



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