CONCORD, N.C. – Canadian young gun Alex Bergeron will embark on his quest to successfully defend his iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car World Championship when the series kicks off its new season on Monday night.
Bergeron romped to five feature wins in 10 races last year, earning $10,000 for his efforts, as well as a sprint car test opportunity at The Dirt Track at Charlotte last November with dirt ace and now-NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell.
It was a breakthrough moment for the 19-year-old, despite the fact that he was the dominant driver in the series for most of last season.
Now, Bergeron returns to the seat of his virtual No. 12 for a new year and a new challenge, widely viewed as the favorite to capture the 10-race championship once again this season.
In speaking with Sprint Car & Midget ahead of Monday night’s opening race at the virtual Volusia Speedway Park, Bergeron admitted that he does feel the weight of being the favorite, but hopes to shake off the expectations and simply get to work behind the wheel.
“I’m definitely feeling some pressure going into the new season; everyone is fast and very competitive,” Bergeron noted. “But it is awesome to go back racing at the world championship level, though it’s a lot of work day in day out as a team. With my teammate Jason Nygard and my team manager Rebeka Milette behind me, though, I feel confident about what we can do this year.
“Everyone’s looking at us; we just have to go out and do what we know we can each race.”
While a pair of new dirt tracks – Lernerville Speedway and Fairbury American Legion Speedway – will appear on the iRacing World of Outlaws calendar this year, Bergeron said he doesn’t feel much, if anything, that’s different going into this season than in 2019.
“This year will not be any different and we don’t want to treat it any different, even if a lot of people are fast,” Bergeron said. “Our mind set is still the same and being humble and consistent is important.
“I’m looking forward to every round, no matter what track, because we treat every round as a new event and a new opportunity,” he added. “Every race is extremely important, because there are no drop weeks and no playoffs like the eNASCAR series has, so each and every point is crucial. All the tracks are awesome to drive on and it’s exciting to have two new tracks to race at in this year’s world championship; iRacing did and continues to do a fantastic job at making these tracks as close to the real thing as we can have to drive on.”
For Bergeron, who hopes to campaign a sprint car in real life later this season with his family-owned race team, the iRacing World of Outlaws championship offers an opportunity to continue to showcase his skills.
That’s particularly true now, in a time when a bigger spotlight is on sim-racing and eSports in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, he added.
“iRacing and the World of Outlaws World Championship help me to stay on point, even when I’m not behind the wheel in real life,” Bergeron noted. “It’s a professional simulation of motorsports and at the top level of pro sim racing, every driver is within thousandths of a second of one another. There’s nothing left on the table and that’s what makes the racing so intense. It pushes you, as a driver, to be as close to perfect as you can be.
“With everything that’s going on right now in the world with the COVID-19 virus and how that’s affected everyone across the globe, iRacing is at another level,” he added. “It’s the source for motorsports right now and I think we’ve all seen that with how much attention it has gotten in the last few weeks. It’s a big deal for all of us, no matter what level we’re at.
“It’s not the situation we wanted to be in, but hopefully we can give some entertainment to the fans and put on a show for them until we can all be back at the tracks in real life.”
Bergeron and the rest of the iRacing World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car World Championship field will ignite their pursuits of the 2020 title at the virtual Volusia Speedway Park on Monday night at 9 p.m. ET.
The action is streamed through the iRacing eSports Network at iRacing.com/live.