In two short years, Hayden Cardwell went from winning the iRacing World of Outlaws Late Model World Championship to becoming champion of a competitive 604 late model series. The triumph came in the Dirt2Media American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products.
(For more on his iRacing career, read “Hayden Cardwell: Uses iRacing Winnings for Race Car”.)
After a successful season in sportsman late model racing in 2021, Cardwell looked to move up to 604s on his own. He hoped to race frequently at tracks nearby his Knoxville, Tennessee, home. Then a call came from car owner Rusty Webb.
“It was kind of crazy,” said Cardwell of how he started racing for Rusty Webb. “It was supposed to be a one-race deal at 411 [Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tennessee]. I ended up winning my first race. Rusty gave me the opportunity to drive full-time this year. It paid off. In my first full year of 604 racing … I won 13 times and a championship.”
(For more on Webb, read “Rusty Webb Knows How to Spot Talent”.)
To deem it a dream season for Cardwell would be an understatement. He would have to been able to dream it.
“When I first started racing with Rusty, I had one goal of winning at least one touring race,” Cardwell said. “I was able to win one on my second night out, at I-75 [Raceway outside of Sweetwater, Tennessee]. I got a lot of confidence throughout the year. I believe in my crew chief Randy [Moon] and Rusty. They believed in me a lot, and that helped me out as well.”
Cardwell said he will run for Rusty Webb again in 2023, seeking to expand their horizons and compete in big-dollar 604 events, including those in the American All-Star Series.
The Dirt2Media American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products begins its season on April 1 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. The bonus race will pay $5,000 to the winner. Then, it’s off to the first regular season event I-75 Raceway outside of Sweetwater, Tennessee, on April 8.
Outside Groove Note of Transparency: Outside Groove is a sponsor of the Dirt2Media American All-Star Series Presented by PPM Racing Products. The American All-Star Series paid for the production of this article. The content was not subject to the approval of the American All-Star Series.
The Outside Groove Executive Editor has covered motorsports since 2000. His many awards include the 2019 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Jim Hunter Writer of the Year and the 2013 Russ Catlin Award for Excellence in Motorsports Journalism.