eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race Preview: Race 8 – Darlington

It’s time for a virtual-style recap as the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series heads into action Tuesday night (May 16) at Darlington Raceway, the eighth race on the 2023 schedule. The top 40 oval racers to compete in the real Known around the world as Throwback Weekend across the top three NASCAR divisions will continue to participate in the trend this season.

Darlington Raceway returns for the 14th consecutive year in series history, one of the few to have featured on every program since the inaugural 2010 season. Last year the event was won by Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Esports) and was the final race of the regular season.

Midway through the 2023 regular season, Darlington marks the beginning, not the end, of the playoff push this year. This is where the top riders will try to hold on, the middle riders will try to work their way up, and the bottom end riders will try to turn their season around to avoid the dreaded relegation line.

TWO WEEKS AGO IN LAS VEGAS

For those looking to get into the playoffs on points this season, it was a joy to see eDriver 8 Michael Conti (JR Motorsports) claim his second win of the season two weeks ago. The #ItsBeenGr8 Tour picked up another win after winning in Milwaukee in February.

This time there were two wins in a row with Conti on this track like last season. While Jordy Lopez (Team Dillon Esports) had the early speed and Malik Ray (Jim Beaver Esports) had the late strategy, Conti kept enough gas at the finish line to win the race.

Conti defeated his Team Conti teammates Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports), who finished second, and Jimmy Mullis (Rise Esports), who finished fourth behind Lopez in third. Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing) started from pole but ended up 12th.

RACE 7 IN LAS VEGAS – TOP 10 RESULTS

FIN STA AUTOMOBILE # DRIVER TEAM INTERVAL LEDs PTS
1 8th 8th Michael Conti JR Motorsports 100 ROUNDS 69 40
2 4 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron Esports -0.842 0 35
3 2 3 Jordy Lopez Jr Team Dillon Esports -0.937 23 34
4 10 46 Jimmy Mullis Rise Esports -0.977 0 33
5 21 33 Tucker Minter Team Dillon Esports -2,313 0 32
6 34 12 Garret Manes FGR Accel eRacing -2,562 0 31
7 25 38 Michael Cosey Jr Motorsport in the front row -3,823 0 30
8th 33 7 Malik Ray Jim Beaver Esports -4,176 8th 29
9 14 15 Garret Lowe Jim Beaver Esports -4,633 0 28
10 31 48 Graham A Bowlin CharlottePhoenix -6,377 0 27

DARLINGTON STORY

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Steven Wilson wins Darlington, playoff field is set

You may hear that Darlington Raceway is a ‘drivers’ track’ where the skills of a driver with a good set-up are more valuable than those of a weaker driver with a better set-up. I’m not sure if that still sounds quite right, but with the top 40 riders featured all the time, this list of past season winners is chock-full of some of the best of all time.

Josh Berry, who is now in NASCAR

Ray Alfalla earned his first of three on-site wins in 2012, followed by wins in 2014 and 2017. Nick Ottinger scored the win in 2013 and at an infamous event in 2015 Landon Harrison took the win. The series’ current competition director, Tyler D. Hudson, scored a win in 2016 and in 2018 it was Michael Conti.

One of the few breakaways might have been rookie Ashton Crowder, who grabbed an unexpected win in 2019, but things returned to normal in 2020 as Keegan Leahy clinched the win. Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing) won in 2021, while Steven Wilson was the youngest winner at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval in 2022.

Who to look out for

enCCiS Preview: The 2021 Playoffs begin at Darlington Raceway

It’s hard to bet against Michael Conti, Nick Ottinger and the Team Conti crew considering how strong they’ve been over the past few weeks, but I think this will be the week that Keegan Leahy returns to the Winning streak returns to cement his place in the 2023 playoffs.

In the last two seasons and the season leading up to his win in 2020, Leahy was a force to be reckoned with, often leading and often getting into trouble. Keeg has some dealings with The Lady in Black and I think after some close decisions back in the 2023 season he has his sights set on a win tonight.

What about Deadzone Racing? Well, they’ve been pretty much idle up until that point, scoring the two wins at Atlanta Superspeedways with Steven Wilson and Talladega with Casey Kirway (XSET). Their mid-pack was a bit lacking, but Darlington would be a great place to change that.

Graham Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix), Kirwan and Wilson would all be their best marksmen on the Too Tough To Tame virtual track, but don’t overlook their veterans like Dylan Duval (Stewart-Haas Esports) or Allen Boes (Front Row Motorsports). .

PLAYOFF SEED AFTER RACE 7 IN LAS VEGAS

POS # DRIVER TEAM PTS BEH WINS T5 T10
1 8th Michael Conti JR Motorsports 210 WIN 2 3 3
2 18 Bobby Zalensky Joe Gibbs Racing 160 WIN 2 2 3
3 33 Tucker Minter [R] Team Dillon Esports 179 WIN 1 3 3
4 95 Casey Kirwan XSET 176 WIN 1 3 4
5 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Esports 131 WIN 1 1 2
6 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron Esports 195 +35 0 3 4
7 3 Jordy Lopez Jr [R] Team Dillon Esports 179 +19 0 2 2
8th 38 Michael Cosey Jr [R] Motorsport in the front row 178 +18 0 2 4
8th 48 Graham A Bowlin CharlottePhoenix 178 +18 0 2 5
10 7 Malik Ray Jim Beaver Esports 167 +7 0 3 4
11 23 Keegan Leahy 23XI race 160 -7 0 2 2
12 41 DylanDuval Stewart Haas Esports 147 -20 0 0 3

WHERE TO SEE

eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series Darlington NEXT GEN Preview

The Countdown to Green, now sponsored by Wendy’s, begins at 8:30pm EDT / 1:30am BST to provide you with everything you need to know ahead of the event. Racing will clear for the 120-lap event at Darlington just after 9:00pm EDT / 2:00am BST.

The broadcast will be available at eNASCAR.com/live or on iRacing’s social channels.

ENASCAR COCA-COLA IRACING SERIES 2023 SCHEDULE

RACE DATE RAIL ROUND
COLLISION Jan 31 eNASCAR fight at LA Coliseum | Winner: CASEY KIRWAN 20/40/70
1 14 Feb Daytona International Speedway | Winner: TUCKER MINTER 80
2 Feb 28 The Milwaukee Mile | Winner: MICHAEL CONTI 100
3 the 14th of March Atlanta Motor Speedway | Winner: STEVEN WILSON 100
4 28th March Richmond Raceway | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI 130
5 Apr 11 National Autodrome Monza | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI 30
6 Apr 18 Talladega Super Speedway | Winner: CASEY KIRWAN 70
7 2.May Las Vegas Motor Speedway 100
8th May 16th Darlington Raceway 120
9 30th May Charlotte Motor Speedway 100
10 Jun 13 World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway 120
11 Jun 27 Watkins Glen International 45
12 July 11th Nashville Superspeedway 100
13 July 25th New Hampshire Motor Speedway 101
14 Aug 1 Pocono Raceway 60
15 – PO1 Aug 15 Michigan International Speedway 60
16-PO2 Aug 29 Dover Motor Speedway 120
17-PO3 12 Sept Phoenix Raceway 120
18-C4 26 Sept Homestead Miami Speedway 100

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