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eNASCAR Coke: Bobby Zalenski drives back-to-back for first win at Monza

Whether he believes it or not, Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing) has tremendous momentum on his side.

Zalenski’s NASCAR Heat “Momentum Bar” would now be absolutely fixed after his latest eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series result, and that was another win of the season following a dominant performance in the first Autodromo Nazionale Monza event on Tuesday night (April 11). ).

Zalenski took pole and drove away in the 30-lap feature. Add that to his win at Richmond in the series two weeks ago and his third place finish in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup on Saturday (8 drivers in their seventh year from Fresno, California.

It is Zalenski’s first road course victory since 2020. The former and potentially re-crowning eNASCAR road course king was winless in his last five attempts in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, losing multiple times to current Porsche Factory Sim driver Mitchell deJong in three of those five races .

With no deJong in the field for the first time since 2020 (since he competes in ESL R1 these days), Zalenski was able to easily claim his 13th win in the career series. Zalenski is now the only holder of an all-time fifth place finish on the eNASCAR winners list, passing Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing).

ZALENSKI: “I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH I BELIEVE IN MOMENTUM…”

Bobby Zalenski celebrates on the front straight in Monza.

“It’s just great to be so lucky,” said Zalenski in the eNASCAR winning lane after the race. Hard work definitely paid off for the driver of Interstate Batteries #18’s Toyota Camry Tuesday night. Zalenski was quick from the start, setting the fastest lap in the final practice session before smashing the field for pole position.

Starting alongside Leahy, who he was testing with as part of the Coanda Esports backend team, Zalenski was able to pull forward immediately, eventually leaving Leahy and the rest of the field in the dust.

Tucker Minter (33) passes Keegan Leahy (23) for second at Monza.

Tucker Minter (Team Dillon Esports) eventually managed to battle for second place to Leahy, his best finish since his inaugural Daytona win in February.

Casey Kirwan (XSET) recovered from an early race spin to finish fourth, just ahead of Jordy Lopez (Team Dillon Esports) who took his first top five and top 10 finish of his career when it was said and done .

The race was only 30 laps long and there were no warnings, not even for incidents. There were many incidents, but none affected the podium finishers. During the night there was a pit stop that the drivers made at various points between lap 5 and lap 25. Tires were once again unnecessary as all drivers opted for fuel-only pit stops.

Casey Kirwan (95) spins early from fourth but bounces back and still finishes fourth at Monza.

RACE 5 AT MONZA – TOP 10 RESULTS

FIN STA AUTOMOBILE # DRIVER TEAM INTERVAL LEDs PTS
1 1 18 Bobby Salensky Joe Gibbs Racing 30 ROUNDS 30 40
2 3 33 Tucker Minter Team Dillon Esports +3.618 sec 0 35
3 2 23 Keegan Leahy 23XI race +4.447 sec 0 34
4 4 95 Casey Kirwan XSET +10.829 sec 0 33
5 5 3 Jordy Lopez Jr Team Dillon Esports +11.346 sec 0 32
6 7 48 Graham A Bowlin Charlotte Phoenix +12,739 sec 0 31
7 11 11 Parker White Canaan Esports +13.115 sec 0 30
8th 15 12 Garret Manes FGR Accel eRacing +13.243 sec 0 29
9 9 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Esports +13.754 sec 0 28
10 13 40 Dylan Alt Letarte Esports +17,260 sec 0 27

Michael Conti is tied with most points scored so far in 2023.

MONZA EDITION: HOT OR NOT YET?

Now, with five races into the regular season and nine remaining in the playoff race, the top drivers are beginning to separate from the rest of the field. Winners like Michael Conti (JR Motorsports), Minter and Zalenski are at the front of the field every week. Win or not, they’re in the top 5 on points so far.

Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Esports) didn’t have the start to the season he was hoping for, but now that he’s back in the top 20 overall his win again counts for a place in the playoff moment.

Both Graham Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix) and Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports) are winless so far. They lead those without a win, also in the top 5 in points. Both could have been winners in some races so far.

Graham Bowlin (48) also has the most points so far this season.

There are some champions on the rise with Leahy and Kirwan both now in the top 10 overall. Mistaking it for two rookies from the Altus Esports camp, both Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) and Lopez are also in the conversation.

On the not-so-hot side of the points list, two 2022 playoff drivers in Femi Olatunbosun (Charlotte Phoenix) and Garrett Lowe (Jim Beaver Esports) aren’t having the start to the season they were hoping for. Monza was a prime example of both. She and the rest of the drivers at the back of the field have nine races left to turn the helm in the regular season.

The big one at Monza on lap 1.

PLAYOFF SET AFTER RACE 5 AT MONZA

position # DRIVER TEAM PTS BEH WINS T5 T10
1 18 Bobby Salensky Joe Gibbs Racing 144 WIN 2 2 3
2 8th Michael Conti JR Motorsport 145 WIN 1 2 2
3 33 Tucker Minter [R] Team Dillon Esports 140 WIN 1 2 2
4 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Esports 95 WIN 1 1 2
5 48 Graham A Bowlin Charlotte Phoenix 145 +38 0 2 4
6 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron Esports 140 +33 0 2 3
7 38 Michael Cosey Jr [R] Motorsport in the front row 134 +27 0 2 3
8th 23 Keegan Leahy 23XI race 127 +20 0 2 2
9 3 Jordy Lopez Jr [R] Team Dillon Esports 119 +12 0 1 1
10 95 Casey Kirwan XSET 118 +11 0 2 3
11 11 Parker White [R] Canaan Esports 107 -11 0 0 2
12 41 DylanDuval Stewart Haas Esports 104 -14 0 0 2

Team Dillon Esports (33 – Minter, 3 – Lopez) leads the team standings after five races.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION AFTER RACE 5 IN MONZA

position cars TEAM PTS BEH WINS T5 T10
1 3 | 33 Team Dillon Esports 259 1 3 3
2 34 | 38 Motorsport in the front row 232 -27 0 2 5
3 25 | 97 William Byron Esports 232 -27 0 2 4
4 8 | 88 JR Motorsport 227 -32 1 2 2
5 23 | 45 23XI race 210 -49 0 3 3
6 11 | 66 Canaan Esports 203 -56 0 0 4
7 10 | 41 Stewart Haas Esports 199 -60 1 1 4
8th 18 | 54 Joe Gibbs Racing 177 -82 2 2 3
9 43 | 48 Charlotte Phoenix 176 -83 0 2 4
10 2 | 77 Pittsburgh Knights 176 -83 0 0 2

BOX RESULT

  • Zero bookings for zero laps in 30 completed laps (no bookings on street circuits)
  • Zero lead changes for one driver
  • Most laps led: No. 18 Bobby Zalenski (30 laps led)
  • Fastest lap: No. 18 Bobby Zalensk (Lap 2, 1:33.121s)
  • Hard Charger: No. 54 Daniel Faulkingham (Start 33rd, Finish 23rd | +10 places)
  • Bad luck:
    • No. 27 Cody Byus (10th started, 24th finished | -14 places)
    • No.15 Garrett Lowe (8th started, 22nd finished | -14 places)
  • Least Incidents: #33 Tucker Minter (4x)
  • Most Incidents: #75 Zack Novak (31x)
  • Rookie of the Race: #33 Tucker Minter (2nd place)
  • Team of the Race: #3 / #33 Team Dillon Esports (67pts)
  • Winning Club: California

UP NEXT: TALLADEGA A-FIXED

The first fixed setup points race in series history takes place next week at Talladega Superspeedway. With just a single week on the calendar, iRacing officials decided during the off-season to test fixed-setup races at three tracks in 2023, later in the year at Watkins Glen International and Pocono Raceway.

Last season, it might not surprise you that it was Bobby Zalenski who clinched the win at Talladega after Casey Kirwan and Collin Bowden collided in the tri-oval when they came to the queen. Can Zalenski compete in back-to-back Dega races and also score three goals in a row in the 2023 season? We have to wait!

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Bobby Zalenski achieves Championship 4 with Talladega SnipeBobby Zalenski (18) narrowly wins 2022 in Talladega.

Things get started with the eNASCAR Countdown to Green, which begins Tuesday, April 11 at 8:30pm EDT / 1:30am BST. The race itself starts at 9pm EDT / 2am BST. Evan Posocco, Blake McCandless, Alan Cavanna, Camille Salazar Hadaway and James Pike are expected to be in attendance.

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

2023 ENASCAR COCA-COLA IRACING SERIES SCHEDULE

RACE DATE RAIL ROUND
COLLISION Jan 31 eNASCAR Clash 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 28 Mar Richmond Racecourse | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI 130
5 Apr 11 Monza National Autodrome | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI 30
6 Apr 18 Talladega Superspeedway 70
7 2.May Las Vegas Motor Speedway 100
8th May 16th Darlington race track 120
9 30th May Charlotte Motor Speedway 100
10 June 13th World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway 120
11 June 27th Watkins Glen International 45
12 July 11th Nashville Superspeedway 100
13 July 25th New Hampshire Motor Speedway 101
14 Aug 1 Pocono Racetrack 60
15 – PO1 15th of August Michigan International Speedway 60
16-PO2 29th August Dover Motor Speedway 120
17-PO3 12 Sept Phoenix racetrack 120
18-C4 26 Sept Homestead Miami Speedway 100

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