eNASCAR Coke: Bobby Zalenski grabs another maiden win, this time on the Chicago Street Course

When a street course is on the agenda, Bobby Zalenski’s name keeps popping up. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver previously clinched a win at one of these races on the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series schedule six races ago at Monza. Make it two for two after he was able to win in Chicago on Tuesday night.

Both road races on the schedule were brand new to the series and while both featured series newcomers battling for victory, it was the road course king who would take both wins. Back in Monza, Tucker Minter (Team Dillon Esports) finished second. In Chicago, Parker White (Kanaan Esports) had the drive of his life.

With a 29-lap lead, White took the lead two laps ahead of Zalenski. No. 18’s overcut secured the top spot with less than 10 laps to go. Fuel was close, but Zalenski held onto his third win of the 2023 season and the 14th of his career.

Zalenski: “I’m really happy about the guys on my box”

The big three on Tuesday night (June 27) consisted of Zalenski, White and Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Racing), who started from pole position. Going into Turn 1, both the trio and the rest of the field were three wide, but somehow they managed to work it out.

Out of Turn 2, White was in control and Zalenski was in second place. White led Zalenski and Wilson seconds ahead of fourth and the rest of the field. It would boil down to these three; a road course king, the rookie with a road racing background and the All-Star winner here a year ago.

Tires don’t matter, but when to pit and how much fuel to carry could be a huge scenario to plan for. With no bookings in the series’ away events, every decision and play mattered, with no mulligans or chances to make amends.

Wilson pitted first and gained some time on White. White pitted next and handed the lead to Zalenski for the first time on lap 30. While White was on his out laps, he caught a slower car pitting at an awkward time which could potentially have affected the result.

Zalenski pitted a few laps later after saving some fuel and trailing behind White. Zalenski managed to get to the overlap, but fuel was still an issue. Luckily his team’s calculations were correct and Zalenski won.

Race 11 on the Chicago Street Course – Top 10 Results

FIN STA AUTOMOBILE # DRIVER TEAM INTERVAL LEDs PTS
1 3 18 Bobby Zalensky Joe Gibbs Racing 40 ROUNDS 11 40
2 2 11 ParkerWhite Canaan Esports +0.538 sec 29 35
3 1 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Racing +0.895 sec 0 34
4 6 33 Tucker Minter Team Dillon Esports +11.975 sec 0 33
5 7 95 Casey Kirwan XSET +13.095 sec 0 32
6 4 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron Esports +14.764 sec 0 31
7 5 15 Garret Lowe Jim Beaver Esports +15.884 sec 0 30
8th 11 3 Jordy Lopez Team Dillon Esports +27.044 sec 0 29
9 10 8th Michael Conti JR Motorsports +29.954 sec 0 28
10 14 48 Graham A Bowlin CharlottePhoenix +30.190 sec 0 27

No new winner means at least a point position in the ’23 playoffs

With White finishing second and the season’s six winners (Zalenski, Wilson, Minter, Michael Conti (JR Motorsports), Jordy Lopez (Team Dillon Esports) and Casey Kirwan (XSET)) all scoring solid points above the relegation line, the playoffs are even clearer after this week’s action.

The six winners are as good as certain. If they leave New Hampshire with enough points, it won’t matter at all what happens in those final three races of the regular season. Four drivers currently have points, namely Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports), Graham Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix), Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) and Malik Ray (Jim Beaver Esports).

The gap between 10th place Ray and now 11th place Parker White is just eight points. Matt Bussa (William Byron Esports) is 10 points adrift of the cut and Garrett Manes (FGR Accel eRacing) is 19 adrift. If there aren’t any new winners for the rest of the regular season, these guys will likely be the players with the points.

There also appears to be a good group of drivers underneath, including Dylan Duval (Stewart-Haas Racing), Garrett Lowe (Jim Beaver Esports), Dylan Ault (Letarte Esports), Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing) and Corey Vincent (Pittsburgh Knights). They’re a long way down on points and need to win to progress, potentially causing a stir.

Playoff seeding after race 11 on the Chicago Street Course

POS # DRIVER TEAM PTS BEH WINS T5 T10
1 18 Bobby Zalensky Joe Gibbs Racing 238 WIN 3 3 5
2 8th Michael Conti JR Motorsports 340 WIN 2 6 7
3 33 Tucker Minter [R] Team Dillon Esports 281 WIN 2 5 6
4 95 Casey Kirwan XSET 261 WIN 2 5 6
5 3 Jordy Lopez Jr [R] Team Dillon Esports 302 WIN 1 3 6
6 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Esports 233 WIN 1 2 4
7 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron Esports 288 +46 0 4 6
8th 48 Graham A Bowlin CharlottePhoenix 274 +32 0 4 8th
9 38 Michael Cosey Jr [R] Motorsport in the front row 274 +32 0 2 6
10 7 Malik Ray Jim Beaver Esports 250 +8 0 4 6
11 11 ParkerWhite [R] Canaan Esports 242 -8th 0 2 4
12 97 Matt Bussa William Byron Esports 240 -10 0 1 5
13 12 Garret Manes FGR Accel eRacing 231 -19 0 2 5

Team Dillon runs away with the team title

Zalenski was quick to point out after the race that his season has been a roller coaster as he aims for wins rather than good points days. Despite his three wins for the team, he and Daniel Faulkingham see themselves only 12th in the teams’ championship for Joe Gibbs Racing.

These points run throughout the season and do not reset in the playoffs. So it’s impressive that Team Dillon is so far ahead with Minter and Lopez. Both William Byron Esports and JR Motorsports are within reach with seven races to go but that would require a bit more consistency between the pairings.

Team classification after race 11 on the Chicago Street Course

POS cars TEAM PTS BEH WINS T5 T10
1 3 | 33 Team Dillon Esports 583 — 3 8th 12
2 25 | 97 William Byron Esports 528 -55 0 5 11
3 8 | 88 JR Motorsports 504 -79 2 6 7
4 34 | 38 Motorsport in the front row 457 -126 0 2 8th
5 7 | 15 Jim Beaver Esports 454 -129 0 5 10
6 10 | 41 Stewart Haas Esports 439 -144 1 2 7
7 11 | 66 Tony Canaan Esports 414 -169 0 2 6
8th 23 | 45 23XI race 376 -207 0 3 4
9 43 | 48 CharlottePhoenix 356 -227 0 4 9
10 4 | 95 XSET 333 -250 2 5 6
10 2 | 77 Pittsburgh Knights 333 -250 0 1 4

Joe Gibbs Racing: P12, 3 wins

Chicago Street Course Box Score

  • No penalties for zero laps in 40 laps
  • Two lead changes with three drivers
  • Polesitter: No. 10 Steven Wilson (1:25.175s)
  • Most laps led: No. 11 Parker White (29 laps led)
  • Lap leader:
    • #10 Steven Wilson (pole, no laps ahead)
    • #11 Parker White (1-29)
    • #18 Bobby Zalenski (30-40)
  • Fastest Lap: No. 10 Steven Wilson (Lap 35, 1:25.196s)
  • Hard Charger: No. 55 Vicente Salas (started 33rd, finished 15th | +18 places)
  • Unlucky: No. 46 Jimmy Mullis (start 12th, finish 26th | -14 places)
  • Fewest Incidents: Six riders at 0x (Highest finisher, No. 11 Parker White, 2nd)
  • Most Incidents: #66 Tyler Garey (24x)
  • Rookie of the Race: No. 11 Parker White (2nd place)
  • Team of the Race: #3 / #33 Team Dillon Esports (62 points, 4th & 8th)
  • Winning Club: California

Next up: eNASHCAR in virtual Nashville

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ray Alfalla scores record 27th career win in Nashville

With only ovals (or triangles) left on the 2023 calendar, next is a trip into the concrete jungle of the Nashville Superspeedway. Last season was the inaugural event and it was won by Ray Alfalla, who is not currently participating in the series this season. That means we will have a new winner at the track this season.

Kicking off with the eNASCAR Countdown to Green, presented now by Wendy’s, begins 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 the conversation.

Broadcasting of the 100-lap event 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 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 | Winner: MICHAEL CONTI 100
8th May 16th Darlington Raceway | Winner: CASEY KIRWAN 120
9 30th May Charlotte Motor Speedway | Winner: TUCKER MINTER 100
10 Jun 13 World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway | Winner: JORDY LOPEZ 120
11 Jun 27 Chicago Street Course | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI 40
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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