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eNASCAR: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

Ryan Luza scored his 17th career win on Tuesday night (September 13) when he spoiled the playoff field in Bristol.

Ten drivers took part in The Last Great Colosseum at Bristol Motor Speedway and had a chance to secure their place in the Championship 4 fight. After 175 wild laps on Tuesday night (September 13, 2022), none of the 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff drivers were able to win their free pass into the title race.

Instead, Ryan Luza (XSET) made the perfect strategy to take tires on the final booking. At the restart that followed, Luza was able to make it easy for Kollin Keister (Charlotte Phoenix), who was absent. Luza took the win, the first of the season and the 17th of his long career.

The win doesn’t retroactively put him in the 2022 playoff field, but it did help the 2017 champion find his way back into the top 20 in points and avoid the relegation line for now. There are only three races left in the 2022 season, two races in this round of 16 and not a single rider is safe at Talladega in two weeks.

STATEMENTS OF DEFENDING CHAMPIONS

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

From the start, it looked like it was going to be a spoiler night. While ten riders are doing their best to win the 2022 championship, 30 others are trying to make the most of the rest of their season to avoid relegation if possible while still clinching wins.

2021 Series Champion Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing) failed to make this season’s playoffs, but that didn’t stop him from claiming a dominant win on Tuesday night. Leahy qualified on pole and things were looking in his favor for the first 101 laps.

A booking on lap 76 slowed the field for the first time and allowed the majority of the field to pit for service. However, as some say, cautions can breed cautions and that is exactly what happened when the race was half over.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

Before that warning, Ray Alfalla (Joe Gibbs Racing) was making absolute strides through the field. Alfalla started 31st and it wasn’t long before he was third on the podium. His tires wore out quickly, but it was really impressive to see the four-time champion cutting through the field like butter.

Of course, the best previous champion of the series was Luza, as he played right to get the win.

BAD NIGHT TO BE A PLAYOFF DRIVER (FOR MOST)

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in BristoleNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in BristoleNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

The first warning of the evening was no problem for all ten playoff drivers. After that it got a little chaotic. The second warning flew just before lap 100 and this time at least four of the title contenders were involved.

Mitchell deJong (23XI Racing) and Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Esports) got in touch and sent deJong to Matt Bussa (Mode Motorsports) who collected Casey Kirwan (XSET) and more. It was a decent pile-up that cost Kirwan and Bussa laps from the lead group for one reason or another.

The next warning was no better as Graham A. Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix) swerved in the middle of traffic after a bump from Kaden Honeycutt (RFK Racing). Almost immediately after, Blake Reynolds (Jim Beaver Esports) was slammed back into Bussa after a tap from Dylan Ault (LETARTE Esports).

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

By this point Leahy had lost and Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing) was the new leader with an alternate strategy. However, with so many bookings, strategies were right across the board, allowing Keister to snooker away Zalenski’s lead with just under 30 rounds to go before the final booking.

THE BIG LEADS LATE TO BIG STRATEGY CALLS

Even over a short distance, the big one is still a possibility. The big one in Bristol would sweep several playoff hopes including Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports), Femi Olatunbosun (Clint Bowyer Esports), deJong, Kirwan and as many other hopefuls as Leahy.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

A subsequent pit stop put a good portion of the field into the race for the last time, which at the time for who knew this would be their last chance for fresh virtual rubber. Zalenski, Wilson, a ailing Bowlin and Michael Conti (JR Motorsports) all chose to stay out with what they had, some with older stuff than others.

Garrett Lowe (Wood Brothers Racing) was the only undamaged playoff driver to choose the tires. Lowe would be in prime position for the definitive restart alongside Luza, Cody Byus (Mode Motorsports), Alfalla and others.

Luza did it faster than anyone, and that led to his second win on the concrete site in his fourth attempt.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

NEXT: SWEET HOME TALLADEGA

Nobody is safe from leaving Bristol. Wilson leads Lowe by just a point, with Bowlin and Conti filling the last spots for now. Zalenski, who dropped to 16th after the no-pit call, has a five-point lead with Talladega and Homestead-Miami remaining.

A true wildcard race to contend with, Talladega could be a total guess as to who will win when we go there in two weeks. Ottinger won there last year. 13 points suggests leaving Bristol in eighth place isn’t necessarily a must, but a clash could help them in their quest for a second title.

Tune in on September 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET to watch the 2022 playoffs mid-fight. The event begins with the Countdown to Green for a half-hour before the main cast begins at 9:00 p.m. ET. The broadcast will be available at eNASCAR.com/live or on the iRacing Social Channels.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

RACE #15 – BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – TOP 10 RESULTS

FIN STA DARE # DRIVER TEAM INTERVAL LEDs POINTS
1 14 4 Ryan Luza XSET 175 ROUNDS 24 40
2 35 24 Cody Byus Motorsport mode +1,324 sec 0 35
3 31 51 Ray Alfalla Joe Gibbs Racing +1,359 sec 0 34
4 24 fifteen Blake Reynolds Jim Beaver Esports +1,444 sec 0 33
5 18 21 Garret Lowe Wood Brothers race +1,844 sec 0 32
6 26 36 Brian Mercury LETARTE Esports +1.921 sec 0 31
7 33 3 Corey Vincent Team Dillon Esports +3.328 sec 0 30
8th 28 40 Dylan Alt LETARTE Esports +3.452 sec 0 29
9 36 12 Derek justice iRacing Motorsports +5.242 sec 0 28
10 2 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Esports +11,432 sec 0 27

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

PLAYOFF STANDING BY RACE NO. 15—BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

position DARE # DRIVER TEAM WINS POINTS T5’s T10
1 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Esports 3 2036 7 10
2 21 Garret Lowe Wood Brothers race 1 -1 2 5
3 48 Graham A Bowlin Charlotte Phoenix 1 -7 6 6
4 8th Michael Conti JR Motorsport 2 -10 4 6
5 18 Bobby Salensky Joe Gibbs Racing 0 -fifteen 3 6
6 79 Femi Olatunbosun Clint Bowyer Racing 1 -17 3 6
7 95 Casey Kirwan XSET 1 -18 5 9
8th 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron Esports 2 -23 5 8th
9 75 Matt Bussa Motorsport mode 1 -24 2 8th
10 23 Mitchell deJong 23XI race 1 -29 3 4

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

TEAM STANDINGS BY RACE NO. 15—BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

position cars TEAM MANUFACTURING. POINTS BEHIND TEAM WINS
1 10 | 41 Stewart Haas Esports FORD 694 LEADER 3
2 9 | fifteen Jim Beaver Esports FORD 660 -34 0
3 4 | 95 XSET CHEVY 658 -36 2
4 5 | 46 eSports rise CHEVY 597 -97 0
5 18 | 51 Joe Gibbs Racing TOYOTA 594 -100 1
6 24 | 75 Motorsport mode FORD 582 -112 1
7 23 | 45 23XI race TOYOTA 559 -135 1
8th 43 | 48 Charlotte Phoenix TOYOTA 549 -145 1
9 3 | 33 Team Dillon Esports CHEVY 538 -156 0
10 8 | 88 JR Motorsport CHEVY 536 -158 2

William Byron Esports has two wins, Wood Brothers Racing and Clint Bowyer Racing both have one win this season.eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

RACE #15 – BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – BOX RESULT:

  • Five warnings for 25 laps
  • Three lead changes with four drivers (Leahy, Zalenski, Keister, Luza)
  • Most laps led: #45 Keegan Leahy (101 laps)
  • Fastest lap: Lap 151, #4 Ryan Luza (14.765 seconds)
  • Rookie of the Race: #36 Brian Mercurio (6th)

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Ryan Luza plays playoff spoilers in Bristol

2022 ENASCAR COCA-COLA IRACING SERIES SCHEDULE

date race # track Round
2/1/22 ~clash~ LA Coliseum – Casey Kirwan 25/50/120
15 February 22 1 Daytona International Speedway Femi Olatunbosun 80
3/1/22 2 Las Vegas Motor Speedway Michael Conti 100
15 Mar 22 3 Atlanta Motor Speedway Steven Wilson 100
29 Mar 22 4 Richmond Racetrack – Michael Conti 130
12 Apr 22 5 Bristol Motor Speedway DIRT – Nick Ottinger 25/120
26 Apr 22 6 Dover Motor Speedway Nick Ottinger 120
May 10-22 7 Kansas Racetrack – Garret Lowe 100
May 24-May 22 8th Charlotte Motor Speedway Matt Bussa 100
May 31-May 22 9 World Wide Technology Raceway Graham A Bowlin 120
June 21 22 10 Nashville Super Speedway – Ray Alfalla 100
05.07.22 11 Street America – Steven Wilson 25
19 July 22 12 Pocono Racetrack – Casey Kirwan 60
08/02/22 ~All Star~ Chicago Street course – Steven Wilson 12-8-16
16 Aug 22 13 Watkins Glen International – Mitchell deJong 45
Aug 30 22 14 Darlington Circuit – Steven Wilson 120
13 Sep 22 PO1 | fifteen Bristol Motor Speedway Ryan Luza 175
27 Sep 22 PO2 | 16 Talladega Superspeedway 70
11 Oct 22 PO3 | 17 Homestead Miami Speedway 100
25 Oct 22 C4F | 18 Phoenix racetrack 110

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