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Leahy survives caution-filled Charlotte race to earn first win of 2019

Keegan Leahy made his first visit to victory lane of the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series season, dominating the later stages of Tuesday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The G2 eSports driver had some struggles on pit road and only led 49 of 200 laps, but his car’s long-run speed ultimately propelled him to the win.

A 46-lap green flag run to the checkered flag helped Leahy put the race on ice as he pulled away to a 0.944-second margin of victory over Team Dillon eSports’ Blake Reynolds. Pole-sitter Chris Shearburn led a race-high 106 laps, but faded to third Letarte eSports Camaro. Points leader Ryan Luza was fourth for Flipsid3 Tactics, followed by Burton Kligerman eSports’ Logan Clampitt in fifth.

“The car was super strong – it carried me to that victory for sure,” said Leahy after taking the lead from Luza with 33 laps to go and driving away.

Keegan Leahy battles with Ryan Luza at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Keegan Leahy bested title rival Ryan Luza late in the going to win at Charlotte.

A flurry of cautions resulted in shorter runs throughout the night, but the final quarter of the race was clean and green at the 1.5-mile oval. The final restart came on Lap 155, with Leahy mired in fourth, but he quickly climbed to second as Luza took the lead. After a brief battle, Leahy was clear of Luza and rode off unchallenged to the victory.

Luza’s sixth top-five finish of the season allowed him to hold the championship lead by 34 points over Leahy. Reynolds’ late climb to second in the race has him third, 51 points adrift. Garrett Lowe is fourth, ahead of Zack Novak, who slipped to fifth after a 33rd-place finish. Another disappointing race sees Ray Alfalla on the bubble, in danger of not earning an automatic bid to the 2020 season if his performance does not improve.

With 300 miles at Charlotte complete, the series will shift gears for Week 9 as drivers head west to Sonoma Raceway for the first road course event of 2019. Bobby Zalenski was dominant in 2018, besting Jarl Teien and Michael Conti, but this year brings a change in configuration as the full 12-turn layout will be run for the first time in series history.

Join us Tuesday, June 11 at 9:00 pm ET for live coverage from the virtual Sonoma Raceway.