Now is the time for the eight playoff contenders to step up, as the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series heads to its final stop before the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A unique and unfamiliar challenge first lies ahead: the series’ trip to the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. A win for any of these eight drivers will guarantee they’ll compete for their share of more than $100,000 in the championship race, but there then are still three spots available for the drivers who can survive the twists and turns of the Roval Tuesday.
Ryan Luza (No. 53, FlipSid3 Tactics)
Rank: 8 (-4)
A difficult second half of the season sent Luza from runaway points leader to outside championship contention. And now he’s heading to a road course, where he has never finished better than 33rd in his PEAK iRacing Series career. But, who knows, we could always see some of that classic Luza magic.
Jimmy Mullis (No. 46, Richmond Raceway Esports)
Rank: 7 (+1)
After two disappointing playoff races, Mullis finds himself 25 points out of the top four and with one more shot a comeback. While he has an average finish of 9.0 in three road-course starts, a good points day probably won’t lock him into the finale.
Garrett Lowe (No. 28, Team Renegades)
Rank: 6 (+1)
Rookie Lowe’s lone road course finish is a 17th-place effort at Sonoma. He’ll need a little more than that to keep his points cushion.
Blake Reynolds (No. 30, Team Dillon Esports)
Rank: 5 (–)
Once again, Reynolds came oh-so-close to a victory this season. He’s tied with Lowe for third in points, meaning if a driver in the lower half of the playoffs wins Tuesday (cough, Bobby Zalenski, cough), he’ll need to finish ahead of Lowe and maintain a 13-point cushion on Luza.
Keegan Leahy (No. 62, G2 Esports)
Rank: 4 (-1)
Coming in 39 points ahead, Leahy’s pretty much a lock to make the top four on points, so all eyes are on the prize in Miami, where he has the speed to compete.
Michael Conti (No. 8, JR Motorsports)
Rank: 3 (-1)
In six career PEAK iRacing Series road course races, Conti has finished off the podium just once. It’s not unreasonable to think Conti could steal one Tuesday — or even make up his sixth-place points deficit.
Zack Novak (No. 6, Roush Fenway Racing)
Rank: 2 (-1)
Roush Fenway Racing needs a low-key Tuesday for Novak. He has a decent cushion on points, so he’s likely in for Miami unless he spills his Acorns at the Roval.
Bobby Zalenski (No. 18, Joe Gibbs Racing)
Rank: 1 (+5)
Zalenski settled for 36th after the No. 18 ended up on the wrong side of the fuel-mileage game late at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s in a must-win situation at the Roval to have a shot at a championship. Luckily for Zalenski, he’s untouchable on road courses – if his three consecutive wins at Sonoma Raceway are any indication.
Tune in Tuesday to Round 17 of the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series at 9 p.m. ET on eNASCAR.com.