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Novak Leahy Driver Rankings Luvender 2019

2019 PEAK iRacing Series Year in Review: 1st–10th

With the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series in the books, we’re reviewing each of the 40 sim racers’ seasons in a four-part series. This week, we take a look at drivers who finished top 10 in final series standings.

10. Casey Kirwan, No. 14, Clint Bowyer Racing
1 Win (Bristol)
3 Top 5s
6 Top 10s
15.4 Average Finish
89 Incident Points

While he came up short of playoff contention in 2019, it was a successful season for Casey Kirwan, who found Victory Lane at Bristol in August, outdueling eventual series champ Zack Novak. The Clint Bowyer Esports driver kicked it into overdrive in the second half of the season, scoring six top-10 finishes in the final 11 races.

9. Nick Ottinger, No. 47, JTG Daugherty Racing
1 Win (Talladega)
5 Top 5s
9 Top 10s
11.5 Average Finish
63 Incident Points

Nick Ottinger probably wonders what could have been had he raced at Richmond. Ottinger missed the playoffs, and probably could have used the points from one more race to make the top eight. Still, the veteran of 129 races scored a win in a Talladega thriller and was generally a fixture of the top 10 at any given moment at any type of track. PEAK Series aside, he put on quite a show in the NBCSN-aired iRacing All-Star Race in July, where he won after a last-lap pass in the exhibition race.

8. Garrett Lowe, No. 28, Team Renegades
1 Win (Michigan)
3 Top 5s
6 Top 10s
13.4 Average Finish
96 Incident Points

While Garrett Lowe came up short of contending for the Championship 4, he proved he has a bright future among iRacing’s elite in his rookie campaign. Lowe broke through for his first-ever win at Michigan in August – though he found himself in the hunt for the checkered flag in numerous prior races. With a year of experience under his belt, expect him to contend for the title in 2020.

7. Michael Conti, No. 8, JR Motorsports
0 Wins
4 Top 5s
10 Top 10s
12.1 Average Finish
57 Incident Points

The 2014 champ didn’t win a race in 2019, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t fast. The veteran earned three poles over the course of the season and could have won the two road course races – and clinched a spot in the Championship 4 – if Bobby Zalenski had slipped up and handed the win to Conti, who finished second in both races. Regardless, Conti showed impressive strength through a difficult personal year after losing his mother to cancer in August. #GinaStrong

6. Ryan Michael Luza, No. 53, FlipSid3 Tactics
3 Wins (Las Vegas, Texas, Richmond)
8 Top 5s
11 Top 10s
10.2 Average Finish
77 Incident Points

What looked like another Ryan Luza-dominant season came to a crawl as the 2019 season progressed and other drivers made gains on the racer who won three of the first five races. The 2017 champ fell short of the Championship 4 after a rough stretch of playoff races left him in a must-win scenario at the Charlotte Roval – a road course, which isn’t exactly Luza’s bread and butter. We suspect the Texan will use the off-season to come back in 2020 faster than ever, and that’s a scary prospect for the competition.

5. Jimmy Mullis, No. 46, Richmond Raceway Esports
1 Win (Pocono)
4 Top 5s
9 Top 10s
12.8 Average Finish
54 Incident Points

Richmond Raceway Esports racer Jimmy Mullis had quite an eventful season – making the playoffs in a gutsy stretch of races at the end of the regular season, which included a win at Pocono, and also turning laps with teammate Malik Ray and NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace. While Mullis fell short of the Championship 4, he managed to earn the “best of everybody else” designation of fifth in points, proving he’s here to play. Well, I guess all of the drivers are technically here to play, but Mullis means business.

4. Blake Reynolds, No. 30, Team Dillon Esports
0 Wins
7 Top 5s
12 Top 10s
9.4 Average Finish
65 Incident Points

Third-year racer Blake Reynolds had a breakout season, even though he still hasn’t made it to Victory Lane. Initially, the Texas native went undrafted, until Team Dillon Esports joined the series and snagged him – a fortuitous call for both parties. Proving the power of consistency, Reynolds persevered throughout the regular season and playoffs – including an all-out brawl with Garrett Lowe in the championship cut-off race in the final laps at the Charlotte Roval – and found himself in title contention in Miami. Though he finished fourth of the four, he’s proven himself as a weekly contender for wins.

3. Bobby Zalenski, No. 18, Joe Gibbs Racing
2 Wins (Sonoma, Charlotte road course)
7 Top 5s
11 Top 10s
12.6 Average Finish
68 Incident Points

It’ll be hard for us to forget Bobby Zalenski’s clutch performance at the Charlotte Roval that put him in championship contention. Heading into the cutoff race eighth of eight – a must-win situation – Zalenski qualified on pole, led every single lap, and won the race, just like he’d done earlier in the season at Sonoma Raceway. He’s simply untouchable on road courses, and he’s no slouch everywhere else, earning 11 top-10 finishes in 18 races and leading 219 laps. Expect Zalenski to contend yet again in 2020.

2. Keegan Leahy, No. 62, G2 Esports
2 Wins (Charlotte, Chicagoland)
12 Top 5s
12 Top 10s
9.2 Average Finish
82 Incident Points

When you think raw speed, you think Keegan Leahy. The second-year driver only picked up two victories in 2019, but his consistent performance and ability to simply go fast seemed unmatched – we’re certain he’d have a few more wins under his belt had late-race cautions not brought the field closer. Leahy put the G2 Esports ride out front for a whopping 532 circuits, the most laps led out of anyone in the series, and earned 12 top-five finishes, more than anybody else by 50 percent. In the end, the Canadian driver came just one position shy of a championship, racing Zack Novak cleanly rather than opting to make contact in the final corner – a move that’s left competitors and fans marveling. With his preparation, his speed and his class (and we’re not talking about a class in the Virtual Racing School sense), there’s little doubt Keegan Leahy is a future series champ.

1. Zack Novak, No. 6, Roush Fenway Racing
4 Wins (Daytona, Kansas, Kentucky, Homestead-Miami)
7 Top 5s
8 Top 10s
13.2 Average Finish
61 Incident Points

Something clicked for Zack Novak this year, and he’s the champion because of it. Bookending the season on wins – the opener in Daytona and the finale at Homestead-Miami, not to mention two more along the way – the Roush Fenway Racing driver always seemed to find himself performing when it mattered. While, at one point during the season, he found himself one less-than-ideal finish away from missing the playoffs, he rebounded with a near-win at Bristol, survived the playoffs, then came through and closed the deal at Homestead. With just eight top-10 finishes – the fewest of any playoff drivers – it was a scrappy season, but when you can grab checkered flags when it matters, that’s what wins championships.

Read the rest of our driver-by-driver season recaps:

The eNASCAR iRacing Series returns in 2020.