With a new title sponsor in Coca-Cola, a $300,000-plus prize purse, and playoffs airing live on NBCSN, the 2020 season of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series is bound to be the most exciting yet. Here’s who we think will contend for the year’s first checkered flag Tuesday at Daytona.
Blake Reynolds, Team Dillon eSports
Daytona hasn’t been particularly kind to Blake Reynolds, but you never know what can happen in superspeedway racing. Plus, you can’t ignore the fact that team owner Austin Dillon has a Daytona 500 victory driving the No. 3 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series. Hey, it’s something.
Michael Conti, JR Motorsports
Back with JR Motorsports for the 2020 season, Mike Conti’s looking to snap a winless streak dating back to October 2018. As one of the more weathered veterans in the field — which feels weird to say given the fact he’s only 22 years old — perhaps his time has come for the Daytona W.
Jeremy Allen, JTG Daugherty Racing
While Jeremy Allen hasn’t made a start in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series since 2012 — yes, before the Gen 6 car era — he does claim two victories to his name, both at superspeedways. Expect a contender out of Allen, at least at Daytona.
Bobby Zalenski, Team VRS
Fresh off a third-place championship effort, Bobby Zalenski moves to a new team for 2020. If last year was any indication, a superspeedway might not be too shabby of a way to kick off the new season: he finished ninth at Daytona and seventh at Talladega, tracks where survival is everything.
Jimmy Mullis, Richmond Raceway eSports
Last year’s Daytona runner-up returns to his familiar No. 46 Toyota in 2020, and he’s ready to make another playoff run. He’s teamed up with his buddy Zack Novak, who knows how to get the job done when it’s time to draft.
Ryan Luza, Williams Esports
Everybody knows Ryan Luza is a contender everywhere, but he’s certainly a superspeedway sleeper, too — of his four career races at Daytona and Talladega, he’s finished in the top 10 three times, including an impossibly close second-place run at Talladega last season.
Graham Bowlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
Yes, Graham Bowlin is new to the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. Yes, we’re optimistic about his skills. Bowlin finished second (to four-time Coca-Cola Series champ Ray Alfalla, so it’s basically like winning) in the iRacing Pro Series over the winter after two victories, and he’s already proven he can hang with the best at Daytona. We expect the No. 18 to make some noise in 2020.
Nick Ottinger, William Byron eSports
It’s fair to consider series veteran Nick Ottinger a superspeedway expert, one of the very few who’ve won at both Daytona and Talladega, and leading laps in more than half his races at restrictor-plate (well, technically no restrictor plate anymore) tracks. Ottinger moves over to the upstart William Byron eSports in 2020, where he’ll look to bolster his impressive draft-track stats.
Keegan Leahy, Denny Hamlin Racing
At Daytona, Keegan Leahy’s average start is 4.0 and his average finish is 4.0. He’s hungry to return in 2020, coming just a few car lengths short of winning the championship last year. Expect Leahy to contend at Daytona — assuming he can dodge the unpredictability for which superspeedway racing is infamous.
Zack Novak, Richmond Raceway eSports
With a series-high four wins in 2019, a championship ring and $40,000 added to his net worth, and a Daytona win last year, really, who else could we rank first? Zack Novak, you’re burning “P1: Novak” into all our screens.
Catch the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season opener at Daytona, Tuesday, February 11, on eNASCAR.com.