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Crowder claims Auto Club in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series

Burton-Kligerman Esports driver Ashton Crowder bested the field Tuesday in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at Auto Club Speedway — but it didn’t come without a fight.

Crowder emerged as a contender in the final third of the race and fought head-to-head against Wood Brothers Racing’s Garrett Lowe in the final laps, swapping slide jobs while Bobby Zalenski out of Team VRS lurked behind the two.

Season-opener winner Keegan Leahy won the pole and showed speed in the opening run of the race, but lost his hopes at a win during a pair of mid-race cautions that snarled plenty of contenders including defending series champ Zack Novak, two-time Auto Club winner Ryan Luza, and Crowder’s teammate and early contender Logan Clampitt.

So, no, Crowder may not have been a favorite to win the race — but, much like in last year’s race at Darlington, he rose to the occasion when he needed to perform and snagged the checkered flag.

Crowder’s second-career victory was also the second for Burton-Kligerman Esports, co-owned by racers Jeff Burton and Parker Kligerman.

Tuesday’s 100-lapper from Auto Club Speedway was the second race of the 20-race eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season, and, short of the fireworks among the leaders in the closing laps of the race, followed Daytona’s trend of green-flag, two- and three-wide racing throughout the evening — these drivers are the pros, after all.

The win is still sinking in for the 17-year-old Crowder, who’s racing for the $100,000 champion’s prize — and holds the points lead tiebreaker with Bobby Zalenski after two races.

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to the track March 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Round 3 of the 2020 tour.