The stars of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series head to the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday for the first short-track race of 2020. Here’s who we’re watching at the Last Great Colosseum as 40 racers look to claim their slice of a $300,000 pie.
Logan Clampitt, Burton Kligerman Esports
Rank: 11 (previously not ranked)
OK, we usually only rank 10 drivers, but we have to give a nod to Logan Clampitt for a special honorary 11th spot heading into Bristol. Despite being ranked outside of a playoff spot for the moment, he’s had two top-five finishes, and probably would have had a third in Fontana had fortune gone his way. It’s quite a season for Burton Kligerman Esports so far.
John Gorlinsky, William Byron eSports
Rank: 10 (-4)
Way, way back in the day (well, 2010), John Gorlinsky finished third at Bristol. A suboptimal result at Homestead might have thrown off his rhythm in the current day, but in his reunion tour season, perhaps he can rekindle the magic from the week "Imma Be" by The Black Eyed Peas was the number-one single on the Billboard charts.
Zack Novak, Richmond Raceway eSports
Rank: 9 (-1)
Hard to believe the defending series champion is still searching for his first top-10 finish of the season; he’s mired 26th in points and has led just six laps. He’ll look to turn things around – his results, not his car – at Bristol, where he nearly won last year.
Casey Kirwan, Denny Hamlin Racing
Rank: 8 (+2)
Casey Kirwan’s start to the season hasn’t been stellar, but Bristol might be just what he needs to get his season back on track. It’s the place where he bested the champ Zack Novak for the win last August at Bristol for his first-career victory.
Garrett Lowe, Wood Brothers Racing
Rank: 7 (previously not ranked)
The No. 21 car is on a tear, finishing second and fourth in the last two races. The bad news is Bristol’s up next; in two career short-track races, Garrett Lowe’s best finish is 32nd.
Nick Ottinger, William Byron eSports
Rank: 6 (+3)
With a single top five this year (second at Daytona, barely) but sixth in points after three races, Nick Ottinger’s season is not too shabby so far. He wasn’t too shabby at Bristol last year, either, snagging a seventh-place finish.
Jimmy Mullis, Richmond Raceway eSports
Rank: 5 (+2)
We’ve got our eye on Jimmy Mullis at Bristol. Daytona aside, he hasn’t qualified especially well this season, but he’s managed to claw his way up the running order and score half-decent finishes. Passing cars, believe it or not, is a pretty important thing when it comes to racing at Bristol.
Keegan Leahy, Denny Hamlin Racing
Rank: 4 (-3)
It’s tough to bump Keegan Leahy down in our rankings given he’s either won a pole or a race every event this season, but his 16th-place finish in last year’s Bristol race after leading 43 laps isn’t ideal. Leahy’s got the speed – he’s one of the fastest drivers just about anywhere – but he’ll need to stay out of trouble at Bristol.
Ryan Luza, Williams Esports
Rank: 3 (–)
Finally back in Victory Lane after nearly a year away, the 2017 champ has shown he can still get it done, not that we ever doubted him. Luza’s never raced at Bristol in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, but don’t expect that to stop him from another classic early-season tear.
Ashton Crowder, Burton Kligerman Esports
Rank: 2 (+2)
It’s been a breakout season for Ashton Crowder, the only driver other than Bobby Zalenski to go three-for-three in top 10s this year; at this point last season, he had an average finish of 17.7. Bristol might be a bright spot for Crowder, who finished eighth last August.
Bobby Zalenski, Team VRS
Rank: 1 (+1)
There’s no win-and-in to make the playoffs in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series; the top eight make it, period. With two top fives and three top 10s in three races, points leader Bobby Zalenski’s well on his way to the playoffs – though there’s plenty of time for things to change.
Catch the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race from Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday, March 31, at eNASCAR.com/live.