Atlanta Tunein Tw Friday 3

Preview: Coca-Cola Series competitors ready for Atlanta

Round 8 of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Season means a trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday evening. It’s the halfway point of the 16-race regular season.

Race info

Race 8 of 20
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Hampton, Ga.
1.5-mile oval
167 laps

Previous winners at Atlanta

Atlanta’s been an even-numbered-year sort of track in recent years, only hosting races three times since 2014. Curiously, Steve Sheehan and John Gorlinsky – two drivers making their Coca-Cola Series comeback tours this year – have both scored Atlanta victories way back in the day (relatively speaking).

2018: Matt Bussa
2016: Jake Stergios
2014: Thomas Lewandowski
2013: Joey Brown
2012: John Gorlinsky
2011: John Gorlinsky
2010: Steve Sheehan

Last time at Atlanta: Bussa advances to the championship race

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series last visited Atlanta in 2018, where playoff driver Matt Bussa won the race, outdueling polesitter Michael Conti and punching his ticket to the championship finale in the process. The clutch victory remains Bussa’s only Coca-Cola Series win so far.

Last race: Kollin Keister wins

In the season’s longest race, it was Roush Fenway Racing rookie Kollin Keister taking home the win in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Coca-Cola 300.

An impossibly long green-flag run allowed Keister’s two-pit-stop strategy to work to perfection; meanwhile, in a veteran-like display of patience and persistence, he held off series juggernaut Ryan Luza in the closing laps to bring home the win in just his sixth start.

Points picture after seven races

After Atlanta, the Coca-Cola iRacing Series will reach its halfway point of the regular season. It’s time for the serious playoff contenders to execute.

1) Ryan Luza, 247 points
2) Keegan Leahy, -20
3) Bobby Zalenski, -23
4) Garrett Lowe, -34
5) Brad Davies, -48
6) Michael Conti, -51
7) Graham A. Bowlin, -57
8) Nick Ottinger, -58
9) Jake Nichols, -71
10) John Gorlinsky, -74

The top-eight drivers in points after the regular-season finale on Oct. 1 at Talladega Superspeedway will make the playoffs. The series champion will win $100,000.

What to expect

Three different drivers have won the three intermediate races in 2020 – Ashton Crowder at Fontana, Ryan Luza at Homestead, and Kollin Keister at Charlotte – so it seems there isn’t a whole lot of consistency for picking a winner Friday.

Since the cars changed drastically at intermediate tracks for 2019, results from 2018 and earlier likely aren’t too relevant – and Atlanta didn’t host a race last year.

In our Power Rankings, we’ve got our eyes on the usual suspects, but one driver in particular worth noting may be Garrett Lowe, who’s already scored three second-place finishes this year and has a 2.7 average finish on intermediate tracks – maybe it’s time for the Wood Brothers Racing entry to shine.

Oh, and we’ve got Keegan Leahy as a lock for the pole. He’s started on the pole three times this season, all at intermediate tracks. Denny Hamlin knows how to pick the fast ones.

How to watch

Round 8 of the season airs live Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

Catch the racing action streamed live: