Did you ever wonder why they race fun throwback paint schemes at Darlington, the track where scraping the outside wall is basically a guarantee? Why mess up those beautiful cars? Anyway, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series heads to the track ‘Too Tough To Tame’ Tuesday – throwback paint schemes and all – and we’ve got our eye on these 10 drivers.
Graham Bowlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
Rank: 10 (–)
It’s time for the rookie to head to the track that’s SO kind to rookies. Darlington is just SUPER easy. Is the sarcasm coming through? Anyway, if there’s anybody up for the challenge, it’s Graham Bowlin. Plus, it’s throwback week, and he won the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, which itself was sort of a throwback.
Jimmy Mullis, Richmond Raceway Esports
Rank: 9 (–)
Darlington hasn’t been particularly kind to Jimmy Mullis, who has an average finish of 19th, but we’ve seen him drive with determination to make the playoffs before. He’s currently 17 points out of the top eight.
Garrett Lowe, Wood Brothers Racing
Rank: 8 (-2)
The man with a 61-point safety net is probably just here for Safety Rating for the month of September until the playoffs begin.
Logan Clampitt, Burton-Kligerman Esports
Rank: 7 (+1)
Don’t sleep on Logan Clampitt at Darlington. I repeat, do not sleep on Logan Clampitt at Darlington. In his four starts, he’s scored four top 10s. And, again, this is at Darlington. That’s impressive.
Bobby Zalenski, Team VRS
Rank: 6 (-5)
Unfortunately, we’ve got to drop Bobby Z down a few spots – this week’s track isn’t named Daytona. Zalenski’s 14.3 average finish at Darlington isn’t stellar, but back-to-back wins have afforded him a 28-point lead in the standings.
Nick Ottinger, William Byron eSports
Rank: 5 (-2)
The good news: Former Darlington winner Nick Ottinger has four top 10s in the last five races this season. The bad news: Former Darlington winner Nick Ottinger hasn’t scored a top five at Darlington since he became Darlington winner Nick Ottinger in 2013.
Ryan Luza, Williams Esports
Rank: 4 (+1)
While a Darlington win has eluded the 2017 series champ, it’s worth noting he looked quite stout in the 2018 Darlington race, setting the fastest lap and leading 52 laps. A fourth victory in 2020 would probably be a welcome sight for Luza, who hasn’t scored a top five since May.
Ray Alfalla, Team VRS
Rank: 3 (+4)
"Four-Time" is a three-time Darlington winner, and after a couple of miserable races at Daytona, it might be just the place to keep the No. 2 car in the top eight in points.
Michael Conti, JR Motorsports
Rank: 2 (+2)
Every week, we ask ourselves if this is the week – if this is the race where Michael Conti snaps the winless streak, which now stands at 32 races. Well, Darlington could truly be the place. Conti has scored five top fives in his eight Darlington races, including a dominating victory in 2018. Maybe it’s time for another.
Keegan Leahy, Denny Hamlin Racing
Rank: 1 (+1)
Keegan Leahy’s two victories in 2020 have come at historic venues: Daytona and Indianapolis. You could argue Darlington, a legendary NASCAR track, fits the bill to continue that trend. Leahy led much of last year’s race but ended up finishing fifth; he’s got some unfinished business with the "Lady in Black."
??Catch the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race from Darlington Tuesday, Sept. 8, at eNASCAR.com/live.