Daytona. Indianapolis. Darlington. When there’s a big stage, Keegan Leahy knows how to win in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2020.
Perhaps it was the Ricky Craven Darlington-winning throwback paint scheme on Leahy’s No. 32 Denny Hamlin Racing Toyota, but it seemed no driver could wriggle the top spot from Leahy, who led 152 of the race’s 184 laps.
Michael Conti started on pole and acted as the primary challenger to Leahy all evening. Conti led the opening circuits until a Lap 30 caution involving John Gorlinsky, Graham Bowlin, and defending series champion Zack Novak put Leahy on top following a round of pit stops.
Leahy held onto the lead through the six cautions that followed, including the final caution on Lap 137 involving Ray Alfalla, who spun while running in the top five.
Conti, who couldn’t find the speed to make a pass, finished second, extending his winless streak to 33 races. Nick Ottinger, Logan Clampitt, and Malik Ray – who made an impressive run through the field after starting 30th – rounded out the top five.
??? @KeeganLeahy brings his @RickyCraven32 throwback to victory lane after a flawless dance with the Lady in Black!@MikeConti5 comes up one position short, and @NickOttinger rounds out the Top 3 at Darlington. pic.twitter.com/WtPHuTOToy
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) September 9, 2020
Tuesday night’s victory for Leahy was the eighth of his career and his first at Darlington. It was somewhat of a redemption for the Nova Scotian, who led the most laps in last year’s race but came up short when it mattered. With two races now remaining in the regular season, Leahy finds himself just two points behind leader Bobby Zalenski.
CRAVEN GOT EM! Not a door banger photo finish, but I'll take em nice and contact-free any chance I can get. Amazing but EVIL car. Shoutout to @PashalisGergis for being my fill-in spotter tonight. @realVRS #DirectForcePro pic.twitter.com/IVGEwzqZsz
— Keegan Leahy (@KeeganLeahy) September 9, 2020
In the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot, Alfalla expanded his margin after several playoff bubble drivers experienced why Darlington’s known as the track "Too Tough to Tame." The four-time champ now holds a 20-point cushion over veteran Brad Davies.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway awaits the Coca-Cola iRacing Series in two weeks for the second-to-last race in the regular season – then, Talladega Superspeedway, the wildcard, will determine who competes for the champion’s six-figure payday.