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Davies Bowlin Enascar 2020 Atlanta Round8

Coca-Cola iRacing Series season in review: 11th-20th

With the record-setting 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season in the rearview mirror, we’re breaking down the season driver by driver for the world’s fastest sim racers. This week, we’re featuring the drivers ranked just outside the top 10 but still locked themselves into the 2021 field by virtue of a top-20 points finish.

20. John Gorlinsky, No. 97 William Byron eSports

John Gorlinsky Headshot Preview

0 Wins
0 Top 5s
4 Top 10s
Average Finish: 21
Laps Led: 7
Incidents: 162

The John Gorlinsky comeback tour will continue in 2021. After the sim-racing veteran’s first season back in the Coca-Cola iRacing Series since 2013, Gorlinsky managed to snag the last guaranteed spot in next year’s field by just 10 points. He started the season with a pair of sixth-place finishes at Daytona International Speedway and Auto Club Speedway, but he couldn’t match the results over the next 18 races. We expect the four-time race winner to add to his wins total next year.

19. Casey Kirwan, No. 23 Denny Hamlin Racing

Casey Kirwan Headshot Previews

1 Win
1 Top 5
7 Top 10s
Average Finish: 21
Laps Led: 32
Incidents: 83

It was an up-and-down season for Casey Kirwan, who faced relegation for much of the season. Plagued by inopportune bad luck — he finished outside the top 20 in 11 of 20 races — Kirwan managed to score a victory at Michigan International Speedway, where he led (appropriately, given his Michael Jordan-sponsored Denny Hamlin Racing car) 23 laps. Kirwan will never get enough credit for his absolute mad dash to a ninth-place finish in the Homestead-Miami Speedway season finale, which made the difference from keeping his spot in next year’s field or spending the winter in the iRacing Pro Series.

18. Christian Challiner, No. 37 JTG Daugherty Racing

Christian Challiner Headshot Preview

0 Wins
3 Top 5s
5 Top 10s
Average Finish: 21
Laps Led: 5
Incidents: 88

Still chasing his first career victory, Christian Challiner wrapped up his fourth season in his trademark fashion: a bit under the radar, but fast enough when it mattered. A good example is his sixth-place finish at Miami, which moved him into the top 20 despite entering the finale below the relegation bubble. He has proven he knows how to make the car go fast — a pole at Talladega Superspeedway confirms this — and he’ll get to demonstrate more of it with a guaranteed spot in the 2021 field.

17. Jake Nichols, No. 24 Mode Motorsports

Jake Nichols Headshot Preview

0 Wins
1 Top 5
3 Top 10s
Average Finish: 19
Laps Led: 13
Incidents: 89

For the second consecutive season, Jake Nichols managed to put together a season solid enough to guarantee another year in the Coca-Cola iRacing Series. It’s probably a pretty good thing he pulled it off, since team owner and former NFL guard Kyle Long doesn’t seem like the guy you’d want to upset. Nichols, who’s still chasing that first win, tied his career-best finish of fourth at Auto Club in February, leading a flurry of laps on the way.

16. Bob Bryant, No. 77 Burton Kligerman Esports

Bob Bryant Headshot Preview

0 Wins
2 Top 5s
3 Top 10s
Average Finish: 19
Laps Led: 43
Incidents: 104

With the 2020 season in the books, we can finally stop calling Bob Bryant a rookie, which has felt super weird given his lengthy sim-racing resume — it was just his first season racing in the Coca-Cola iRacing Series. While Bryant didn’t find Victory Lane in 2020, he looked quick in the second half of the year, nearly winning at Talladega and Texas Motor Speedway. While it’s probably a little early to make 2021 predictions, Bryant’s name should appear on the list of playoff contenders.

15. Caine Cook, No. 55 Renegades

Caine Cook Headshot Preview

0 Wins
2 Top 5s
7 Top 10s
Average Finish: 19
Laps Led: 19
Incidents: 77

Caine Cook showed improvement in his sophomore Coca-Cola iRacing Series season, jumping from 28th in points last year to a top-15 points finish in 2020. Cook might have been one of the most exciting drivers to watch: he’d appear in the top 10 when you’d least suspect him, make some noise, make gutsy strategy calls — and oftentimes it worked. Given his current trajectory, we’ll be surprised if Cook doesn’t find himself in Victory Lane in 2021.

14. Blake Reynolds, No. 3 Team Dillon eSports

Blake Reynolds Headshot Preview

0 Wins
1 Top 5
3 Top 10s
Average Finish: 18
Laps Led: 7
Incidents: 115

The 2020 season likely wasn’t the follow-up to the 2019 Championship 4 performance Blake Reynolds wanted. Reynolds was hardly the presence at the front of the field as he was last season, scoring a lone top five (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and three top 10s, versus seven top fives and 12 top 10s in 2019 — which featured a shorter schedule. Still, finishing top 20 in points is a remarkable accomplishment at this level of competition, and Reynolds will get a shot at scoring that elusive first victory in his fifth season thanks to those efforts. (Plus, his next race will be his 69th start. Nice.)

13. Chris Shearburn, No. 36 Letarte Esports

Chris Shearburn Headshot Preview

1 Win
5 Top 5s
5 Top 10s
Average Finish: 19
Laps Led: 53
Incidents: 96

He did it! Finally, in his 71st Coca-Cola iRacing Series start, Chris Shearburn became a race winner — and in the championship race, no less. It was undoubtedly the 2020 highlight for the veteran, who also set new personal bests in top fives and top 10s in a single season. The Miami win shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given all five of his solid finishes this season came on intermediate ovals. It’s not out of the question for Shearburn to keep the momentum rolling toward a playoff appearance next year.

12. Brad Davies, No. 88 JR Motorsports

Brad Davies Headshot Preview

0 Wins
2 Top 5s
5 Top 10s
Average Finish: 17
Laps Led: 117
Incidents: 106

The driver with the second-most starts in Coca-Cola iRacing Series history didn’t have a half-bad 2020. Perhaps highlighted by his “2” part of the JR Motorsports 1-2 finish with Michael Conti at Texas — the first-ever team 1-2 — Davies also finished runner up at Dover International Speedway in April, one race removed from leading the most laps at Bristol Motor Speedway. While a potential run to the playoffs in late summer collapsed, there’s a lot to be proud of heading into his 12th Coca-Cola iRacing Series season.

11. Graham Bowlin, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing

Graham Bowlin Headshot Preview

0 Wins
2 Top 5s
6 Top 10s
Average Finish: 17
Laps Led: 90
Incidents: 123

Graham Bowlin’s got a unique situation after his rookie season: he has a checkered flag, yet no race wins. No, Bowlin’s All-Star Race win didn’t count for points in the official record book, but most racers would say a win is a win. Bowlin showed plenty of speed in his first season — quite a foundation — and we’re downright positive he’ll score a victory in his sophomore season. (And when it finally happens, it’ll count for points.)

Catch our season review of eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers ranked first through 10th on eNASCAR.com next week.