The desert’s the place for the third round of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season as the march toward $330,000 continues. Here’s what you need to know when 40 of the world’s best sim racers visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway Tuesday.
Race 3 of 18
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, NV
Previous Las Vegas winners
Ryan Luza’s only been beaten once since joining the Coca-Cola iRacing Series — last year, by Jimmy Mullis.
2020: Jimmy Mullis
2019: Ryan Luza
2018: Ryan Luza
2017: Ryan Luza
2016: Corey Vincent
2015: Kenny Humpe
2014: Jake Stergios
2013: Marcus Lindsey
2012: Jake Stergios
2011: Brad Davies
2010: Sandeep Banerjee
Last year: Mullis marvels in the desert
Jimmy Mullis mounted an impressive charge toward the playoffs last summer, crowned by a victory at Las Vegas. A crash that swallowed up two-dozen-plus cars in the later stages of the race changed the complexion of the race and the playoffs. Mullis outlasted the rest thanks to a smart drive through the field on fresh tires.
WE SHOWED UP WITH ONE GOAL AND WE ACHIEVED THAT GOAL! Winner at @LVMotorSpeedway in the @eNASCARCocaCola @iRacing Series tonight! Incredible car all thanks to @CVincent34, @Christian_C37, and T Hurst. We head to Dega 15 below the cut, goin for it all.@RReSports x @SunocoRacing pic.twitter.com/uyppg56lBP
— Jimmy Mullis (@jmullisracing) September 23, 2020
Last race: Leahy nabs Homestead victory for 23XI Racing
Keegan Leahy was the star of last week’s show at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 23XI driver was untouchable on speed, leaving strategy as the only option in an attempt to topple him — an effort that proved futile in the end, as Leahy beat Ryan Luza to the checkered flag by 2.3 seconds. The race marked the second-consecutive caution-free race in the Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) February 24, 2021
Points picture after two races
1) Michael Conti (1 win)
2) Corey Vincent -3
3) Chris Shearburn -5
4) Keegan Leahy -7 (1 win)
5) Casey Kirwan -13
6) Isaac Gann -14
7) Michael Guest -15
8) Mitchell deJong -15
9) Garrett Lowe -16
10) Nick Ottinger -21
11) Jake Matheson -22
12) Jake Nichols -22
Ten drivers will compete in the playoffs and fight for a championship beginning in August.
What to expect at Las Vegas
If Homestead was any indication, Keegan Leahy will be hard to beat. Leahy’s never won at Las Vegas, but given his intermediate-track speed, that could certainly change Tuesday.
Ryan Luza’s one to watch, too. He’s won three of his four Vegas races — all when the race was held in the early portion of the season, like it is again in 2021. Luza’s won no fewer than three races each year since he joined the series in 2017 — and won the title as a rookie — and he tends to knock out wins early in the year.
A caution flag hasn’t yet flown in 2021, but the September race at Las Vegas racked up five cautions, mostly in the second half of the race. With the race returning to its original springtime date (well, late winter, technically, but who’s the groundhog to say), it’s possible the pre-2020 sub-two-cautions-at-Vegas trend returns.
Look for a resurgence of drivers who’ve started out slow, like last year’s title finalist and regular-season champion Bobby Zalenski, who’s ranked 19th. A bad result at Homestead knocked series sophomore Graham Bowlin down to a point well outside the top 20. And four-time champ Ray Alfalla’s mired down in 32nd after two disastrous finishes.
How to watch
Round 3 of the season airs live at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Mar. 2.