The streak of unique race winners in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will end at 10.
Mitchell deJong drove his 23XI Racing Toyota to Victory Lane in the series’ first trip to Road America Tuesday night, becoming the first driver to win two races in 2021. The win snapped an uncanny stretch of 10 different winners in the season’s opening 10 races.
The rookie qualified on pole for the fourth time this season, picking up where he left off when he won the race from pole position from Circuit of The Americas on May 18 — an effort that put an end to Bobby Zalenski’s six straight road-course wins.
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s 4.048-mile road course hosted the Coca-Cola iRacing Series for the first time and proved a challenge even for veteran drivers. Among those who ran into trouble was defending series champion Nick Ottinger, who drove off course in the opening laps while running in second place.
After qualifying third, Bobby Zalenski wasted no time making his way toward leader deJong, navigating the tricky road course to within a few car lengths of the lead. As the run progressed toward mid-race pit stops, however, deJong stretched his advantage to more than three seconds over the No. 83.
A single pit stop — perhaps the biggest potential for pro drivers to make up or lose time — was no trouble whatsoever for deJong or Zalenski, who both pitted at the end of Lap 15 of the 31-lapper, leaving pit road exactly where they’d raced.
As the lap count dwindled, so did Zalenski’s hopes of following up his win at Pocono Raceway last week. The lead for deJong continued to grow in the closing laps, and the No. 23 coasted to victory uncontested.
We've got ourselves a road course ringer ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— 23XI Racing (@23XIRacing) June 30, 2021
Zalenski wound up 6.7 seconds behind deJong, and rookie Steven Wilson held off Graham Bowlin to finish third. Corey Vincent passed Jimmy Mullis on the final lap, rounding out the top five.
Battles all over the track on the final lap, but it's smooth sailing for @MitchelldeJong1 out front!
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) June 30, 2021
The closest anyone got to deJong’s bumper all night was on the cool-down lap, when his race-winning car ran out of fuel. Second-place and friendly rival Zalenski gave the winner a push back to the pits, knowing they’ll likely fight again for the title of King of the Road at Watkins Glen on Aug. 3.
As the only driver with two wins, deJong now has top priority for making the playoffs, which begin in August. Ten drivers will compete for over $300,000 and the championship.
No stopping @MitchelldeJong1! 🏁
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 30, 2021
The Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to action July 13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.