The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to Watkins Glen International for the first time in five years, the second-to-last race before the playoffs. These are the drivers to watch in the season’s third road-course race.
Honorable mention: Blake Reynolds, who scored a pair of eighth-place finishes in the two road races this season—but needs another good run to guarantee a seat in the series next year.
Corey Vincent, Team Dillon eSports
Rank: 10 (previously not ranked)
Here’s a sleeper for The Glen. Corey Vincent finished fifth and sixth in this year’s road races, and he scored a pair of top 10s in his two Watkins Glen starts in 2015 and 2016.
Keegan Leahy, 23XI Racing
Rank: 9 (-3)
Though he’s still the points leader, it’s been a bit of a summer slump for Keegan Leahy, who hasn’t notched a top 10 since the Coca-Cola 300 at Charlotte in May. Though Leahy hasn’t raced in the series at Watkins Glen, we’ll never count him out anywhere.
Ray Alfalla, Gibbs Gaming
Rank: 8 (-5)
‘Four-Time’ needs to crack the top 20 in points—and fast—if he wants to take advantage of his Charlotte win to make the playoffs. Currently, he’s ranked 25th in the standings, 23 points away from 20th place. Watkins Glen could be a place to score a few points; in his three starts, he’s logged an average finish of fifth place.
Graham Bowlin, Stewart-Haas eSports
Rank: 7 (–)
Though still in need of that first-career victory with time running out to make the playoffs, the road courses have been kind to Graham Bowlin this year—he’s finished top five at both Road America and Circuit of the Americas. He’ll also probably be hoping for a bad day for Homestead winner Chris Shearburn; if Shearburn falls out of the top 20 in points after next week (he’s 19th), he’ll lose playoff eligibility, giving Bowlin the final spot on points — assuming, of course, that Ray Alfalla doesn’t sneak into the top 20 in that time.
Steven Wilson, Roush Fenway Racing
Rank: 6 (-4)
Time is running out for Mr. Consistency to break through for a win to make the playoffs. Watkins Glen could be the place, though; he’s scored top-five finishes in every road-course race of his Coca-Cola iRacing Series career. Granted, that’s only two races, but a stat’s a stat.
Jimmy Mullis, Richmond Raceway eSports
Rank: 5 (–)
Just like that, a win at New Hampshire puts Jimmy Mullis in the picture — sort of like his strong summer charges in the last two seasons. Though winless on road courses, he boasts a 3.8 average finish in the last five road races—including three runner-up finishes—and his momentum could certainly propel him to back up the Loudon victory.
Nick Ottinger, William Byron eSports
Rank: 4 (previously not ranked)
The defending champ has just a single top five this season (Atlanta in March), but it’s likely he’ll grab a second at The Glen, where he qualified on pole twice and won the 2015 race. And his other two starts? Both second-place finishes. As of right now, Ottinger won’t defend his title unless he wins at Watkins Glen or Michigan.
Michael Conti, JR Motorsports
Rank: 3 (+5)
If there’s anybody who can challenge the road-course kings Mitchell deJong and Bobby Zalenski, it’s 2014 series champ Michael Conti. His three starts at The Glen? A win, a third place, and another third place. It’s his favorite track and he’s got the speed to back it up.
Bobby Zalenski, Letarte Esports
Rank: 2 (+2)
Come on. It’s a road course, so Bobby Zalenski’s automatically a favorite. Zalenski’s never raced at Watkins Glen in the Coca-Cola iRacing Series, but we suspect he won’t have a problem contending for his seventh road-course win.
Mitchell deJong, 23XI Racing
Rank: 1 (–)
Ah, the king of the road. Despite his rookie status, Mitchell deJong’s the only driver to win more than one race this year—and both of his wins came on the two road-course races. Everybody’s chasing Car No. 23 at The Glen.
Catch the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series live from Watkins Glen Tuesday, August 3 at 9 p.m. ET at eNASCAR.com/live.