Let’s stack up the 10 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series championship contenders heading into Bristol Motor Speedway, site of the second race of this year’s playoffs. A win for one of these 10 will guarantee they’ll race for $100,000 in Texas next month.
Bob Bryant, Kligerman Sport
Rank: 10 (-1)
A 16th-place day at Darlington isn’t necessarily a bad day, but it doesn’t help Bob Bryant’s playoffs season to finish ninth of 10 contenders, beating only a crash-stricken Keegan Leahy. Bryant finished 11th at Bristol last year, and he might need to think about taking some strategy risks to snag a win soon.
Graham Bowlin, Stewart-Haas eSports
Rank: 9 (-4)
Since his New Hampshire win, Graham Bowlin has averaged a 19th-place finish and heads to Bristol, where he finished 17th last year as a rookie. It’s too soon to count him out, but he’ll need to squeeze some more speed out of the No. 10 car if he wants to make the Championship 4.
Keegan Leahy, 23XI Racing
Rank: 8 (-6)
His bad luck can’t last forever, can it? Following the Kansas race in April, Keegan Leahy has finished every race in a position that’s worse than where he’s started — never mind the fact that he’s led laps in three races since that point. He’s going to need a big-time rebound at Bristol or Talladega … tracks where luck is a big part of success.
Vicente Salas, Spacestation Gaming
Rank: 7 (+1)
A ninth-place run at Darlington for a rookie isn’t too shabby at all. Give ‘Chente a look at Bristol — let’s not forget who led every single lap at the last short track race.
Logan Clampitt, William Byron eSports
Rank: 6 (-3)
Logan Clampitt kicked off the playoffs with a top 10 at Darlington; he’s now six for six in terms of top 10s at the trickiest oval track on the circuit. His Bristol record, on the other hand, doesn’t match: his best finish is a 21st-place effort last year.
Matt Bussa, Mode Motorsports
Rank: 5 (+5)
Matt Bussa’s hitting his stride in recent weeks, following up his Michigan win with a top 10 at Darlington. He logged a top 10 at Bristol in 2019 and, technically speaking, he’s holding one of the Championship 4 spots (by one point) heading into the second race of the playoffs.
Jimmy Mullis, Richmond Raceway eSports
Rank: 4 (+2)
A top-five run at Darlington was a good way for Jimmy Mullis to open the playoffs. Remember, at least one Championship 4 spot will go to a driver on points — though Bristol and Talladega don’t exactly lend themselves to points racing.
Michael Conti, JR Motorsports
Rank: 3 (-2)
Despite missing the top 10 at Darlington, we’re still feeling good about Michael Conti’s odds about making the Championship 4 — and Bristol might be the spot for him to clinch. He qualified on pole and led a bunch of laps last year, after all.
Mitchell deJong, 23XI Racing
Rank: 2 (+2)
Another deJong-Zalenski battle? Yep, it happened. We haven’t seen what the rookie can do at Bristol, but if he can lead the most laps in the Darlington playoff race, we’ve got a good feeling for him Tuesday.
Bobby Zalenski, Letarte Esports
Rank: 1 (+6)
We’ve always talked about Bobby Zalenski’s ability on road courses, but this year he hasn’t won on a road course … and now just scored his second victory of the season on an oval. Zalenski’s now reached the Championship 4 for the fourth time in five seasons, and his win at Darlington ties him with 2015 champ Kenny Humpe for fifth-most in all-time series victories.
Catch the second round of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, Aug. 14 at eNASCAR.com/live.