It’s time for some short-track racing, playoffs-style. The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series continues its season Tuesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, where one of the 10 playoff contenders will hope to grab a victory and secure their spot in the $100,000 championship finale next month.
Sep. 14, 2021
Race 16 of 18
Bristol Motor Speedway
Previous winners at Bristol
Fun fact: none of this year’s playoff contenders have won before at Bristol.
2020: Ryan Luza
2019: Casey Kirwan
2011: Thomas Hazard
2010: Richard Towler
Last year at Bristol: Luza wins in overtime
Ryan Luza went on a tear early last season, winning three races in a row. Bristol marked the second win in the stretch; he survived an overtime finish to hold off Garrett Lowe for the victory.
The track even sent him a (virtual) gladiator sword for the accomplishment.
— BristolMotorSpeedway (@BMSupdates) April 1, 2020
Last race: Zalenski wins Darlington playoff opener
Bobby Zalenski picked up his second win of 2021 two weeks ago at Darlington Raceway, holding off Mitchell deJong in double overtime. The win locks the Letarte Esports driver into the Championship 4, meaning he’ll compete for the title and a shot at $100,000 in the Texas Motor Speedway finale Oct. 12.
I can't believe it y'all. To the Championship 4 we go! Sometimes your strategy ends up being big brain 🤣 pic.twitter.com/zsygvKTXlS
— Bobby Zalenski (@bobbyzalenski) September 1, 2021
Playoff picture after Darlington
1. Bobby Zalenski (advanced to Championship 4)
2. Mitchell deJong, +9 points
3. Jimmy Mullis, +3 points
4. Matt Bussa, +1 point
5. Logan Clampitt, -1 point
6. Vicente Salas, -2 points
7. Michael Conti, -4 points
8. Graham Bowlin, -6 points
9. Bob Bryant, -9 points
10. Keegan Leahy, -27 points
The playoffs consist of four races: Aug. 31 at Darlington Raceway, Sept. 14 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Sept. 28 at Talladega Superspeedway and the $100,000-to-win championship race Oct. 12 at Texas Motor Speedway. Four playoff drivers will compete for the title at Texas; a win in the playoffs will automatically advance a playoff driver.
What to expect at Bristol
There’s not much more to be said other than, “it’s Bristol, baby!” The short track that’s created endless NASCAR memories and bumper-to-bumper action is no different in the virtual world. The stakes are higher than ever with the “world’s fastest half-mile” making an appearance in the playoffs for the first time in series history.
The caution flag flew 11 times in last year’s trip to Bristol—and that was an early-season race where the playoffs were hardly on anybody’s mind. It’s quite likely we’ll see another slugfest with the championship race in sight. Or, things could go the opposite way; drivers might tiptoe around the high banks looking to avoid trouble. It’s hard to say when you dangle a shot at big money in front of the world’s best sim racers.
Keep track of who we’re watching in our Power Rankings.
How to watch
Round 16 of the season (the second round of the playoffs) airs live at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sep. 14.