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Enascar Iracing Championship Race 2021 Preview

Breaking down the Coca-Cola iRacing Series Championship 4

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will crown a new champion Tuesday. Four drivers fought through 17 rounds of competition to rise above the rest, and now they’ll compete for the $100,000-to-win championship at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway in a heads-up, winner-takes-all showdown, where a new series champion is guaranteed.

These sim racers are the 2021 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Championship 4.

Zalenski Burnout Darlington Enascar Coke Series 2021

Bobby Zalenski

No. 83 Letarte Esports Chevrolet
Age: 26

2 wins (Pocono, Darlington, tied for most of all drivers)
6 top 5s (tied for most of all drivers)
10 top 10s (leads all drivers)

The case for: It’s been a different sort of season for Bobby Zalenski. Normally a lock to win on road courses, Driver No. 83 went winless on them, instead winning two races on ovals. It’s an important distinction in his career trajectory—he’s no longer just the road-course guy. Now with 10 total victories, ranging from tracks like Sonoma to Phoenix, Zalenski has matured into a well-rounded threat to win just about anywhere—and it just might make him $100,000 richer.

The case against: Zalenski’s no stranger to the Championship 4; this year marks his fourth appearance in five years. But there’s the argument that such an impressive stat raises a red flag, considering he hasn’t yet sealed the deal with a championship ring despite the opportunity at hand. And with competition from the other contenders, Texas won’t be a walk in the park.

Dejong Burnout Enascar Cota Coke Series 2021

Mitchell deJong

No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota
Age: 24

2 wins (Circuit of the Americas, Road America, tied for most of all drivers)
6 top 5s (tied for most of all drivers)
9 top 10s

The case for: There’s no ceiling on rookie Mitchell deJong’s talent. He’s accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in multiple racing disciplines throughout iRacing’s World Championship Series over the years—not to mention nabbing gold and silver X Games medals. He’s won five pole positions this season, more than any driver; he’s got speed everywhere. For a rookie, he’s managed to keep his car nice and clean, too; he’s tied with 23XI Racing teammate Keegan Leahy for the fewest incidents (69) among championship contenders this season. DeJong is fast and consistent, and he could become the first rookie champion since Ryan Luza in 2017.

The case against: If Coca-Cola iRacing Series experience matters, deJong isn’t the favorite. His 17 career starts dwarf his competitors’ numbers; the next-closest is Leahy at 74 starts (Zalenski has 91 and Clampitt has 97). And, for all the success the 24-year-old has had in 2021, he hasn’t yet won on an oval. That’s not to count him out entirely, though reaching the Championship 4 and earning a championship trophy are two very different beasts.

Leahy Burnout Enascar Coke Series Bristol Playoffs 2021

Keegan Leahy

No. 32 23XI Racing Toyota
Age: 27

2 wins (Homestead, Bristol, tied for most of all drivers)
4 top 5s
8 top 10s

The case for: It’s tough to forget how close Keegan Leahy came to winning the Coca-Cola iRacing Series championship in 2019, opting to race eventual champ Zack Novak cleanly for the win in the final corner. Leahy’s once again put together a solid season, grabbing wins at Homestead and Bristol, one of only two drivers to win on multiple ovals this year (Zalenski the other). Earning four pole positions in 2021 proved he knows a thing or two about turning quick laps when it counts, too.

The case against: The summer! While Leahy started off the season strong, something went terribly awry when the calendar flipped to June. In a six-race span (over the course of an 18-race season, mind you), Leahy failed to log a single top-10 finish, earning a dismal and uncharacteristic 24.5 average finish that wasn’t improved until a well-timed breakthrough win in the Bristol playoff race on Sept. 14.

Logan Clampitt Wins Coke Series Atlanta 2021 Enascar

Logan Clampitt

No. 97 William Byron eSports Chevrolet
Age: 21

1 win (Atlanta)
4 top 5s
8 top 10s

The case for: Curiously, the youngest Championship 4 driver has the most experience among his competitors. Logan Clampitt, the 21-year-old, has logged 97 starts since his 2016 Coca-Cola iRacing Series debut, picking up three victories in that time, most recently at Atlanta in the spring. He’s put together a scrappy season, fighting to make the playoffs after falling just short in the last three attempts. Clampitt finished runner-up to Ryan Luza in 2017, and he’ll look to do one spot better in 2021 against some Coca-Cola iRacing Series juggernauts. He’s one of the best drivers around when it comes to intermediate tracks right now, too, having led four races on intermediate ovals this season. It could give him an edge when it all comes down to Texas.

The case against: It’s fair to consider Clampitt the underdog of the bunch. He made this year’s Championship 4 by a rock-solid playoff run in terms of points—two second-place finishes and three top 10s—but hasn’t won a race since March. (And before that, 2018.) He’ll need a performance reminiscent of his 97-laps-led Atlanta performance if he wants to follow teammate Nick Ottinger in keeping William Byron eSports undefeated in championships.

Catch the finale of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. ET at https://enascar.com/.