Images via Justin Melillo
Nick Ottinger dominated most of the race, but Stewart-Haas eSports’ Steven Wilson would outlast the field on old tires and hang on as the field wrecked behind him to claim his first career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday night. Wilson would make a last-lap pass on Charlotte Phoenix’s Graham Bowlin in double overtime to punch his playoff ticket and punctuate a thrilling sendoff for the former Atlanta layout.
Ottinger qualified on pole alongside Matt Bussa of Mode Motorsports, whose team owner Kyle Long of the Kansas City Chiefs joined the broadcast for an interview about his love of sim racing. After a quick early caution, the field would push through a lengthy green-flag run, with most of the front runners holding their position throughout. The real drama came with green-flag pit stops, as Ottinger stopped first on his own and four-time series champion Ray Alfalla and Spacestation Gaming’s Allen Boes stayed out.
The race turned on its head with under 40 to go, through, when the damaged car of Derek Justis clipped the apron while letting the leaders by and collected Las Vegas winner Michael Conti of JR Motorsports, former series champion Ryan Luza, and others. While the field had started to get racy coming off pit stops, that yellow marked a clear line between conservative and aggressive driving. Still, the race stayed green until XSET’s Casey Kirwan spun Bussa with five laps to go, setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
Bowlin, Bobby Zalenski, and Wilson led the handful of drivers who stayed out under caution, while Bussa and Donovan Strauss took two tires and Ottinger led the four-tire brigade from ninth. Strauss would spin to cause another yellow just before the leaders got to the finish line with Bowlin still scored in first to set up another restart. On the final lap, Bussa would make side contact with Ottinger that slowed the latter’s run while Wilson found his way around Bowlin for the lead; coming to the checkered flag, Wilson would block Bussa successfully as multiple spins happened behind him to avoid a photo finish.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Atlanta Motor Speedway were as follows:
|12||7||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Toyota||107||-0.962||20||30.712||25|
|33||27||17||Kaden Honeycutt||Ford||105||-2 L||0||30.978||4|
|34||11||21||Garrett Lowe||Ford||94||-13 L||0||30.810||3|
|35||12||42||Darik Bourdeau||Chevrolet||69||-38 L||0||30.616||2|
|36||22||69||Collin Bowden||Chevrolet||67||-40 L||0||30.892||1|
|37||13||8||Michael Conti||Chevrolet||65||-42 L||0||30.808||1|
|38||38||12||Derek Justis||Ford||63||-44 L||0||30.954||1|
|39||39||7||Malik Ray||Ford||0||-107 L||0||1|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points through three rounds are as follows:
- Femi Olatunbosun, 90
- Steven Wilson, 89
- Garrett Manes, 84
- Casey Kirwan, 84
- Bobby Zalenski, 80
- Nick Ottinger, 78
- Keegan Leahy, 75
- Blake Reynolds, 75
- Michael Conti, 74
- Graham Bowlin, 71
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season continues at Richmond Raceway two weeks from now, where Vicente Salas made history last season by becoming the first driver to lead every lap of an eNASCAR oval race. Broadcast coverage begins on Tuesday, March 29 at 8:30PM ET with Countdown to Green before a 9PM ET green flag, and can be seen at enascar.com/live.