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Casey Kirwan Scores First eNASCAR Win of 2022 in All-Time Classic Finish From Pocono

Going into Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action at Pocono Raceway, XSET’s Casey Kirwan and RISE Esports’ Zack Novak filled the only two remaining spots on the playoff grid open for winless drivers. It was only fitting, then, that when the checkered flag fell, they’d be the ones deciding who would get the next guaranteed spot.

Kirwan got himself into the lead with just a handful of laps to go, but a succession of eNASCAR Overtime attempts would allow Novak to get past and control the final restart. Still, Kirwan would strike back, taking advantage of a better run to the inside coming off the final corner to pull alongside Novak on the frontstretch. The duo would bounce off one another in the charge to the finish line, with the final bounce going Kirwan’s way by just one hundredth of a second.

It was the second straight year that a driver would punch their playoff ticket in Pocono after surviving multiple overtime attempts, after Bobby Zalenski did the same last year. The first half of the race stayed clean and green, with Taylor Hurst, Nick Ottinger, Kirwan, and Mitchell deJong among those spending time in the lead and every driver pitting under green. The cautions didn’t begin until Lap 39, when Liam Brotherton and Ray Alfalla made contact, shuffling the field once again as a handful of drivers stayed out for track position.

As the laps continued to tick down, more cautions would ensue as drivers attempted to fan out on Pocono’s wide straightaways. With drivers going four-wide or more, the slightest mistakes caused several multi-car incidents that left drivers to try and salvage decent finishing positions with wounded race cars. “The Tricky Triangle” wasn’t particularly picky about its victims, either, as past champions and series rookies alike would fall victim to the carnage.

But with the next flag calling the race, the field would make sure the third overtime restart was the charm. Novak would hold the point initially as Kirwan pulled aside, while defending champion Keegan Leahy would push Novak to the white flag and give Novak the edge into Turn 1. Kirwan would slot in between them and hold onto the draft until Turn 3, putting it right on the yellow line as Novak chose a higher line through the corner. From there, the two drivers provided an answer to the iconic real-world Darlington finish between Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch in 2003, with the driver on the inside line once again securing the top spot in a photo finish.

 

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Pocono Raceway were as follows:

FIN. ST. NO. NAME TEAM LAPS INTERVAL LED BEST PTS
1 11 95 Casey Kirwan XSET 72 0.000 19 53.596 40
2 28 5 Zack Novak Rise eSports 72 0.010 5 53.548 35
3 15 45 Keegan Leahy 23XI 72 -0.097 0 53.550 34
4 2 20 Donovan Strauss Williams eSports 72 -0.299 0 53.641 33
5 20 42 Darik Bourdeau eRacr 72 -0.364 4 53.454 32
6 12 18 Bobby Zalenski Joe Gibbs Racing 72 -0.379 0 53.490 31
7 16 7 Malik Ray iRacing Motorsports 72 -0.471 0 53.220 30
8 21 9 Michael Guest Jim Beaver eSports 72 -0.552 0 53.138 29
9 29 79 Femi Olatunbosun Clint Bowyer Racing 72 -1.067 0 53.575 28
10 17 31 Garrett Manes Elliott Sadler eSports 72 -1.309 0 53.628 27
11 6 88 Briar LaPradd JR Motorsports 72 -1.470 0 53.435 26
12 18 41 Dylan Duval Stewart Haas Racing 72 -1.619 0 53.734 25
13 35 21 Garrett Lowe Wood Brothers Racing 72 -1.660 0 53.651 24
14 24 36 Brian Mercurio Letarte Esports 72 -1.912 1 53.674 23
15 30 15 Blake Reynolds Jim Beaver eSports 72 -2.466 0 53.761 22
16 40 75 Matt Bussa Mode Motorsports 72 -2.510 0 53.800 21
17 10 23 Mitchell deJong 23XI 72 -2.697 4 53.776 20
18 5 46 Jimmy Mullis Rise eSports 72 -2.887 0 53.614 19
19 13 8 Michael Conti JR Motorsports 72 -2.916 0 53.477 18
20 32 16 Blade Whitt Wood Brothers Racing 72 -2.965 0 53.494 17
21 33 40 Dylan Ault Letarte Esports 72 -2.975 0 53.667 16
22 9 55 Allen Boes Space Station Gaming 72 -3.075 0 53.645 15
23 34 2 Liam Brotherton Elliott Sadler eSports 72 -3.142 0 53.660 14
24 4 24 Cody Byus Mode Motorsports 72 -3.274 0 53.701 13
25 19 43 Kollin Keister Charlotte Phoenix 72 -3.343 0 53.656 12
26 31 6 Parker Retzlaff Roush Fenway Keselowski 72 -3.390 0 53.594 11
27 39 14 Nickolas Shelton Clint Bowyer Racing 72 -3.382 0 53.808 10
28 37 12 Derek Justis iRacing Motorsports 72 -6.655 4 53.730 9
29 26 51 Ray Alfalla Joe Gibbs Racing 72 -13.036 1 53.640 8
30 8 97 Logan Clampitt William Byron eSports 72 -17.178 0 53.700 7
31 7 3 Corey Vincent Team Dillon Esports 72 -17.937 0 53.594 6
32 25 4 Ryan Luza XSET 71 -1L 0 53.444 5
33 38 48 Graham A. Bowlin Charlotte Phoenix 69 -3L 0 53.665 4
34 3 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron eSports 67 -5L 12 53.638 3
35 27 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Racing 67 -5L 0 53.474 2
36 36 19 Vicente Salas Williams eSports 62 -10L 0 53.714 1
37 1 33 Taylor Hurst Team Dillon Esports 60 Disqualified 16 53.712 1
38 14 69 Collin Bowden eRacr 56 -16L 6 53.634 1
39 22 17 Kaden Honeycutt Roush Fenway Keselowski 15 DNF 0 55.211 1
40 23 54 Kyle Peddle Space Station Gaming 13 DNF 0 53.957 1

 

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff grid through 12 rounds is as follows:

  1. Steven Wilson, 2 wins/314 points
  2. Nick Ottinger, 2 wins/282 points
  3. Michael Conti, 2 wins/264 points
  4. Casey Kirwan, 1 win/324 points
  5. Matt Bussa, 1 win/317 points
  6. Graham Bowlin, 1 win/275 points
  7. Femi Olatunbosun, 1 win/273 points
  8. Garrett Lowe, 1 win/245 points
  9. Ray Alfalla, 1 win/204 points
  10. Zack Novak, 284 points

The 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race is the next event on the calendar, with past race and pole winners taking to the streets of Chicago in celebration of the NASCAR Cup Series holding its first-ever street race next year. Broadcast coverage begins on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET with Countdown to Green before the 9 p.m. ET green flag. Live coverage of all the action can be seen at enascar.com/live.

For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit www.enascar.com or www.iracing.com/enascar. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.

Images via Justin Melillo