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Zalenski Steals eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Logitech G 200 at Talladega

In the most madcap of all possible finishes, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Bobby Zalenski is an eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Championship 4 driver once again after finally scoring his first win of the season in the Logitech G 200 at Talladega Superspeedway. The only driver to earn a playoff berth by points, Zalenski slid sideways across the line after eRacr’s Collin Bowden and XSET’s Casey Kirwan made contact going for the win to guarantee his chance to go for the $100,000 championship in October.

As is often the case in eNASCAR superspeedway races, the early action was clean as drivers clicked off laps. It wasn’t until after halfway that the first yellow flag flew, as Elliott Sadler eSports’ Liam Brotherton and Letarte Esports’ Dylan Ault both went for the middle and made contact that collected playoff driver Femi Olatunbosun of Clint Bowyer Racing and numerous others. Another major wreck shortly thereafter collected Olatunbosun again, as well as fellow playoff driver Mitchell deJong of 23XI, and saw Olatunbosun’s teammate Nicklas Shelton barrel roll through the tri-oval grass. 

The next green flag wouldn’t even last a lap, collecting even more playoff drivers—including top seed Steven Wilson of Stewart-Haas eSports and defending race winner and 2020 champion Nick Ottinger of William Byron eSports—and another immediate fourth caution would set up a green-white-checkered finish. Michael Guest of Jim Beaver eSports and Malik Ray were the leading tandem after the final restart and take the field to the white flag, but the run by Bowden and Kirwan rocketed them to the lead.

As the rest of the field began to make their moves, Bowden and Kirwan built a few car lengths on the field, but Kirwan ducked low with a run in the tri-oval. Bowden drove low to defend, and as they pushed one another going to the start-finish line, Zalenski closed the gap. Kirwan made contact with the charging Zalenski before the trio slid across the line, and the rest of the field piled in behind them.

Going into the penultimate round of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, only Zalenski has a guaranteed Championship 4 berth with a win. The remaining nine playoff drivers will either need to win at Homestead, or hope their best two playoff finishes among Bristol, Talladega, and Homestead are good enough on points to secure their spot.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from the Logitech G 200 at Talladega were as follows:

FIN. ST. NO. NAME TEAM LAPS INTERVAL LED BEST PTS
1 27 18 Bobby Zalenski Joe Gibbs Racing 73 0.000 1 48.641 40
2 34 69 Collin Bowden eRacr 73 -0.017 13 48.751 35
3 13 95 Casey Kirwan XSET 73 -0.073 8 48.836 34
4 40 17 Kaden Honeycutt Roush Fenway Keselowski 73 -0.370 1 48.304 33
5 1 48 Graham A. Bowlin Charlotte Phoenix 73 -0.440 0 48.974 32
6 29 88 Briar LaPradd JR Motorsports 73 -0.434 0 48.591 31
7 10 7 Malik Ray iRacing Motorsports 73 -0.459 11 48.828 30
8 33 20 Donovan Strauss Williams eSports 73 -0.444 0 48.523 29
9 32 36 Brian Mercurio Letarte Esports 73 -0.490 0 48.288 28
10 24 15 Blake Reynolds Jim Beaver eSports 73 -0.499 2 48.859 27
11 9 9 Michael Guest Jim Beaver eSports 73 -0.525 5 48.802 26
12 36 16 Blade Whitt Wood Brothers Racing 73 -0.624 0 48.677 25
13 5 25 Nick Ottinger William Byron eSports 73 -0.678 4 48.539 24
14 11 24 Cody Byus Mode Motorsports 73 -0.713 2 48.651 23
15 14 12 Derek Justis iRacing Motorsports 73 -0.802 0 48.915 22
16 3 8 Michael Conti JR Motorsports 73 -0.821 0 48.696 21
17 6 40 Dylan Ault Letarte Esports 73 -1.006 2 48.894 20
18 18 4 Ryan Luza XSET 73 -1.136 4 48.869 19
19 16 75 Matt Bussa Mode Motorsports 73 -1.197 0 48.641 18
20 38 6 Parker Retzlaff Roush Fenway Keselowski 73 -1.182 0 48.943 17
21 26 33 Taylor Hurst Team Dillon Esports 73 -1.450 0 48.674 16
22 28 5 Zack Novak Rise eSports 73 -1.558 0 48.652 15
23 19 31 Garrett Manes Elliot Sadler eSports 73 -2.074 0 48.645 14
24 17 51 Ray Alfalla Joe Gibbs Racing 73 -2.737 1 48.952 13
25 12 23 Mitchell deJong 23XI 73 -3.178 0 48.682 12
26 4 45 Keegan Leahy 23XI 73 -3.232 2 48.672 11
27 22 79 Femi Olatunbosun Clint Bowyer Racing 73 -3.398 2 48.571 10
28 2 21 Garrett Lowe Wood Brothers Racing 73 -4.153 1 48.973 9
29 25 43 Kollin Keister Charlotte Phoenix 73 -5.250 1 48.619 8
30 15 19 Vicente Salas Williams eSports 73 -5.825 0 48.514 7
31 7 10 Steven Wilson Stewart Haas Racing 73 -9.261 2 48.916 6
32 8 55 Allen Boes Space Station Gaming 73 -18.080 6 48.850 5
33 21 42 Darik Bourdeau eRacr 73 -47.952 2 48.659 4
34 30 46 Jimmy Mullis Rise eSports 69 -4L 0 48.440 3
35 35 3 Corey Vincent Team Dillon Esports 69 -4L 0 48.517 2
36 37 97 Logan Clampitt William Byron eSports 67 -6L 1 48.278 1
37 20 2 Liam Brotherton Elliot Sadler eSports 67 -6L 2 48.489 1
38 31 54 Kyle Peddle Space Station Gaming 63 DNF 0 48.653 1
39 39 14 Nickolas Shelton Clint Bowyer Racing 59 DNF 0 48.306 1
40 23 41 Dylan Duval Stewart Haas Racing 52 -21L 0 48.869 1

 

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points after 16 rounds are as follows:

  1. Bobby Zalenski, 2061/1 playoff win
  2. Graham Bowlin, 2061
  3. Casey Kirwan, 2052
  4. Michael Conti, 2047
  5. Garrett Lowe, 2044
  6. Steven Wilson, 2042
  7. Nick Ottinger, 2037
  8. Matt Bussa, 2030
  9. Femi Olatunbosun, 2029
  10. Mitchell deJong, 2019

The 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Championship 4 cutoff round runs in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Broadcast coverage begins on Tuesday, October 11 at 8:30PM ET with Countdown to Green before the 9PM ET green flag. Live coverage of all the action can be seen at enascar.com/live. The season will culminate with a live, in-person event from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte on October 25, with the Championship 4, commentary team, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. all in attendance.

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