The moment we were all waiting for in the 2021 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season finally came on Tuesday night: somebody won a second race of the season.
That “somebody” was Mitchell deJong, and the bigger surprise than seeing the 23XI driver take the checkered flag from the pole at Road America was the fact that he didn’t lead every lap. Stewart-Haas eSports’ Graham Bowlin managed to sneak in two of the 31 laps of the race up front during the mid-race pit cycle, but that was all that anyone has for the California native, as he made it two for two on road courses after a perfect race at Circuit of the Americas earlier this season.
Letarte Esports’ Bobby Zalenski, who had formerly been perfect on road courses until deJong made it into the series for the first time this season, finished second after matching deJong’s pace for much of the night. Third place went to Roush Fenway Racing’s Steven Wilson, the series’ top rookie on points, who would climb into the final playoff spot for the moment after holding off Bowlin for the spot. Wilson would surpass Jim Beaver eSports’ Michael Guest, who took contact early in the night and limped home to a 31st place finish.
In fact, contact and off-track excursions were the name of the game for many drivers on Tuesday night, as they all attempted to adapt to the newest track on the eNASCAR schedule. Whether Turn 1, Turn 5, or the infamous Canada Corner, multiple drivers would either see their days end in the track’s heaviest braking zones, or at least lose a handful of spots after missing their braking point and sliding off track. Without caution flags to bunch the field back up, the result was a major spread between the lead lap drivers. Still, in spite of the challenges, an overwhelming majority of starters—34 out of 40, to be exact—would complete all 31 laps of the race.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Road America were as follows:
|4||5||10||Graham A. Bowlin||Ford||31||-20.792||2||2:08.108||33|
|25||8||4||Ryan Michael Luza||Ford||31||-1:31.075||0||2:09.442||12|
|35||21||24||Jake Nichols||Ford||18||-13 L||0||2:10.317||2|
|36||34||29||Zack Nichols||Ford||16||-15 L||0||2:11.648||1|
|37||24||15||Caine Cook||Ford||15||-16 L||0||2:11.506||1|
|38||33||11||Malik Ray||Ford||14||-17 L||0||2:12.786||1|
|39||26||52||Jake Matheson||Ford||13||-18 L||0||2:11.554||1|
|40||39||47||Brian Schoenburg||Chevrolet||7||-24 L||0||2:12.369||1|
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff grid after 11 races is as follows:
- Mitchell deJong, 2 wins, 245 points
- Keegan Leahy, 1 win, 271 points
- Bobby Zalenski, 1 win, 259 points
- Vicente Salas, 1 win, 242 points
- Logan Clampitt, 1 win, 235 points
- Michael Conti, 1 win, 232 points
- Ryan Luza, 1 win, 223 points
- Bob Bryant, 1 win, 223 points
- Chris Shearburn, 1 win, 196 points
- Steven Wilson, 267 points
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to action two weeks from now, taking on New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13. As always, coverage begins with iRacing Countdown to Green at 8:30PM ET, with the racing action picking up at 9PM ET on eNASCAR.com/live and iRacing’s social media channels. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iRacing.com.
Images via Justin Melillo