deJong Runs Away With eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Debut at COTA

deJong Runs Away With eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Debut at COTA

After qualifying for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ debut visit to Circuit of the Americas, the stage was finally set for a proper battle for the win on a road course event. Letarte Esports’ Bobby Zalenski, the dominant force on these circuits for multiple years, finally fell to another driver in qualifying, 23XI’s Mitchell deJong. The duo would share the front row coming to the green flag and, most likely, battle it out for 34 laps on the 20-turn Texas circuit.

Turn one, however, had other plans.

In the rush to the sharp uphill lefthander, defending series champion Nick Ottinger of William Byron eSports made contact with Zalenski, spinning the latter and setting off a chain reaction that scrambled most of the field. Of course, that didn’t include deJong, who steered clear of the chaos and never looked back, leading every lap and extending a lead of more than 17 seconds over Richmond Raceway eSports’ Jimmy Mullis at race’s end.

The win was historically significant for two reasons. First, it meant that the long-standing series record of seven different winners to start a season, set during the inaugural 2010 campaign, was finally broken. Second, deJong, who won the 2014 X Games Rallycross Lites gold medal at this track, joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona and Josh Berry at Martinsville as drivers to have won in both eNASCAR and major real-world racing at the same track.

In a dramatic shuffle of the running order for most of the season, none of the top 10 finishers at COTA were previous race winners so far in 2021. Stewart-Haas eSports’ Graham Bowlin completed the podium, while Zalenski charged back from 19th after his spin to secure fourth place in spite of sustaining damage in the first-lap chaos.

Full results from Tuesday’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at Circuit of the Americas were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Name

Manufacturer

Laps

Interval

Led

Best

Pts

1 1 23 Mitchell deJong Toyota 34 34 2:08.714 40
2 7 46 Jimmy Mullis Toyota 34 -17.710 0 2:09.547 35
3 4 10 Graham A. Bowlin Ford 34 -23.242 0 2:09.829 34
4 2 83 Bobby Zalenski Chevrolet 34 -27.131 0 2:09.014 33
5 10 17 Steven Wilson3 Ford 34 -29.347 0 2:10.077 32
6 8 3 Corey Vincent Chevrolet 34 -33.104 0 2:10.415 31
7 9 38 Casey Kirwan Ford 34 -37.701 0 2:10.203 30
8 21 66 Blake Reynolds Chevrolet 34 -40.000 0 2:10.025 29
9 15 2 Garrett Manes Toyota 34 -44.640 0 2:09.886 28
10 12 33 Taylor Hurst Chevrolet 34 -46.572 0 2:10.850 27
11 6 32 Keegan Leahy Toyota 34 -48.747 0 2:10.474 26
12 19 21 Garrett Lowe Ford 34 -52.268 0 2:10.664 25
13 14 8 Michael Conti Chevrolet 34 -57.462 0 2:10.493 24
14 13 4 Ryan Michael Luza Ford 34 -57.639 0 2:10.668 23
15 3 55 Vicente Salas Ford 34 -1:10.964 0 2:10.217 22
16 11 41 Dylan Duval Ford 34 -1:12.543 0 2:11.516 21
17 18 24 Jake Nichols Ford 34 -1:14.081 0 2:09.969 20
18 24 77 Bob Bryant Chevrolet 34 -1:17.355 0 2:10.577 19
19 26 44 Isaac Gann Chevrolet 34 -1:22.220 0 2:10.600 18
20 23 75 Matt Bussa Ford 34 -1:23.132 0 2:11.336 17
21 17 97 Logan Clampitt Chevrolet 34 -1:26.965 0 2:10.674 16
22 25 16 John Gorlinsky Ford 34 -1:29.438 0 2:10.960 15
23 27 6 Nathan Lyon Ford 34 -1:39.295 0 2:12.848 14
24 29 36 Chris Shearburn Chevrolet 34 -1:43.780 0 2:12.286 13
25 31 14 Blade Whitt Ford 34 -1:44.691 0 2:12.116 12
26 32 9 Michael Guest Ford 34 -1:46.210 0 2:12.860 11
27 5 25 Nick Ottinger Chevrolet 34 -1:48.911 0 2:10.261 10
28 33 79 Ryan Doucette Ford 34 -1:49.612 0 2:12.077 9
29 34 15 Caine Cook Ford 34 -1:52.393 0 2:11.808 8
30 22 88 Brad Davies Chevrolet 34 -1:53.584 0 2:11.745 7
31 36 52 Jake Matheson Ford 34 -2:05.733 0 2:13.241 6
32 16 67 Allen Boes Chevrolet 34 -2:06.369 0 2:10.714 5
33 38 18 Femi Olat Toyota 34 -2:11.439 0 2:11.789 4
34 30 11 Malik Ray Ford 34 -2:12.470 0 2:13.892 3
35 20 90 Zack Novak Toyota 34 -2:14.029 0 2:11.656 2
36 37 29 Zack Nichols Ford 33 -1 L 0 2:12.456 1
37 39 37 Derek Justis Chevrolet 33 -1 L 0 2:13.237 1
38 28 51 Ray Alfalla Toyota 22 -12 L 0 2:12.512 1
39 40 47 Brian Schoenburg Chevrolet 13 -21 L 0 2:18.903 1
40 35 1 Ashton Crowder Toyota 3 -31 L 0 1

 

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff grid through eight races is as follows:

  1. Keegan Leahy, 1 win, 231 points
  2. Logan Clampitt, 1 win, 206 points
  3. Michael Conti, 1 win, 186 points
  4. Chris Shearburn, 1 win, 183 points
  5. Ryan Luza, 1 win, 164 points
  6. Vicente Salas, 1 win, 159 points
  7. Bob Bryant, 1 win, 159 points
  8. Mitchell deJong, 1 win, 157 points
  9. Michael Guest, 190 points
  10. Corey Vincent, 182 points

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to action next Tuesday for the Coca-Cola 300, the longest race of the season, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 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

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