Image via Justin Melillo
For the first time in its 13-season history, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series breaks new ground—literally—by racing on dirt at the Bristol Motor Speedway. As always, race coverage begins at 9PM ET at eNASCAR.com/live and across iRacing social media channels, while Countdown to Green will kick off at 8:30PM ET to preview the action.
Last Race: JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti led a race-high 53 laps to become the first two-time winner of the 2022 eNASCAR season when he took the checkered flag at Richmond Raceway in the fourth round of the season. Just two weeks after getting caught up in an incident with a lapped car at Atlanta, the tables turned, with Conti working his way up from sixth on the grid and holding off Charlotte Phoenix driver Graham Bowlin in the final handful of green-flag laps.
Last Season: While Bristol’s dirt surface has never been a part of the eNASCAR calendar until now, last year’s Bristol race on the pavement was crucial to determining the 2021 series champion. 23XI’s Keegan Leahy, needing a win to advance in the playoffs after a crash in Darlington, led all 250 laps to take the checkered flag ahead of William Byron eSports’ Logan Clampitt. They’d replicate that finish two races later in Texas to secure the top two spots in series points.
Track Facts: Known as “The Last Great Colosseum” for massive bowl seating that surrounds it completely, Bristol Motor Speedway has grown from humble beginnings into the fourth largest sporting venue in America. It seated 18,000 when it hosted its first-ever NASCAR race in 1961, but the track’s popular physical style of racing led to continued expansion over the years to a capacity of more than 150,000. The high-banked oval underwent a resurfacing to add progressive banking in the corners in 2007, and in 2021, became the first track to host a NASCAR Cup Series dirt race in 51 years.
Next Race: Following Bristol, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to Dover International Speedway on Tuesday, April 26 at 9PM ET. “The Monster Mile” last appeared on the calendar in 2020, with eventual series champion William Byron eSports driver Nick Ottinger taking his first victory of the season in Dover. The track’s high banks, concrete surface, and walled-in backstretch pose a significant challenge for even the world’s best sim racers, and one mistake in the wrong place can spell disaster for a huge chunk of the field.