It was a night full of hard racing and large wrecks, but at the end it was Richmond Raceway eSports’ Jimmy Mullis who walked to virtual victory lane and took the win for Round 12. Mullis, who came in to New Hampshire winless in the 2021 campaign, was able to take the lead off of a restart with 58 to go by powering past series rookie and Richmond winner Vicente Salas for Spacestation Gaming. It wasn’t exactly a cake walk late in the race for Mullis, however, as late race cautions and pile-ups plagued the final half of the race. It came down to an overtime restart where Mullis and his Sunoco Toyota Camry was able to beat Jake Nichols of Mode Motorsports and Michael Conti of JR Motorsports to the checkered flag.
Notable good finishers from Tuesday’s race include Ray Alfalla, who after winning at Charlotte earlier this season is still outside of the Top 20 in points – meaning he does not qualify for the playoffs even with his win. After having zero finishes inside the top 20 for the first six races, the four time champion of the series and leader in all-time eNASCAR race starts looked to improve with his new group at Joe Gibbs Racing. He’s done so since the win, with a second place and a seventh place at Pocono and New Hampshire respectively.
It was also a great night for Anthony Burroughs, who made his first career start in the series three rounds ago at Pocono. Burroughs, who had been attempting to qualify for the series through the eNASCAR Road to Pro Qualifying iRacing Series, was thrusted up to the top step of virtual stock car racing after Isaac Gann pulled out of the series for personal reasons. Burroughs has had a steady climb in performance, with finishes of 31st, 19th, and 15th in his first three starts.
With Jimmy Mullis winning his first race of the season at New Hampshire, this shakes up the playoffs even more. At this point, with 11 different winners, a race winner is at risk of elimination from the playoffs before they begin. Since spots between drivers with the same amount of wins are ranked by the points standings, drivers will need to make sure they’re above the driver on the cutline to qualify.
With Alfalla 25th currently in the points standings, he now needs to get inside the top twenty AND pass Chris Shearburn to qualify – this is not even taking into account if we see unique winners in the final two regular season races at Watkins Glen and Michigan. Shearburn, who had a 23rd place finish at New Hampshire for Letarte eSports, is now also at risk of dropping below the top twenty and losing his current playoff spot.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series continues on the road to the championship in Watkins Glen on August 3rd. Having not been on the schedule since 2016 and a record third road course on the calendar, it will provide a challenge to a majority of the field. Drivers who won’t be too concerned about the track will be Michael Conti and Nick Ottinger, who are both previous winners at this track in the series.
While we have to wait until August 3rd to see the championship continue, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race will take place in two weeks on July 27th from the virtual Nashville Superspeedway and will utilize the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Next-Gen cars. Tune in to see the drivers go battling for bragging rights!
Featured image from @NASCAR on Twitter