It was a wild night before the green flag even dropped at virtual Michigan for Round 14 of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season. Being the final regular season race of the season, all eyes fell on the drivers in the ten playoff spots to see who would make it and who would miss out. The only driver safe was Mitchell deJong with his two wins on the season – still the only driver to have multiple wins this season. Chris Shearburn needed to jump above Ryan Luza in the points standings to earn his playoff spot, being in 11th even with the one win this season. Ray Alfalla needed a gift to work his way into the Top 20 and then some for his win to even count towards the playoffs.
The drama reached a crescendo on the final lap of the race – Keegan Leahy for 23XI Racing and Jake Matheson for Williams eSports were battling off of Turn 2, with the entire pack of racers watching behind. Matheson looked to the bottom to make the pass for the lead, and Leahy covered it off milliseconds too late. Leahy would get turned to the infield, ending up in 28th at the checkered flag. The door opened for Matt Bussa in the Mode Motorsports #75 to make the move for the win in Turn 3 and run away with his first victory in the series since 2018.
Mode Motorsports showed promise with both cars on the podium and with Bussa locking himself into the Playoffs. The top 10 shows scarcity of the Playoff drivers, with only Conti and Mullis finishing in the Top 10 that were already locked in to the Playoffs before the green flag was waved.
Mitchell deJong has the advantage of his two wins that give him six bonus points going in, with everybody else earning only three bonus points. 23XI Racing is the only team to have both team cars in the playoffs with Leahy joining his teammate deJong.
The Playoff schedule has three wildly different racetracks before the finale at Texas – starting with Darlington, the field then heads to Bristol, and finally for the elimination round at Talladega. After these three races, the top four will compete for the championship in virtual Texas, with the remaining six wondering “what if.”
You can catch the first round of the playoffs from the virtual Lady in Black, the Darlington Raceway on August 31st with Countdown to Green starting at 8:30pm eastern. Race coverage begins at 9pm eastern with Evan Posocco leading the booth filled with Steve Letarte and Parker Kligerman from NBC Sports.