Playoff racing at Talladega always creates drama and causes sleepless nights for the drivers looking to make it all the way to the Final Four. Whether it’s real or virtual, this track always seems to bring the action – and that was certainly true on Tuesday night. While strategy isn’t normally talked about when it comes to plate racing, it was adamant when it came to the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. Changes to the way cars draft at superspeedways on the iRacing service has caused a stir in the community, with the main issue being a tough to form outside line and difficulty making passes due to extreme side forces. This led to a mostly single file night in the draft.
An early caution on lap two, involving Jim Beaver eSports’ Michael Guest and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ray Alfalla, would be the only yellow flag seen all night. It became clear that the pit strategy game would be played and to win, you would need to make the best call. This is where problems began – as everyone knows, pitting under green at superspeedways is dangerous. Other cars pitting with you is a must to keep the draft and stay in the running for the victory. Taking a page out of real life racing’s book, manufacturer and team alliances became apparent, with the most notable being JR Motorsports and William Byron eSports working together. Towards the end it was Nick Ottinger and Logan Clampitt, teammates at William Byron eSports, and Michael Conti, driver for JR Motorsports, the top three. Conti tried to make a move for the race win and a spot in the Final Four but lost all drafting help, sending him to the back of the line. Logan Clampitt pushed his teammate Nick Ottinger to the race win, securing Clampitt’s spot in the Final Four on points.
The playoff story is reaching its apex as the Final Four has been determined. With his win at Darlington earlier in the round, Bobby Zalenski for Letarte eSports will compete for the championship in virtual Texas. The pair of 23XI Racing teammates Keegan Leahy and Mitchell deJong will be the only team duo to compete in the championship this year, and the first since the dual car organization era. The final driver to qualify in is Logan Clampitt for William Byron eSports, creating a Final Four of drivers all looking for their first-ever eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Championship. Same rules apply as the real life top NASCAR series’ – first to cross the finish line takes the title.
What’s at stake? How about $100,000 dollars and a NASCAR champion ring. The racing may be virtual, but the feeling of winning and being a champion remains the same. All four drivers are hungry to win the championship and they’ll be going all out at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway to win the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series championship for 2021. You can tune in to the action on Tuesday, October 12th, on iRacing’s social medias, NASCAR’s YouTube, and eNASCAR.com. Countdown to Green starts at 8:30pm eastern hosted by Amy Long, then Evan Posocco will lead the booth of Steve Letarte and Parker Kligerman beginning at 9pm eastern and all the way to the checkered flag.
Featured image from @iRacing on Twitter.