The second season of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League kicked off at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway Wednesday night (April 22). At the end of the evening, JTG Daugherty Throttlers’ Justin Brooks and Hendrick Motorsports Gaming Club’s Nick Jobes reigned victorious in the two 50-lap races.
Xbox One Race
The first event started off with a major crash on the opening lap. Daniel Buttafuoco, driving for Germain Gaming, and Luis Zaiter, for Chip Ganassi Gaming, were two among several involved in this wreck.
When the race restarted, pole winner Brooks shot ahead but was quickly passed by Petty eSports’ Diego Alvarado. Brooks fell back in the first half while Alvarado and Stewart-Haas eSports’ Matthew Selby battled each other for the lead. Selby and Alvarado tried a bit of strategy, pitting just before the halfway point.
Unfortunately, this strategy didn’t work out as a second caution flew with 23 to go. Matthew Heale got turned around near the entrance of pit road and the yellow flag waved shortly after. This put both of the front-runners a lap down, while Brooks and others pitted under caution. Selby did get the free pass, though, and was back on the lead lap.
Team Penske eSports’ Brian Tedeschi inherited the lead after the third caution. However, the battles intensified and Wood Brothers Gaming’s Slade Gravitt took first away.
Eventually Brooks was able to work his way back up to the front and took it three wide with Tedeschi and Gravitt. Brooks took the lead, and then the final caution flag flew with just three to go.
Brooks soared to the front and never looked back while Gravitt and Buttafuoco battled for second behind him.
Now this is how you start a Season! Started Pole, was saving gas and fell back and came thru the field when it mattered and won in the #eNASCARHeat Pro League Race! Car was on a rail. Thank you everyone at @JTGRacing and @cottonelle for your support, 1 of hopefully more to come! https://t.co/jNX1keP2Rt
— Justin Brooks (@j_brooks92) April 23, 2020
The second race was more tame, as no cautions flew for any incidents. Instead, varying pit strategies proved to be the race-winning deal for Jobes in his No. 25 Ally Chevrolet.
Leavine Family Gaming’s Josh Harbin won the pole, but Brandyn Gritton quickly passed him at the start. Gritton’s lead was short-lived, though, as Jason Mitchell passed him a few laps later.
There were intense, clean battles near the front for the first half of the race. Mitchell seemed to go into fuel-saving mode, while Brandon Hanna, Joe Gornick and Josh Parker fought for several laps. However, they decided to pit early around lap 20, counting on a late caution to help them.
Meanwhile, Jobes was the last one to make his lone pit stop with 24 laps to go. He came back on the track in about sixth place, while Hanna, Gornick, Parker and Joey Stone stayed on their strategy.
No cautions would come, however, and only Gritton stood in Jobes’ path to victory. After a brief fray, Jobes claimed the lead in the closing laps and won his first Heat race.
“It was a crazy race, we put in so much time to strategize for this and we kinda knew what we had to do,” Jobes said after the race. “I didn’t think that many people would be on the fuel strategy saving mode there early on and we took advantage of it. We knew running by ourselves we could make it 25 laps. We were able to gain the advantage of the draft and it saved us two extra laps, which allowed us to push down there at the end there.”
“This win is huge no doubt, I came on strong there at the end of season one and I carried that momentum into the offseason. I did a lot of preparing for this, Homestead’s one of my favorite tracks there. It’s very confidence-building to be able to get the win race one here.”
Here are the results of Round 1 of the 2020 #eNASCARHeat season!
— NASCAR Heat (@NASCARHeat) April 23, 2020
Next the Heat Pro League Series will use the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series vehicles at virtual Watkins Glen International. Coverage begins Wednesday, April 29 at 8 p.m. ET and will be streamed on eNASCAR.com/live.