The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race can be summed up in three words: Short. Track. Racing.
In the end, Graham Bowlin took advantage of the leaders’ last-lap battle to win the race at the virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway Tuesday night (June 16).
Bowlin, who was comfortably in third entering the final turn, pounced when Blake Reynolds made contact with Logan Clampitt’s bumper. Clampitt started to spin left, but then turned right, bringing both trucks into the outside wall. Bowlin scooted away from the mayhem and took the $500 in the non-points event.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 17, 2020
The event’s format featured NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series vehicles, two heat races (plus a last-chance qualifier), a new track and two sets of tires for the main race.
Christian Challiner won the relatively-clean first heat race, while Zack Novak crossed the line first in heat two. Novak was about to end in second, though, when Caine Cook slowed abruptly to ensure a sixth-place spot. Cook knew the front part of the field would invert prior to the main event, so he took a risk to try to be one of the front runners.
Then the LCQ happened. There were intense battles all throughout the 25-lap race, but none like the tussle between Ryan Luza, Nick Ottinger and Brandon Kettelle. All three were fighting for the final transfer spot and at one point Kettelle and Luza made contact, putting Luza out of contention.
Luza slowed down and waited for Kettelle to come near him, which allowed Ottinger to sneak by Kettelle. The latter attempted to bump Ottinger out of the way but was wrecked himself exiting the last turn.
Late fireworks in the battle for the final transfer spot. 😳
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 17, 2020
Jake Nichols, driving the No. 24 truck for Mode Motorsports, began the race on the pole, thanks to the invert in the field. He led up until lap 35 when Cook, who had pressured Nichols for several laps, took the inside line away. Nichols got loose and spun on the outside, bringing out the caution. He opted not to change his tires under his pit stop.
Shortly after the restart, Clampitt took the lead away from Cook before another caution for Kollin Keister’s flying truck.
— Steve Luvender (@steveluvender) June 17, 2020
Kirwan also suffered major damage from the incident, ending his night.
Challiner took tires during that period, which worked in his favor on the restart. He easily passed nearly the entire field, including the race leader Clampitt with less than 50 laps to go. Challiner eventually started to lap the back of the pack, but his strategy went south when the yellow flag came out with 34 laps remaining.
Many trucks made their pit stop under this caution period, including Clampitt and Reynolds. After the restart, both drivers quickly got around Challiner and battled intensely for the lead with 26 laps to go. Clampitt took to the point, while Reynolds dropped back two positions before the competition caution.
A few laps after the restart Ray Alfalla, who had steadily worked his way through the field, got turned and several cars collided in the accident. Alfalla would go on to finish 12th.
The race would get back to green with five circuits remaining, and Reynolds took second away from Bobby Zalenski. Reynolds then inched ever so close to Clampitt with each remaining lap until the final corner where he bumped Clampitt. Both trucks wrecked themselves and others, while Bowlin scurried past to the victory.
Justin Bolton inherited second in his Busch Ford. Afterwards, he needed some refreshment.
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) June 17, 2020
Ottinger finished third in his Chevrolet, followed by Corey Vincent. Nichols was credited with fifth.
The virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway is up next on June 30 at 9 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed at eNASCAR.com/live and on NASCAR’s YouTube page.
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