The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series took to virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway Tuesday night, Sept. 22. Some drivers’ gambles paid off, while others busted in big wrecks. In the end, Jimmy Mullis came out on top to win his second race of the season.
Mullis’ No. 46 car of Richmond Raceway eSports had fresher tires and passed several cars in the closing laps en route to the victory.
”That was incredible, man,” Mullis told the broadcast after the race. “Everything I needed to go right went right for us … Start of the race, I felt pretty good coming in, our whole group did. I was able to pick people off on the bottom a lot better than I expected to coming in. I took advantage of that early to try to get myself some good track position. After pitting under green, I think I ended up around 12th before we got that yellow.
“I was sitting really good, and fortunately missed a bunch of big wrecks, played the tire [strategy] correctly, and yeah, here I am.”
It was Mullis’ first win since July and first on a 1.5-mile track.
On how Mullis approaches Talladega: ”My plan going into ‘Dega is the same plan I had going into tonight, and that was to do everything I can to put myself in a position to win the race. Clearly it paid off tonight, I made all the right moves, fortunately, so hopefully I can do that again next week.
“I don’t think ‘Dega really has much of a game plan, you just kind of go in there and hope for the best. I’ve done the ‘ride around’ [strategy], try to save the car, and it never really does anything good, because then you just get stuck in traffic and you end up getting caught in the Big One nine times out of 10. Just going to go out there, race our hearts out and see what happens.”
Much of the first half ran relatively clean, with Conti and Ryan Luza exchanging the lead before the first round of pit stops. As the leaders came down to pit, contact was made, and Conti worked to maintain control on pit road.
"That just shows how competitive this is… you can't give anything up."
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 23, 2020
Guargilia, Jarl Teien and Diaz used an alternate strategy, staying out much longer than the rest of the field. Diaz pitted on lap 55, while Guargilia and Teien came down around lap 64.
Most of the field opted to pit under this caution, and Luza came out front. However, Kettelle and Logan Clampitt got around Luza for the lead on the next restart.
The yellow flag waved again for another incident, this time for Michael Guest, Bobby Zalenski, Christian Challiner and Alfalla. Guest’s No. 33 car blew in front of several drivers and got turned, causing chaos behind him. Challiner’s No. 37 Chevrolet hit the wall hard and flipped over, ending his night.
An unfortunate turn of events in the mid-pack.
You never want to see an engine blow right in front of you.?
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) September 23, 2020
Things started getting dicey on the ensuing restart, as they jockeyed for positions two- and three-wide in the corners. This didn’t last long, though, as another wreck occurred involving Santiago Tirres, Alex McCollum and Chris Overland. McCollum’s race was over as a result of this incident.
Differing strategies incurred during this caution period — while many of the leaders pitted, others stayed out, including Cook who inherited the race lead.
The race restarted with about 40 laps to go, and everyone fought for all the spots they could grab. Then, mayhem ensued.
Turn 3 is a parking lot ???
4-wide didn't last long and the crowd goes wild!
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) September 23, 2020
Matt Bussa’s No. 5 car hit the wall and came back down in front of the pack, causing a huge wreck.
After this, just one more incident occurred for Nathan Lyon, who pounded the outside wall.
When the race restarted with 23 laps left, Kettelle and Reynolds battled hard for the lead. However, Mullis’ newer tires helped him to work through the traffic to take the top spot with 18 laps to go. He never looked back and went on to win the race.
— Steve Luvender (@steveluvender) September 23, 2020
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers have one last race before the playoffs, and it’s at virtual Talladega Superspeedway. The night begins on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. ET on eNASCAR.com/live, NASCAR’s YouTube channel and iRacing’s Twitch channel.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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