The past four races going into the 11th race of the Coca-Cola iRacing Series season ended with drivers securing their first win of 2022, but Steven Wilson made sure that streak did not grow to five.
Wilson piloted his No. 10 Smithfield/Stewart-Haas eSports Ford to a dominant victory on the road course at Road America on Tuesday, July 5, leading all 25 laps from the pole. It is Wilson’s second win of 2022, joining Michael Conti and Nick Ottinger as repeat winners this season.
“Honestly, I feel like the difference today was qualifying on the pole,” Wilson said. “I got that three-second gap on lap 1, and the clean air was enough for us to hold on.”
— Stewart-Haas Esports (@SHR_eSports) July 6, 2022
The opening lap produced the most chaotic racing of the night. It all started when Dylan Duval in the No. 41 got turned around by Vicente Salas in the No. 19 near turn 7, collecting Garrett Manes in the No. 31. In a separate incident further down the track, Dylan Ault in the No. 40 and Matt Bussa in the No. 75 got together near the entrance to the carousel. Ray Alfalla, the winner two weeks ago at Nashville Superspeedway, and defending series champion Keegan Leahy also got involved in lap 1 incidents.
After the eventful first lap, the drivers settled into a rhythm and got accustomed to navigating the 4.048-mile road course in their Next Gen NASCAR Cup Series cars. Throughout the race, there were only a few other incidents with drivers getting off course. Most notably, Leahy steered his No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota off course near turn 12, also known as Canada Corner, and eventually had to drop out of the race due to engine issues, finishing dead last in 39th place.
The top five remained mostly consistent throughout the race. Mitchell deJong, the 2021 Road America winner, had to settle for the runner-up spot this time around in his No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota. deJong tipped his cap to the race winner after.
“Steven [Wilson] did a fantastic job,” deJong said. “He perfectly managed the race. I gave it everything I had.”
Casey Kirwan made his way up from his sixth starting spot to round out the podium in third place.
“Everyone was so even that it was so tough to gain spots,” Kirwan said.
Graham Bowlin in the No. 48 Charlotte Phoenix Toyota and Bobby Zalenski in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries/Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota rounded out the top five at Road America. Positions sixth through 10th went to Salas, Manes, Blake Reynolds, Conti and Ottinger, respectively.
Odds & Ends
- Duval sported a new paint scheme on his No. 41 Stewart-Haas eSports Ford, with brand new sponsorship from Simpson Race Products. The new scheme, however, did not help bring great results, as Duval finished 37th following his lap 1 incident.
- Alfalla recently got an opportunity to apply his skills in real life, testing a late model at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C. “It’s nerve-wracking knowing you’re about to fulfill a lifelong dream, lifelong goal of going around an oval in a stock car,” Alfalla said during a Countdown to Green segment about the test.
- After the race winner in a Ford, the second- through sixth-place finishers all drove Toyotas to good finishes, an interesting juxtaposition to the manufacturer’s struggles in the real-life Cup Series race a couple of days ago.
- Leahy’s last place finish puts him 23rd in the points, below the top 20 cutline for a guaranteed spot in the 2023 Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
— Dylan Duval (@DDuval42) July 4, 2022
What an incredible experience! I felt good on the track, and got up to speed quickly. Thanks everyone that came out and helped make this happen. I can’t wait to do it again! Stay tuned 😎 pic.twitter.com/pJiebsUVko
— Ray Alfalla (@rayalfalla) June 28, 2022
|Steven Wilson||2 Wins|
|Nick Ottinger||2 Wins|
|Michael Conti||2 Wins|
|Matt Bussa||1 Win|
|Graham Bowlin||1 Win|
|Femi Olatunbuson||1 Win|
|Garrett Lowe||1 Win|
|Ray Alfalla||1 Win|
- Wilson’s victory vaults him to the top of the playoff grid because he has more points than fellow repeat winners Ottinger and Conti. Kirwan widens his gap on the cutline significantly, while Zack Novak takes over the 10th and final playoff spot by a slim margin with three regular season races to go.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will return in two weeks to Pocono Raceway for 60 laps around the Tricky Triangle on Tuesday, July 19. The race will start at 9 p.m. ET, and it will be broadcast live on eNASCAR.com/live, YouTube.com/iRacing and Twitch.tv/iRacing.
About the author
Andrew Stoddard joined Frontstretch in May of 2022 as an iRacing contributor. He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Richmond. He is a high school history teacher and cross country/track & field coach for his day job.
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