William Byron eSports’ John Gorlinsky sliced through one of the wildest last-lap wrecks in iRacing history to score the victory in Wednesday night’s Clash at Daytona International Speedway, the preseason test event for the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season. Held just hours after the announcement that Coca-Cola would sign on as the series’ new title partner and that the final six races of the year would be shown on NBCSN, Gorlinsky backed up his Daytona win in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series with an unlikely triumph in the NASCAR Cup Series car despite starting the last lap in 16th place.
Wednesday’s race may have just been for bragging rights, but the 38 drivers who took the green flag put on quite the show nonetheless in the 50-lap battle. The first 49 laps were a masterclass in superspeedway driving, with restrictor plate standouts like polesitter Nick Ottinger leading a race-high 27 laps in the other Byron car and rookie Kollin Keister pacing the field late for Roush Fenway Racing. When the white flag flew, Keister, Joe Gibbs Racing newcomer Malik Ray, and 2014 eNASCAR champion Michael Conti were in the top three spots, each poised to go for the victory.
Heading towards Turn 3, however, calamity struck. With Conti pushing him, Ray slid up and scraped the outside wall. Casey Kirwan and Ray Alfalla attempted to avoid rear-ending Conti and Blake Reynolds, who had been behind Ray, and both made contact with other cars as the field went four wide. Alfalla bounced off of Kirwan into Bob Bryant and Garrett Lowe, Bryant spun Reynolds, and the slightest tap from Reynolds sent Keister into Conti.
From there, it was all about luck. Conti shot out of the wreck with the best chance of clearing it, but slid out of control into the outside wall. Gorlinsky and Lowe rocketed in behind him, but while Lowe slammed into the back of Conti’s machine, Gorlinsky only found the wall and was able to carry forward. Bent but not broken, the damaged #97 Chevrolet was still clear enough of the rest of the field to score a 3.252-second victory over JTG Daugherty Racing’s Christian Challiner, who had taken the white flag in 15th. Burton Kligerman Esports’ Logan Clampitt jumped from 30th to third.
Results of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Clash at Daytona were as follows:
|13||3||47||Jeremy R Allen||Running||50||-15.562||0||45.093|
|17||20||53||Ryan Michael Luza||Running||50||-19.24||0||44.842|
|26||25||18||Graham A. Bowlin||Running||50||-25.519||0||44.732|
|27||10||14||Brandon Hayse Kettelle||Running||50||-25.851||2||44.770|
|35||31||17||Kollin Keister||Running||49||-1 L||9||44.834|
|36||14||9||Eric J. Smith||Running||49||-1 L||0||44.861|
|37||34||36||Chris Shearburn||Running||49||-1 L||0||44.898|
|38||24||6||Nathan Lyon||Running||49||-1 L||0||45.063|
The 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season officially starts on February 11 with another round at Daytona. The race will be streamed live on iRacing’s Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube channels at 9PM ET/6PM PT. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.
Images via Justin Melillo/TheRacingExperts.com