eNASCAR Race Preview: New Hampshire

40 of the world’s top iRacers hit the halfway mark of the eNASCAR season tonight, as New Hampshire Motor Speedway plays host to the 10th of 20 races on the 2020 championship schedule. With just seven races left before the playoffs, the clock is ticking for drivers to earn their way into the top eight spots of the point standings and take the next step towards the $100,000 champion’s prize.

Located an hour north of the company’s new offices, iRacing’s de facto home track returns to the schedule in 2020 after skipping last year. It was part of the series’ inaugural schedule in 2010, where current JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry took top honors. Active drivers who have taken victories at the track include Michael Conti (2012, 2013), Logan Clampitt (2016), Ryan Luza (2017), and Jimmy Mullis (2018). Conti and Luza are currently in the playoffs, while Clampitt (12th in the standings) and Mullis (14th) are well within striking distance, and could do themselves plenty of favors with a good run tonight.

The field continues to chase Keegan Leahy, though, as the Denny Hamlin Racing driver comes off of his second win of the season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago. With a series-leading three poles and six top-five finishes, the Canadian’s advantage is 19 points over Luza and Garrett Lowe, whose move to Wood Brothers Racing has seen more of the same consistency that made him a playoff driver last year. Bobby Zalenski and Conti complete the top five, while four-time series champion Ray Alfalla, Dover winner Nick Ottinger, and Brad Davies complete the playoff lineup as it stands. All-Star Race winner Graham Bowlin and Indianapolis runner-up Chris Shearburn are the first two drivers out.

As the season continues to progress, the drama will also start to surround the 20th place cutoff to retain a series license for next year. Currently, defending series champion Zack Novak is the first driver out, as he hopes to avoid Alfalla’s fate last year of following up a title-winning season with a trip to the Pro Series to earn his license again the hard way. The Richmond Raceway eSports driver sits only four points behind Bob Bryant for the bubble spot after four consecutive finishes of 24th place or worse. The good news? Some compare NHMS to a beefed-up short track, and with finishes of third at Bristol and fifth at Richmond, Novak seems to have those circuits figured out.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action from New Hampshire Motor Speedway airs live at 9PM ET/6PM PT on eNASCAR.com/live and on the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages. The season continues in two weeks’ time at Michigan International Speedway, where Lowe scored his first career series win last year.