eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Preview: Darlington

Just two days after the NASCAR Cup Series wrapped up yet another exciting throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series closes out the retro-themed action with a nod to history of its own in tonight’s race.

Round 14 of the 2020 championship returns to the Lady in Black, and with two intense battles shaping up around cutoff lines in the standings, surviving Darlington could be a major key for drivers either looking to make it to the playoffs, or just make it back into the series for 2021. One of the crown jewels of the schedule, it’s been won in past years by former series champions like Ray Alfalla, Michael Conti, and even current iRacing competition director Tyler Hudson.

The first major battle centers around eighth place, the final playoff spot. Alfalla has some breathing room on Graham Bowlin thanks to an 18-point cushion, but seventh place Logan Clampitt is just one point ahead of Alfalla and New Hampshire winner Jimmy Mullis sits just two down on Bowlin. Any slip-up from any of this quartet could have major implications on the points chase—just what drivers like Ryan Luza, Michael Conti, and Nick Ottinger want to see happening behind them as they look to build their own cushions on the cut line.

The second battle focuses on 20th place, the bubble spot to retain a license for this series next year. Michael Guest has it; John Gorlinsky, five points back, wants it. But the entire group of drivers from 15th to 24th in the standings—including defending series champion Zack Novak in 19th, and fellow Championship 4 driver Blake Reynolds a spot ahead of him—are currently separated by less than a race’s worth of points. These drivers need to be extra careful to keep any damage limited to just a Darlington stripe, and nothing more.

Of course, with retro paint schemes a key part of the Darlington experience, anyone driving throwback colors will want to take great care to avoid tearing up too much virtual machinery. Whether it’s William Byron eSports or Clint Bowyer Racing drivers paying tribute to their boss, Williams Esports’ homage to the dominant Williams F1 cars of the mid-1990s, Alfalla and points-leading teammate Bobby Zalenski saluting the cover of NASCAR Racing 2003 with Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick throwbacks, or Keegan Leahy’s nod to Ricky Craven’s Southern 500 win over Kurt Busch from the very same season, this year’s set of throwbacks should rival even the rides that hit the track in the real world on Sunday night.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action from Darlington Raceway airs tonight at 9PM ET on eNASCAR.com/live and the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.