Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
Bobby Zalenski led flag to flag in Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series road course race, this time scoring the victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. For the second year in a row, a victory on the unique layout enabled the Fresno native to secure a spot in the Championship 4 of the series playoffs, this time ensuring that he’ll have a chance at becoming iRacing’s first $100,000 champion when the final checkered flag falls on November 1.
“I don’t know how we’re still able to do this, me and my team,” Zalenski said after the pivotal victory. “You put all this preparation in, and somehow you’re able to maximize every aspect every time, understanding the cars and tires and (so on). I’m just happy we’re going to Homestead—that’s the goal. A road course is a road course, but we’re trying to win a championship and get to Homestead.
“I’m just glad we had a clean race. We had a really great Q lap, and I was able to just go out and drive. But I’m tired!”
Zalenski’s sixth road course victory in a row in the championship was widely predicted coming into the race, but he was by no means the only eNASCAR playoff contender to have a good points day at the track. Fellow playoff contenders Jimmy Mullis and Nick Ottinger completed the podium, while Keegan Leahy hung on for fourth place in spite of an uncharacteristic mid-race mistake that saw him take on some left side damage. Only Logan Clampitt, the first driver on the outside of the playoff bubble, stood between an all-playoff top five, beating Garrett Lowe to the line by more than seven seconds.
With no full-course cautions on the Roval, it was bound to be a long night for those playoff contenders who don’t specialize in turning left and right. Ryan Luza salvaged a career-best 11th place finish, while Ray Alfalla survived with a 24th place run, one lap down. Only Michael Conti took a DNF, after a shifting issue popped the car into first gear and blew the engine; he’d be scored 37th at the finish, and will likely require a win of his own to make it into the Championship 4.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval were as follows:
|10||4||18||Graham A. Bowlin||Toyota||55||0||1:16.730||47.137||31|
|11||18||53||Ryan Michael Luza||Ford||55||0||1:16.339||46.872||30|
|25||20||9||Eric J. Smith||Ford||54||0||1:16.597||46.767||16|
|34||36||14||Brandon Hayse Kettelle||Ford||53||0||1:18.285||46.928||7|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff points through 17 of 20 events are as follows:
- Bobby Zalenski, 2015
- Keegan Leahy, 2046
- Jimmy Mullis, 2045
- Nick Ottinger, 2041
- Ryan Luza, 2039
- Garrett Lowe, 2035
- Ray Alfalla, 2020
- Michael Conti, 2004
There’s no rest for the drivers of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series next week, as the series continues its mad dash through the playoffs with the second of three races in the Round of 8 at Kansas Speedway. As always, the race can be seen live on Tuesday at 9PM ET on eNASCAR.com/live and across the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube channels. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.