deJong Preserves Playoff Hopes With eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Win at Watkins Glen

Over the past few years of eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series competition, 23XI’s Mitchell deJong and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Bobby Zalenski had established themselves as the drivers to beat on the series’ handful of road course events each year. With the shift to a “win and you’re in” playoff format, at least one member of that duo could usually come into the year feeling confident about their spot in the 10-driver title campaign.

But current Charlotte Phoenix driver Graham Bowlin flipped the script at Watkins Glen International last year by holding the duo off, and Stewart-Haas eSports’ Steven Wilson both dominated this year’s Road America regular season round and held off Zalenski in the All-Star Race from Chicago two weeks ago. So it was down to deJong and Zalenski in Tuesday night’s return to Watkins Glen for what may be the final playoff spot—and when the dust settled, it was deJong grabbing hold of it with his first win of the season.

Zalenski would qualify on the pole ahead of Bowlin, but deJong would cut through the chaos of the first lap to get into second place and shadow the leader. On Lap 13 of 45, deJong would finally make his move, and it turned out to be the winning one. Zalenski’s attempted undercut in pit stops after the halfway point of the race didn’t allow him to reclaim the lead, and deJong would go on to take the victory by more than six seconds, with Zalenski, Bowlin, Wilson, and XSET’s Casey Kirwan completing the top five.

But the first lap shifted the playoff picture dramatically beyond just giving deJong an opportunity, with bubble drivers Zack Novak of Rise Esports and Zalenski’s JGR teammate Ray Alfalla getting caught up in carnage that would cause them to fall off the current playoff grid at race’s end. The duo would finish 25th and 36th, respectively, knocking Alfalla and his win out of the top 20 and allowing the winless Zalenski to pass Novak for the 10th and final spot on the grid by points. Zalenski, Novak, and Jim Beaver eSports’ Blake Reynolds are separated by just six points for that final spot heading into the regular season finale at Darlington; if there’s not a new winner, the best finisher among the trio has a good shot at taking the final spot.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Watkins Glen International were as follows:











1423Mitchell deJong23XI450.000331:08.51740
2118Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing45-6.846121:08.66135
3248Graham A. BowlinCharlotte Phoenix45-9.86801:09.22334
4710Steven WilsonStewart Haas Racing45-10.41601:08.89433
51095Casey KirwanXSET45-16.01101:08.87732
6319Vicente SalasWilliams eSports45-16.77001:09.41331
7625Nick OttingerWilliam Byron eSports45-17.11701:09.53430
8841Dylan DuvalStewart Haas Racing45-23.21601:08.98229
9238Michael ContiJR Motorsports45-28.18301:09.42828
101240Dylan AultLetarte Esports45-28.34401:09.57127
111555Allen BoesSpace Station Gaming45-31.34101:08.95626
121121Garrett LoweWood Brothers Racing45-32.31401:09.30725
131315Blake ReynoldsJim Beaver eSports45-33.60201:09.60024
143846Jimmy MullisRise eSports45-34.36201:09.58723
151424Cody ByusMode Motorsports45-35.11701:09.75522
16997Logan ClampittWilliam Byron eSports45-35.77901:09.22921
172131Garrett ManesElliot Sadler eSports45-38.19801:09.16520
18264Ryan LuzaXSET45-44.14801:10.02919
19173Corey VincentTeam Dillon Esports45-46.57001:09.56218
201675Matt BussaMode Motorsports45-47.08501:08.97017
212733Taylor HurstTeam Dillon Esports45-47.94301:09.06316
222036Brian MercurioLetarte Esports45-49.98201:09.57815
23196Parker RetzlaffRoush Fenway Keselowski45-50.56501:10.59714
241817Kaden HoneycuttRoush Fenway Keselowski45-54.28501:09.20713
25365Zack NovakRise eSports45-56.87301:09.84512
26402Liam BrothertonElliot Sadler eSports45-58.65101:09.23811
272943Kollin KeisterCharlotte Phoenix45-1:00.31201:09.43410
28545Keegan Leahy23XI45-1:01.57201:09.5229
293016Blade WhittWood Brothers Racing45-1:08.81801:09.4558
302579Femi OlatunbosunClint Bowyer Racing44-1L01:09.7107
31339Michael GuestJim Beaver eSports44-1L01:09.9166
322220Donovan StraussWilliams eSports44-1L01:09.3855
333554Kyle PeddleSpace Station Gaming44-1L01:09.1704
343169Collin BowdeneRacr43-2L01:09.8993
353288Briar LaPraddJR Motorsports33DNF01:09.6462
362851Ray AlfallaJoe Gibbs Racing24-21L01:09.9081
373714Nickolas SheltonClint Bowyer Racing19Disqualified01:11.4311
382442Darik BourdeaueRacr17DNF01:09.8181
393912Derek JustisiRacing Motorsports16DNF01:11.6041
40347Malik RayiRacing Motorsports10DNF01:10.4241


The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff grid after 13 rounds is as follows:

  1. Steven Wilson, 2 wins/347 points
  2. Nick Ottinger, 2 wins/312 points
  3. Michael Conti, 2 wins/292 points
  4. Casey Kirwan, 1 win/356 points
  5. Matt Bussa, 1 win/334 points
  6. Graham Bowlin, 1 win/309 points
  7. Mitchell deJong, 1 win/290 points
  8. Femi Olatunbosun, 1 win/280 points
  9. Garrett Lowe, 1 win/270 points
  10. Bobby Zalenski, 298 points

The 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series regular season continues in two weeks at Darlington Raceway. Broadcast coverage begins on Tuesday, August 30 at 8:30PM ET with Countdown to Green before the 9PM ET green flag. Live coverage of all the action can be seen at

For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit or For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit

Images via Justin Melillo