The last time eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series fans saw XSET driver Casey Kirwan, he was accepting the inaugural Dale Earnhardt Jr. Cup from its namesake at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte after winning the 2022 series title. But that $100,000 champion’s prize from last year hasn’t made Kirwan any less hungry to keep winning, and he proved it with his second straight win in the preseason Clash at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.
To do it, Kirwan would have to not only survive the chaos of multiple wrecks and lapped traffic on the quarter-mile Los Angeles Coliseum oval, but also claw his way up from ninth place on the starting grid after finishing third in his heat. Corey Vincent qualified on pole in his first race with the Pittsburgh Knights, but it was Garrett Lowe who would win that heat as he made his debut in Jim Beaver eSports colors. Kirwan’s XSET teammate Ryan Luza and RFK Racing rookie Timmy Holmes would lead every lap of their respective heats, while Kanaan Esports rookie Parker White would win the last chance qualifier.
The 70-lap feature started with Lowe reasserting himself as the driver to beat, putting a gap on Holmes before the first caution for a track-blocking incident. Holmes led a lap after the restart, but Lowe would quickly reclaim the point until Kansas City Pioneers’ Derek Justis and William Byron eSports’ Matt Bussa got tangled for the second and final caution of the night. By then, Kirwan had climbed to third; on the final restart, he made quick work of Holmes for second, and from there the chase was on.
Lowe led a race-high 37 laps, but on Lap 39, Kirwan was finally able to make his move. The defending champion never looked back, dicing his way through lapped traffic and challenging his 2022 playoff opponent to match his moves. When all was said and done, Kirwan’s margin of victory was more than a second over Lowe, while White put in a heroic drive to go from 16th to third. Kevin King’s long-awaited return to the series and debut for JR Motorsports saw him come home fourth, while Williams Esports’ Vicente Salas completed the top five.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Clash at the Coliseum feature results were as follows:
|13||10||38||Michael Cosey Jr||Ford||70||-13.038||0||13.622|
|15||5||3||Jordy Lopez Jr||Chevrolet||69||-1 L||0||13.527|
|16||21||45||Keegan Leahy||Toyota||69||-1 L||0||13.634|
|17||12||40||Dylan Ault||Chevrolet||69||-1 L||0||13.701|
|18||2||4||Ryan Luza||Chevrolet||69||-1 L||0||13.551|
|19||13||75||Zack Novak||Chevrolet||68||-2 L||0||13.605|
|20||19||54||Daniel Faulkingham||Toyota||68||-2 L||0||13.621|
|21||14||97||Matt Bussa||Chevrolet||29||-41 L||0||13.692|
|22||8||31||Derek Justis||Toyota||19||-51 L||0||13.557|
The first points-paying round of the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season will take place at Daytona International Speedway as always, where Femi Olatunbosun will aim to defend his first career eNASCAR win from last year. The race will stream at eNASCAR.com/live on Tuesday, February 14 at 9 p.m. ET, with live Countdown to Green coverage directly preceding the race.
Images via Justin Melillo