In the past few eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series seasons, multi-time winners haven’t been prevalent, with 10 or more different winners usually filling the playoff grid with still some races left in the regular season. Entering the Coca-Cola 150 on Tuesday, the series already had three with JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Bobby Zalenski and XSET’s Casey Kirwan. Following the 100-lap battle at Charlotte Motor Speedway, rookie competitor and Daytona winner Tucker Minter for Team Dillon Esports can also add his name to that list.
In the closing laps, Minter held off fgrAccel’s Garrett Manes and William Byron eSports’ Matt Bussa in a two-lap dash during eNASCAR Overtime. Minter only led seven laps, but he was in the conversation the entire day after qualifying in seventh. During the first run, he never fell outside the Top 8. After the Lap 69 pit cycle, despite falling to 18th at one point, Minter used his four fresh virtual tires against the pack of two tires ahead to make up the ground when it mattered. He was in the perfect position to capitalize when the two leaders of Kirwan and Rise eSports’ Jimmy Mullis came together racing hard for the lead.
Minter’s win was his second career victory in only nine starts as an eNASCAR rookie. If one win wasn’t a playoff lock, two wins is even more so for the Virginia native. Minter sits third in the standings on merit, more than 50 points ahead of 10th place and nearly 100 points ahead of the top 20 cut line. There are only five races remaining in the regular season, and barring any catastrophic races, Minter should be able to clinch that early in the coming weeks.
The race started with Jim Beaver eSports’ Garrett Lowe scoring his first career pole position in his 83rd career series start, alongside the Pittsburgh Knights’ Ryan Doucette. On the opening lap, Doucette got squirrelly and lost the handle, giving way to 23XI’s Keegan Leahy. Leahy would lead for a spell before the other Pittsburgh Knight driver, Corey Vincent, made his presence known.
Vincent wasn’t able to get by Leahy initially, but after Michael Conti joined in on the fun and took the lead on the outside, the Knight was able to slip by and lead for a while. Vincent led up until just before halfway when Matt Bussa made his way to the front, seemingly with the best long run car in the field. A caution at lap 48 spoiled the possibility of green flag pit stops. Bussa resumed the lead, but before long, Jimmy Mullis had made his way to the top spot.
Another caution at lap 68 forced the field into a strategy split. Many drivers opted for four fresh tires, but there were a few, like Vincent and eRacr’s Kollin Keister, that opted for two fresh tires instead. Mullis was still in a prime position, restarting fourth, while Casey Kirwan also put himself in a great position for the end, taking four tires and restarting sixth.
The race stayed green long enough for Vincent and Keister to fall off, giving way to both Kirwan and Mullis. Kirwan was looking for his third win of the season while Mullis was looking for his first. With just over 10 laps to go, the pair raced side-by-side, leaning on one another, neither willing to give. Eventually, Bussa was able to rejoin the party and make a three-wide move on the pair entering Turn 1 with seven laps to go, but it didn’t stick. Mullis and Kirwan reemerged, still on each other’s door.
Minter was the next up to try a three-wide move. Earlier in the race, Mullis and Minter had a short run-in that forced Minter into the grass as he was making a pass. They didn’t wreck then, but the incident might have been on both of their minds with five laps to go. Again into Turn 1, Minter looked low on the two, the same as Bussa did a few laps earlier. Mullis came down and stopped Minter’s momentum, and then quickly moved back up to hold Kirwan off. While it didn’t seem that the Minter and Mullis contact forced the incident, the result was two wrecked leaders as Mullis and Kirwan hooked into the wall, both of their races over. This gave the lead to Minter for the final restart, and he was able to hang on from there.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Charlotte Motor Speedway were as follows:
|1||7||33||Tucker Minter||Team Dillon eSports||103||0.000||7||30.066||40|
|3||6||97||Matt Bussa||William Byron eSports||103||-0.193||14||30.047||34|
|4||12||8||Michael Conti||JR Motorsports||103||-0.524||1||30.030||33|
|5||5||2||Corey Vincent||Pittsburgh Knights||103||-0.536||35||30.058||32|
|6||37||55||Vicente Salas||Williams eSports||103||-0.648||0||30.121||31|
|8||25||7||Malik Ray||Jim Beaver eSports||103||-0.752||0||30.234||29|
|9||4||38||Michael Cosey Jr||Front Row Motorsports||103||-0.791||0||30.177||28|
|10||11||3||Jordy Lopez||Team Dillon eSports||103||-0.818||0||30.198||27|
|11||1||15||Garrett Lowe||Jim Beaver eSports||103||-1.013||4||30.129||26|
|12||30||17||Kaden Honeycutt||RFK Racing||103||-0.991||0||30.185||25|
|13||36||27||Cody Byus||Elliott Sadler eSports||103||-1.091||0||30.201||24|
|14||32||34||Allen Boes||Front Row Motorsports||103||-1.291||0||30.242||23|
|15||15||6||Timmy Holmes||RFK Racing||103||-1.342||0||30.180||22|
|16||10||25||Nick Ottinger||William Byron eSports||103||-1.397||0||30.002||21|
|17||34||1||Darik Bourdeau||Elliott Sadler eSports||103||-1.502||0||30.270||20|
|18||13||40||Dylan Ault||LETARTE eSports||103||-1.658||0||30.216||19|
|20||21||51||Donovan Strauss||Williams eSports||103||-1.918||0||30.259||17|
|21||29||11||Parker White||Tony Kanaan Esports||103||-1.982||0||30.247||16|
|22||35||31||Derek Justis||Kansas City Pioneers||103||-2.077||0||30.226||15|
|23||2||77||Ryan Doucette||Pittsburgh Knights||103||-2.120||0||30.175||14|
|24||31||54||Daniel Faulkingham||Joe Gibbs Racing||103||-2.201||0||30.349||13|
|25||23||10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas Racing||103||-3.154||0||30.126||12|
|26||8||66||Tyler Garey||Tony Kanaan Esports||103||-3.682||0||30.239||11|
|27||38||20||Wyatt Tinsley||Kansas City Pioneers||103||-3.691||0||30.327||10|
|28||22||36||Brandon McKissic||LETARTE eSports||103||-4.138||0||30.192||9|
|29||9||88||Kevin King||JR Motorsports||103||-7.503||0||30.434||8|
|30||33||43||Femi Olatunbosun||Charlotte Phoenix||103||-7.511||0||30.249||7|
|31||19||18||Bobby Zalenski||Joe Gibbs Racing||103||-10.282||0||30.173||6|
|32||26||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||103||-12.586||0||30.384||5|
|35||24||41||Dylan Duval||Stewart-Haas Racing||102||-1L||0||30.346||2|
|36||27||75||Zack Novak||Rise eSports||100||-3L||0||30.318||1|
|37||18||46||Jimmy Mullis||Rise eSports||98||-5L||12||30.009||1|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points through nine rounds are as follows:
- Michael Conti, 277, 2 wins
- Nick Ottinger, 251
- Tucker Minter, 247, 2 wins
- Jordy Lopez Jr., 233
- Malik Ray, 228
- Michael Cosey Jr., 227
- Casey Kirwan, 217, 2 wins
- Graham Bowlin, 216
- Garrett Manes, 201
- Bobby Zalenski, 195, 2 wins
15. Steven Wilson, 169, 1 win
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series makes its return to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in two week’s time. Race coverage will start on Tuesday, June 13 at 9 p.m. ET at eNASCAR.com/live. The Countdown to Green, presented by Wendy’s, will kick things off at 8:30 p.m. ET.