The pressure is mounting as the races are beginning to run out in the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series regular season. Coming into Tuesday night’s event at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, five seats had been spoken for at the table for playoff drivers. Following an intense final lap in eNASCAR Overtime, Team Dillon eSports rookie Jordy Lopez claimed his first career victory by 0.006 seconds over JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti, joining his rookie teammate Tucker Minter in cementing his place in the chase for the championship later in the year.
Lopez only led a single lap on the night, and it was definitely the wildest one of the night as well. Garrett Manes had the oldest tires in the field in his fgrAccel Ford Mustang, while Lopez was one of the handful of drivers that opted for two tires on the final pit stop and Conti was one of the drivers that took four fresh tires. On the final lap, it was anyone’s guess as to which strategy would prevail. In the first turn, Lopez got a run in the center of the corner and took it, making contact with Manes in the process. Manes would crash spectacularly with the field as Lopez and Conti were able to get by. Into Turn 3, Conti played a similar move, and again, contact was made. Lopez moved up the track and Conti was alongside. The two were locked together heading to the line where Lopez was able to cross first by mere inches.
“I was always trying to get to this series, to do the things that I’m doing now, I just can’t believe it,” said an emotional Lopez following the race. “So many years of frustration, it’s finally paying off.” The victory bumps him up to second in the points, only behind the dominant Conti with only four races to go in the 2023 regular season.
Things kicked off with a very fast Logitech G Chevrolet of Nick Ottinger from William Byron eSports on the pole position. Ottinger led from the drop of the green through the first round of pit stops, untouched by his competition until strategy put some new faces up front. Teammate Matt Bussa took control for a few laps following that restart, but he was no match as Ottinger pulled away on fresh tires, leading a train that included Conti and Rise eSports’ Jimmy Mullis.
Green flag pit stops would change things up as teams opted for different strategies. Ottinger pitted on Lap 69 while Minter waited a few laps, pitting on 71, and Conti waited the longest, pitting on 76. With just over 20 laps to go, the strategies were all starting to accordion together. It didn’t get to play out, however, as a caution flew for an incident involving Kansas City Pioneers’ Wyatt Tinsley and eRacr’s Collin Bowden.
Again, strategy was on the table. Manes took no tires, but took the lead. Minter, Lopez, Tony Kanaan Esports’ Parker White and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael Cosey Jr. were on a two tire call. Ottinger took four and restarted in eighth with Conti just behind in ninth. A slew of cautions marred the ending, but eventually the field made it to the white flag where the three strategies would all tangle.
The massive wreck from the spinning Manes shuffled the order. Manes and Ottinger lost out big, finishing 30th and 31st respectively. White was able to capitalize with his first career Top 5 finish, settling for third ahead of Jim Beaver eSports’ Garrett Lowe in fourth and last year’s WWT Raceway winner, the Charlotte Phoenix machine of Graham Bowlin in fifth. The Phoenix celebrated scoring the most team points on the night with Femi Olatunbosun also skating by the wreck to finish sixth.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from World Wide Technology Raceway were as follows:
|1||8||3||Jordy Lopez||Team Dillon eSports||124||0.000||1||34.325||40|
|2||7||8||Michael Conti||JR Motorsports||124||-0.006||7||34.189||35|
|3||13||11||Parker White||Tony Kanaan Esports||124||-0.583||0||34.619||34|
|4||14||15||Garrett Lowe||Jim Beaver eSports||124||-0.846||0||34.537||33|
|5||9||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||124||-1.142||0||34.484||32|
|6||22||43||Femi Olatunbosun||Charlotte Phoenix||124||-1.249||0||34.660||31|
|7||6||10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas Racing||124||-1.345||4||34.573||30|
|8||11||38||Michael Cosey Jr||Front Row Motorsports||124||-1.857||0||34.636||29|
|9||38||97||Matt Bussa||William Byron eSports||124||-2.016||3||34.422||28|
|10||17||20||Wyatt Tinsley||Kansas City Pioneers||124||-2.581||0||34.455||27|
|11||15||41||Dylan Duval||Stewart-Haas Racing||124||-2.706||0||34.405||26|
|13||34||88||Kevin King||JR Motorsports||124||-4.189||0||34.364||24|
|14||36||75||Zack Novak||Rise eSports||124||-4.718||0||34.402||23|
|15||28||54||Daniel Faulkingham||Joe Gibbs Racing||124||-4.813||0||34.731||22|
|16||30||7||Malik Ray||Jim Beaver eSports||124||-5.986||0||34.933||21|
|17||26||6||Timmy Holmes||RFK Racing||124||-6.249||0||34.568||20|
|18||25||1||Darik Bourdeau||Elliott Sadler eSports||124||-6.386||0||34.376||19|
|19||19||66||Tyler Garey||Tony Kanaan Esports||124||-6.506||0||34.558||18|
|20||12||36||Brandon McKissic||LETARTE eSports||124||-6.532||0||34.919||17|
|22||20||2||Corey Vincent||Pittsburgh Knights||124||-8.353||0||34.364||15|
|23||29||31||Derek Justis||Kansas City Pioneers||124||-9.962||0||34.746||14|
|24||37||40||Dylan Ault||LETARTE eSports||124||-10.393||0||34.732||13|
|26||3||27||Cody Byus||Elliott Sadler eSports||124||-12.325||0||34.593||11|
|29||40||77||Ryan Doucette||Pittsburgh Knights||124||-13.844||0||34.822||8|
|31||1||25||Nick Ottinger||William Byron eSports||124||-14.841||79||34.374||6|
|33||18||18||Bobby Zalenski||Joe Gibbs Racing||124||-23.387||0||34.316||4|
|35||4||46||Jimmy Mullis||Rise eSports||124||-27.651||0||34.216||2|
|36||16||17||Kaden Honeycutt||RFK Racing||118||Disqualified||0||34.425||1|
|37||21||33||Tucker Minter||Team Dillon eSports||118||-6L||0||34.566||1|
|38||2||55||Vicente Salas||Williams eSports||117||DNF||0||34.349||1|
|39||23||34||Allen Boes||Front Row Motorsports||117||DNF||0||34.865||1|
|40||10||51||Donovan Strauss||Williams eSports||39||-85L||0||34.761||1|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points through 10 rounds are as follows:
- Michael Conti, 312, 2 wins
- Jordy Lopez Jr., 273, 1 win
- Nick Ottinger, 257
- Michael Cosey Jr., 256
- Malik Ray, 249
- Tucker Minter, 248, 2 wins
- Graham Bowlin, 247
- Casey Kirwan, 229, 2 wins
- Matt Bussa, 216
- Garrett Manes, 208
- Parker White, 207
- Steven Wilson, 199, 1 win
- Bobby Zalenski, 198, 2 wins
The next eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event will be another fixed setup race as the series takes on the Chicago Street Course. The series raced here in 2022 for its All-Star exhibition, but this will be its first points-paying event and just the second fixed setup event in series history. Race coverage will start on Tuesday, June 27 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.