Bobby Zalenski plays strategy card to win inaugural eNASCAR Chicago Street Course race

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series rolled into Chicago on Tuesday night for the first-ever points paying race at the new Chicago Street Course. A winner at the other road course earlier in the season, it was Bobby Zalenski making it a perfect score on the 2023 calendar as he won his third race of the season, but it wasn’t your usual Bobby Z eNASCAR road course whooping. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was challenged by the likes of both Steven Wilson from Stewart-Haas Racing and rookie Parker White from Tony Kanaan Esports, and for a time, it looked as though the latter was in store for his first career win.

Wilson grabbed the pole position, starting alongside White with Zalenski starting in third. All eyes were on the first corner, a left hander at 90 degrees, as 40 NASCAR Next Gen machines barreled into the heavy braking zone. Zalenski made a dive that initially worked out, but White made a crossover that put him up front as they exited Turn 2 and started to head down Lake Shore Drive. The rest of the field also managed to survive, for the most part, as all 40 drivers made it around during the initial lap with only minor scrapes and bruises.

White, Zalenski and Wilson, however, were gone. They pulled away from the rest of the field, planning out their strategy in the 40-lap event. There would have to be one pit stop for fuel anywhere from Lap 10 to Lap 30. Many drivers in the middle of the pack got it out of the way earlier to try and undercut, opting for cleaner track to gain more time.

The leaders waited for as long as they could, with Wilson striking first at the end of Lap 26. The call worked out to where he was able to close back in and had the warmest tires, but he still had to settle for third.

At the end of Lap 29, White decided to roll down pit road and top off. Zalenski kept going, hoping an overcut and a little less fuel on his stop would pan out. There was a little traffic in play for White as he re-entered the course ahead of Wilson. The chase was on to beat Zalenski out of the pits to maintain the lead.

However, with approximately a full second saved on pit road between entrance, box time and exit, Zalenski managed to re-enter ahead of White and Wilson with the lead. The ability to stay out an extra lap combined with a little less fuel intake enabled the switch.

But even with a little less virtual fuel mixed with clean air for the first time for Zalenski, the battle was not over. He still needed to make sure his smaller fuel amount would make it while trying to keep two fast drivers in his rear-view. White kept the pressure on, knowing the win could lead to a playoff berth in his first season, but he had to settle for second. Zalenski’s fuel lasted just past the second turn before the engine cut off following the checkers.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Chicago Street Course were as follows:











1318Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing400.000111:25.27840
2211Parker WhiteTony Kanaan Esports40-0.539291:25.28435
3110Steven WilsonStewart-Haas Racing40-0.89701:25.19734
4633Tucker MinterTeam Dillon eSports40-11.97301:25.51933
5795Casey KirwanXSET40-13.09201:25.56532
6425Nick OttingerWilliam Byron eSports40-14.76301:25.57631
7515Garrett LoweJim Beaver eSports40-15.88201:25.58730
8113Jordy LopezTeam Dillon eSports40-27.03601:25.81629
9108Michael ContiJR Motorsports40-29.94701:25.76828
101448Graham A. BowlinCharlotte Phoenix40-30.18001:25.76127
11841Dylan DuvalStewart-Haas Racing40-30.95701:25.70026
121640Dylan AultLETARTE eSports40-31.37101:25.44225
13997Matt BussaWilliam Byron eSports40-33.11501:25.72724
141812Garrett ManesfgrAccel40-33.79701:25.60723
153355Vicente SalasWilliams eSports40-39.63401:25.44222
162051Donovan StraussWilliams eSports40-41.88501:25.64421
17136Timmy HolmesRFK Racing40-50.79201:26.09320
182777Ryan DoucettePittsburgh Knights40-53.38301:26.08219
192138Michael Cosey JrFront Row Motorsports40-54.45101:26.02718
202375Zack NovakRise eSports40-55.67101:26.13417
212288Kevin KingJR Motorsports40-1:00.93501:26.12416
221517Kaden HoneycuttRFK Racing40-1:02.64401:26.08615
23382Corey VincentPittsburgh Knights40-1:05.68501:26.26714
243169Collin BowdeneRacr40-1:06.79501:26.38713
253523Keegan Leahy23XI40-1:13.39201:26.28212
261246Jimmy MullisRise eSports40-1:15.68101:25.74111
271720Wyatt TinsleyKansas City Pioneers40-1:16.55701:25.78710
282566Tyler GareyTony Kanaan Esports40-1:20.68501:26.4279
293934Allen BoesFront Row Motorsports39-1L01:26.5748
301942Kollin KeistereRacr39-1L01:26.2827
313036Brandon McKissicLETARTE eSports39-1L01:26.5546
322454Daniel FaulkinghamJoe Gibbs Racing39-1L01:26.5725
333645Michael Guest23XI34-6L01:26.6344
344043Femi OlatunbosunCharlotte Phoenix30-10L01:26.8113
352627Cody ByusElliott Sadler eSports23DNF01:26.8752
363431Derek JustisKansas City Pioneers16-24L01:28.4341
37371Darik BourdeauElliott Sadler eSports14DNF01:26.7421
38297Malik RayJim Beaver eSports14DNF01:26.6571
39324Ryan LuzaXSET8DNF01:28.0091
402814Joey BrownfgrAccel2DNF0———1

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points through 11 rounds are as follows:

  1. Michael Conti, 340, 2 wins
  2. Jordy Lopez Jr., 302, 1 win
  3. Nick Ottinger, 288
  4. Tucker Minter, 281 2 wins
  5. Graham Bowlin, 274
  6. Michael Cosey Jr., 274
  7. Casey Kirwan, 261, 2 wins
  8. Malik Ray, 250
  9. Parker White, 242
  10. Matt Bussa, 240
  11. Bobby Zalenski, 238, 3 wins
  12. Steven Wilson, 233, 1 win
  13. Garrett Manes, 231

Only three races remain in the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series regular season. The playoff field is beginning to take shape, as the six winners on the season so far are all in good points standing. The battle for the final four spots on the Playoff grid is currently between seven drivers, with Jim Beaver eSports’ Malik Ray on the bubble and White, following his runner-up finish, now only eight points out.

The next eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event will be at Nashville Superspeedway on July 11, and a new point-paying winner at the venue will be guaranteed. The 4-Time Champion Ray Alfalla won here last season in the inaugural race. Like Chicago, Nashville made its series debut by hosting the All-Star race in 2021, which was won by Rise eSports’ Jimmy Mullis.

Race coverage will start on Tuesday, July 11 at 9 p.m. ET at The Countdown to Green, presented by Wendy’s, will kick things off at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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