Wyatt Tinsley scores eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series exhibition victory in Daytona Clash

Sophomore driver Wyatt Tinsley of QuikTrip Pioneers Gaming picked up the victory in a chaotic eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Clash at Daytona International Speedway, beating the 40 best eNASCAR sim racers in the world in the annual preseason race. While points racing is set to begin in two weeks as usual at Daytona, Tuesday night’s exhibition marked the first opportunity to see the faces of the series in new places, as well as a preview of what to expect in 2024.

Tinsley won his heat race to start second, but he didn’t lead until the last lap in the feature. He passed Nitro Circus Sim Racing Team’s Dylan Duval in Turn 2 with help from his new teammate in the Pioneers stables, Graham Bowlin, to get to the front. Entering Turn 3, Malik Ray, now racing for Spire Motorsports, was able to shuffle Bowlin out of the equation with help from BS+COMPETITION’s new driver, Jordy Lopez. Off of the final corner, Tinsley shut the door to take the win.

Each year, the Clash sees drivers run a standardized paint scheme with their names and team logos on the car to help fans learn who signed where in free agency. 14 teams returned from last season, which meant there were six new teams and at least 12 drivers with new homes for the season coming in. About two-thirds of the field found themselves racing for a new team this season, but Tinsley was one of the 12 who stayed in place from 2023.

The short format event featured single-car qualifying to split the field into two 10-lap, caution-free heat races. Rookie Seth DeMerchant (fgrAccel eRacing) scored the fastest time while Tinsley posted the second-fastest time. Both would lead their respective heat races to the green.

In the first heat race, DeMerchant and Front Row Motorsports’  Michael Cosey Jr led the field around a full lap before the handles flew off in the center of the pack. The result was only six cars remaining in the lead draft. Tucker Minter, displaying new colors this season with William Byron eSports, had his new teammate, Nick Ottinger, up front. Matt Bussa, Ottinger’s former teammate, was also up there in his new colors at Kevin Harvick Inc.

On the final lap, things got crazy again as the two William Byron eSports drivers collided on the backstretch, leaving just three cars in contention. After DeMerchant and Cosey Jr tangled, it was Williams Esports’ new driver, Parker White, taking the win.

The second heat race wasn’t as chaotic, as the drivers were more willing to sit and wait for the laps to count down to make a move as opposed to the other race. Garrett Manes of fgrAccel eRacing led the way for the most part while the rest of the pack waited for the right moment.

In the back, multiple drivers that played musical chairs in the offseason collided and took themselves out early. Former eRacr teammates Collin Bowden (now at RFK Racing) and Kollin Keister (Kanaan Esports), along with new eRacr driver Tyler Garey, spun and collected Jimmy Mullis, now with Kevin Harvick Inc.

The white flag flew up front, and on the entry to Turn 3, the field all decided to move, which made Manes a sitting duck. Tinsley went low with help from Daniel Faulkingham (Joe Gibbs Racing) while Duval took it high with help from his former teammate, defending champion Steven Wilson of the new M80 squad. Tinsley took the checkers to claim the other half of the front row for the feature.

With only 20 laps on the board and 40 drivers to contest, the intensity was pegged from the drop of the green. Early favorites included White, Tinsley, and Duval, but a few other top draft masters, such as Spire Motorsports newcomer Casey Kirwan and 23XI’s Michael Guest, were also in the mix. Two cautions on laps 11 and 15 slowed the event for multi-car incidents that stemmed from the aggressive nature of the pack. Hopefuls like Minter were collected in the first one, while the second one collected top runners such as Faulkingham and Manes.

On the final restart, Kirwan and Duval led their respective lines. Duval took the white flag as the leader, but the games were just beginning. The two Pioneers got hooked up for the first time and moved swiftly into the lead. Ray, however, had other plans and help from Lopez. Tinsley would not be denied, scoring another win on the night and claiming the first checkered flag of the season, albeit for no points. Lopez snuck through to get second while Ray wound up in third.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Daytona Clash feature results were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Name

Team

Laps

Interval

Led

Best

Pts

1220Wyatt TinsleyQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming200145.7040
22690Jordy LopezBS+COMPETITION20-0.111045.4790
3257Malik RaySpire Motorsports20-0.144045.6520
42355Ryan DoucettePittsburgh Knights20-0.979045.5590
53218Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing20-1.213045.7340
62745Michael Guest23XI20-1.559045.4490
7176Timothy HolmesRFK Racing20-2.022045.2580
82048Graham A. BowlinQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming20-2.23045.5010
92889Garrett LoweBS+COMPETITION20-3.072045.90
10514Seth DeMerchantfgrAccel eRacing20-4.042045.7150
113327Cody ByusPittsburgh Knights20-4.289045.4620
1283Jonathon DulaneyTeam Dillon Esports20-4.466046.0770
132210Steven WilsonM8020-4.941045.2130
14762Matt BussaKevin Harvick Inc.20-4.945045.7160
15118Kaden HoneycuttJR Motorsports20-5.77045.2990
16153Parker WhiteWilliams Esports20-5.818645.6640
173151Donovan StraussWilliams Esports20-6.436047.0560
181388Briar LaPraddJR Motorsports20-6.449045.9560
191640Dylan AultLETARTE Esports20-6.582045.3990
201436Quami ScottLETARTE Esports20-6.59045.5530
21997Tucker MinterWilliam Byron eSports20-6.806045.550
22454Daniel FaulkinghamJoe Gibbs Racing20-8.255045.7240
231877Casey KirwanSpire Motorsports20-9.209745.4490
243034Darik BourdeauFront Row Motorsports20-10.71045.7180
253829Jimmy MullisKevin Harvick Inc.20-21.516047.0620
262423Keegan Leahy23XI20-24.054045.7720
27375Zack NovakOXYGEN Esports20-25.969050.4920
283642Tyler GareyeRacr20-32.52045.4650
29338Michael Cosey JrFront Row Motorsports20-32.53045.930
30641Dylan DuvalNitro Circus Sim Racing Team19-1 L645.6330
311522Femi OlatunbosunOXYGEN Esports17-3 L045.1010
321911Vicente SalasKanaan Esports17-3 L045.5920
332169Ray AlfallaeRacr14-6 L045.3350
342925Nick OttingerWilliam Byron eSports13-7 L045.6880
351012Garrett ManesfgrAccel eRacing13-7 L045.7590
361299Matthew ZwackNitro Circus Sim Racing Team8-12 L046.0490
373933Taylor HurstTeam Dillon Esports6-14 L047.9550
383580Ryan LuzaM805-15 L049.0290
394066Kollin KeisterKanaan Esports2-18 L00
403417Collin BowdenRFK Racing2-18 L00

The season officially kicks off in two weeks when 40 of the best eNASCAR sim racers return to Daytona, this time in their own setups, for 200 miles of action around the 2.5-mile oval. Last season, Minter grabbed his first-career victory in a slugfest against Kirwan coming to the line. Minter will look to defend his win while 39 others will be hopeful to start off the 2024 season with an all-but-guaranteed ticket to the 2024 playoffs.

Tune in on Tuesday, February 13th, at 7:30 p.m. ET for the Countdown to Green. Race coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET at eNASCAR.com/live and across iRacing social media channels.

For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit www.enascar.com or www.iracing.com/enascar. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.