Keegan Leahy returns to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory lane at Las Vegas

Keegan Leahy didn’t expect to land in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday night. Somehow, in the last 100 yards, he managed to pull it off with an opportune gamble.

23XI’s sim racer-turned-performance consultant in the real world sat in third coming off of the final corner. An earlier pit strategy put him in position for what he fully expected to be a great points day. About a half-dozen drivers were also on the strategy to stretch fuel and tire mileage. It was ultimately the winning call.

Just ahead of Leahy out of Turn 4, Nick Ottinger (William Byron eSports) and Cody Byus (Pittsburgh Knights) were door-to-door with the checkered flag in sight. Slight contact sent Ottinger into a slide. He collected it, but not before collecting Byus in the right rear. As Byus slammed the wall, Ottinger gathered it up and raced towards the line. Leahy never lifted, as he cleared the smoke from Byus and slingshot around Ottinger to win by 0.043 seconds.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” Leahy said in eNASCAR victory lane. “I honestly wasn’t sure I going to get back into victory lane, this series is so tough to run well in these races, let alone have a shot at winning… I knew I had enough to make it if I saved, but the issue is that we have to save so hard, that those guys pitting, I wasn’t really sure if they were going to catch us or not. It was really close… We didn’t have it planned out from the start. It was more of a ‘send it and hope it works out’ situation for me.”

The win is Leahy’s 13th career victory in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, and his first since the Championship Finale race at Phoenix Raceway in 2022. It marks his first career win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in seven attempts, catapulting him to the top of the driver’s standings after two races by four points over Casey Kirwan (Spire Motorsports).

Leahy started 19th, but quickly fell outside the top 30 after a wild start and a trio of cautions early in the going. Steven Wilson (M80) was the fastest in final practice and qualifying, dominating from the drop of the green to lead the first 65 laps without challenge.

The first caution flew on Lap 3 after contact between Femi Olatunbosun (OXYGEN) and Garrett Lowe (BS+COMPETITION) sent the latter into a spin cycle which collected his zebra teammate, Jordy Lopez, and Lopez’s former teammate Tucker Minter (William Byron eSports). On Lap 19, Olatunbosun was involved in another incident, this time with Matthew Zwack (Nitro Circus Sim Racing). Olatunbosun escaped both incidents without any damage, ultimately finishing in the top 10. Zwack, meanwhile, carried damage for the remainder to finish in 29th.

On Lap 20, the entire field pitted for service. Nobody could make it to the end from there, but with four sets of tires to utilize, it made sense for everyone to take a pair then. On Lap 31, however, a third caution flew, and that split up the strategy. About a dozen cars or so opted to pit, some taking just fuel while others took another set of tires.

Surprisingly, Leahy took fuel only, saving his last two sets of tires for a later caution period, should it arrive. He’d be able to make it on fuel, as would drivers such as Ottinger, Byus, Matt Bussa (Kevin Harvick Inc.), and Kollin Keister (Kanaan Esports).

With three cautions in the first 30 laps, the race was trending to be more yellow than green. Wilson led the field to the green once again, him and a majority of the field assuming there would be another caution, but it never came.

On Lap 65, the pit cycle began. Wilson and the majority of the leaders came in on Lap 66. Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) assumed the lead on Lap 71. While fuel would seemingly be fine for Driver 38, unfortunately, tires were not. On Lap 82, he relinquished the lead to Michael Guest (23XI), eventually blowing a right rear tire with five laps to go.

Guest fell into the same circumstances a few laps later, losing the lead on Lap 89 to Ottinger, then losing the right rear with just two laps to go. At that time, Byus ran in seventh, biding his time, saving his virtual rubber for the closing laps. With seven laps to go, Byus was second and closing fast on Ottinger. With three to go, Byus began to look low on the 2020 champion.

Ottinger played a master class in defense, but as they took the white flag, Ray Alfalla (eRacr) on fresh tires opted to take his lap back, which compromised Ottinger’s Turn 1 entry. Byus was there, and the two drag raced around the track for nearly the entire lap.

Out of Turn 4, there was contact. Ottinger attempted to steer out of the slide as they raced towards the line, but it resulted in more contact. Byus hooked a hard right into the SAFER barrier as Leahy motored past them both for the victory. Byus settled for a 16th place finish as he rolled backwards across the line. As for the drivers that had to pit, Parker White (Williams Esports) was the top finisher in fifth. The dominant Wilson settled for ninth place.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race 2 at Las Vegas results were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Name

Team

Laps

Interval

Led

Best

Pts

11923Keegan Leahy23XI1000.000130.24440
23725Nick OttingerWilliam Byron eSports100-0.0431130.20635
32066Kollin KeisterKanaan Esports100-0.955030.27734
42862Matt BussaKevin Harvick Inc.100-1.460030.20933
5553Parker WhiteWilliams Esports100-2.166230.06032
6977Casey KirwanSpire Motorsports100-2.938030.12231
7278Kaden HoneycuttJR Motorsports100-2.927029.98530
81311Vicente SalasKanaan Esports100-3.209030.17329
9110Steven WilsonM80100-3.3496530.01228
10722Femi OlatunbosunOXYGEN Esports100-3.655030.15327
111714Seth DeMerchantfgrAccel eRacing100-4.241030.02326
121048Graham A. BowlinQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming100-4.263030.14925
133012Garrett ManesfgrAccel eRacing100-4.289030.09024
143129Jimmy MullisKevin Harvick Inc.100-4.341030.18423
15351Donovan StraussWilliams Esports100-4.509030.07722
162327Cody ByusPittsburg Knights100-4.723030.24421
17157Malik RaySpire Motorsports100-4.879030.07620
182680Ryan LuzaM80100-5.064030.08619
19335Zack NovakOXYGEN Esports100-5.850030.09618
203488Briar LaPraddJR Motorsports100-5.849030.08517
21220Wyatt TinsleyQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming100-6.015030.13716
22618Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing100-6.327330.00115
232117Collin BowdenRFK Racing100-6.657030.16814
243933Taylor HurstTeam Dillon Esports100-6.772030.11713
253555Ryan DoucettePittsburg Knights100-8.977030.27512
26383Jonathon DulaneyTeam Dillon Esports100-9.456030.18211
273242Tyler GareyeRacr100-9.541030.10210
283645Michael Guest23XI100-9.675730.1549
29499Matthew ZwackNitro Circus Sim Racing100-10.337030.1638
30854Daniel FaulkinghamJoe Gibbs Racing100-12.941030.1967
31126Timothy HolmesRFK Racing100-13.650030.1376
322936Quami ScottLetarte eSports100-15.821030.0885
334040Dylan AultLetarte eSports100-15.936030.2494
342569Ray AlfallaeRacr100-28.485029.9863
351641Dylan DuvalNitro Circus Sim Racing99-1L030.2652
362238Michael Cosey JrFront Row Motorsports99-1L1130.0861
371490Jordy LopezBS+COMPETITION99-1L030.1351
382434Darik BourdeauFront Row Motorsports98-2L030.1091
391897Tucker MinterWilliam Byron eSports89-11L030.1311
401189Garrett LoweBS+COMPETITION82-18L030.3871

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Driver’s Standings through Round 2 are as follows:

  1. Keegan Leahy, 68 (1 WIN)
  2. Casey Kirwan, 64
  3. Steven Wilson, 63
  4. Kaden Honeycutt, 60
  5. Kollin Keister, 57
  6. Wyatt Tinsley, 56 (1 WIN)
  7. Nick Ottinger, 53
  8. Donovan Strauss, 53
  9. Parker White, 52
  10. Vicente Salas, 51

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Segment 1 Standings through Round 2 of 4 are as follows:

  1. Keegan Leahy, 68
  2. Casey Kirwan, 64
  3. Steven Wilson, 63
  4. Kaden Honeycutt, 60
  5. Kollin Keister, 57
  6. Wyatt Tinsley, 56
  7. Nick Ottinger, 53
  8. Donovan Strauss, 53
  9. Parker White, 52
  10. Vicente Salas, 51

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Team Standings through Round 2 are as follows:

  1. Spire Motorsports (#7/#77), 118
  2. Kanaan Esports (#11/#66), 110
  3. Williams Esports (#51/#53), 105
  4. 23XI (#23/#45), 102
  5. JR Motorsports (#8/#88), 98

Daytona winner Wyatt Tinsley (QuikTrip Pioneers Gaming) finished 21st after a promising qualifying effort put him second at the start. Tinsley falls to sixth in the driver’s championship and Segment 1 standings, 12 points behind Leahy. Casey Kirwan (Spire Motorsports) sits second in points, with Wilson in third, Kaden Honeycutt (JR Motorsports) in fourth, and Keister rounding out the top-5.

Segment 1’s final two races are at Atlanta and Richmond, and the Segment winner will receive an additional five playoff points to utilize in the later part of the year. Spire Motorsports continues to lead the team standings, by eight points over Kanaan Esports. 

The 40 top-rated eNASCAR drivers return in two weeks for their first fixed-setup race of the season at the recently reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last season, Steven Wilson held off Kollin Keister and Michael Guest for his only win of the year, which catapulted him towards a title at the end of the season. 

Tune in on Tuesday, March 12th, 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.