Steven Wilson strategizes to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory lane at Richmond

M80’s Steven Wilson returned to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory lane on Tuesday night at Richmond Raceway. After winning his heat in the first event in series history to include heat races, the defending eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion claimed the feature lead through pit strategy and held on through a multitude of restarts, including three in eNASCAR Overtime, for his first win of the year.

Two races ago, Wilson was unstoppable at Las Vegas. He didn’t win, instead finishing ninth after a handful of drivers, including eventual winner Keegan Leahy (23XI), enacted a risky strategy that paid off as the winning move. Through the Richmond feature, Wilson was trapped behind Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) until the caution flew and the only pit stop of the evening commenced. Wilson played the strategy right this time, taking two tires to win the race off of pit road and keeping it from there. The victory marks Wilson’s sixth win in 58 races, and his first at a track under a mile.

“It was really hard to make a pass,” Wilson said post-race. “We had that one good run in the Feature, and then I think that just coming out in the lead was the most important part out of pit stops.

“Really proud to have a win here, a couple of years ago, I was really down on myself about how bad I am at short tracks. I’ve been trying to grind and learn, and we’ve been performing better than ever these last couple of years at them. Just happy to be a winner at this short track, and we’ll see what happens hopefully in these playoffs.”

Wilson scored a total of 50 points by the end of the night thanks to the heat race format. 10 bonus points were awarded to each of the two heat race winners. He scored the second heat win while Cosey Jr won the first from the pole position. Casey Kirwan (Spire Motorsports) finished fourth in both his heat and the feature, collecting 40 points, enough to claim the first ever eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Segment victory. Kirwan leads the points standings through four races, and should he make this year’s playoffs, he’ll now have an additional five playoff points to work with towards making the Championship 4 in 2024.

HEAT RACE #1: In qualifying, Cosey Jr scored his first career pole position in 22 attempts, edging Jimmy Mullis (Kevin Harvick Inc.) for the top spot by 0.009 seconds. All of the drivers that qualified in an odd-numbered position were sent to the first heat, a 25-lap, caution-free event that would not only set the inside row for the feature, but also award points to the top 10 finishers.

Almost immediately, there was an incident that sent the #51 of Donovan Strauss (Williams Esports) spinning to the back of the field. A few more drivers would also go around, including Femi Olatunbosun (OXYGEN Esports) and Tyler Garey (eRacr), but the battle up front stayed clean.

Cosey Jr managed to hold on to the win, but not without a contest. Nick Ottinger (William Byron eSports) made his way to Cosey Jr’s inside on a couple of occasions, but both kept it cordial and finished in the top two positions. Kollin Keister (Kanaan Esports), the points leader entering the night, finished in fourth behind his teammate Vicente Salas.

HEAT RACE #2: Mullis led the field to the green of the second heat, but coming to the green, he spun his tires. This allowed Wilson, who qualified in fourth and started the heat in second, to jump to the lead immediately. Wilson pulled away as the rest of the field attempted to figure it out behind him.

Defending race winner Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing) went for a spin on the opening lap, collecting four-time series champion Ray Alfalla (eRacr) and 2021 series champion Leahy. Mullis managed to settle into the second spot, but his former teammate Zack Novak (OXYGEN Esports) was on the charge in third. Both Mullis and Novak raced for the former Richmond Raceway eSports outfit, and arguably put on a nail-biting show in the closing laps of the second Heat.

While Wilson would go uncontested for the win, Novak was determined to take the runner-up spot. In the closing laps, Novak laid the bumper to Mullis, moving him out of the groove. The two went side-by-side, but Mullis had to concede before the exit of the corner. Mullis could have returned the favor, but opted to take home a safe third position. Kirwan, meanwhile, finished in fourth, matching his main rival for the Segment, Keister, in Heat points scored. Keister took a four point advantage into the Feature over Kirwan with Ottinger seven points back. Wilson was 18 points behind following his heat win, and would need a lot to happen to contest for the Segment win. At the end of the night, he nearly got there.

FEATURE RACE: Cosey Jr led the field to the green alongside Wilson as the field attempted to sort itself out behind. The caution flew on the second lap, but after that, the field managed to go green for nearly 30 laps before the next slow down.

Through the opening first half of the race, Cosey Jr was in control. Wilson had his hands full with Novak, who again utilized his front bumper to make a move into second place. Novak’s tires didn’t last, however, as before the midway point, Wilson was challenging back for the spot.

A caution in the back of the field would set the tone for the remainder of the race. In the second half, there were seven cautions to deal with. The decisions made during the one and only pit stop of the night would be more crucial than ever.

Cosey Jr opted to take four tires in his quest for his first career victory. That popped him out in sixth on the restart. Wilson, Tucker Minter (William Byron eSports), Kirwan, Kaden Honeycutt (JR Motorsports), and Matt Bussa (Kevin Harvick Inc.), all took two tires and got vital track position for what would be a slog to the end of the race. As the cautions fell, the probability for a four-tire call to get back to the front continued to drop.

Cosey Jr managed to get as high as fourth, but by that point, there were enough cycles on the tires that the two-tire calls were all equalized with the four-tire takers. At times, the field wasn’t able to get more than a single lap before another caution flag was in the wind.

The nature of the race resulted in the maximum three attempts at eNASCAR Overtime. On the final start, the field managed to at least make it back to the white flag before coming undone. Wilson went on to win while Minter nosed Novak for the runner-up position. Keister looked to have a chance at taking the Segment victory, but on the final lap, he went around on the frontstretch and wound up finishing in 34th. Kirwan, meanwhile, kept it together and took home fourth, more than enough to claim the first-ever eNASCAR Segment win over Wilson by seven points.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race 4 at Richmond results were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Name

Team

Laps

Interval

Led

Best

Pts

1210Steven WilsonM80830.0004522.24350
2997Tucker MinterWilliam Byron eSports83-0.369022.32341
345Zack NovakOXYGEN Esports83-0.375022.35843
4877Casey KirwanSpire Motorsports83-0.719022.40640
5198Kaden HoneycuttJR Motorsports83-0.710022.49733
6511Vicente SalasKanaan Esports83-0.832022.39839
7629Jimmy MullisKevin Harvick Inc.83-0.917022.36338
82912Garrett ManesfgrAccel eRacing83-0.906022.54929
9138Michael Cosey JrFront Row Motorsports83-1.0673822.37738
10325Nick OttingerWilliam Byron eSports83-1.247022.44836
111189Garrett LoweBS+COMPETITION83-1.383022.51831
121562Matt BussaKevin Harvick Inc.83-1.438022.49028
131388Briar LaPraddJR Motorsports83-1.513022.59128
141090Jordy LopezBS+COMPETITION83-1.636022.65329
151241Dylan DuvalNitro Circus Sim Racing83-1.824022.68427
16147Malik RaySpire Motorsports83-2.091022.63025
172154Daniel FaulkinghamJoe Gibbs Racing83-2.134022.57820
18283Jonathon DulaneyTeam Dillon Esports83-2.178022.61719
19186Timothy HolmesRFK Racing83-2.263022.63820
203551Donovan StraussWilliams Esports83-2.360022.55017
212545Michael Guest23XI83-2.570022.67616
223034Darik BourdeauFront Row Motorsports83-2.665022.69815
232333Taylor HurstTeam Dillon Esports83-2.776022.60214
244018Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing83-2.889022.66813
253636Quami ScottLetarte eSports83-3.041022.78212
262455Ryan DoucettePittsburg Knights83-3.054022.41211
273223Keegan Leahy23XI83-3.497022.68710
282240Dylan AultLetarte eSports83-4.250022.6319
291748Graham A. BowlinQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming83-4.639022.58710
302053Parker WhiteWilliams Esports83-4.643022.5298
313869Ray AlfallaeRacr83-4.810022.6596
323742Tyler GareyeRacr83-5.716022.6965
333922Femi OlatunbosunOXYGEN Esports83-10.834022.5124
34766Kollin KeisterKanaan Esports83-11.525022.45710
352799Matthew ZwackNitro Circus Sim Racing83-13.170022.6362
362620Wyatt TinsleyQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming83-16.136022.7731
373327Cody ByusPittsburg Knights83-18.589022.7021
383180Ryan LuzaM8081-2L022.4411
393414Seth DeMerchantfgrAccel eRacing80-3L022.6911
401617Collin BowdenRFK Racing76-7L022.7184

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Driver’s Standings through Round 4 are as follows:

  1. Casey Kirwan, 125
  2. Steven Wilson, 118 (1 WIN)
  3. Nick Ottinger, 116
  4. Vicente Salas, 105
  5. Kollin Keister, 99
  6. Kaden Honeycutt, 99
  7. Donovan Strauss, 98
  8. Briar LaPradd, 95
  9. Zack Novak, 94
  10. Parker White, 91
    12. Malik Ray, 85 (1 WIN)
    14. Wyatt Tinsley, 83 (1 WIN)
    16. Keegan Leahy, 82 (1 WIN)

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Segment 1 Final Standings are as follows:

  1. Casey Kirwan, 125 (+5 Playoff Points)
  2. Steven Wilson, 118
  3. Nick Ottinger, 116
  4. Vicente Salas, 105
  5. Kollin Keister, 99
  6. Kaden Honeycutt, 99
  7. Donovan Strauss, 98
  8. Briar LaPradd, 95
  9. Zack Novak, 94
  10. Parker White, 91

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Team Standings through Round 4 are as follows:

  1. Spire Motorsports (#7/#77), 244
  2. Kanaan Esports (#11/#66), 204
  3. JR Motorsports (#8/#88), 194
  4. Williams Esports (#51/#53), 189
  5. William Byron eSports (#25/#97), 186

With the first Segment in the books, Segment 2 begins in two weeks when the series visits Brands Hatch in England for the first time in series history. Segment 2 will include Brands Hatch, Dover, Talladega, Charlotte, and Darlington. While the regular season points will continue to accumulate, the second Segment will allow anyone, even whoever is last in the standings, to once again compete for a points victory and the possibility of earning five playoff points for use in the final four races of the year.

Kirwan leads Wilson by seven points, but has yet to win. Kirwan’s teammate Malik Ray, along with Leahy and Daytona winner Wyatt Tinsley (QuikTrip Pioneers Gaming) all have seats on the Playoff grid as long as they stay in the top 20 in the points through the regular season and the series doesn’t see more than 10 winners before the playoffs are determined.

The 40 top-rated eNASCAR drivers return in two weeks for the first trip to Brands Hatch, the first Road Course race of the 2024 season. Tune in on Tuesday, April 9th, 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.