Bobby Zalenski goes back-to-back in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event at Chicago Street

For the 10th time in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series history, Bobby Zalenski found himself on top after turning both left and right on Tuesday night. It doesn’t matter if it’s a road course or a street course, because either way, Zalenski once again affirmed his “king” status.

For the second straight year, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver outdueled Williams Esports’ Parker White at the Chicago Street Course, leading all 45 laps between both the Sprint and Main races. Steven Wilson (M80) managed a second-straight podium in a finishing order reminiscent of the inaugural race a season ago.

“(Parker) pushed me last year, he pushed me this year, I don’t know how I was able to stay in front of him on the first lap” Zalenski said post-race. “I knew it was going to be a fight with him and Steven in some sort. Thankfully, I was able to stay ahead of him. He pressured me the whole race because he was faster, or at least it felt like he was faster… I felt like I was driving terrible, honestly. Just incredibly inconsistent, which is just not acceptable, but I guess it made it fun. He made me work, man. Shout out to Parker, he’s always a pleasure to race. He’s insane.”

Zalenski picked up his 16th career victory in 138 starts, clinching his spot in the 2024 eNASCAR Playoffs with two races remaining. He joins Wilson, Vicente Salas (Kanaan Esports), and Tucker Minter (William Byron eSports) as those mathematically locked into this year’s run for the Dale Earnhardt Jr Cup.

QUALIFYING AND SPRINT

Returning from its debut at Brands Hatch, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series faced its special road race format for the second time at Chicago. Qualifying points were on the table to the fastest eight qualifiers, but an invert meant that the most coveted position would be eighth rather than first. No points were to be awarded for the Sprint, but the results would set the lineup for the Main race, which offered the usual amount of points.

Salas scored the pole, claiming the eight points, but would start the Sprint from the outside of the fourth row. White played the invert perfectly, winning the eighth spot by 0.007 seconds over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Faulkingham. Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) qualified in seventh and started outside of the front row for the Sprint.

Zalenski played the invert as well, qualifying sixth to start third. Wilson was less fortunate than his attempt in Brands Hatch, scoring a lap worthy of fourth fastest, which put him fifth for the start.

White was able to easily clear Cosey into Turn 1, but both Zalenski and Wilson followed through by the exit of Turn 2. Down South Lakeshore Drive, Zalenski contested White in the preferred groove. White needed to hold alongside through Turns 4 and 5, but Zalenski powered through and into the lead. White kept it close, but Zalenski managed to pull away for the win.

MAIN EVENT

Now with the advantage for the main event, Zalenski led the field into Turn 1 alongside White. This time, White held the advantage through Turn 2 and down South Lakeshore Drive. Into Turn 4 and through Turn 5, White was able to get ahead. He couldn’t clear, however, and into Turn 6, Zalenski sent it in to take the lead once again. White kept him honest throughout, but could never break Bobby for the 30-lap main event.

There were no cautions or pit stops through the night. Therefore, the attrition rate was a bit higher than a usual race. Timothy Holmes (RFK Racing), Kollin Keister (Kanaan Esports), Darik Bourdeau (Front Row Motorsports), and Ray Alfalla (eRacr) all retired from the event after obtaining race-ending damage through the opening laps.

While 35 cars finished on the lead lap, folks like Keegan Leahy (23XI), Ryan Luza (M80), and Malik Ray (Spire Motorsports) all limped around with significant damage through the majority of the race. Only Jonathon Dulaney (Team Dillon Esports) finished the race off of the lead lap, in 36th.

Four drivers in the field competed from the Navy Pier in Chicago. The William Byron eSports duo of Nick Ottinger and Minter finished the best of the quartet, in 12th and 13th, respectively. Illinois native Matt Bussa (Kevin Harvick Inc.) had a run-in with his teammate Jimmy Mullis early on, resulting in a 21st place effort. Garrett Manes (fgrAccel eRacing) had the toughest night of the live event racers, finishing 27th.

Chicago also had the first back-up driver of the season, as Collin Bowden (RFK Racing) was unavailable to race this week. On Thursday, former eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series competitor Brian Mercurio got the call to fill in for the #17 Build Submarines Mustang. Mercurio had a respectable outing, passing Wyatt Tinsley, the driver he normally spots for, late in the running to finish 18th in his relief effort.

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

Fin.

St.

No.

Name

Team

Laps

Interval

Led

Best

Pts

1118Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing300.000301:25.88843
2253Parker WhiteWilliams Esports30-1.46001:25.83636
3310Steven WilsonM8030-1.86001:25.85639
4611Vicente SalasKanaan Esports30-4.46601:26.18641
5577Casey KirwanSpire Motorsports30-6.06601:26.06438
6441Dylan DuvalNitro Circus Sim Racing30-16.25701:26.23935
7948Graham A. BowlinQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming30-17.53001:26.91130
81090Jordy LopezBS+COMPETITION30-25.61401:26.87529
9889Garrett LoweBS+COMPETITION30-26.19901:26.82735
10738Michael Cosey JrFront Row Motorsports30-27.67101:26.65729
111154Daniel FaulkinghamJoe Gibbs Racing30-29.65401:26.94726
121525Nick OttingerWilliam Byron eSports30-30.07601:26.96825
131397Tucker MinterWilliam Byron eSports30-30.51401:26.93524
141242Tyler GareyeRacr30-31.01501:27.05223
151451Donovan StraussWilliams Esports30-31.61001:27.13322
161829Jimmy MullisKevin Harvick Inc.30-31.82101:26.87221
17168Kaden HoneycuttJR Motorsports30-32.44301:27.10720
182317Brian Mercurio*RFK Racing30-33.63101:26.95919
191720Wyatt TinsleyQuikTrip Pioneers Gaming30-35.73401:26.91018
203540Dylan AultLetarte eSports30-35.97301:27.03217
212062Matt BussaKevin Harvick Inc.30-41.50001:26.99616
222499Matthew ZwackNitro Circus Sim Racing30-51.49301:27.20715
232527Cody ByusPittsburgh Knights30-52.17301:27.26014
243733Taylor HurstTeam Dillon Esports30-57.89501:27.10713
252945Michael Guest23XI30-1:00.44501:27.32512
26405Zack NovakOXYGEN Esports30-1:00.65601:26.91011
273612Garrett ManesfgrAccel eRacing30-1:02.72701:27.54610
282736Quami ScottLetarte eSports30-1:04.53901:27.2449
293814Seth DeMerchantfgrAccel eRacing30-1:05.38501:27.3988
30217Malik RaySpire Motorsports30-1:05.68501:27.5877
311988Briar LaPraddJR Motorsports30-1:06.15501:27.4526
322255Ryan DoucettePittsburgh Knights30-1:06.81601:27.2835
332880Ryan LuzaM8030-1:13.39901:27.4714
343122Femi OlatunbosunOXYGEN Esports30-1:24.61101:27.9323
353323Keegan Leahy23XI30-1:37.03801:27.7322
36323Jonathon DulaneyTeam Dillon Esports29-1L01:27.8481
373469Ray AlfallaeRacr11-19L01:28.9741
383966Kollin KeisterKanaan Esports6DNF01:27.8821
392634Darik BourdeauFront Row Motorsports1DNF0———1
40306Timothy HolmesRFK Racing0DNF0———1

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Driver’s Standings through Round 12 are as follows:

  1. Steven Wilson, 382 (3 WINS)
  2. Parker White, 352
  3. Vicente Salas, 346 (1 WIN)
  4. Bobby Zalenski, 322 (2 WINS)
  5. Nick Ottinger, 319
  6. Tucker Minter, 307 (1 WIN)
  7. Casey Kirwan, 287
  8. Kaden Honeycutt, 276
  9. Jordy Lopez, 269
  10. Garrett Lowe, 268 (1 WIN)
    12. Dylan Duval, 256 (1 WIN)
    18. Wyatt Tinsley, 215 (1 WIN)
    ————————————-
    21. Malik Ray, 198 (1 WIN)

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Segment 3 Standings after Round 3 of 5 are as follows:

  1. Steven Wilson, 116
  2. Parker White, 110
  3. Graham A. Bowlin, 103
  4. Tucker Minter, 99
  5. Bobby Zalenski, 98
  6. Jordy Lopez, 90
  7. Vicente Salas, 86
  8. Garrett Lowe, 84
  9. Michael Cosey Jr, 84
  10. Dylan Duval, 78

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Team Standings through Round 12 are as follows:

  1. William Byron eSports (#25/#97), 621
  2. Williams Esports (#51/#53), 576
  3. Joe Gibbs Racing (#18/#54), 560
  4. Kanaan Esports (#11/#66), 557
  5. M80 (#10/#80), 555

With only two races to go in the 2024 eNASCAR egular Season, seven of the 10 positions are spoken for by winners, with one previous winner sitting just below the line in 21st. Wilson, Salas, Zalenski, and Minter are officially locked-in based on their wins and points total – they cannot fall outside the top 20, and even with two new winners, they would still be in the top 20 even if they missed the next two races.

Garrett Lowe (BS+COMPETITION), Dylan Duval (Nitro Circus Sim Racing), and Tinsley (QuikTrip Pioneers Gaming) are in as they run. The first two could clinch a spot with decent runs next week, as could Tinsley, technically. Tinsley’s path is a little harder, being only 17 points ahead of Malik Ray in 21st. Ray is 13 points behind 20th place Kollin Keister, so his chances are still as good as anyone’s if he can succeed in the next two races at Indianapolis and Pocono.

Leahy, meanwhile, is now 33rd in the standings, mathematically locked out of racing for a championship this season despite winning at Las Vegas. He could still point his way back into the top 20 by the end of the season, but even that is a tall task for the 2021 champion.

The 40 top-rated eNASCAR drivers head back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two weeks in a return to oval racing at the famed speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The series last visited Indy in 2020, and coincidentally, it was Leahy winning on that day. This will mark the series’ 12th visit to the 2.5-mile rectangle venue.

Tune in on Tuesday, July 16th, at 7:30 p.m. ET for the Countdown to Green. Race coverage for the event 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.