With two wins apiece, the three dominant names of this year’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series—Graham Bowlin, John Gorlinsky, and most recent race winner Ray Alfalla—are among a select few drivers who will go into Tuesday night’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway without having to worry about their spot in the top 20 of the championship. Even with a drop week set to eliminate the worst scores of every driver on the grid, all three have mathematically secured a spot in the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship.
Alfalla, the four-time eNASCAR iRacing World Champion, entered the series as a strong favorite to advance and did plenty to live up to his championship reputation. Wins at both Atlanta and Darlington showed that he’s both as fast and motivated as ever, and after an uncharacteristic 2019 season at the highest level, he has something to prove for next year. Tuesday’s win at Darlington came after navigating a chaotic final stretch of the race, which included two late accidents, one right off of a restart.
Bowlin, meanwhile, has his rookie season in the World Championship to look forward to after becoming the first repeat Pro winner of 2019 with back-to-back victories at Richmond and Dover. With 159 laps led on the season, second to only Cody Byus, the Texan is also just one of 10 drivers to complete all 870 laps run over the course of the season so far.
For longtime iRacers, Gorlinsky’s name should be familiar, as he was a World Championship driver back in the series’ early stages. Wins at both Daytona and Charlotte have helped him earn his place in the big show once again, with the latter coming over Nathan Lyon, who had dominated the race. With that said, however, Lyon can still breathe a sigh of relief: he’s mathematically guaranteed a World Championship spot next year as well, as are Bob Bryant, Ashton Crowder, and Alex McCollum, even after the drop week is factored in.
If the current top 20 in the standings holds after the drop week is factored in, next year’s World Championship field will feature mostly familiar names to fans who watched the series in 2019. 11 of the top 20 drivers right now ran at the highest level last season, with Bowlin, Bryant, Gorlinsky, McCollum, Kollin Keister, Steve Sheehan, Jeremy Allen, Santiago Tirres, and Justin Bolton the exceptions. Meanwhile, three of last year’s World Championship drivers—Michael Guariglia, Casey Tucker, and Nickolas Shelton—are in the first three spots out of the top 20 before the drop, and will look to capitalize on any mistakes from other drivers at Homestead.
Images via Justin Melillo/The Racing Experts