Casey Kirwan passes Malik Ray in final moments to win eNASCAR at Talladega
April 19th, 2023 by Justin Melillo
With the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series taking on Talladega Superspeedway for the sixth race of the 2023 season, it marked the first time that all 40 drivers would be on the same fixed setup in a points-paying race. Fixed setup or not, the ending to The Biggie Bag $5.00 presented by Wendy’s came down to pure skill and determination as Casey Kirwan willed his XSET Chevrolet just ahead of Collin Bowden’s eRacr machine, giving him just enough of a boost to best Jim Beaver Esports’ Malik Ray at the line by 0.036 seconds.
The victory marks Kirwan’s fourth in series history, but more importantly, it’s his first of the 2023 season which all but guarantees his place in the 2023 eNASCAR Playoffs later down the road. The victory propelled Kirwan into the fourth position in the points standings as he joins JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti, Team Dillon Esports’ Tucker Minter, Stewart-Haas Esports’ Steven Wilson and two-time winner on the season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Bobby Zalenski as now the fifth driver all-but-locked into the championship hunt.
In the race, eRacr’s Kollin Keister, sporting Wendy’s new Blueberry Pomegranate Lemonade drink on the hood, took the pole position alongside Rise Esports driver Zack Novak, who would be sporting a paint scheme similar to the one that NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove to his final career victory in 2000. From the moment Barney dropped the green flag, the racing action was fierce as drivers opted to take most every run that was presented to them.
This led to a total of 36 lead changes among 15 drivers, with even more drivers taking the lead that were unable to hold it across the finish line for official scoring. Things were competitive and changing fast around the 2.66-mile venue in Lincoln, AL. There was a total of six caution flags, the biggest one of which came first on lap 31. At least a third of the field was collected in the initial pileup, but all 39 drivers would continue on at that point.
The race was extended a lap for eNASCAR Overtime following the sixth and final caution of the evening. After barely making it back around to the white flag, the race would end under green conditions no matter what. Ray had the lead with a push from Bourdeau and Bowlin. Those two would wreck in the tri-oval, leaving Ray alone and out to dry as the others closed in coming to the checkers. Kirwan somehow made the right moves and can now breathe easier with getting his first win of the season out of the way early.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Talladega Superspeedway were as follows:
|2||23||7||Malik Ray||Jim Beaver eSports||71||-0.036||9||47.691||35|
|4||26||20||Wyatt Tinsley||Kansas City Pioneers||71||-0.104||0||47.417||33|
|6||3||2||Corey Vincent||Pittsburgh Knights||71||-0.201||1||47.923||31|
|8||30||41||Dylan Duval||Stewart-Haas Racing||71||-0.250||2||47.912||29|
|9||22||17||Kaden Honeycutt||RFK Racing||71||-0.384||0||47.901||28|
|10||17||97||Matt Bussa||William Byron eSports||71||-0.413||0||47.975||27|
|11||18||3||Jordy Lopez Jr||Team Dillon eSports||71||-0.432||0||47.919||26|
|12||6||8||Michael Conti||JR Motorsports||71||-0.732||6||47.885||25|
|14||29||36||Brandon McKissic||LETARTE eSports||71||-1.151||0||48.065||23|
|15||19||66||Tyler Garey||Tony Kanaan Esports||71||-1.198||0||47.970||22|
|16||32||27||Cody Byus||Elliott Sadler eSports||71||-1.242||0||47.667||21|
|17||11||25||Nick Ottinger||William Byron eSports||71||-1.267||6||47.647||20|
|19||10||51||Donovan Strauss||Williams eSports||71||-1.680||0||47.717||18|
|20||21||15||Garrett Lowe||Jim Beaver eSports||71||-1.682||0||47.530||17|
|21||31||6||Timmy Holmes||RFK Racing||71||-1.693||0||47.854||16|
|22||15||18||Bobby Zalenski||Joe Gibbs Racing||71||-1.758||1||47.822||15|
|23||7||38||Michael Cosey Jr||Front Row Motorsports||71||-1.976||1||47.769||14|
|24||33||34||Allen Boes||Front Row Motorsports||71||-2.252||0||47.404||13|
|25||37||10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas Racing||71||-2.298||0||48.090||12|
|26||12||31||Derek Justis||Kansas City Pioneers||71||-3.036||2||48.052||11|
|27||38||55||Vicente Salas||Williams eSports||71||-3.278||2||47.435||10|
|28||20||11||Parker White||Tony Kanaan Esports||71||-3.559||0||47.768||9|
|30||5||33||Tucker Minter||Team Dillon eSports||71||-3.657||0||47.917||7|
|31||27||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||71||-5.133||10||48.082||6|
|32||34||1||Darik Bourdeau||Elliott Sadler eSports||71||-5.387||0||47.667||5|
|33||36||88||Kevin King||JR Motorsports||71||-7.942||0||47.667||4|
|35||13||40||Dylan Ault||LETARTE eSports||71||-18.638||0||47.871||2|
|36||16||46||Jimmy Mullis||Rise eSports||71||-23.652||0||48.074||1|
|37||2||75||Zack Novak||Rise eSports||66||-5L||10||47.807||1|
|38||28||54||Daniel Faulkingham||Joe Gibbs Racing||65||-6L||0||47.861||1|
|39||9||77||Ryan Doucette||Pittsburgh Knights||57||-14L||0||48.143||1|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points through six rounds are as follows:
- Michael Conti, 170, 1 win
- Nick Ottinger, 160
- Bobby Zalenski, 159, 2 wins
- Casey Kirwan, 158, 1 win
- Graham Bowlin, 151
- Michael Cosey Jr., 148
- Tucker Minter, 147, 1 win
- Jordy Lopez Jr., 145
- Malik Ray, 138
- Keegan Leahy, 135
Back to its normal two-week breaks, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will return with open setups once again for the 1.5-mile tri-oval at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Race coverage will start on Tuesday, May 2 at 9 p.m. ET at eNASCAR.com/live. The Countdown to Green, now presented by Wendy’s, kicks off the festivities off at 8:30 p.m. ET as usual.
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.