July 29th, 2020 by Chris Leone
It took more than the scheduled 100 laps to settle the score, but Denny Hamlin Racing’s Casey Kirwan found his way to the winner’s circle for the first time since last season in Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action from Michigan International Speedway. Taking advantage of an additional restart thanks to a caution that flew just before Alex McCollum took the white flag, Kirwan made DHR the first team to win with both of its drivers in the 2020 season.
Although an immediate incident ended the winning hopes of outside polesitter Malik Ray, Nick Ottinger, and Jeremy Allen just two laps into the race, and multiple crashes in the closing laps shuffled the running order dramatically, most of the race at Michigan was fairly clean. Drivers were challenged with mid-race green flag pit stops, and proper execution made all the difference, as the teams that stopped earlier in the mid-race pit window benefitted from having fresher tires more quickly.
The early caution made a one-stop strategy feasible, but when the race went to overtime after contact between Graham Bowlin and Phil Diaz, most of the field elected to take four tires for the two-lap shootout. Rookie Kollin Keister, who had run up front for much of the race, picked track position over fresh rubber, but couldn’t hold onto the point as McCollum and then Kirwan got past. Unfortunately for McCollum, a massive multi-car wreck triggered another caution just before he could cross the line to take the white flag, meaning he’d need to work a little harder for his first career win.
That extra restart was all that Kirwan needed. He got past McCollum for the top spot coming to the backstretch, leaving the G2 Esports driver to fight four-time series champion Ray Alfalla for the second position. Polesitter Chris Shearburn and Christian Challiner would complete the top five. Although the pack racing that dominated the night led to numerous drivers up front, Kirwan’s 23 laps led—matching his car number—was the highest count on the night.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Michigan International Speedway were as follows:
|23||34||9||Eric J. Smith||Ford||108||0||-2.186||38.046||18|
|29||8||18||Graham A. Bowlin||Toyota||108||10||-11.052||38.516||13|
|33||15||66||Jarl Teien||Chevrolet||106||11||-2 L||38.607||9|
|34||28||97||John Gorlinsky||Chevrolet||106||0||-2 L||38.642||7|
|35||20||21||Garrett Lowe||Ford||104||0||-4 L||38.517||6|
|36||25||75||Phillip Diaz||Ford||103||1||-5 L||38.458||6|
|37||12||25||Nick Ottinger||Chevrolet||5||0||-103 L||42.845||4|
|38||2||51||Malik Ray||Toyota||3||0||-105 L||3|
|39||10||47||Jeremy R Allen||Chevrolet||3||0||-105 L||1:08.480||2|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points after 11 rounds are as follows:
- Keegan Leahy, 352
- Ryan Luza, 338
- Bobby Zalenski, 337
- Michael Conti, 326
- Garrett Lowe, 325
- Ray Alfalla, 319
- Nick Ottinger, 287
- Chris Shearburn, 277
- Graham Bowlin, 277
- Logan Clampitt, 273
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns in two weeks’ time, moving its 12th round of the season to the Daytona International Speedway road course in reflection of the changes to the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. It’ll be the first of back-to-back races at Daytona, as the oval remains in its previously committed slot on the calendar later in the month as well. As always, eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action can be seen line at 9PM ET/6PM PT on eNASCAR.com/live and iRacing.com/live. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.