July 19th, 2022 by Chris Leone
Fresh off NASCAR’s announcement of its debut on the streets of Chicago next summer, the 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race will take on the virtual street circuit in NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen cars as a preview of the real thing. The action kicks off on Tuesday, August 2 at 9PM ET, and will stream live as always at eNASCAR.com/live.
The Chicago street circuit was designed by iRacing after working with NASCAR to scan the city streets in fall 2020. The final course design counts 12 turns among its 2.14-mile layout, and sees Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain, among other major landmarks, in the backdrop. The track saw its first racing action live on FS1 as part of the 2021 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series with the Next gen cars, and was released to iRacing members just moments after hitting the airwaves.
The festivities will kick off with the All-Star Open, where any active eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driver who hasn’t won a race or pole in 2021 or 2022 will do battle. With just two transfer spots into the big show and no extra sets of tires available in the pits, tempers are expected to flare throughout the Open for the honor of moving on.
From there, it’s onto the All-Star Race itself. With a longer lap count and the top talent in sim racing to deal with, the All-Star Race drivers will have a fresh set of tires available in the pits for their run to the finish. The All-Star Race winner will receive a family four pack of race tickets and pit passes to a NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as a NASCAR Experience gift card.
To qualify directly for the All-Star Race, drivers must have either won an eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race or qualified on the pole between the 2021 season opener at Daytona International Speedway and July 19’s round at Pocono Raceway. The full roster of drivers who have guaranteed their spot in the 2022 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race is as follows:
|4||Ryan Luza||XSET||’21 Pole, ’21 Win|
|8||Michael Conti||JR Motorsports||’21 Win, ’22 Pole, ’22 Win|
|10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas eSports||’22 Pole, ’22 Win|
|18||Bobby Zalenski||Joe Gibbs Racing||’21 Win|
|19||Vicente Salas||Williams Esports||’21 Pole, ’21 Win|
|21||Garrett Lowe||Wood Brothers Racing||’22 Win|
|23||Mitchell deJong||23XI||’21 Pole, ’21 Win, ’22 Pole|
|24||Cody Byus||Mode Motorsports||’22 Pole|
|25||Nick Ottinger||William Byron eSports||’21 Pole, ’21 Win, ’22 Pole, ’22 Win|
|33||Taylor Hurst||Team Dillon eSports||’22 Pole|
|45||Keegan Leahy||23XI||’21 Pole, ’21 Win|
|46||Jimmy Mullis||Rise Esports||’21 Pole, ’21 Win|
|48||Graham Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||’21 Pole, ’21 Win, ’22 Pole, ’22 Win|
|51||Ray Alfalla||Joe Gibbs Racing||’21 Win, ’22 Win|
|75||Matt Bussa||Mode Motorsports||’21 Win, ’22 Win|
|79||Femi Olatunbosun||Clint Bowyer Racing||’22 Win|
|88||Briar LaPradd||JR Motorsports||’22 Pole|
|97||Logan Clampitt||William Byron eSports||’21 Win|
|TBA||Bob Bryant||TBA||’21 Win|
|TBA||Chris Shearburn||TBA||’21 Win|
Rise Esports driver Jimmy Mullis is the defending winner of the event, having passed Team Dillon Esports driver Corey Vincent on the final lap of last year’s event at Nashville Superspeedway. Mullis is back in the big show this year by virtue of winning both a race and pole last season, but Vincent will need to race his way in through the Open if he wants a shot at redemption. Only two drivers, William Byron eSports’ Nick Ottinger and Charlotte Phoenix’s Graham Bowlin, gathered enough extra credit to check off every qualifying criteria for the event.