November 1st, 2020 by Chris Leone
This is it: the race that stands between four eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers and $100,000.
The biggest moment in series history returns the series to Homestead-Miami Speedway, the former home of NASCAR Championship Weekend and site of last year’s epic drag race to the finish line between Zack Novak and Keegan Leahy. Neither is eligible for this year’s title—in fact, only Bobby Zalenski returns from last year’s Championship 4—but if this season has been any indication, the run off of Turn 4 to the finish line will likely be just as contested.
Zalenski, Nick Ottinger, and Michael Conti punched their way into the Championship 4 for tonight’s race by winning at Charlotte, Kansas, and Texas in the Round of 8. Ryan Luza earned his way in on points just when all seemed hopeless, persevering through more than half of last week’s cutoff round with a damaged car and making up enough spots during late-race chaos to save part of his incoming points advantage.
All four will end the night with at least $10,000 in their pocket, but only one can become the first six-figure champion in iRacing history.
Recent history says that this year’s champion will be the driver who wins at Homestead. Luza accomplished the feat with a win here in 2017, making him the only driver of the four to win here, as Conti’s 2014 championship was earned with a third place finish. Zalenski and Luza both finished in the top five here last year, while Ottinger and Conti will hope not to replicate their 20th and 21st place runs from last year’s finale.
Of course, the quartet of title contenders aren’t the only drivers with something to fight for on Monday night. Only the top 20 drivers in points at the end of the season will find themselves guaranteed a spot back in the series, with the bottom 20 needing to sweat their way through the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series through the coming months. The 20th place bubble spot is currently tied up between Matt Bussa and Nathan Lyon with 376 points apiece, but 19th place Dylan Duval is just three points clear and everyone down to Kollin Keister in 25th is within single-digit points of the bubble spot.
Realistically, that means seven drivers fighting for two spots, but a surprise run from someone as far down as 30th place Chris Overland can still merit a top-20 points finish with the right points combinations behind them. Likewise, John Gorlinsky’s 14-point clearance of the bubble isn’t completely safe, while Caine Cook’s 34-point advantage over the cutoff would require a lot of things to go wrong to leave him on the outside looking in.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season finale from Homestead-Miami Speedway runs a day and an hour later than normal, with coverage beginning on Monday night at 8PM ET on eNASCAR.com/live and iRacing social media channels. A one-hour condensed broadcast of the finale will air on NBCSN on Sunday at 7:30PM ET, after the real-world NASCAR Cup Series champion is crowned. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.