With just two rounds remaining in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series regular season, tonight’s tilt at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be crucial for drivers looking to crack into the top eight spots in points in time for the playoffs. Even still, they’ll have an uphill battle to get there—and their most frustrating opponents may be one another.
Brad Davies, Corey Vincent, Graham Bowlin, and Jimmy Mullis enter Las Vegas separated by just seven points for ninth place in the championship, putting all four on roughly equal footing coming into the night. But Davies, the leader of the pack, is still 20 points behind eighth place driver Ray Alfalla, the four-time series champion who has long since put the frustrations of his 2019 campaign behind him. Seventh place Logan Clampitt is the only other driver within a race’s worth of points of Davies, but he’s still another 14 points ahead of Alfalla.
With that in mind, while the full playoff grid isn’t officially locked in yet, it’ll take some major mistakes from either Clampitt or Alfalla to yield a spot. The top six of Bobby Zalenski, Keegan Leahy, Garrett Lowe, Michael Conti, Ryan Luza, and Nick Ottinger all have enough breathing room not to worry about being on the bubble unless they make uncharacteristic mistakes and have the cards fall just right for two events in a row.
Even in Las Vegas, it’d take quite a bit of rotten luck for anyone to make that bet. While stranger things have happened, almost all of the current playoff drivers were strong in the back-to-back 1.5-mile races at Charlotte and Atlanta in May. Lowe, Luza, and Leahy took top-fives in the 300-miler from Charlotte, while Alfalla made his long-awaited return to the winner’s circle over Lowe in Atlanta, with Leahy again in the top five.
So as Davies and company hope to pressure Clampitt or Alfalla and throw them off of their game, the rest of the field looks to keep their focus on maintaining, or earning, a spot in the top 20 of the standings. For the second year in a row, the defending eNASCAR champion is hovering around the bubble; last year, it was Alfalla, but this year, Zack Novak has just a one-point edge on John Gorlinsky and two on Michael Guest for the final spot to retain their license. With a talented group of Road to Pro drivers preparing for a faceoff for the next 20 licenses this winter, the path back into the series for 2021 will be as difficult as ever.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action from Las Vegas Motor Speedway kicks off tonight at 9PM ET on eNASCAR.com/live and the iRacing Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube pages. NBC Sports NASCAR analysts Steve Letarte and Parker Kligerman will join tonight’s broadcast. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.