February 15th, 2022 by Chris Leone
Image via Justin Melillo
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series enters its 13th season with its annual premier event at Daytona International Speedway, the first of 18 rounds on the road to a more than $330,000 series purse. As always, race coverage begins at 9PM ET at eNASCAR.com/live and across iRacing social media channels, while an extended special edition of Countdown to Green will kick off at 8PM ET to preview the season.
Last Race: The non-points Clash at the Coliseum exhibition was the first chance for the drivers of eNASCAR to not only show off their new teams for 2022, but also sample the Next Gen Cup Series car in significant race conditions in the series. XSET’s Casey Kirwan, debuting his new number 95 in a nod to Lightning McQueen, grabbed the lead from JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti with under 40 laps to go and led to the checkered flag, securing the first win of the year.
Last Season: In the first race of a new season, and with a new win-and-you’re-in playoff format, taking the checkered flag was as important as it got in the opening round from Daytona. In a mostly clean race, Conti held the lead on the final lap, and managed to evade the trouble that consumed most of the field coming out of the final corner as many of his top challengers got caught up in an incident. Conti’s victory kicked off a run of unique winners so unprecedented in eNASCAR that more drivers took wins than there were eligible playoff spots, but his Daytona triumph and points performance over the remainder of the regular season were enough to get him into the showdown for last year’s $100,000 title.
Track Facts: Recently updated in time for the 2022 eNASCAR season, Daytona International Speedway is one of the world’s most iconic race tracks. Host to both the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 and regular season-ending Coke Zero 400, the 2.5-mile superspeedway requires a unique skill set to master. Only those drivers who are patient enough to ride to the finish, savvy enough about drafting to work their way to the front, and lucky enough to evade “The Big One” when it hits find themselves in the biggest victory lane of the season.
Next Race: Following Daytona, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, March 1 at 9PM ET. Former series champion Ryan Luza of XSET led 46 of 134 laps on the way to victory in Las Vegas last year, holding off rookie Steven Wilson, who also led 40. While the first half of the race produced the season’s first six caution flags, the second half went green to the finish, with Luza taking the top spot over from Malik Ray after Ray’s gamble to stay out and hope for a yellow flag didn’t pay off.