March 2nd, 2021 by Chris Leone
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series doesn’t always run on back-to-back weeks, but for some, tonight’s tilt at Las Vegas Motor Speedway can’t come soon enough. Whether they’re trying to continue to build momentum after strong performances or put disappointing results at either Daytona or Homestead far in the rearview mirror, the 40 drivers in the championship know that every race is an opportunity—especially on 1.5-mile tri-ovals, which make up a decent portion of this year’s schedule as always.
Fortunately for JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti and 23XI’s Keegan Leahy, they’re already taken some of the stress out of this season for themselves by winning the first two events. Under the revised 2021 playoff format, race winners get the first crack at this year’s title as long as they remain in the top 20 in points, and there’s no reason not to expect that from the 2014 series champion and 2019 runner-up, respectively.
That leaves 38 other drivers looking to punch their playoff tickets as early as tonight, and four of them have already won at this track. Richmond Raceway eSports driver Jimmy Mullis is the defending race winner as Las Vegas ran as a night race last fall, while Conti’s teammate Brad Davies took top honors in 2011 and Team Dillon Esports’ Corey Vincent, currently second in points, earned his second career checkered flag here in 2016. But the undisputed king of LVMS of late is still XSET’s Ryan Luza, who went three in a row here from 2017 to 2019 and comes off of a runner-up finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend.
But despite the many talented veterans with wins at this track in tonight’s lineup, there are also a number of quality rookies who are ready to break through. Kligerman Sport’s Isaac Gann leads the group at sixth in points, while Daytona polesitter Mitchell deJong of 23XI is tied for seventh, Williams Esports’ Jake Matheson is tied for 11th, and Joe Gibbs Racing newcomer Femi Olat is 13th. Given that the real-world NASCAR Cup Series has had two first-time winners and one second-time winner thus far in 2021, could it be only a matter of time until its virtual counterpart can say the same?
Curb Records recording artist Tim Dugger will join tonight’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series broadcast as tonight’s grand marshal. An avid NASCAR fan, Dugger is a longtime iRacer himself, frequently setting up hosted sessions on the sim and competing in major stock car events. His latest release, the Signs of a Good Time EP featuring “You’re Gonna Love Me,” is available now on all major music and streaming platforms.
Coverage of eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action from Las Vegas Motor Speedway begins at 9PM ET/6PM PT on eNASCAR.com/live, iRacing.com/live, and NASCAR and iRacing social media channels. The season continues next Tuesday from Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Ray Alfalla took the checkered flag last year. For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit www.eNASCAR.com. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.