April 13th, 2021 by Chris Leone
The real-world NASCAR Cup Series currently finds itself in the middle of an exciting stretch of short track racing, having come off of the historic Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race a few short weeks ago and an exciting battle at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Tonight, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series joins in the fun, taking on its first short track race of 2021 at Richmond Raceway, a longtime staple of the series calendar.
The 40 best virtual stock car drivers in the world have done an excellent job of keeping their noses clean so far this year, with caution flags coming few and far between as drivers have taken on some of the sport’s biggest and fastest tracks and navigated pack racing with plenty of prowess. Richmond could represent the first wrench in the works there, though; last year’s event was a battle of attrition that saw a whopping 16 caution flags for 77 laps, and a maximum green flag run of 36 laps.
Former series champion Ryan Luza has won the past two Richmond races, but he won’t need a third to secure his spot in this year’s playoffs thanks to a victory in Las Vegas last month. The trends suggest it’s someone else’s turn, anyway; from 2013 forward, Richmond has crowned four back-to-back winners, but no one has ever been able to conquer it three times in a row. Prior to Luza, defending series champion Nick Ottinger took the 2013 and 2014 races, Kenny Humpe repeated the feat in 2015 and 2016, and Ray Alfalla earned victories in 2017 and 2018.
If the trend holds, it’ll be interesting to see if that winner is another series veteran who’s knocked on the door here before, or if they came from last year’s Pro Series. Richmond Raceway Esports’ own Jimmy Mullis qualified on the pole here last year and dominated the early stages of the race, but would love to avenge last year’s eventual 34th place finish. Elliott Sadler eSports teammates Garrett Manes and Ashton Crowder were 1-2 here in the Pro race in the fall, and a repeat performance would go a long way as both look to fight their way into the top 20 in series points.
Before the action gets underway, iRacing Countdown to Green will begin streaming live at 8:30PM ET/5:30PM PT. Host Amy Long will join series veterans Brandon Kettelle, Michael Guariglia, and Chris Overland to preview tonight’s race and predict the winners.
Coverage of eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series action from Richmond Raceway begins at 9PM ET/6PM PT on eNASCAR.com/live, iRacing.com/live, and NASCAR and iRacing social media channels. Following Richmond, the season continues on April 27 at Kansas Speedway. 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.