The eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series playoffs kicked off with a wild one from Darlington Raceway, as on-track drama and throwback paint schemes combined to produce one of the most exciting events of the 2019 season. Tonight, the series gets back in action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as it looks to reflect the exciting real-world cutoff race that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series fans saw on Sunday.
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The checkered flag at Darlington went to Ashton Crowder, who gave Burton Kligerman eSports its first-ever victory while becoming the third consecutive first-time winner in the series. Crowder held off Roush Fenway Racing’s Zack Novak, the top-finishing playoff driver, to join the likes of Eric J. Smith, Garrett Lowe, and Casey Kirwan as first-time winners in 2019.
Novak now boasts a five-point lead over G2 Esports’ Keegan Leahy in the playoff standings, and a 19-point advantage over JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti in third. He also enters Indianapolis as a past winner here, having scored his first-career series victory at the Brickyard two seasons ago. Other past winners from Indianapolis include defending winner Logan Clampitt of Burton Kligerman eSports, JTG Daugherty Racing’s Nick Ottinger, Wood Brothers Racing’s Ray Alfalla, and independent Dylan Duval.
Alfalla, meanwhile, is one of a number of drivers engaged in a heated battle for the 20th place cutoff spot that guarantees an entry in the series next year. He’s currently four points ahead of Crowder for the bubble position, but Duval, Phillip Diaz, Chris Overland, and Ryan Lowe are all within 10 spots each of the cutoff.
Tonight’s eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series race from Indianapolis Motor Speedway will air live at 9PM ET on the iRacing eSports Network. Two weeks from now, the season continues on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, where the four eligible drivers for this year’s championship will be determined. The season finale from Homestead-Miami Speedway will air live on Thursday, October 10 at 5PM ET on NBCSN as part of NASCAR America.
Driver Profile: Ashton Crowder
eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series rookie Ashton Crowder raced his way into the series by placing third in last winter’s Pro Series, and earned a spot on Burton Kligerman eSports alongside series veteran Logan Clampitt. After a handful of disappointing finishes to start the season, Crowder knocked on the door of the top 10 for a number of races before finally breaking through in the regular season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway.
A week later at Darlington, Crowder capitalized on late-race green-flag pit stops to seize the lead and never looked back. Holding the point for 33 laps, he scored his team’s first-ever eNASCAR victory after staving off a hard-charging Zack Novak in the final green flag stint of the race.