February 16th, 2022 by Chris Leone
Images via Justin Melillo
In his first race driving for Clint Bowyer Racing, Femi Olatunbosun survived not only numerous cautions, but also an intense green-white-checkered charge to the finish, to earn his first career eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory from Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday night. As long as he can remain in the top 20 in series points through the regular season, the win all but guarantees the Revere, Massachusetts native a spot in the 2022 series playoffs.
Elliott Sadler Esports’ Garrett Manes was second and Stewart-Haas eSports’ Steven Wilson was third, with Olatunbosun just .009 and .011 seconds ahead of them at the line, respectively. After Manes tried to isolate the leading duo from the pack and make it a drag race to the line, Wilson pushed Olatunbosun just enough before taking his own stab at the checkered flag to help counter Manes’ momentum on what would have been the winning move.
Unlike recent previous years, including last year’s caution-free running, the herd was much thinner at the finish thanks to a number of incidents that took out everyone from series debutants to past champions and playoff drivers. With the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car making its superspeedway debut in the series, even the 40 best virtual stock car racers in the world faced an adjustment period, and the cautions started flying as soon as six laps into the 80-lap race.
After a number of yellows piled on as the race continued, the biggest one came with just a handful of laps remaining. Malik Ray, well-known for being one of the top superspeedway drivers in the series, took a push from Charlotte Phoenix driver Kollin Keister that went awry, spinning him from the bottom lane into the front of the field and collecting many of the top remaining racers. That set up the first of three possible overtime finishes, and with drivers taking the white flag, it was a mad—yet clean—dash to the finish from there.
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from Daytona International Speedway were as follows:
|25||8||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Toyota||84||-19.816||0||46.231||12|
|28||36||19||Vicente Salas||Toyota||83||-1 L||0||46.091||9|
|29||22||54||Kyle Peddle||Toyota||82||-2 L||0||46.662||8|
|30||21||9||Michael Guest||Ford||81||-3 L||0||46.191||7|
|31||29||36||Brian Mercurio||Chevrolet||78||-6 L||0||46.349||6|
|32||27||12||Derek Justis||Ford||78||-6 L||0||46.310||5|
|33||30||3||Corey Vincent||Chevrolet||76||-8 L||0||46.247||4|
|34||37||17||Kaden Honeycutt||Ford||66||-18 L||0||46.143||3|
|35||4||97||Logan Clampitt||Chevrolet||56||-28 L||0||46.582||2|
|36||16||69||Collin Bowden||Chevrolet||15||-69 L||0||46.831||1|
|37||15||42||Darik Bourdeau||Chevrolet||12||-72 L||0||46.846||1|
|38||33||5||Zack Novak||Chevrolet||11||-73 L||0||45.932||1|
|39||18||20||Donovan Strauss||Toyota||10||-74 L||0||46.807||1|
|40||24||88||Briar LaPradd||Chevrolet||6||-78 L||0||46.717||1|
eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series points after one round are as follows:
- Femi Olatunbosun, 40
- Garrett Manes, 35
- Steven Wilson, 34
- Michael Conti, 33
- Jimmy Mullis, 32
- Blake Reynolds, 31
- Dylan Duval, 30
- Kollin Keister, 29
- Keegan Leahy, 28
- Taylor Hurst, 27
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season continues in two weeks’ time, as drivers head west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where XSET’s Ryan Luza is the defending winner. Broadcast coverage begins on Tuesday, March 1 at 8:30PM ET with Countdown to Green before a 9PM ET green flag, and can be seen at enascar.com/live.