June 17th, 2020 by Chris Leone
Blake Reynolds probably shouldn’t expect a holiday card from Logan Clampitt in December.
The duo tangled in the final corner of Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race from North Wilkesboro Speedway, with Reynolds attempting a bump-and-run in Turn 3 on the final lap and Clampitt sliding back up into him coming out of Turn 4. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Graham Bowlin was the beneficiary, reacting quickly to avoid the wreck and taking the win over Stewart-Haas Racing’s Justin Bolton. Nick Ottinger, who started last, finished third, while Corey Vincent, and Jake Nichols completed the top five.
With no points and $500 on the line, a fixed setup, and a short track-style race format that included both heats and inversions, tempers ran high all night. From the very first laps of the heat races to the final corner, contact was a given, as drivers pushed their NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series trucks to the limit to earn one of the 26 spots in the 120-lap feature race. Ottinger earned the final spot in the main event, sending former series champion Ryan Luza and past race winners Eric Smith and Dylan Duval home early.
In spite of all that, and even after the top half of the field was inverted for the feature, the first half of the main event was relatively caution-free. Perhaps some drivers were looking to be conservative because they only had one set of fresh tires in the pits, but that all went out the window when JTG Daugherty Racing’s Christian Challiner took on his second set during a mid-race caution.
Challiner, who joined defending series champion Zack Novak as the two winners of the heat races, pulled away from the field easily in the second half. He was beginning to lap the back of the pack until two cautions—the first of which was a multi-truck wreck between Turns 1 and 2 that almost caught Challiner—bunched the field back up. The second was a previously announced competition yellow with 20 laps to go, giving any driver who hadn’t already taken on their new tires a chance to make the switch.
Clampitt took control of the top spot through the final stages of the race, and proved to be the class of the field as he led a race-high 54 of 120 laps. But it’s hard to imagine a #3 Chevrolet in your rear-view mirror in the final laps of a short track race and not see a little contact coming, and so it came on the last lap of the race. Reynolds’ move set into motion a major incident coming out of the final corner that shuffled the running order dramatically, leaving his peers divided on the move.
Bowlin, meanwhile, led only one lap—the most important one—and gets an extra $500 for his efforts.
Full results from the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race main event from North Wilkesboro Speedway were as follows:
With a number of new rivalries now ignited, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns to points racing in two weeks’ time from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 30. As always, the race can be seen live at 9PM ET on eNASCAR.com/live and the iRacing eSports Network on Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.