April 5th, 2020 by Chris Leone
After leading huge portions of the first two eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series races, William Byron finally took the checkered flag with a win in Sunday’s Food City Showdown from Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet had a nearly perfect day, qualifying first, winning his hear race, and leading much of the 150-lap main event to avenge last week’s loss to Timmy Hill in Texas.
A new race format saw the series take on Bristol with an invite-only list of 32 current and former NASCAR Cup Series drivers, with drivers from other NASCAR and ARCA series competing instead in their own race on Saturday night. A pair of 50-lap heat races set the grid for the feature race, and while Byron was relatively unchallenged in the first, John Hunter Nemechek just barely nipped Ryan Preece at the finish of the second.
From there, chaos was the rule of the day, as the half-mile Bristol bullring made things difficult for many real-world pros who are still adapting to iRacing. 12 cautions, including one within the final 10 laps of the race, slowed the field, and few drivers didn’t use one (or both) of their resets. However, in spite of the turbulent on-track action, 22 drivers managed to complete all 150 laps.
Alternating pit strategies shuffled the field, enabling Chris Buescher and Landon Cassill to spend time at the front of the pack, but Byron was the class of the field with a dominant 116 laps at the front of the pack. Nemechek shuffled back to second place, while Texas winner Timmy Hill, Homestead winner Denny Hamlin, and Matt DiBenedetto completed the top five.
Food City Showdown Results
Full results from the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series Food City Showdown at Bristol Motor Speedway were as follows:
|2||2||38||John H. Nemechek||Ford||150||-1.372||0||Running||14.824|
|22||5||8||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||150||-12.810||0||Running||14.845|
|23||28||17||Chris Buescher||Ford||146||-4 laps||30||Running||14.962|
|24||22||2||Brad Keselowski||Ford||141||-9 laps||0||Running||14.963|
|25||18||13||Ty Dillon||Chevrolet||132||-18 laps||0||Running||15.007|
|26||19||12||Ryan Blaney||Ford||126||-24 laps||0||Running||14.910|
|27||23||96||Daniel Suarez||Toyota||72||-78 laps||0||Disconnected||14.971|
|28||29||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Chevrolet||72||-78 laps||0||Disconnected||15.166|
|29||8||42||Kyle Larson||Chevrolet||71||-79 laps||0||Disqualified||14.954|
|30||27||9||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet||31||-119 laps||0||Disconnected||15.129|
|31||31||20||Erik Jones||Toyota||14||-136 laps||0||Disconnected||30.457|
|32||16||43||Bubba Wallace||Chevrolet||9||-141 laps||0||Disconnected||15.363|