The start of the 2022 eNASCAR season is right around the corner, and on Thursday, iRacing announced the official schedule for the year, as well as most of the teams. While there will be plenty of familiarity in both teams and tracks, there are a number of new things to look forward to this upcoming season.
On Friday last week, the 40 qualified drivers began eNASCAR Free Agency, and that ended on Monday night. Each official team will consist of two drivers, and both the drivers and teams need to come to an agreement together. 25 of those drivers will have the opportunity to return to their existing team from 2021, but if last season was any indication where more than half the series found themselves in new places, 2022 could get just as crazy.
At this time, only five teams and 10 drivers have announced their plans for 2022. The season kicks off with the exhibition Clash race at the upcoming LA Coliseum. The series will also be utilizing the NASCAR NEXT Gen vehicles.
TEAMS, DRIVERS STILL TO BE ANNOUNCED
There will be a lot of familiar faces returning to the 2022 edition of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, but there will also be some fresh faces in both drivers and teams to look out for this year. Only 19 teams are on the registration for this year’s competition at this time.
The series still expects to host 20 full teams, but one is still yet to be announced. If a 20th team is not in the cards, two drivers in the series will not be signed but can run independently, as was the case in both 2019 and 2020.
Many mainstays will return, including the 2021 team and driver champions 23XI Racing. Some of the new teams that entered last season, such as Elliott Sadler Esports and XSET, will return as well. There will be at least one brand new team maybe two. Some teams are rebranding, and two teams have exited the series completely.
Here are the 2022 eNASCAR teams announced so far:
- 23XI Racing
- Charlotte Phoenix (NEW TEAM)
- Clint Bowyer Racing
- Elliott Sadler Esports
- eRacr.gg (Formerly Kligerman Sport)
- Jim Beaver eSports
- Joe Gibbs Racing
- JR Motorsports
- LETARTE Esports
- Mode Motorsports
- RISE eSports (Formerly Richmond Raceway eSports)
- RFK Racing (Formerly Roush Fenway Racing)
- Spacestation Gaming
- Stewart-Haas eSports
- Team Dillon Esports
- William Byron eSports
- Williams Esports
- Wood Brothers Racing
Two teams will not return in the 2022 campaign. JTG Daugherty Racing has been in the series since the inception of official teams in 2019. After downsizing to a one car program in 2022 in the NASCAR Cup Series, JTG will continue to downsize by discontinuing their eNASCAR program. Derek Justis was one of their drivers in 2021, but he’ll need to find a new team in 2022.
McLaren Shadow will also not return in 2022. An esports organization in conjunction with Veloce Esports, both Blake Reynolds and Allen Boes did not find the success they were looking for in their first and only season with the new team. Both drivers were relegated to the Contender Series, but were both able to return. Reynolds has signed with Jim Beaver eSports, and Boes has still yet to announce his plans.
On the flip side, three teams have rebranded for 2022, while a new entity born and bred in the heart of NASCAR country will be joining for the first time. One of those teams had a rebrand in the Cup Series as Brad Keselowski joined what used to be Roush Fenway Racing. Now RFK Racing (Roush Fenway Keselowski) for 2022, they’ll be starting fresh with Parker Retzlaff and Kaden Honeycutt filling the two seats in 2022.
Kligerman Sport, formerly Burton Kligerman eSports when the teams were introduced in 2019, will have its third different name in four seasons. They’ll now be known as eRacr.gg, which team owner Parker Kligerman will still have a hand in together with his eRacr.gg co-owner Landon Cassill. eRacr.gg is well known for their iRacing competitions such as the Firecracker 400 and the Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge. They’ll be looking for two new drivers.
RISE eSports will take the place of Richmond Raceway eSports, another Year 1 team from 2019. Before that, RISE was in the series as The Chaos Crew. Unlike eRacr.gg, both of their drivers from the 2021 season will be back in the series for 2022. It will be interesting to see if both the 2019 champion Zack Novak and Chaos Crew OG Jimmy Mullis will return to the newly branded team, or if there will be new blood behind the virtual RISE wheels.
After getting their iRacing start in the Monday Night Racing league with driver James Bickford, the Charlotte Phoenix will enter the Coca-Cola Series for the first time in 2022. The professional esports team was founded in 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. With professional teams in APEX Legends and Rocket League, eNASCAR will be their next endeavor after a rapid expansion into iRacing in 2021.
NEW VENUES, OLD CLASSICS ON 2022 SCHEDULE
As it was in 2021, the 2022 eNASCAR Coke Season will feature 18 points paying races and an exhibition race to kick off the season. The 2022 Playoffs will once again be comprised of three Playoff races and one Championship event. Five venues on the 2021 schedule will not return in 2022.
Auto Club Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Michigan Int’l Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway, the site of the 2021 Championship Finale, will all not return. They’ll be replaced by Bristol’s Dirt Track, Dover Motor Speedway, World Wide Technology Raceway, Nashville Superspeedway, and the championship race will now be held parallel to the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway.
The opening race of the year will be one such exhibition, the Clash at iRacing’s version of the LA Coliseum track, the same track that was used to help build the real thing that the real stars will compete on a few days later.
The 2022 Playoffs will have a similar feeling that was had in 2021, but one new track will join the trio of races to set the Championship battle. Darlington Raceway moves out of the Playoffs to become the Regular Season finale. Bristol’s concrete track will open the round, with Talladega and a Playoff finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to close it all out.
Check out the full schedule below:
|15-Feb-22||1||Daytona Int’l Speedway||80|
|01-Mar-22||2||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||100|
|15-Mar-22||3||Atlanta Motor Speedway||100|
|12-Apr-22||5||Bristol Motor Speedway DIRT||25/120|
|26-Apr-22||6||Dover Motor Speedway||120|
|24-May-22||8||Charlotte Motor Speedway||100|
|31-May-22||9||World Wide Technology Raceway||120|
|16-Aug-22||13||Watkins Glen Int’l||35|
|13-Sep-22||PO1 | 15||Bristol Motor Speedway||175|
|27-Sep-22||PO2 | 16||Talladega Superspeedway||70|
|11-Oct-22||PO3 | 17||Homestead-Miami Speedway||100|
|25-Oct-22||C4F | 18||Phoenix Raceway||110|