Another first in eNASCAR iRacing competition is coming to the Carolina Esports Hub in Charlotte, North Carolina on 10th May. The very first eNASCAR Pro Battle is set to take stage on the night of the seventh race of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series 2022 season at the virtual Kansas Speedway.
Four of the current series’ competitors will be competing live on stage at the Hub – two drivers from the home team based at the Hub, the Charlotte Phoenix, and two drivers from another hometown favorite team based in Mooresville, North Carolina, that being Dale Earnhardt Jr’s team, JR Motorsports.
The four drivers will compete against the other 36 drivers in the series as usual, similar to how the Monday Night Racing championship finale took place back in February. They’ll compete in front of a live audience and the event will include a concert pre-race by local musical artist Charlez360. Admission to the event is free and to cap it all off, there will be tons of giveaways to look forward to, should you attend.
THE FEATURED DRIVERS
Kollin Keister (Frostburg, Maryland) and Graham A. Bowlin (Houston, Texas) will travel to compete for the new-to-eNASCAR team, the Charlotte Phoenix. JR Motorsports will be represented by long-time driver, the 2014 series champion Michael Conti (Concord, North Carolina) and his rookie teammate, Briar LaPradd (Manchester, Tennessee).
As it stands, all four drivers sit within the Top 25 in the points standings. Conti has two wins to his credit on the season at Las Vegas and Richmond. Bowlin sits sixth in the overall standings to this point with a trio of podium finishes at Las Vegas, Richmond and Bristol Dirt. Both Keister and LaPradd have had up-and-down seasons to this point. Keister has three Top 10s while LaPradd has a Top 5 to his credit.
While LaPradd is in his rookie season, the other three have competed at the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval in Kansas City. Keister has one attempt back in his rookie season in 2020, and it was an unfortunate 37th place result. Bowlin has two starts at the track with a 19th place result in 2020, followed up by a fifth place in 2021.
Conti has started every Kansas race to date, with a 24th place effort in 2013, a 34th in 2018, another 24th in 2019, a 12th place effort in 2020 and a career-best seventh place finish last season in 2021. With that in mind, all four drivers will be looking for their first career Kansas victory on Tuesday night.
THE CAROLINA ESPORTS HUB
This isn’t the first big eNASCAR event at the Carolina Esports Hub, but it will be the first to surround the top level of eNASCAR racing. Back in February, the Hub hosted the championship drivers of Monday Night Racing, crowning Adam Cabot as the champion for Season 4. In total, the four championship competitors took stage while nine other drivers raced alongside the stage in the finale event.
One of the competing drivers that night was James Bickford, current Team Manager for the Charlotte Phoenix. Bickford was the first iRacing driver for the team when they joined Monday Night Racing back in 2021. Since then, they’ve managed to join as a top team in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series and continue to host watch parties to cheer their drivers every other week.
“After having a monumental event with the Monday Night Racing Championship and our addition to Charlotte Phoenix with an eNASCAR Coca-Cola Series team, it seemed fitting to host a race at the Carolina Esports Hub,” Bickford said.
“We believe there is a strong demand for live sim racing events and look forward to having another successful night on May 10th.”
While other series and pro leagues have put on bigger events with more drivers, this is a first for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. It’s arguable that it would be unlikely to get all 40 drivers in one place, but they’ve been able to get most of them in one place before, back in 2020 when they hosted their first and only eNASCAR Media Day.
THE FREE GIVEAWAYS
The event is free to anyone who registers and shows up. With that free admission, the Charlotte Phoenix are giving things away as incentive to come and join the fun. The first 100 people in the door will get two free tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, 30th May. That’s right, a real NASCAR race, and 200 people can get free access to the race by coming to this sim racing event.
The first 100 people will also get a Charlotte Phoenix NFT, but the other giveaways include free iRacing subscriptions, Charlotte Phoenix jerseys, and one lucky person will take home a Next Level Racing F-GT Lite foldable racing cockpit.
Bring your own adult beverages, as it’s written on the event description. Tickets can be gotten over on the event’s eventbrite page, and make sure to get there early to be one of the first 100 for the free stuff. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. ET with the race starting at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Of course, the race will be live as always online at eNASCAR.com/live or on the iRacing social channels. I expect them to incorporate the event in some way or fashion into the main broadcast, as they have with the watch parties in recent weeks. Let us know if you’ll be heading to Charlotte to attend in the comments below!