eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race Preview: Race 14 – Pocono

Justin Melillo
The 14th and final eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Regular Season event will take place at Pocono Raceway on Tuesday night (1st August).
eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Casey Kirwan wins in photo finish at Pocono

This is it. Tuesday night is the last opportunity to punch a ticket to the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs. Seven tickets have been confirmed, the most recent coming last week in the redemption arc for Garrett Lowe (Jim Beaver Esports).

Currently holding on to the three remaining tickets are Jimmy Mullis (Rise Esports), Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports) and Graham A. Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix). There are about 18 other drivers who could still grab it from their hands in this 2023 Regular Season finale.

As it stands, Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing), Michael Conti (JR Motorsports), Tucker Minter (Team Dillon Esports), Jordy Lopez (Team Dillon Esports), Casey Kirwan (XSET), Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Lowe are the locks with wins and points confirmed.

Last week at New Hampshire

Actually, if we turn it back three weeks ago to Nashville Superspeedway, Garrett Lowe nearly punched his ticket as he led the field off of Turn 4, coming to the checkered flag in the 12th race of the season. Jimmy Mullis had other plans, and did what he felt was necessary to score the win and possibly punch his own ticket.

Lowe and his team owner Jim Beaver were not impressed and showed up with both cars (Lowe and Malik Ray) in what one would at first would believe to be Dale Earnhardt throwbacks, but rather were throwbacks to 1996 and Kyle Petty’s SabCo “protest” paint scheme.

New Hampshire has been the Mullis Mile since 2018, so what better way to protest and get back at a rival than to win at their track and end their winning streak? That’s exactly what Lowe did, moving Donovan Strauss (Williams Esports) out of the way to do so. I did ask, and Strauss is not planning his own protest scheme at Pocono.

Race #13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Top 10 Results

1315Garrett LoweJim Beaver Esports105 LAPS3240
22375Zack NovakRise Esports+0.724 secs035
3251Donovan StraussWilliams Esports+0.922 secs5934
4338Michael ContiJR Motorsports+1.132 secs033
5920Wyatt TinsleyKansas City Pioneers+1.149 secs132
6610Steven WilsonStewart-Haas Racing+1.229 secs031
72746Jimmy MullisRise Esports+1.361 secs030
8152Corey VincentPittsburgh Knights+1.680 secs029
92466Tyler GareyKanaan Esports+1.761 secs028
103945Michael Guest23XI Racing+1.883 secs027

Playoff Situation with one to go

eNASCAR Coke: "Jimmy July" is back; Mullis scores controversial Nashville victory

Mullis is all but locked, despite being much lower in the points. His win from Nashville Superspeedway will lock him in if and only if he stays within the Top 20 by the end of the race at Pocono. If Mullis does fall out, no matter what happens, that will lock in Ottinger on points.

Ottinger is in a good spot, where most instances he will be dancing in the playoffs this season, despite not finding victory lane just yet. He’s 27 points ahead of 10th place and more than a full race ahead of 11th. If there ends up being a new winner that’s not him, all he needs is a 28th place finish to lock in.

The perfect storm to take Ottinger out would be a new winner, Mullis making it and Bowlin outscoring him by 28 points. All else, he should be racing for a championship in most scenarios. Back to Mullis for a second, he’s only six points above the Top 20 cut line. His only guarantee in is a win or second place finish.

bowlin darlington

Bowlin sits in flux as the final Playoff member coming in, but his path is much less secure. The only way he can secure his place is to either win or outscore Ottinger by 28 points. If he doesn’t accomplish either of those tasks, Malik Ray (Jim Beaver Esports) is 24 points behind, and there are 17 more drivers behind him that could win and overtake him for the final spot as well.

Mathematically, Ray, as well as Parker White (Kanaan Esports), Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) and Matt Bussa (William Byron Esports) all have a chance to point in if there is no new winner OR if Mullis falls out. Of course, if Mullis falls out AND there is no new winner, that moves the line down to Ray as the cut, then you get both Garrett Manes (fgrAccel eRacing) and Dylan Duval (Stewart-Haas Racing) as possible drivers to point in.

Outside of that, Michael Guest (23XI Racing), Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing), Corey Vincent (Pittsburgh Knights), Tyler Garey (Kanaan Esports) and Wyatt Tinsley (Kansas City Pioneers) all have one easy path to the playoffs, and that’s with a Pocono win.

Outside the Top 20, Dylan Ault (Letarte Esports), Donovan Strauss and Allen Boes (Front Row Motorsports) likely would get in with a win, although they need a little help with points scoring around them.

Mathematically, Kevin King (JR Motorsports), Zack Novak (Rise Esports), Kollin Keister (eRacr) and Timmy Holmes (RFK Racing) all have a shot to win and get in as well, although their path requires them to gain more points to get into the Top 20 and it is believable that a win may not be able to fully overcome that.

There will be a lot of moving parts. Holmes is 28th in points with a shot, 26 points out of the Top 20. With Pocono as a fixed setup, it could be anyone’s game. In a hosted league race that ran the fixed setup that the Coke Series will likely also run, Parker White was able to win, but drivers like Malik Ray, Graham Bowlin, Michael Cosey Jr, Michael Guest, Wyatt Tinsley, Dylan Duval, Kevin King and Zack Novak were all factors through the night.

That race was nearly won by Daniel Faulkingham (Joe Gibbs Racing), however, he doesn’t have any path to making the playoffs with a win on Tuesday night. It could help him close in on getting above the relegation line, however. That will become a bigger talking point during the playoffs as well.

zalenski leads richmond 5

Playoff Seeding after Race #13 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

118Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing285WIN336
28Michael ContiJR Motorsports375WIN278
333Tucker Minter [R]Team Dillon Esports316WIN256
495Casey KirwanXSET312WIN256
53Jordy Lopez Jr [R]Team Dillon Esports322WIN136
610Steven WilsonStewart-Haas Racing290WIN125
715Garrett LoweJim Beaver Esports278WIN136
846Jimmy MullisRise Esports223WIN134
925Nick OttingerWilliam Byron Esports335+51047
1048Graham A. BowlinCharlotte Phoenix308+24048
117Malik RayJim Beaver Esports284-24057
1211Parker White [R]Kanaan Esports280-28024
1338Michael Cosey Jr [R]Front Row Motorsports279-29026
1397Matt BussaWilliam Byron Esports279-29016

Pocono is now a hotspot for photo finishes

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Casey Kirwan wins in photo finish at Pocono

Last season, Pocono Raceway’s finish was the spark for the rest of the 2022 season, with Casey Kirwan ultimately scoring the title, but also, more moments like this starting to appear. At WWT Raceway, another one of these photo finishes cropped up, but truth be told, Pocono seems to be the perfect place for close finishes.

Off of the final corner, with the way drafting and side-drafting works in these NASCAR NEXT Gen machines, and how far the line is from that moment, it’s been setting up for these close finishes everywhere.

Even in different vehicles, like two weeks ago in the eNASCAR Qualifying iRacing Truck Series or last week in the TURN GP Dallara iR-01 Qualifying Series. Pocono is that track, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Tuesday’s finish was in similar fashion.

Who else to watch for

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race Preview: Race 10 at Pocono Raceway

With Pocono less about the sets and more about the show this time around, it could be even more of a toss-up than in the past. What I look for is how the other fixed setup races have gone, and while they are both complete opposites on the spectrum, there are a few notes to take from them.

Talladega saw more of a mix of drivers towards the front. Given that some of those names, like Malik Ray, Matt Bussa Wyatt Tinsley, and of course the winner and defending champion Casey Kirwan take part and have found success in the Fixed Setup NASCAR iRacing Series, I would expect those drivers to have a bit of a leg up this week.

When looking at prior Pocono races, though, Michael Conti, Allen Boes, Cody Byus, Keegan Leahy, Jimmy Mullis and Bobby Zalenski are all past winners here. One thing there hasn’t been in the previous 10 races is a repeat winner at the Tricky Triangle.

Where to Watch

The Countdown to Green, now sponsored by Wendy’s, starts at 8:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 a.m. BST to bring you up to speed on everything you need to know going into the event. The racing will go green shortly after 9:00 p.m. EDT / 2:00 a.m. BST for the 60-lap event at Pocono Raceway.

The broadcast will be available at eNASCAR.com/live or on the iRacing social channels.


CLASH31-JaneNASCAR Clash at the LA Coliseum | Winner: CASEY KIRWAN20/40/70
114-FebDaytona International Speedway | Winner: TUCKER MINTER80
228-FebThe Milwaukee Mile | Winner: MICHAEL CONTI100
314-MarAtlanta Motor Speedway | Winner: STEVEN WILSON100
428-MarRichmond Raceway | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI130
511-AprAutodromo Nazionale Monza | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI30
618-AprTalladega Superspeedway | Winner: CASEY KIRWAN70
72-MayLas Vegas Motor Speedway | Winner: MICHAEL CONTI100
816-MayDarlington Raceway | Winner: CASEY KIRWAN120
930-MayCharlotte Motor SpeedwayWinner: TUCKER MINTER100
1013-JunWorld Wide Technology Raceway at GatewayWinner: JORDY LOPEZ120
1127-JunChicago Street Course | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI50
1211-JulNashville Superspeedway | Winner: JIMMY MULLIS100
1325-JulNew Hampshire Motor Speedway | Winner: GARRETT LOWE101
141-AugPocono Raceway60
15 – PO115-AugMichigan International Speedway60
16 – PO229-AugDover Motor Speedway120
17 – PO312-SepPhoenix Raceway120
18 – C426-SepHomestead-Miami Speedway100
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