Tonight, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the seventh race of the 2022 season. The 1.5-mile D-shaped oval in Kansas City, Kansas would be considered just old enough to drink in the United States having opened 21 years ago in 2001. A staple fixture on the NASCAR Cup schedule, Kansas will also be the venue for this upcoming real-world race weekend.
Two weeks removed from another Nick Ottinger (William Byrons eSports) victory, this time coming at Dover, the series has four winners so far this season that are all but locked into the 2022 playoffs. Michael Conti (JR Motorsports) has a pair himself, while both Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Esports) and Femi Olatunbosun (Clint Bowyer Racing) have their own first wins in the series this season.
Kansas hasn’t had as much of a storied past in the Coke Series, only appearing five times in its 12-season history. Most seasons, Kansas has been just another regular season event. Only in 2020 did the Kansas race fall in the playoffs and decide a place in that season’s Championship 4.
The first season that Kansas fell on the eNASCAR calendar was back in 2013. Despite not winning the 2013 title, Ottinger had a series-high six victories that season, the fifth of which came in the inaugural Kansas race in a duel with the eventual champion, current Series Director Tyler D Hudson.
Kansas didn’t return to the schedule until 2018, but ever since, it’s been on the schedule for five straight seasons including this year. In 2018, Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing) scored his second career victory in that Kansas race. Since then, he’s collected nine more victories and the 2021 championship.
Another champion of the series, Zack Novak (Rise eSports), was able to win at Kansas in his championship season in 2019. in 2020, the track found itself in the playoffs for the first and only time. Another Ottinger victory that season sealed his place in the 2020 playoffs, where he would go on to finally score that championship.
The defending winner of the Kansas race is Chris Shearburn, former driver for LETARTE Esports. Shearburn out-dueled both Isaac Gann and Leahy to take what he considered his biggest win ever, and what would wind up his final career victory before he was relegated out of the series.
WHO TO WATCH FOR
Every time the series returns to a track, the first thing I do is see who has won there before. Ottinger is the only multi-time winner at the track, and considering he’s on a two-race winning streak, he absolutely has to be the favorite for the win tonight.
Both Leahy and Novak have wins at the track as well, but neither driver has been able to get their 2022 in high gear just yet. Just off of his first Top 5 of the season, Novak sits 18th overall. As for Leahy, he only has a pair of Top 10s and sits 19th in the points. If either of them can break through, a track that they’ve won at before would be the best bet.
After the previous winners, I look for who is trending so far this season. I’m hard pressed not to pick Graham A. Bowlin to finally capture one. He’s been so close all season long. I believe his circumstances on Tuesday night might give him the boost he needs to break through.
His team, the Charlotte Phoenix, is hosting a live eNASCAR event with Bowlin and his teammate Kollin Keister on stage. JR Motorsports’ drivers Michael Conti and Briar LaPradd will also be competing from the Carolina Esports Hub.
Someone who is in desperate need of a good finish is Ottinger’s teammate Logan Clampitt. Clamp sits 33rd in the points after six races. He’s got two Top 10s on the season, but he also has four finishes below 34th. Clampitt is a usual suspect at these cookie cutters, and if he’s going to have any chance at reviving his season, it has to be this week at Kansas with a victory.
WHERE TO WATCH
The race itself will kickoff at 9:00 p.m. EDT / 2:00 a.m. BST following the pre-race festivities, which kick off a half-hour earlier. The Countdown to Green begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 a.m. BST featuring Camille Salazar Hadaway, Alan Cavanna and Brandon Kettelle. Once the race kicks off, you’ll hear the voices of Evan Posocco, Blake McCandless and James Pike down on pit road.
Check out our Traxion.GG 10 Questions interview with Blake Reynolds, driver of the No. 15 Ford Mustang for Jim Beaver Esports. Also, read up on the live eNASCAR event happening tonight at the Carolina Esports Hub during the race.
POINTS ENTERING RACE #7 – KANSAS SPEEDWAY
|1||25||Nick Ottinger||William Byron eSports||2||192||5||5|
|2||8||Michael Conti||JR Motorsports||2||137||3||3|
|3||10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas eSports||1||184||4||4|
|4||79||Femi Olatunbosun||Clint Bowyer Racing||1||168||2||3|
|5||75||Matt Bussa||Mode Motorsports||0||158 (+29)||1||4|
|6||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||0||153 (+24)||3||3|
|7||15||Blake Reynolds||Jim Beaver eSports||0||153 (+24)||1||3|
|8||95||Casey Kirwan||XSET||0||144 (+15)||1||4|
|9||3||Corey Vincent||Team Dillon Esports||0||140 (+11)||2||4|
|10||33||Taylor Hurst||Team Dillon Esports||0||138 (+9)||0||3|
2022 eNASCAR COCA-COLA iRACING SERIES SCHEDULE
|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|