eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race Preview: Race 9 – Coca-Cola 150 at Charlotte

Justin Melillo
The ninth points paying race of the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season will take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway on 30th May.
Coca-Cola 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway | eNCCiS Race Preview

NASCAR’s backyard is the destination for Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event, the ninth of the 2023 season. The virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway will play host to the 40 best current oval iRacing drivers on the platform as they take the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval on for 100 laps of racing.

Last year, a fuel mileage and tire saving battle broke out among three drivers all desperate for a win. Malik Ray (Jim Beaver Esports) couldn’t get his No. 7 Mustang to the finish on his fuel level. Zack Novak (Rise Esports) fought against Ray for the spot, had the fuel, but lost the tire.

That gave way to Matt Bussa, at the time driving for Mode Motorsports, to come through and take the win, his first of the 2022 season. Now with William Byron Esports, can Bussa make it back-to-back in 2023? Or, will we see the oval pick up a 14th different winner in 15 races at the track?

TWO WEEKS AGO AT DARLINGTON

kirwan leads darlington

From wreckers to checkers, Casey Kirwan (XSET) managed to take his beaten and battered Tony Stewart throwback to Darlington victory lane two weeks ago.

It didn’t look good for the defending eNASCAR champion early on—the first incident of the night came after he, Femi Olatunbosun (Charlotte Phoenix) and Daniel Faulkingham (Joe Gibbs Racing) came together out of Turn 2. Kirwan opted to stay out and deal with the damage the entire race. His concern was more his tires.

A long run allowed Kirwan to truly test those virtual Goodyear tires out, and thankfully, they were not harmed. After the pit cycle, he moved into the top spot. A few more cautions shook up the order, but Kirwan was able to take control late once more and hold off Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports) for his second win of 2023.

RACE 8 AT DARLINGTON – TOP 10 RESULTS

FINSTACAR #DRIVERTEAMINTERVALLEDPTS
11495Casey KirwanXSET120 LAPS3240
2625Nick OttingerWilliam Byron Esports+0.325 secs1835
3108Michael ContiJR Motorsports+1.670 secs134
4148Graham A. BowlinCharlotte Phoenix+3.095 secs333
5287Malik RayJim Beaver Esports+4.415 secs1732
62612Garrett ManesFGR Accel eRacing+4.483 secs031
7497Matt BussaWilliam Byron Esports+5.058 secs3630
82118Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing+5.514 secs029
92933Tucker MinterTeam Dillon Esports+5.572 secs028
10113Jordy LopezTeam Dillon Esports+5.609 secs527

CHARLOTTE HISTORY

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Matt Bussa saves enough gas to win Coca-Cola 150

There is no track on the eNASCAR schedule that has seen more events than Charlotte Motor Speedway. That’s due, in part, to the fact that it was on the inaugural season’s schedule in 2010 twice. On top of that, for a few years, the series would come back in the fall for a trip around the Roval.

Due to those Roval races, Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing) is tied for the most wins at the track, at two, with 4-Time champion Ray Alfalla. Alfalla is the only driver to have multiple wins on the oval, the other 12 winners are all different, and Zalenski isn’t one of them.

Those winners, dating back to 2010, include Richard Towler, Brad Davies, Thomas Hazard, Nick Ottinger, Joey Brown (FGR Accel eRacing), Danny Hansen, Alex Warren, Kenny Humpe, Nickolas Shelton, Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing), Kollin Keister (eRacr), and Matt Bussa.

WHO TO WATCH FOR

eNASCAR Coca-Cola: Matt Bussa saves enough gas to win Coca-Cola 150

Who hasn’t won at Charlotte? Michael Conti (JR Motorsports), Casey Kirwan and Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Racing) come to mind. Malik Ray, Zack Novak and Graham Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix) were all in a good position last season as well.

Ray Alfalla can’t win a third one, so who could win a second? Both William Byron Esports’ drivers (Ottinger and Bussa) could do it, considering their pace as of late. Both are looking for their first wins of the season, and Charlotte could provide that opportunity. Joey Brown and Kollin Keister are looking to turn their seasons around as well.

Keegan Leahy and Bobby Zalenski could both play a factor as well. Surely, I’ve mentioned a lot of names, but that’s the nature of Charlotte in this series. Anyone and everyone can win with the right strategy.

PLAYOFF SEEDING AFTER RACE 8 AT CHARLOTTE

POS#DRIVERTEAMPTSBEHWINST5T10
18Michael ContiJR Motorsports244WIN244
295Casey KirwanXSET216WIN245
318Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing189WIN224
433Tucker Minter [R]Team Dillon Esports207WIN134
510Steven WilsonStewart-Haas Racing157WIN112
625Nick OttingerWilliam Byron Esports230+58045
748Graham A. BowlinCharlotte Phoenix211+39036
83Jordy Lopez Jr [R]Team Dillon Esports206+34023
97Malik RayJim Beaver Esports199+27045
938Michael Cosey Jr [R]Front Row Motorsports199+27024
1123Keegan Leahy23XI Racing172-27022
1212Garrett ManesFGR Accel eRacing166-33014

WHERE TO WATCH

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Race Preview: Coca Cola 150 at Charlotte

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 100-lap event at Charlotte.

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

2023 ENASCAR COCA-COLA IRACING SERIES SCHEDULE

RACEDATETRACKLAPS
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 Speedway100
1013-JunWorld Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway120
1127-JunWatkins Glen International45
1211-JulNashville Superspeedway100
1325-JulNew Hampshire Motor Speedway101
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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