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

Justin Melillo
Jimmy Mullis scored his first win of the 2023 eNASCAR season on Tuesday in the 12th race of the season at Nashville Superspeedway.
eNASCAR Coke: "Jimmy July" is back; Mullis scores controversial Nashville victory

Chances to punch a ticket to the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Playoffs are running out. Following the conclusion of Tuesday night’s event at Nashville Superspeedway, the 12th race of the 2023 season, a ticket isn’t necessarily punched just yet for Jimmy Mullis (Rise Esports), but it could be considered to be on Will Call.

After a slew of cautions that started with just over 10 laps remaining, Mullis, who stayed out on old tires, had to worry about the drivers who opted to pit late and take at least two tires. One of those drivers was Garrett Lowe (Jim Beaver Esports).

On the final restart, Lowe restarted sixth after initially restarting back in 16th following his late pit. By the white flag, Lowe had managed to get to the back bumper of Mullis. Into Turn 3 on the final lap, Lowe went high and made it stick. Mullis drove it back in deep and made contact in and out of Turn 4.

The contact sent Lowe flying into the wall as he fell back to finish in third. Mullis scored his sixth career eNASCAR victory, his first since 2021, but the win does not lock him just yet into the playoffs. The Rise Esports driver is still below the Top 20 cut, in 21st, only five points away from a Playoff berth.

Mullis: “There’s going to be a lot of opinions about that”

Nick Ottinger (William Byron Esports) started the day on the pole position, and had the race gone with a less caution-filled approach, he looked like he would be hard to beat. These races are never so straightforward, and as a result, the order was shaken multiple times due to multiple cautions.

There were nine in total, two of which brough the field into eNASCAR Overtime late. As it was, two-tire calls seemed to be the meta, as drivers found they did not need their left side tires at all on Tuesday night. Ottinger opted to stay out early to test the waters. It would backfire ultimately.

A long run would ensue from just after halfway to just before 15 laps to go. Allen Boes (Front Row Motorsports) was on a wacky strategy that allowed him to lead for a good chunk before his tires gave out, eventually giving way to Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Racing).

Wilson would eventually leave the door open for Mullis and his own teammate Dylan Duval (Stewart-Haas Racing) to pull through. A late caution would change things as the field would split on strategy once more.

It seemed like enough drivers stayed out to make the stay out strategy worth it for Mullis. Ottinger and Duval battled heavily for second until the final restart, and that’s when the fresher tires showed up to the party.

While still hanging on for third after the contact, Lowe and his teammate Malik Ray (Jim Beaver Esports) managed to take home a pair of Top 5 finishes. Ray led some of the race earlier. Also leading laps was Vicente Salas (Williams Esports) who wound up finishing fifth.

Race 12 at Nashville Superspeedway – Top 10 Results

1646Jimmy MullisRise Esports104 LAPS2640
22441Dylan DuvalStewart-Haas Racing+0.125 secs035
31415Garrett LoweJim Beaver Esports+0.158 secs034
437Malik RayJim Beaver Esports+0.319 secs933
5955Vicente SalasWilliams Esports+0.382 secs1532
6125Nick OttingerWilliam Byron Esports+0.507 secs2231
73412Garrett ManesfgrAccel eRacing+0.541 secs030
8497Matt BussaWilliam Byron Esports+0.657 secs029
93545Michael Guest23XI Racing+0.684 secs028
10518Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing+0.705 secs027

Another wrinkle in the playoff picture

If Mullis is able to get enough points to finish in the Top 20 by the end of the Regular Season, he will have a ticket to the playoffs. It’s no guarantee, surely, but Mullis has taken the last three-straight wins at the next venue, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and has a win a few years ago at the Regular Season finale at Pocono Raceway.

Should Mullis get in, that takes one spot away from those trying to point in. Leaving Nashville, Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) has it. Assuming Mullis gets in, that moves to a tie between Malik Ray and Graham Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix) just five points ahead of Cosey.

Nick Ottinger is sitting pretty on points as it is. If there’s no new winner, or even if there is, if Ottinger can leave New Hampshire 41 points ahead of Bowlin, Ray, Cosey and anyone else, he’ll be guaranteed a spot in the 2023 playoffs no matter what happens at Pocono.

There’s also Matt Bussa (William Byron Esports), Garrett Manes (fgrAccel eRacing) and Parker White (Kanaan Esports) still in striking distance on points as well. These final two Regular Season races could go a number of ways.

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

Playoff Seeding after Race 12 at Nashville Superspeedway

118Bobby ZalenskiJoe Gibbs Racing265WIN336
28Michael ContiJR Motorsports342WIN267
333Tucker Minter [R]Team Dillon Esports293WIN256
495Casey KirwanXSET286WIN256
53Jordy Lopez Jr [R]Team Dillon Esports305WIN136
610Steven WilsonStewart-Haas Racing259WIN124
725Nick OttingerWilliam Byron Esports319+50047
848Graham A. BowlinCharlotte Phoenix283+14048
87Malik RayJim Beaver Esports283+14057
1038Michael Cosey Jr [R]Front Row Motorsports278+9026
1197Matt BussaWilliam Byron Esports269-9016
1212Garrett ManesfgrAccel eRacing261-17026
1311Parker White [R]Kanaan Esports256-22024
#46 Jimmy Mullis – 21st, 1 win (-5 points to Top 20 cutoff)

Team Title tightens after Team Dillon’s Nashville woes

It was a night to forget for the Team Title leaders entering at Team Dillon Esports. Jordy Lopez and Tucker Minter both had off-nights, with Lopez getting early damage and losing laps while Minter wrecked late in the going. The duo only scored 10 points combined.

William Byron Esports is now only 10 points out of the lead following a double Top 10 effort from both Ottinger and Bussa. While JR Motorsports didn’t have the best night either with Michael Conti wrecking out and Kevin King with a mid-pack finish, the likes of Jim Beaver Esports and Stewart-Haas Racing are also finding their way back into the conversation.

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

Team Standings after Race 12 at Nashville Superspeedway

13 | 33Team Dillon Esports5983812
225 | 97William Byron Esports588-100513
38 | 88JR Motorsports525-73267
47 | 15Jim Beaver Esports521-770712
510 | 41Stewart-Haas Racing500-98138
634 | 38Front Row Motorsports485-113028
711 | 66Tony Kanaan Esports446-154026
823 | 4523XI Racing424-174035
943 | 48Charlotte Phoenix371-231049
1018 | 54Joe Gibbs Racing368-234336
XSET: P11, 2 wins | Rise Esports P12, 1 win

Nashville Superspeedway – Box Score

  • Nine cautions for 33 laps in 104 completed laps (+4 in eNASCAR Overtime)
  • Six lead changes among six drivers
  • Pole sitter: No. 25 Nick Ottinger (29.406 secs)
  • Most laps led: No. 46 Jimmy Mullis (26 laps led)
  • Lap Leaders:
    • #25 Nick Ottinger (pole-9)
    • #7 Malik Ray (10-18)
    • #25 Nick Ottinger (19-31)
    • #55 Vicente Salas (32-46)
    • #34 Allen Boes (47-70)
    • #10 Steven Wilson (71-78)
    • #46 Jimmy Mullis (79-104)
  • Fastest lap: No. 41 Dylan Duval (Lap 66, 29.474 secs)
  • Hard charger: No. 12 Garrett Manes (Started 34th, Finished 7th | +27 spots)
  • Hard luck: No. 4 Ryan Luza (Started 15th, Finished 39th | -24 spots)
  • Fewest incidents: Four drivers at 0x (Highest finisher, No. 46 Jimmy Mullis, 1st)
  • Most incidents: No. 27 Cody Byus (18x)
  • Rookie of the race: No. 54 Daniel Faulkingham (16th Place)
  • Team of the race: No. 7 / No. 15 Jim Beaver Esports (67 points, 3rd and 4th)
  • Winning Club: Carolina

Up Next: Another Jimmy Jam at New Hampshire?

eNCCiS Preview: New Hampshire pivotal in playoff push

Jimmy Mullis will be looking for his fourth-straight win at the Magic Mile in New Hampshire in two weeks time. He doesn’t need the win, but it sure will help him with trying to secure a spot by gaining enough points before Pocono ends.

He’ll have to contend with Lowe who may not want to give him any slack following their run in on Tuesday night, as well as any other competitors that felt that what Mullis did to win was wrong. A can of worms now sits opened.

Things will kick off with the eNASCAR Countdown to Green, now presented by Wendy’s, which begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 a.m. BST. The race itself starts at 9:00 p.m. EDT / 2:00 a.m. BST. Evan Posocco, Blake McCandless, Alan Cavanna, Camille Salazar Hadaway and James Pike are expected to be on the call.

The 101-lap event broadcast will be available at eNASCAR.com/live or on the iRacing social channels.

2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Schedule

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 Speedway | Winner: TUCKER MINTER100
1013-JunWorld Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway | Winner: JORDY LOPEZ120
1127-JunChicago Street Course | Winner: BOBBY ZALENSKI40
1211-JulNashville Superspeedway | Winner: JIMMY MULLIS100
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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