For the first time in the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season, Steven Wilson (Stewart-Haas Esports) is bringing home the bacon. On the second eNASCAR Overtime restart, Wilson was able to hold off Kollin Keister (eRacr) at the line to score his first victory of the 2023 season, and the fifth of his career.
After collecting a bit of nose damage following the previous caution where Garrett Lowe (Jim Beaver Esports) had spun off the nose of Vicente Salas (Williams Esports) for the lead, Wilson was able to control the lanes and take the win. With only 10 points earned in two races before this, Wilson’s season is now trending upward once again, just a season removed from his series-leading four win season in 2022.
Michael Guest went high on his 23XI Racing teammate Keegan Leahy in the final corner to score third place. Rookie contender Michael Cosey Jr (Front Row Motorsports) crossed the line in fourth, and Graham A. Bowlin (Charlotte Phoenix) takes over the points lead with his Top 5 run.
WILSON: “NEEDED THIS ONE BAD”
“This is the first one I’ve finished all year,” Wilson reminded the viewers at home in his post-race interview. From the Championship 4 in October to bottom feeding in the standings two races in was not what most were expecting, but now Wilson finds himself back in the thick of it following his Atlanta win.
Ryan Luza (XSET) took the pole position alongside the points leader entering the night, Malik Ray (Jim Beaver Esports). Wilson started down in 14th, but he and his Deadzone teammates, such as Casey Kirwan (XSET), Allen Boes (Front Row Motorsports) and even his Stewart-Haas teammate Dylan Duval would lead the majority of the event.
Duval, in fact, led the most laps at 35 of the 105 laps run following double eNASCAR Overtime. Wilson led 27 of them, including the most important one at the end.
THE BIG ONE STRIKES MULTIPLE TIMES
For a time, both Luza and Ray looked to be the class of the field, both leading double digit laps themselves. Unfortunately, both were collected in wrecks not of their doing, both finishing further back than anticipated.
Luza was caught up in the first incident of the night at lap 76. Collin Bowden (eRacr) wound up spinning after a stack up, and Luza had nowhere to go. The incident also collected Kaden Honeycutt (RFK Racing) moments later when Bowden’s car came sliding down the track.
Keister was caught up in the second wreck after contact with Brandon McKissic (Letarte Esports), but thankfully the damage was minimal. It was the third caution of the night that started the trend of “big one” type wrecks.
With laps winding down, Parker White (Kanaan Esports) and Kirwan ended up tangling, and that’s when Ray’s convincing performance came to a screeching halt. Both Ray and Kirwan would be hit with the meatball flag, ending their chances.
Another big one came with under five laps to go, when Femi Olatunbosun (Charlotte Phoenix) and Keegan Leahy came together, sending the orange No. 43 up into Corey Vincent (Pittsburgh Knights) and sending Donovan Strauss (Williams Esports) back down into more traffic.
The final multicar incident came on the first eNASCAR Overtime attempt. Garrett Lowe and Vicente Salas made contact racing for the lead. Wilson did get clipped, but the damage wasn’t sever enough to ruin his chance at winning.
ROOKIES ON THE UP AND UP
How about the rookie class of 2023? With his fourth place finish, his second Top 5 of the year already, Michael Cosey Jr sits tied for fourth in the points standings after three races. He’s tied with another rookie who has been quietly picking up solid finishes all season, Kanaan Esports’ Tyler Garey.
The pair are only two points ahead of Tucker Minter (Team Dillon Esports), the winner of the first race of the season at Daytona. His Team Dillon and Altus Esports teammate Jordy Lopez Jr is 12th in the points, and arguably could be even higher as he’s run higher in all three races, running in the Top 5 at points in all three events.
Parker White and Wyatt Tinsley (Kansas City Pioneers) also find themselves in the Top 20 in points after three races, which makes six rookies in the top half of the standings so far.
Once could also argue that the rookie teams in the series are also doing quite well for themselves, especially Front Row Motorsports who currently leads Team Points after three races.
Although Allen Boes is not a rookie by any means, he and Cosey Jr are on one of the newest teams in the series and are already on top. Tony Kanaan’s team, Kanaan Esports, sits third in the standings, and he does have two rookies on board.
RACE 3 AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY – TOP 10 RESULTS
|1||14||10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas Esports||105 LAPS||27||40|
|2||35||42||Kollin Keister||eRacr||+0.035 secs||0||35|
|3||31||45||Michael Guest||23XI Racing||+0.112 secs||0||34|
|4||15||38||Michael Cosey Jr||Front Row Motorsports||+0.146 secs||0||33|
|5||9||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||+0.170 secs||0||32|
|6||33||66||Tyler Garey||Kanaan Esports||+0.173 secs||0||31|
|7||20||20||Wyatt Tinsley||Kansas City Pioneers||+0.234 secs||1||30|
|8||23||41||Dylan Duval||Stewart-Haas Esports||+0.239 secs||35||29|
|9||25||11||Parker White||Kanaan Esports||+0.274 secs||1||28|
|10||3||34||Allen Boes||Front Row Motorsports||+0.333 secs||3||27|
PLAYOFF SEEDING AFTER RACE 3 AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
|1||8||Michael Conti||JR Motorsports||84||WIN||1||1||1|
|2||33||Tucker Minter||Team Dillon Esports||79||WIN||1||1||1|
|3||10||Steven Wilson||Stewart-Haas Esports||50||WIN||1||1||1|
|4||48||Graham A. Bowlin||Charlotte Phoenix||93||+25||0||2||3|
|5||25||Nick Ottinger||William Byron Esports||89||+21||0||1||2|
|6||38||Michael Cosey Jr||Front Row Motorsports||81||+13||0||2||2|
|6||66||Tyler Garey||Kanaan Esports||81||+13||0||0||2|
|8||41||Dylan Duval||Stewart-Haas Esports||78||+10||0||0||2|
|8||34||Allen Boes||Front Row Motorsports||78||+10||0||0||2|
|10||7||Malik Ray||Jim Beaver Esports||70||+2||0||2||2|
|11||45||Michael Guest||23XI Racing||68||-2||0||1||1|
TEAM STANDINGS AFTER RACE 3 AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
|1||34 | 38||Front Row Motorsports||159||—||0||1||2|
|2||3 | 33||Team Dillon Esports||144||-15||1||1||1|
|3||11 | 66||Kanaan Esports||142||-17||0||0||3|
|4||25 | 97||William Byron Esports||133||-26||0||1||2|
|5||23 | 45||23XI Racing||129||-30||0||1||1|
|6||10 | 41||Stewart-Haas Esports||128||-31||1||1||3|
|7||8 | 88||JR Motorsports||125||-34||1||1||1|
|8||43 | 48||Charlotte Phoenix||120||-39||0||2||3|
|9||4 | 95||XSET||110||-49||0||1||2|
|10||20 | 31||Kansas City Pioneers||107||-52||0||0||1|
- Five cautions for 15 laps in 105 completed laps (two eNASCAR Overtimes for an added five laps)
- 20 lead changes among 14 drivers
- Most laps led: No. 41 Dylan Duval (35 laps led)
- Fastest lap: No. 75 Zack Novak (Lap 70, 28.683 secs)
- Hard charger: No. 42 Kollin Keister (Started 35th, Finished 2nd | +33 spots)
- Hard luck: Two drivers
- No. 7 Malik Ray (Started 2nd, Finished 35th | -33 spots)
- No. 14 Joey Brown (Started 6th, Finished 39th | -33 spots)
- Fewest incidents: No. 40 Dylan Ault (30th, 0x)
- Most incidents: No. 36 Brandon McKissic and No. 48 Graham A. Bowlin (24x)
- Rookie of the race: No. 38 Michael Cosey Jr (4th place)
- Team of the race: No. 10 / No. 41 Stewart-Haas Esports (69 points)
- Winning Club: Midwest
UP NEXT: SHORT TRACK RACIN’ AT RICHMOND RACEWAY
After two superspeedway-style races and an oddity in The Milwaukee Mile, the fourth race of the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season gets down to its roots with some short track action at the Action Track, Richmond Raceway.
Things kick off with the eNASCAR Countdown to Green, which begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 a.m. GMT on Tuesday, 28th March. 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 broadcast will be available at eNASCAR.com/live or on the iRacing social channels.
2023 ENASCAR COCA-COLA IRACING SERIES SCHEDULE
|5||11-Apr||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||30|
|7||2-May||Las Vegas Motor Speedway||100|
|9||30-May||Charlotte Motor Speedway||100|
|10||13-Jun||World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway||120|
|11||27-Jun||Watkins Glen International||45|
|13||25-Jul||New Hampshire Motor Speedway||101|
|15 – PO1||15-Aug||Michigan International Speedway||60|
|16 – PO2||29-Aug||Dover Motor Speedway||120|
|17 – PO3||12-Sep||Phoenix Raceway||120|
|18 – C4||26-Sep||Homestead-Miami Speedway||100|