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eNCCiS Preview: New Hampshire could be pivotal in playoff push

eNCCiS Preview: New Hampshire pivotal in playoff push

Round 12 in the 2021 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season brings the 40 best oval sim racers on the service to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Tuesday night. 

The Granite State, a historical moniker of the State of New Hampshire, hosts a single NASCAR weekend at the 1.058-mile, 1.703-kilometer “Magic Mile” every season. 

The flat-cornered venue often had two dates in the real world before one of them was moved out west to another Speedway Motorsports Inc. track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. On the eNASCAR side of the history books, this will be the 10th visit to the track. 

PAST WINNERS

The first race in the series was won by Josh Berry, a familiar name if you’ve been following the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season. Michael Conti has a pair of victories coming back-to-back in 2012 and 2013.

More recently than that, Jimmy Mullis has taken his own back-to-back victories, albeit with an extra year in between with the series taking off a year from the circuit in 2019.  

Other winners in the field on Tuesday night include Logan Clampitt and Ryan Luza, both of which have found victory lane earlier this season. Former series drivers Derek Wood and Alex Warren also have victories at the track in 2011 and 2014 respectively. 

LAST TIME OUT

Last time out, Mitchell deJong became the first driver to win multiple races on the season after crusing to the win at Road America. One of the “rookie” drivers in the series this year, deJong has been anything but on the road courses, a perfect two-for-two after collecting wins at Circuit of the Americas and Road America. 

DeJong still needs to ensure his spot in the Top 20 in the standings, but he also has the clearest path to the playoffs. With ten total winners so far this season, an eleventh will mean at least one winner won’t be racing for a title.

Right now, if anyone ahead of Ray Alfalla finds victory lane at New Hampshire, even if Alfalla can climb out of a 34-point deficit to the Top 20, that will knock the four-time champion out of the title hunt. 

WHO TO WATCH FOR

Mullis will be looking for a three-peat on Tuesday. In the last two races, Mullis started fifth in 2018 while leading 42 laps and then led 116 laps from the outside pole last year. Mullis has been trending upward recently, moving into the Top 20 in the standings after a runner-up finish at COTA.  

If not Mullis, the team to watch as of late has been the Deadzone group with drivers in the Stewart-Haas Esports and Roush Fenway Gaming leading the pack despite their lack of victories so far. Both Steven Wilson and Graham A. Bowlin have been on the cusp of victory, sitting second and fourth in the standings respectively.

However, neither driver is guaranteed a playoff spot without a win. If Alfalla makes up that difference, even without any new winners, neither Wilson nor Bowlin will be competing for a title this year. 

The action starts at 8:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 a.m. BST over on either the iRacing socials or on eNASCAR’s website with the Countdown to Green. Follow my Twitter for live, in-race reporting, and stay tuned to Traxion.GG for post-race coverage and other esports coverage. 

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