until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Ottinger wins $100,000 in dramatic eNASCAR series finale

by Jack Benyon
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

William Byron Esports driver Nick Ottinger survived three overtime shootouts to win the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series and a prize of $100,000 after a dramatic Homestead-Miami season finale.

The series schedule works similar to the real-life NASCAR Cup Series only shorter, with the best eight drivers after 16 races joining a four-race playoff system. It’s one of the oldest racing esports series and boasts one of its biggest prize pots at a total of $300,000

The best four drivers after three races in the playoffs proceeded to the season finale shootout.

Much like the real NASCAR championship where nine-time 2020 race winner Kevin Harvick failed to make the final four to fight for the Cup Series title, Keegan Leahy followed a similar narrative. After three regular-season wins he failed to race his way in hampered by a crash at Kansas.

Bobby Zalenski is unbeaten in six road course races and made the finale winning on the Charlotte Roval which opened the playoffs, before Ottinger won at Kansas.

Michael Conti ended a two-year winless streak in the third race of the playoffs Texas while Ryan Luza raced his way in. Luza was perhaps the favourite after winning at the Miami oval used for the title decider – unlike this weekend’s real-life season finale which is hosted at Phoenix – earlier in the year.

Leahy took pole for the race but Williams Esports driver Luza quickly moved to the front, duelling with Virtual Racing School ace Zakenski in the early going.

The long green-flag period to start the race led to different strategies from the title contenders, with Luza narrowly avoiding disaster by coming to pit road just as a caution struck. He was able to retake the lead.

However Conti had gone off sequence and after failing to pit under caution with 30 laps to go, he fell back and looked out of the title hunt.

Ottinger – in the #25 – also looked to be out in 18th with four laps to go, but at that point Zalenski and Luza collided at Turn 3 – Luza appearing to cut across Zalenski which spun the former out of contention.

Zalenski remained in the lead, but he had exhausted his fresh tyre allocation and immediately fell back on the restart with two laps remaining.

Ottinger chose this moment to carve through the field. Moving up to eighth under the previous caution for Zalenski and Luza’s crash, he scythed through the pack before more cautions set-up green-white-chequers.

Letarte Esports driver Chris Shearburn became the oldest in the series history at 39 years and a day to win a race, while Chris Overland netted a career-best finish in second.

Fourth for Ottinger was enough to net the title and the 100,000 for the 26-year-old, and means the William Byron Esports team wins at its first attempt having joined the series for this year.

Cup Series driver Byron – driver of the #24 Hendrick Motorsports car in the real-life Cup Series – has credited his upbringing on iRacing as part of becoming one of NASCAR’s first gamer-to-racers, and scored another breakthrough with his first series win this year, coming at Daytona.

The top 20 in the eNASCAR iRacing series standings have guaranteed a spot in next year’s series. Those not making the cut – like reigning champion Zak Novak – will have to race in through the winter period in the iRacing Pro Series.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks