Race Weekend Central

A Fresh Start for Malik Ray Paying Off Early in 2023 eNASCAR Season

One driver who has started the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season off strong is Malik Ray. With a second-place finish at Daytona International Speedway and now a fourth-place finish this week at the Milwaukee Mile, he is off to easily the best start of his eNASCAR career. 

Ray is now in his fifth season in the series, but his first with Jim Beaver eSports. A new start for Ray was important this season after how the 2022 campaign went for the driver from South Carolina. 

Last season, Ray was a part of iRacing Motorsports, teammates with Derek Justis. Both drivers went undrafted when rosters were determined, therefore they were assigned to iRacing Motorsports, a team run by iRacing themselves. 

It was a year to forget by the end of it. With only three top-10 finishes, combined with several races where he failed to finish, he was relegated to running in the Contender Series during the Fall. He was able to make his way back into the Coca-Cola iRacing Series, and was brought on to Jim Beaver eSports for this 2023 season. 

Now, two races into 2023, he is sitting in a great position after the strong start. Another seemingly critical change has come in how Ray prepares for races as he moved away from longtime backend team Deadzone Racing to a new partnership with Victory1.

In the short time Ray has been a part of Victory1, he has shown a much better outlook and as he says, he’s “putting in work” compared to past years — completing 978 laps in preparation for this Milwaukee race.

If anyone has been around the iRacing service for a while, you would know Ray is known for being a superspeedway specialist and one of the best when it comes to that type of racing. Finishing fourth on a flat, one-mile track, to names like Michael Conti, Nick Ottinger, and Garrett Manes is extremely impressive. And the best part of it all for him? He is now the points leader by two points over Ottinger. 

The question now becomes whether Ray will keep up this performance or not. With his new outlook and new team, it is a good bet that he will be strong all season. The way this series has been in the past, you will need a win to get into the playoffs. If Ray can have runs like Milwaukee, he will likely find his maiden win this season.

Ray will take to the virtual track next on March 14 when the series visits the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The good thing for Ray? Atlanta is basically a superspeedway now, his wheelhouse. He may just be the favorite. 

About the author

Brandon is a 22-year-old from NY and has been a passionate follower of motorsports for 14 years now. He recently graduated from Molloy College on Long Island with a BA in Communications. Working within NASCAR has been a dream for Brandon for a while, and he hopes to be able to live out the dream in the very near future.

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