Casey Kirwan won Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing, The Biggie Bag $5.00 presented by Wendy’s, from the virtual Talladega Superspeedway. The reigning champion beat Malik Ray by half-a-car-length to deny him his first career win with a spectacular pass at the finish line.
“I literally said, heading into the tri-oval, ‘well the only chance we’ve got is if they wreck’. Lo and behold they started wrecking and it just worked out where I had the run on Malik,” Kirwan said after the race. “I didn’t think I would beat him to the line, it would have been really close.
“I just checked up in the mirror real quick and saw Bowden coming and I just turned hard right and prayed I kept going straight and we got the shot of a lifetime from him and we crossed the line first.”
Collin Bowden was third, Wyatt Tinsley was fourth and Kollin Keister rounded out the top five. Bowden in particular was in need of a strong finish. Prior to tonight, his best finish was a lowly 31st.
Bowden described Kirwan’s last-second block as they headed for the line as “picture-perfect”. By Kirwan making the block, all of Bowden’s momentum went straight through Kirwan which carried Kirwan ahead of Ray.
Despite aggressive blocks and three-wide racing, the field managed to keep the first 30 laps of the race under green. That streak ended on lap 31 when Dylan Duval moved slightly out of line and was hooked by Dylan Ault, triggering a multi-car wreck that included Michael Conti and Jimmy Mullis.
Cautions bred cautions as the field managed just two corners before stumbling into its next yellow. Allen Boes hit Zack Novak with a strong bump as they exited turn 2. Novak was able to recover but his big slide up the track caused the field to fan out in avoidance. Boes, Tyler Garey, and Donovan Strauss got the worst of it as they slammed sides trying to avoid Novak.
As the urgency of the drivers increased, so to did the frequency of the cautions. Yellow flags three and four were for minor incidents but caution number five was a significant one as Keegan Leahy was turned into the outside wall, collecting Novak, Boes, Garey, Ryan Doucette, Garrett Manes, Daniel Faulkingham, and Cody Byus.
A sixth caution set up an overtime finish that Malik Ray led to the green. Ray remained committed to the outside as others tried to make the inside line work. On the exit of turn 4, Darik Bourdeau and Graham Bowlin both crashed as they tried to find a way around Ray. The contact between Bowlin and Bourdeau slowed Ray enough to allow Kirwan to capture a stunning victory.
ODDS AND ENDS
- In addition to being the title sponsor for tonight’s race, Wendy’s has signed on to become the presenting sponsor of Countdown to Green with the series’ pre-race show now going by the name of Countdown to Green presented by Wendy’s.
- Tonight’s race was run using a fixed setup, a first in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
- Five drivers set identical lap times in qualifying.
- The second-place finish vaulted Ray back into the top ten in points. He and Kirwan are the only two drivers with three top-five finishes through the first six races of the season.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will hit the track again on Tuesday, May 2 from the virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET on Twitch.tv/iRacing, YouTube.com/iRacing, and eNASCAR.com.
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