A common theme this season in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series has been the battle of the rookies versus the veterans, and champions to add. One takeaway from Las Vegas was the straight-up battle between the two, and two alliances that represent those factions, Team Conti and Altus eSports.
With Michael Conti and Nick Ottinger finishing 1-2 tonight as they have several times in their eNASCAR careers, they continue to prove they still have not lost a step at this level of sim racing. Two of the most respected veterans of the series are still taking it to the field week in and week out.
The Team Conti teammates were joined by another member of their team tonight in Jimmy Mullis, another veteran in this series, finishing fourth. First, second, and fourth between the trio made for a nearly perfect night. However, they were challenged heavily by several rookies.
Jordy Lopez Jr., Tucker Minter, and Michael Cosey Jr. of Altus eSports all scored solid finishes as well. Third, fifth, and seventh respectively is a massive performance for all those rookies. They almost delivered that knockout punch to the two veterans up front tonight, but did not quite have enough.
Altus has had an extremely strong season overall, especially for their first as a team at the top level of sim racing. For the majority of the season, they have all run extremely well, including winning the season opener with Minter at Daytona. This has been, by far, the strongest rookie class we have seen in this series in a very long time. Altus has some extreme talent, not just driving but proving they have it before they even hit the track as well.
Arguably, Team Conti and Altus have been the two strongest backend teams this year. The mix of rookies and veterans is something this series has needed for a while as well. The two teams give us that mix every week, contributing to the take that the rookie and veteran talent crop is the highest it has ever been. It has not only been the case with these two teams, but they have risen to the occasion so far more than anyone.
Tonight’s race was a perfect example of what we could expect most weeks with the series. Rookies battle and fight until the end but the veterans normally come out on top when it matters most. This battle between the two teams is going to be something everyone will want to watch for the rest of this season. Neither team will lose strength, and in fact, they might get stronger as we near the playoffs.
The crazy thing about this? Conti and Ottinger are both the top two in overall points after tonight. Who are they followed by? Three rookies in Minter, Lopez Jr., and Cosey Jr. People cannot underestimate how impressive this is for these drivers’ first year at this level. This year very well could end up giving us several rookies in the playoffs come summertime. If that is the case, would you take Conti and the veterans or the young, talented rookies who have burst onto the scene? Going up against champions will be challenging, but the young guns are proving they are up for anything that is thrown their way.
These two teams, and the rest of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series field take to the track next at Darlington Raceway in two weeks on May 16. Darlington is going to be a test for many of these drivers, as it always is a driver’s track. We will see the best of the best run up front there, and do not be surprised when we see Team Conti and Altus eSports continue to battle each other. It will be a war as this season progresses between the two.
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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