Race Weekend Central

Jimmy Mullis Wins at Nashville in Dramatic Overtime Finish

Jimmy Mullis came into Nashville Superspeedway nearly two years removed from his previous eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series win. After coming close multiple times this season, Mullis finished the job with a win in the Music City, the sixth of his eNCCiS career.

The checkered flag, however, did not come without drama. On the final lap, Mullis had to fend off Garrett Lowe, who had fresher tires. Off of turn four, contact between Mullis and Lowe sent the latter driver into the wall while Mullis took the victory in his No. 46 Rise eSports Chevrolet.

“There are going to be a lot of opinions about that right there,” Mullis said afterwards. “I wasn’t going to wreck [Lowe], but I did hit him. I’m glad was able to gather it up and still come away third. I wanted to win so badly. I’ve been so freaking close this year.”

Lowe, who fell to third between runner-up Dylan Duval, expressed his frustrations with Mullis post-race.

“Yeah, I got wrecked for the win,” Lowe said. “I thought I’d be courteous and at least race [Mullis] with respect when he threw the block [on the backstretch]. I know I had a tire advantage and I could drive around the outside, and he just decided he didn’t want to race like that.”

Malik Ray and Vicente Salas finished fourth and fifth respectively in a wreck-filled race that featured nine caution flags and an overtime finish.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

Nick Ottinger started the night out front, securing his series-record 22nd career pole. He would lead the opening five laps before the race’s first yellow flag for a spin by Ryan Luza in turn three.

On the ensuing restart, Ray made his way around Ottinger to take the point, leading all the way up to the second caution for a multi-car wreck on turn four involving Kollin Keister, Dylan Ault, and Derek Justis. Under the yellow, the entire field pitted except Ottinger, putting him back out front but on older tires.

After another quick caution off the restart, the race went back green on lap 26. Ottinger tacked on seven more to his laps led total before surrendering the lead to Salas in the No. 55 William eSports Chevrolet. Salas not only took the lead, but he opened up a 1.3-second lead on the new second-place car Steven Wilson.

However, that lead evaporated on lap 46 when Brandon McKissic spun in turn two with contact from Cody Byus. Under the yellow, everyone pitted except Allen Boes, putting the No. 34 out front for the restart on lap 50.

Another caution off a restart bunched the field back up for a lap 55 restart. Again, the green flag was short-lived, as on lap 56, contact between Matt Bussa and Casey Kirwan triggered a big accident on the frontstretch.

The field took the green flag once again with 39 laps to go, starting an extended 25-lap green flag run. During that stretch, the lead changed hands two times, with Wilson passing Boes with 30 to go; nine laps later, Mullis navigated around Wilson to the front of the field. Mullis then had to fend off Duval just a couple of car lengths behind him.

The whole field bunched back up when Collin Bowden and Darik Bourdeau got together on the front straightaway to put the race under caution with 14 laps remaining. This led to a split strategy, with 11 cars staying out and everyone else.

Mullis led them back to green with nine to go, but for the third time in the race, the field could not make a lap before the yellow flag was displayed again for a Ryan Doucette spin on the frontstretch just before the start/finish line. Doucette wrecked again with three laps to go after contact with Bourdeau to bring the race into overtime.

In overtime, Mullis got clear of the field on the restart, but Lowe charged to second on fresh tires and got right behind Mullis at the white flag. Mullis blocked Lowe down the backstretch. In response, Lowe went to the high side through turns three and four, and that is when contact was made that put Lowe in the wall and cleared the way for Mullis to take the victory.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Paint Scheme of the Week
    • Michael Guest’s No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota was painted all purple with sponsorship from Xfinity, one of the four premier partners of NASCAR.

PLAYOFF PICTURE (Two Regular Season Races Remaining)

DRIVERWINS/POINTS
Bobby Zalenski3 Wins
Michael Conti2 Wins
Tucker Minter2 Wins
Casey Kirwan2 Wins
Jordy Lopez1 Win
Steven Wilson1 Win
Nick Ottinger+49
Malik Ray+13
Graham Bowlin+13
Michael Cosey Jr.+9
Matt Bussa-9
Garrett Manes-17

Even with the win, Mullis is not yet locked into the playoffs because he is 21st in points. If Mullis cracks the top 20 in points in the next two races, he will join the playoff grid. This adds another layer of intrigue to an already tight playoff cutline, with just 30 points separating eighth from 12th in the standings.  

NEXT UP

The Coca-Cola iRacing Series returns in two weeks with 101 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Tuesday, July 25. Coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET with Countdown to Green presented by Wendy’s, followed by the green flag shortly after 9 p.m. ET on Twitch.tv/iRacing, YouTube.com/iRacing, and eNASCAR.com.

About the author

Andrew Stoddard joined Frontstretch in May of 2022 as an iRacing contributor. He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, the University of Richmond, and VCU. He has a new day job as an athletic communications specialist at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

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