Race Weekend Central

Steven Wilson Uses Speed & 2-Tire Call to Win eNCCiS at Richmond

Steven Wilson came into the 2024 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season as the defending champion. His bid for a repeat got a huge boost with a victory at the virtual Richmond Raceway, his first checkered flag of 2024. Wilson started the main race from second, took the lead on a two-tire pit stop, and then stayed there to reach victory lane.

“Yeah, it was huge to execute in qualifying with a short race and no cautions in the heat,” Wilson explained on the Sunoco Post Race Report. “A couple of years ago, I was down on myself about how bad I was at short tracks, but I’ve just been trying to grind and learn.”

Casey Kirwan employed a two-tire pit stop to move up and finish fourth to win segment one of the regular season, earning five playoff points and a $3,000 bonus.

“I did not have too much confidence going into tonight,” the 2021 eNCCiS champion Kirwan said. “I’m surprised more people didn’t take two tires on that stop. That got us a lot of track position.”

TONIGHT’S ACTION

The eNCCiS’ annual visit to Richmond Raceway featured a new race format. The 40-car field divided in half for two 25-lap heat races and were then brought back together for 70-lap main event.

Drivers who qualified in odd-numbered spots ran in heat 1 to determine inside row positions. Then,  drivers qualifying in even-numbered spots hit the track for heat two to claim their position on the outside row for the feature race. Furthermore, the top 10 finishers in each heat race earned series points, with the heat winners received 10 points and then going down one-point increments to one points for 10th.

See also
Entry List: 2024 Toyota Owners 400

HEAT 1

Top qualifier Michael Cosey Jr. led the field to green for heat one to start the night. Cosey Jr. stayed out front to lead all 25 laps and secure the pole for the main event, holding off a challenge from Nick Ottinger. Ottinger and Vicente Salas completed the top three.

It was a mostly clean race with just two spins. Donovan Strauss got spun on the opening lap, and Femi Olatunbosun spun and hit the turn four wall on lap nine.

“Nick Ottinger is one of the best behind me, and he was on my rear end for that entire thing,” Cosey Jr. said afterwards. “I was just sitting there trying to hit my marks.”

HEAT 2

Jimmy Mullis got a slow start from the front row, stacking the field behind him. The accordion effect from that start led to a wreck on the backstretch that collected Bobby Zalenski and Ray Alfalla, among others.

The opening lap chaos opened the door for defending series champion Wilson to take control of the heat. Like Cosey Jr. before him, Wilson led all 25 laps of his heat to take the top spot in the outside line for the feature. Zack Novak came home second followed by Mullis in third.

“Obviously, I felt pretty good, and I was able to utilize getting the lead there on the start,” Wilson said following heat two.

MAIN EVENT

Cosey Jr. got a strong jump on the initial start, but the caution quickly waved on lap two for a incident mid-pack involving Dylan Ault and Collin Bowden.

The race went back green on lap seven and stayed that way until just past halfway. With 34 laps remaining, Alfalla lost control of his No. 69 machine on the backstretch to bring out the second caution of the evening. On the ensuing pit stops under yellow, Cosey Jr. surrendered the lead to Wilson, who took two tires along with four others. Cosey Jr. fell back to sixth for the subsequent restart.

The race became very choppy with multiple cautions for incident. Alfalla got caught up in another accident with 24 laps to go as he made contact with Ault down the back stretch and into turn three. The field went back racing with 19 laps left, but it did not last long because of a multi-car stack up on the backstretch. Another restart at 13 laps remaining got cut off by another multi-car accident.

At seven laps left, the field got back up to speed, only for a wreck to happen on the frontstretch this time, started by Daniel Faulkingham and Taylor Hurst. That set the stage for NASCAR overtime, but the seventh caution came out before the leaders took the white flag, so the field lined back up to try it again. In a case of déjà vu, several cars wrecked at the entrance of turn three to force a third and final overtime attempt.

On the final overtime, Wilson sailed away on the restart while Tucker Minter and Novak battled side-by-side for second. Wilson never really got challenged in the final overtime and took the checkered flag with relative ease.

POINT STANDINGS (END OF SEGMENT 1)

Casey Kirwan77 pts.
Steven Wilson-7
Nick Ottinger-9
Donovan Strauss-21
Vicente Salas-23
Kollin Keister-26
Kaden Honeycutt-27
Zack Novak-31
Briar LaPradd-34
Parker White-34
See also
Waid's World: Richmond 1986: Wild Finish Leads to Separate Paths for 2 Drivers

NEXT UP

The 2024 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series regular season continues on with the series’ first ever race at the Brands Hatch Circuit in England on Tuesday, April 9. Race coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green, followed by the race at 8 p.m. on enascar.com/live, youtube.com/iracingofficial, and twitch.tv/iracing.

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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