EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the sixteenth installment of the 2020 TReSports ePreview! The 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series kicks off on February 11th, 2020, at the virtual Daytona International Speedway. The goal is to have a preview for each team out before that date.
Clint Bowyer may have the perfect eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series drivers to represent his team this upcoming season.
Bowyer himself is one of the biggest personalities in the NASCAR Cup Series garage, but his two new drivers this season might rival that personality on the eNASCAR side of things.
In the NASCAR Cup Series, Bowyer drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, in the No. 14 Ford Mustang.
Bowyer also owns his own dirt late model racing team, simply known as Clint Bowyer Racing.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series iteration of Clint Bowyer Racing returns for the 2020 season after a winning performance in the 2019 edition of the series.
There will be a completely different look this season for the eNASCAR version of Clint Bowyer Racing, as two new drivers will be filling the seats that were left vacated at the end of 2019.
— Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) January 29, 2020
Brandon Kettelle made his first career start in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2012 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and on that September day, he was driving the No. 14 car, starting third and finishing 32nd.
Since then, his other 46 career starts have been behind the wheel of the No. 80.
In 2020, Kettelle returns to the number that started his career, driving the No. 14 Ford Mustang for Clint Bowyer Racing.
A grand total of 47 career starts in the eNCiS, Kettelle has collected four career Top 5 finishes and ten career Top 10 finishes.
Kettelle finished 11th in the final points standings back in 2013. The upcoming season will be Kettelle’s third full-time effort in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
“One of Clint’s representatives called us,” Kettelle said. “Honestly, it was like ‘all right, I’ll take the deal.’ I was just proud to be on any team, because it’s like, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
— Brandon Hayse Kettelle (@BrandonKettelle) January 12, 2020
Brian Schoenburg will take over the No. 79 Ford Mustang for Clint Bowyer Racing in the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
In 144 career starts in the eNCiS, Schoenburg has amassed 22 career Top 5 finishes, 51 career Top 10 finishes, and has a pole position earned back in 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Schoenburg has a pair of fifth place points finishes in 2012 and 2013, and together with Clint Bowyer, the goal is to finally break through into victory lane.
“Clint Bowyer is entertaining, and I like to be entertaining too,” Schoenburg said. “Representing his name will definitely be a cool thing… I don’t know if Clint knows it, but he got two pretty entertaining personalities.”
“If he got us together in the same cup race, they would probably shut down the cup garage at some point, that’s a guarantee.”
Looking forward to it and thanks for the opportunity @ClintBowyer! See you soon!
— Brian Schoenburg (@bschoon55) January 29, 2020
2019 CLINT BOWYER RACING RECAP
Clint Bowyer Racing joined the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2019 as one of the twelve original official teams.
With the ninth pick, Nickolas Shelton was chosen to pilot the No. 79 Clint Bowyer Racing Ford Mustang for the 2019 season.
Then, with the 16th pick, Clint Bowyer Racing took Casey Kirwan to drive the No. 14 Ford Mustang.
Shelton was fresh off a a year in which he made the playoffs and won a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kirwan was also in the top half of the field the season prior, with a 15th place overall effort.
As the season progressed, Kirwan was the team’s playoff threat, knocking off some solid finishes and a few Top 10’s here and there.
Shelton, on the other hand, just couldn’t seem to get the car underneath him all season long.
His shining moment all season long was a sixth place effort at Kansas Speedway. Otherwise, Shelton struggled to finish in the top half of the field, only collecting five Top 20 finishes all season long.
Shelton wound up finishing 37th in the final standings, and on his way back to the iRacing Pro Series. Unfortunately, the luck never did change, and Shelton missed out on returning to the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
Kirwan picked up his first career victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, and the first for the team as well.
However, the win was not enough to send Kirwan to the playoffs, but he could still continue to battle for the ninth spot in the standings.
Kirwan wound up finishing tenth in the final standings, and during the offseason, he was crowned the Most Popular Driver of the series.
Kirwan eventually left his ride at Clint Bowyer Racing during the free agency period, moving over to Denny Hamlin Racing for the 2020 season.
With Shelton out of the series, and Kirwan moved over to another team, Clint Bowyer Racing had both of the team’s seats to fill before the end of the free agency period.
CLINT BOWYER RACING SIGNS BRANDON KETTELLE AND BRIAN SCHOENBURG FOR 2020
Both journeymen eNASCAR veterans, Brandon Kettelle and Brian Schoenburg have both been around the series for a good part of its existence.
Schoenburg was drafted by Williams eSports in 2019, while Kettelle remained undrafted throughout the season, competing as an independent.
Both drivers saw their share of disappointment in the 2019 season.
Schoenburg’s highlight of the season came at Richmond Raceway, where he scored a fourth place finish. Other than that, the rest of the season combined resulted in a 30th place points finish, and a return to the iRacing Pro Series.
Kettelle had it just as bad, if not worse.
A best finish of sixth on the season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kettelle had seen his share of tough finishes throughout the year.
One of the things that still eats at him is the end to the Michigan International Speedway event in August. Kettelle was fast and led a good portion of the race.
Coming down to the end, iRacing officials black-flagged Kettelle for having poor internet connection, and dropped him from the lead back to the end of the line.
As heartbreaking as that was, even a win couldn’t save his season at that point. Kettelle wound up finishing 39th out of 40 competitors, and needed to work his way back into the series from the iRacing Pro Series as well.
After the iRacing Pro Series was said and over with, both Schoenburg and Kettelle would be returning to the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Roster by virtue of their overall finish in the seven-race series.
Although they succeeded once more in the gauntlet of the iRacing Pro Series, it’s still not something either would want to put themselves through again.
The new drivers at Clint Bowyer Racing are also setting modest goals for the upcoming 2020 season.
“Winning a race would be great, but more importantly, as tough as everything is, I think just staying Top 15 or Top 20 in points and avoiding the chaotic Pro Series, that’s kind of a win in itself,” Schoenburg said.
“I do want to win a race, I do want to be competitive, I do want to make the playoffs, but worst case, I think everybody’s goal if you’re not going to win, is to be Top 20 in the points.”
“I want to be in that Top 20,” Kettelle echoed. “That Pro Series, it’s hard. It’s no joke. You never know what next group of drivers that are going to coming into the series, so you’re going to have a completely different field every time. You’re just learning the whole time.”
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season begins at Daytona International Speedway on February 11th, 2020. The race will be streamed live on the iRacing eSport Network, starting approximately around 9:00 pm ET.
Look for ePreview #17 soon!
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com