EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the seventeenth 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.
Runners up in the 2019 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series with Keegan Leahy, G2 eSports returns to the series refreshed for 2020.
G2 eSports, like the Renegades team that also competes in the series, are well established in eSports outside of eNASCAR.
Founded by Carlos Rodriguez, aka ‘Ocelote’ back in 2013, G2 eSports established themselves as a worldwide leader in eSports arenas such as League of Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League, and many other gaming platforms.
G2 eSports joined the series as one of the original 12 teams in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2019, and with their two draft picks, they created one of the more sound teams in the series.
In 2020, G2 eSports will have somewhat of a new look for their eNASCAR team as one driver leaves, and an up-and-coming driver fills the seat.
We’re drifting into eNASCAR! 🏎
Please give a warm welcome to Keegan Leahy and Jarl Teien! They’ll be representing the #G2ARMY in the 2019 eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series!
In addition, please welcome Nils Naujoks as our new Sim Racing Manager. 👏🏼👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/AffcxLbnBf
— G2 Esports (@G2esports) February 8, 2019
Jarl Teien returns to the team in 2020 and will continue driving the No. 66 Chevrolet.
Teien was drafted 21st overall by G2 eSports, and finished 14th in the 2019 eNCiS standings.
The only Norwegian driver in the series, Teien will be entering his second full-time season in 2020. In 28 career eNCiS starts, Teien has collected two Top 2 finishes and seven Top 10 finishes.
In Teien’s first full time season in 2019 being with G2 eSports, that helped solidify his ties to the team, and made the free agency process easy for 2020.
“My ties with G2 are pretty strong, and I knew I wanted to stay for this year,” Teien said. “I think G2 felt the same way the whole time. I love eSports, and G2 is pretty much perfect for that, and I think G2 likes my dedication into the series.”
Going to absolutely try to my best to show my gratitude on-track rest of the season. 👊 pic.twitter.com/yxit9sf8cS
— Jarl Teien (@JarlTeien) July 29, 2019
With the departure of series runner-up Keegan Leahy from the team, G2 eSports added Alex McCollum to the team to drive the No. 54 Chevrolet for the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season.
McCollum gave the iRacing Pro Series a shot back in 2016 and 2017, but it wasn’t until the 2019 Pro Series where he was able to stand out and advance to the big league.
In the 2019 iRacing Pro Series, McCollum finished ninth in the final standings with two Top 5 finishes and three Top 10 finishes in the seven race season.
For McCollum, after advancing out of the Pro Series, he was just looking forward to signing with his first official eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series team.
“The offseason wasn’t too stressful, but I was really looking forward to the free agency,” McCollum said. “G2 caught my eye when my teammate Jarl Teien ran for them in the 2019 eNASCAR World Championship. The free agency was weird since I haven’t done anything like that before, but overall it worked out really well.”
Last season we had to settle for P2. This year @G2esports is competing with two former team mates @AlexMcCollum10 and @JarlTeien to tap into that extra bit of synergy for the @iracing @NASCAR World Championship. #WeDontStop pic.twitter.com/kdFay5frq6
— G2 Esports Sim Racing (@G2simracing) January 22, 2020
2019 G2 ESPORTS RECAP
In the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing draft in the preseason, G2 eSports selected Keegan Leahy at fourth overall to drive the No. 62 VRS / G2 eSports Chevrolet for the 2019 season.
Later in the draft, G2 eSports selected Jarl Teien at 21st overall, and he would be tabbed to drive the No. 66 Logitech / G2 eSports Chevrolet alongside Leahy.
Leahy made his presence known early, collecting five Top 5 finishes to start off the 2019 season.
The first five races were not as kind to Teien, who struggled to find any Top 10 finishes in that span. Auto Club Speedway, the middle race in that stretch, was Teien’s best run to that point, which was a 16th place result.
Teien turned it around for the next two races of the season, coming home ninth at Talladega Superspeedway, and then two weeks later collecting a seventh place finish at Kansas Speedway.
It was almost like one could not succeed at the same time as the other, as in those to Top 10 efforts by Teien, Leahy had two of his worst finishes of the season, a 34th and 29th place, respectively.
Through the middle of the regular season, Leahy found his stride, collecting wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway and at Chicagoland Speedway, with a fourth place effort at Sonoma Raceway in between.
Coming to the end of the regular season, Leahy collected a couple of pole positions, but could not collect the finishes to go with them.
Teien, meanwhile, earned two more Top 10 finishes in the races where his teammate started up front, earning a ninth at Pocono Raceway and a sixth at Michigan International Speedway.
The sixth at Michigan was Teien’s best finish of the 2019 season.
In the playoffs, Leahy put on the afterburners, leading the most laps in three of the four races, and never finishing lower than fifth.
The effort, however, was not enough to take the title, as Leahy finished second in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to Zack Novak, the 2019 championship winner.
During the playoff run, Teien was working on maintaining his position in the Top 20 for advancement back into the series for 2020.
Teien came up short when it came to making the Top 8 for the playoffs, but was still in good position to be one of the Top 20 at season’s end.
A tenth place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ultimately sealed the deal for Teien, and after Homestead, he wound up 14th overall in the final standings.
Looking forward to the upcoming season, Teien was realistic in his outlook, and said that checking off a few slightly smaller boxes were at the top of his list before fighting for a title.
“Obviously, everyone’s goal is to the get that big time championship but a lot has to go right for that to happen,” Teien said.
“My realistic goals are getting a win, being consistent in the Top 10, and getting into the playoffs. I love Atlanta and Indy, aside from the road tracks, so those are the places I really want to get my first win.”
ALEX MCCOLLUM JOINS G2 ESPORTS IN 2020
“I didn’t have any plans to run competitive, but saw how competitive it was to race in the top level on iRacing,” McCollum said. “The 2016 and 2017 seasons were just a learning curve for me to see if I was competitive, and I had a feeling that if I actually went competitive, I think I could have a good shot at it.”
McCollum took that step for 2019, and after advancing to the Pro Series from the iRacing Road-to-Pro, found that his feelings were true.
The iRacing Pro Series is a seven-race feeder series that advances the Top 20 drivers to the top level of eNASCAR racing when it’s all said and done.
McCollum was strong out of the gate, finishing second in the opening event at Daytona International Speedway. He followed that up with a fifth place effort at Richmond Raceway two races later.
After a tenth place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway, McCollum was pretty much a lock for the series no matter what happened at Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. With a 20th place finish at Darlington, McCollum was one of seven drivers to lock in one week early to the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series roster.
McCollum also has realistic goals, like his teammate Teien, for the 2020 season.
“I want to run competitive and be in the top 20 in points,” McCollum said. “I’m mostly trying for Top 10’s, and possibly a win. I feel like if I can accomplish that, it would be a great rookie season for me.”
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 #18 soon!
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com