EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the eleventh installment of the 2020 TReSports ePreview! The 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship 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.
Competitive eSports, meet NASCAR. NASCAR, meet competitive eSports.
When the original twelve teams were announced for the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing draft, a trio of teams stood out among the familiar NASCAR names such as Roush and Gibbs.
Renegades, along with G2 eSports and FlipSid3 Tactics, entered into the world of sim racing in 2019 after already having established themselves in other competitive eSporting games.
The Renegades are a professional gaming organization that was founded back in 2015, currently headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.
What started out as a competitive League of Legends team named the Misfits, they rebranded the same year, soon entering competitions with a Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) eSports team that was acquired in the rebranding.
Before their entry into the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series at the beginning of the 2019 season, the Renegades were already fielding competitive teams in CS:GO, Fortnite, Rocket League, and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, among other game titles.
Drifting into another season! 🏁
We’re so excited to announce being a part of the 2020 eNASCAR @iRacing World Championship.
— Renegades (@Renegades) January 29, 2020
After a successful 2019 season, Corey Vincent returns to the Renegades to pilot the No. 27 Ford Mustang for the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series season.
Vincent was taken 12th overall in the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing draft by the Renegades, and finished 11th in the 2019 final standings.
2020 will be Vincent’s sixth consecutive full-time eNiWCS season. In 84 career starts, Vincent has earned three career victories and four career pole positions. He also has collected 14 career Top 5 finishes and 33 career Top 10 finishes.
After a great run in 2019, Vincent had a feeling that he’d be coming back to the Renegades in 2020.
“Early on, I knew there was a great possibility that I could be returning back with Renegades,” Vincent said. “When the free agency started, after talks with them early on, I knew that I was more than likely probably going to sign back with them, and I did, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do this year.”
— Renegades (@Renegades) September 11, 2019
Entering his sophomore season, Caine Cook joins the Renegades to drive the No. 55 Ford Mustang in the 2020 eNiWCS season.
Cook replaces Garrett Lowe, who drove the No. 28 for the Renegades in 2019 and will move over to Wood Brothers Racing for 2020.
In his rookie year, Cook collected a single Top 10 finish, at Auto Club Speedway, in 16 starts.
Cook wasn’t shy about expressing his displeasure of his rookie campaign in 2019, but said that regardless, he’s right at home with the Renegades in 2020.
“Like anybody else that’s at the top level of any racing, I’m pretty selfish. I’m pretty greedy,” Cook said. “Unfortunately, my first (World Championship) season went about as awful as anything could. Just a lot of bad luck, a lot of wrong place, wrong time, and some rookie mistakes mixed in here and there.
“It just came down to what team could offer me the most, personally, benefits-wise, and Renegades stepped in. Just a natural fit.”
2019 RENEGADES RECAP
The Renegades entered the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing draft with the last pick of the first round, which meant they were the only team to get back-to-back draft picks.
After drafting Vincent to drive the No. 27, the Renegades took Garrett Lowe with the very next pick to drive the No. 28.
Throughout the 2019 eNASCAR iRacing World Championship season, the pairing of Vincent and Lowe proved to be one of the most potent in the series.
Lowe earned the team’s first Top 10 in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, while Vincent had troubles and wound up in 36th position that day.
A few weeks later at Auto Club Speedway, Vincent was less than a lap away from possibly a victory, or even the team’s best finish of the season, but off of Turn 2, contact sent him spinning from the lead and into a 33rd place finish.
The Renegades rebounded the following race at Texas Motor Speedway. Vincent collected his best effort of the season, coming home third, while teammate Lowe crossed the line right behind him in fourth.
Over the next few races, Lowe started raking in solid finishes, placing him high in the standings. Lowe collected three Top 5 finishes at Talladega Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway, and Pocono Raceway over a seven race stretch.
In the same stretch, Vincent was able to collect a second place effort at Chicagoland Speedway, along with three more Top 10 finishes.
Michigan International Speedway was the first big highlight of the season for the Renegades.
In a three-wide finish across the line, Lowe edged out Chris Overland and Blake Reynolds to claim his first career victory in the series.
Behind the three-wide finish, Vincent brought home his Mustang in fourth. Heading into the regular season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway, however, Vincent was no longer mathematically eligible to make the playoffs.
Lowe, on the other hand, was safely inside the playoffs, and even had a shot at making the championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
During the playoffs, Vincent picked up the Renegades second victory on the year, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Vincent was in third place off of the final corner heading to the yard of bricks. Just ahead, Reynolds was running out of gas in the lead, and Casey Kirwan made a move inside to try and take the victory.
Reynolds blocked Kirwan down into the wall, and that allowed Vincent to pull around them both up top and take the win.
In the penultimate race of the season, Lowe came in to the race virtually tied for the transfer spot with Reynolds, and needed to basically outrun him to make the championship 4.
The two battled back and forth, but Lowe came up just short. After it was all said and done post Homestead, Lowe finished the season in eighth in the points standings, and Vincent ended up eleventh.
During the free agency period, Vincent re-signed with the Renegades, but Lowe moved over to the Wood Brothers for the 2020 season.
Vincent credits the good season to his return to the Renegades in 2020. “It was a pretty solid season,” Vincent said. “We had some good runs, we were able to capture a win, so I knew that there was a good chance that I would be back with them.”
CAINE COOK TO THE RENEGADES IN 2020
Filling the open Renegades seat in 2020 will be Caine Cook, who previously the driver of the No. 2 Ford Mustang as an independent driver in the 2019 season.
Caine Cook had a rough go in his rookie campaign in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series.
Cook started 16 of the 18 races on the year, with only one Top 10 finish at Auto Club Speedway in the third race of the season.
There were a few finishes on the season that were just outside the Top 10, including a 12th at Michigan International Speedway and a 13th at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Still, Cook was on the outside looking in at the end of the season, 29th in the standings when only the Top 20 would be locked in for the following season.
Cook returned to the iRacing Pro Series, and after the first four races of the seven race season, it wasn’t looking good for his return to the series.
In the fifth race of the series, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Cook turned on the heat, and started laying down fantastic finishes. Cook finished third at Charlotte, then earned the pole position at Darlington and finished in fourth.
In the finale of the Pro Series season, Cook wound up in sixth, and advanced back into the series. Cook credits his season-ending stretch in the Pro Series to his deal with the Renegades.
“My free agent offer pool wasn’t as much as I would have hoped it was,” Cook said. “The end of my Pro Season, the last half of the season, I scored the most points of any driver… I think that helped me out a lot.”
The eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series season begins at Daytona International Speedway on February 11th, 2020. The race is expected to be streamed live on iRacing’s Twitch stream, with the start time usually at 9:00 pm ET.
Look for ePreview #12 soon!
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com