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Daniel Buttafuoco claims 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Championship

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THE VIRTUAL BRISTOL, Tenn. The 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League season ended in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night with Daniel Buttafuoco and Justin Brooks swapping paint in the closing laps with the championship on the line.

The two drivers were dominant all season long in the XBOX One console races, and up until under five laps to go at Bristol, had raced with the utmost respect for one another.

“I’m probably going to regret it, but (Brooks) probably would have done the same to me, honestly,” Buttafuoco told Hannah Newhouse and Russell Cox post-race.

The mentality for Buttafuoco was to win, and he did just that.

Buttafuoco was “heated” after contact with the other two title contenders, Josh Harbin and the 2019 champion, Brandyn Gritton, through the finale.

When it came down to it, Buttafuoco put on his determined face, and did what he needed to do to get the 2020 championship.

“At the end of the day, I can’t believe we’re the champions… It’s an incredible feeling.”

***

The Championship event was not just one race, but three separate races that would dwindle the title contenders down from eight to four for the ultimate finale at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The eight drivers who qualified for the championship were:

  • Justin Brooks – JTG Daugherty Throttlers – XBOX
  • Maxwell Castro – Ganassi Gaming – PS4
  • Daniel Buttafuoco – Germain Gaming – XBOX
  • Brandyn Gritton – Stewart-Haas eSports – PS4
  • Slade Gravitt – Wood Brothers Gaming – XBOX
  • Josh Parker – Gibbs Gaming – PS4
  • Brian Tedeschi – Penske eSports – XBOX
  • Josh Harbin – Leavine Family Gaming – PS4

Four drivers from each console qualified their way into the Championship 8, and after each race on Wednesday, two would be eliminated until four remained. At Bristol, the highest finisher would be crowned champion.

In the first race at Michigan International Speedway, a late race caution changed the complexity of the event.

Buttafuoco was running in last after a lengthy pit stop, and would surely have been eliminated in the first race had the caution not happened. Many drivers got trapped down a lap, but not Buttafuoco.

All he and the rest of the contenders had to do was finish better than at least two of the other title hunters.

One of the drivers negatively affected by the yellow was Parker, who wound up trapped a lap down after running in the Top 10 for the majority of the race.

Coming to the white flag, another incident happened, but the leaders had already passed the line, and the field raced back to the checkers. Parker was involved in the melee, and wound up eliminated, along with Tedeschi who never found the speed to compete to advance.

Luis Zaiter, rookie driver for Ganassi Gaming on the XBOX console, held off Brooks for the Michigan victory, the first of his career.

MICHIGAN RESULTS:

  1. 42 – Luis Zaiter – Chip Ganassi Gaming(x)
  2. 37 – Justin Brooks – JTG Daughery Throttlers(x) – Adv.
  3. 2 – Corey Rothgeb – Team Penske eSports(P)
  4. 13x – Daniel Buttafuoco – Germain Gaming(x) – Adv.
  5. 51 – Matthew Heale – Gibbs Gaming(x)
  6. 88 – Tyler Dohar – JR Motorsports(x)
  7. 1 – Maxwell Castro – Chip Ganassi Gaming(P) – Adv.
  8. 3 – Jordan McGraw – RCR eSports(x)
  9. 5 – Sam Morris – Hendrick Motorsports GC(x)
  10. 44 – Mike Braas – Petty eSports(P)
  11. 43 – Diego Alvarado – Petty eSports(x)
  12. 14 – Brandyn Gritton – Stewart-Haas eSports(P) – Adv.
  13. 17 – Brandon Hanna – Roush Fenway Gaming(P)
  14. 21 – Slade Gravitt – Wood Brothers Gaming(x) – Adv.
  15. 95p – Josh Harbin – Leavine Family Gaming(P) – Adv.
  16. 4 – Matthew Selby – Stewart-Haas eSports(x)
  17. 32p – Jason Mitchell – GoFas Gaming(P)
  18. 32x – Riley Ogle – GoFas Gaming(x)
  19. 95x – Jose Ruiz – Leavine Family Gaming(x)
  20. 6 – Casey Masser – Roush Fenway Gaming(x)
  21. 7 – Joe Gornick – JR Motorsports(P)
  22. 47 – TJ McGowan – JTG Daugherty Throttlers(P)
  23. 16 – Cody Giles – Wood Brothers Gaming(P)
  24. 25 – Nick Jobes – Hendrick Motorsports GC(P)
  25. 8 – Joey Stone – RCR eSports(P)
  26. 22 – Brian Tedeschi – Team Penske eSports(x) – Elim.
  27. 18 – Josh Parker – Gibbs Gaming(P) – Elim.
  28. 13p – Kyle Arnold – Germain Gaming(P)

Race No. 2 sent the 28 drivers, all racing for the first time together on ASUS ROG gaming computers and also the PC edition of NASCAR Heat 5, over to the virtual Phoenix Raceway, where the six finalist would whittle themselves down to the final four by race end.

Brooks, Buttafuoco, and Gritton were fast all race, and cautions seemed to fall at the right times to prevent any weird or altering strategies.

Those three raced away from the pack, and it was the fourth and final spot that became the hot battle on the track.

Gravitt and Harbin were door to door for a majority of it, while Castro seemed to be just a slight tick off. On one of the cautions where most decided to stay out, Castro attempted an alternate strategy, and restarted towards the back. It didn’t pan out for him, as the tires weren’t as important as track position, and he was eliminated from the title battle after a 19th place finish.

Meanwhile, towards the end, Harbin gave Gravitt a shot and moved him up and out of the way. Gravitt fought back, and even got to Harbin’s outside on the final lap, but Harbin threw the block and held on for the final transfer spot, finishing fifth.

Brooks went on to take yet another checkered flag, his eighth of the season, by far the most out of any driver in the series.

PHOENIX RESULTS:

  1. 37 – Justin Brooks – JTG Daughery Throttlers(x) – Adv.
  2. 14 – Brandyn Gritton – Stewart-Haas eSports(P) – Adv.
  3. 13x – Daniel Buttafuoco – Germain Gaming(x) – Adv.
  4. 2 – Corey Rothgeb – Team Penske eSports(P)
  5. 95p – Josh Harbin – Leavine Family Gaming(P) – Adv.
  6. 51 – Matthew Heale – Gibbs Gaming(x)
  7. 21 – Slade Gravitt – Wood Brothers Gaming(x) – Elim.
  8. 43 – Diego Alvarado – Petty eSports(x)
  9. 22 – Brian Tedeschi – Team Penske eSports(x)
  10. 4 – Matthew Selby – Stewart-Haas eSports(x)
  11. 95x – Jose Ruiz – Leavine Family Gaming(x)
  12. 42 – Luis Zaiter – Chip Ganassi Gaming(x)
  13. 18 – Josh Parker – Gibbs Gaming(P)
  14. 47 – TJ McGowan – JTG Daugherty Throttlers(P)
  15. 17 – Brandon Hanna – Roush Fenway Gaming(P)
  16. 44 – Mike Braas – Petty eSports(P)
  17. 8 – Joey Stone – RCR eSports(P)
  18. 6 – Casey Masser – Roush Fenway Gaming(x)
  19. 1 – Maxwell Castro – Chip Ganassi Gaming(P) – Elim.
  20. 7 – Joe Gornick – JR Motorsports(P)
  21. 5 – Sam Morris – Hendrick Motorsports GC(x)
  22. 3 – Jordan McGraw – RCR eSports(x)
  23. 25 – Nick Jobes – Hendrick Motorsports GC(P)
  24. 13p – Kyle Arnold – Germain Gaming(P)
  25. 16 – Cody Giles – Wood Brothers Gaming(P)
  26. 32x – Riley Ogle – GoFas Gaming(x)
  27. 88 – Tyler Dohar – JR Motorsports(x)
  28. 32p – Jason Mitchell – GoFas Gaming(P)

Finally, the finale.

Four drivers entered to become the champion, but there could only be one.

By halfway, all four of the title hunters were in the Top 4 spots.

On the final restart with 20 or so to go, the gloves came off, and the contact was full on.

Buttafuoco cleared Gritton after a shot from Harbin, and started to pull away and close up to Brooks.

As Gritton and Harbin battled to put themselves into the third position, Brooks and Buttafuoco were both gone.

With 10 laps to go, Buttafuoco was right on the back bumper of the No. 37.

A few warning shots, but nothing too severe.

Finally, with three laps to go, Buttafuoco made his move. A bump, and a move low on Brooks. The two collided off the corner, and Brooks kept the advantage. Another bump in the next corner, and Buttafuoco was there again. This time off the corner, Brooks got moved into the wall, and that was it.

Buttafuoco pulled away just enough that Brooks couldn’t get back to the bumper, and went on to win the 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Championship.

BRISTOL RESULTS:

  1. 13x – Daniel Buttafuoco – Germain Gaming(x) – Champion
  2. 37 – Justin Brooks – JTG Daughery Throttlers(x) – Final 4
  3. 14 – Brandyn Gritton – Stewart-Haas eSports(P) – Final 4
  4. 95p – Josh Harbin – Leavine Family Gaming(P) – Final 4
  5. 4 – Matthew Selby – Stewart-Haas eSports(x)
  6. 42 – Luis Zaiter – Chip Ganassi Gaming(x)
  7. 13p – Kyle Arnold – Germain Gaming(P)
  8. 44 – Mike Braas – Petty eSports(P)
  9. 18 – Josh Parker – Gibbs Gaming(P)
  10. 2 – Corey Rothgeb – Team Penske eSports(P)
  11. 32p – Jason Mitchell – GoFas Gaming(P)
  12. 22 – Brian Tedeschi – Team Penske eSports(x)
  13. 7 – Joe Gornick – JR Motorsports(P)
  14. 8 – Joey Stone – RCR eSports(P)
  15. 3 – Jordan McGraw – RCR eSports(x)
  16. 16 – Cody Giles – Wood Brothers Gaming(P)
  17. 1 – Maxwell Castro – Chip Ganassi Gaming(P)
  18. 21 – Slade Gravitt – Wood Brothers Gaming(x)
  19. 95x – Jose Ruiz – Leavine Family Gaming(x)
  20. 32x – Riley Ogle – GoFas Gaming(x)
  21. 47 – TJ McGowan – JTG Daugherty Throttlers(P)
  22. 51 – Matthew Heale – Gibbs Gaming(x)
  23. 6 – Casey Masser – Roush Fenway Gaming(x)
  24. 17 – Brandon Hanna – Roush Fenway Gaming(P)
  25. 25 – Nick Jobes – Hendrick Motorsports GC(P)
  26. 43 – Diego Alvarado – Petty eSports(x)
  27. 88 – Tyler Dohar – JR Motorsports(x)
  28. 5 – Sam Morris – Hendrick Motorsports GC(x)

Germain Gaming also collected the most points out of all of the teams in 2020.

Congratulations, Daniel Buttafuoco, the 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League Champion!

Justin Melillo View All

Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com

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