THE VIRTUAL LAS VEGAS, Nev. –– The 2020 eNASCAR Heat Pro League concluded its regular season on Wednesday evening, with two drivers, one on each platform joining the championship battle.
With 12 races completed, and three segments in the books, there are now six drivers, three per console, that are locked in to compete for their respective titles.
In the final two races on the NASCAR Heat 4 platform, Cody Giles (PS4) and Justin Brooks (XBOX) took their respective checkered flags at the virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while Josh Parker (PS4) and Slade Gravitt (XBOX) locked themselves into the championship battles.
PLAYSTATION 4 – Giles wins after wild late race restart; Parker advances to title round
The 60 lap opening race on the PS4 side took the green with Corey Rothgeb (Team Penske Esports) on point.
Rothgeb led early in an uneventful start, but eventually started dropping towards the back as Joey Stone (RCR Esports) took control.
Stone led a good portion of the early portion of the event, but eventually Cody Giles (Wood Brothers Gaming) took over before the first caution flew. Stone, Josh Harbin (Leavine Family Gaming), and Kyle Arnold (Germain Gaming) collided off the corner, and effectively ended all three’s chances at victory.
Josh Parker (Gibbs Gaming) came into the Segment Three finale with enough points that, barring anything out of the ordinary, he would be moving on to the championship round. Late in the game, Parker took control, but another caution threw some strategy into the mix.
Jason Mitchell (GoFas Gaming) cycled to the lead after some late strategy, and was able to hold on for a little while. Brandon Hanna (Roush Fenway Gaming) fought under Parker for the second spot, but once Parker cleared, he set his sights on the lead.
Mitchell yielded, and then found the wall on his way back in the pack, and a final caution bunched up the field one more time. Mitchell again stayed out and re-inherited the lead, but it didn’t last long. Parker shot high, and Brandyn Gritton (SHR Esports) took to the bottom. When they made it into the corner, the two collided for the lead, and gave the lead back over to Giles for the final time.
Parker held on for a ninth place finish, and it was enough to hold on for the Segment win over Mike Brass (Petty Esports) by 20 points.
Parker joins Gritton and Maxwell Castro (Chip Ganassi Gaming) in the championship race. A fourth driver will be added next week after the wild card race at the virtual Daytona International Speedway.
XBOX ONE – Brooks and Buttafuoco battle again, with Brooks on top once more; Gravitt moving on to championship
The final race of the regular season, and sure enough, the two most dominant drivers took the field to the green, that being Justin Brooks (JTG Daugherty Throttlers) on the pole, and Daniel Buttafuoco (Germain Gaming) outside.
For a good majority of the event, Brooks led Buttafuoco, while the remainder of the field battled for third place in the race and the overall season standings.
Brooks, the winner of Segment One, and Buttafuoco, the winner of Segment Two, were the only two mathematically eligible to win Segment Three, and in order to get a third participant in the championship round, the honor would go to the highest in the overall season standings not already locked in.
Slade Gravitt (Wood Brothers Gaming), Nicholas Walker (Roush Fenway Gaming), and Luis Zaiter (Chip Ganassi Gaming) all had a chance at the third overall in the standings,
At one point, Gravitt and Walker were only separated by six points as the two ran in third and fourth, respectively. Last week at Road America, Walker was docked 10 points post-race for “intentionally bringing out a caution”, and had Walker had a better ending to his race, it may have played a role in determining who moved into the title round.
Gravitt did everything he needed to do, stayed out of trouble, and took home a third place finish. Zaiter ended up fifth after an attempt to short pit the rest of the leaders. Meanwhile, Walker ended up falling to finish in 13th, two laps down.
Gravitt will face up against Brooks and Buttafuoco, the two most dominant drivers in the series in 2020. Their battle for the win didn’t disappoint, as the two traded clean jabs at one another up until the final lap.
Buttafuoco took Brooks low, but Brooks was able to hold off the charge. By Turn 3, Brooks cleared, and went on to win another race, his sixth of the season. The duo have combined to win nine races on the regular season.
The last chance for the remaining drivers is one race at Daytona, one shot, a win and in scenario for the final spots in the respective title races.
On the PS4 side, Corey Rothgeb was able to win at Talladega earlier this season, and along with Josh Harbin, Kyle Arnold, Nick Jobes, and Cody Giles, they will all be looking for another win to advance to run for a championship.
Matthew Selby and Nicholas Walker both have a win apiece on the XBOX season, and will be looking to recreate that magic one more time for one last shot at a title run.
PS4 Las Vegas Results:
- 16 – Cody Giles – Wood Brothers Gaming
- 44 – Mike Braas – Petty eSports
- 25 – Nick Jobes – Hendrick Motorsports GC
- 8 – Joey Stone – RCR eSports
- 1 – Maxwell Castro – Chip Ganassi Gaming
- 2 – Corey Rothgeb – Team Penske eSports
- 17 – Brandon Hanna – Roush Fenway Gaming
- 14 – Brandyn Gritton – Stewart-Haas eSports
- 18 – Josh Parker – Gibbs Gaming
- 13 – Kyle Arnold – Germain Gaming
- 47 – TJ McGowan – JTG Daugherty Throttlers
- 32 – Jason Mitchell – GoFas Gaming
- 7 – Joe Gornick – JR Motorsports
- 95 – Josh Harbin – Leavine Faminly Gaming
XBOX Las Vegas Results:
- 37 – Justin Brooks – JTG Daughery Throttlers
- 13 – Daniel Buttafuoco – Germain Gaming
- 21 – Slade Gravitt – Wood Brothers Gaming
- 43 – Diego Alvarado – Petty eSports
- 42 – Luis Zaiter – Chip Ganassi Gaming
- 4 – Matthew Selby – Stewart-Haas eSports
- 22 – Brian Tedeschi – Team Penske eSports
- 51 – Matthew Heale – Gibbs Gaming
- 3 – Jordan McGraw – RCR eSports
- 32 – Riley Ogle – GoFas Gaming
- 95 – Jose Ruiz – Leavine Family Gaming
- 5 – Sam Morris – Hendrick Motorsports GC
- 6 – Nicholas Walker – Roush Fenway Gaming
- 88 – Tyler Dohar – JR Motorsports
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com