Richmond Raceway eSports scores a home win with development driver Garrett Manes; Elliott Sadler Esports scores a 1-2-4 finish with Manes, Ashton Crowder, and Vicente Salas
(VIRTUAL) RICHMOND, Va. — We’re halfway through the 2020 iRacing Pro Series, and the standings are beginning to take form, with some drivers looking like lock-ins already, and some drivers needing miracles to dig back into contention.
Garrett Manes took the victory on Tuesday night at Richmond Raceway, passing Alex McCollum for the final time with 30 laps to go during the final green flag run of the night that went 61 laps to the distance.
“Dude, this could not have come on a better night,” Manes said to Jacob Seelman on Podium eSports in victory lane. “Honestly, I’m in disbelief. The expectation is always to try and finish in the top half of the field, and just squeak into pro, and you’re really not sure what you’ve got when you get to the Coke Series… For us to win on the 75th anniversary of Richmond Raceway, that’s absolutely perfect.”
Starting from the 23rd position, Manes made his way to the front after a couple of pit sequences under yellow. Manes led 45 laps on the night, second only to Taylor Hurst, who led 62 laps during the opening segment of the race.
Manes’ Elliott Sadler Esports teammate, Ashton Crowder, moved up to finish in second, while Nathan Lyon rounded out the podium with a third place effort. Another Elliott Sadler Esports driver, Vicente Salas, came home fourth, and McCollum slipped back to finish in fifth.
The race was slowed on three separate occasions for a total of 15 laps during the 200 lap event. Outside of the three cautions, there were a handful of cars that suffered engine woes towards the final stages of the event, including Kollin Keister, pole sitter Donovan Strauss, and 2019 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion, Zack Novak.
On top of that, a number of Deadzone Racing / Total Advantage Motorsports drivers littered the bottom quarter of the field, with drivers such as Keister, Allen Boes, Eddie Kerner, and Michael Gonzales finding trouble during the race, while Malik Ray was late to the start, starting behind five laps, and ultimately retiring early en route to a last place finish.
Thankfully, every driver is entitled to one drop race through the six race season, where everyone’s best five results will count towards the final standings. Likely, many drivers will have to compete like they have used their drop race already, and move forward in the remaining three races to collect the best possible results.
And it's @RReSports 's @GarrettManes who holds on and survives @RichmondRaceway to win Round #3 of the Pro Series!— Podium eSports (@PodiumeSports) December 2, 2020
3rd: @lyonschoice#eNASCAR | 📺: https://t.co/9Gl1fj8o0n pic.twitter.com/67vNwBehhk
Only eight drivers who competed in the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season were able to place in the Top 20 on Tuesday night. Ashton Crowder led the way with a runner-up finish, while Nathan Lyon finished third, and Alex McCollum rounded out the Top 5.
As the standings look before a drop, 10 drivers in relegation sit in the Top 21 in the standings, the ticket back into the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
However, when you look at taking a drop week into effect, the number of relegated drivers inside the Top 21 shrinks to nine. Justin Bolton currently sits 23rd in the true standings, but with a drop taken into the equation, he moves up to 14th.
On the flip side, Bolton’s Stewart-Haas eSports teammate Dylan Duval, as well as Eric J. Smith from Slip Angle Motorsports, both fall victim to having drop races with decent point amounts being subtracted, and both move from inside the Top 21 to outside.
Outside for sure either way you slice it, are seven relegated drivers that are all likely feeling the pressure entering the Monster Mile next week, and that includes a couple of winners during the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season, Brandon Hayse Kettelle and Kollin Keister. Also below the cut is Zack Novak, a champion just over a year ago at the top level. All of their luck will need to turn positive sooner than later to get back to the top series.
… I made another one. pic.twitter.com/jScsNzPZBJ— Shawn Butler (@iBeButlerr) December 2, 2020
RTP graduates shine after three weeks
With a total score of two wins to one, the 2020 iRacing Road-to-Pro Series drivers have won the majority of the races so far in the 2020 iRacing Pro Series, with both of those winners atop the overall standings. Mitchell deJong won last week at Auto Club in convincing fashion, while Garrett Manes fought to the front to win the Richmond race this past week.
11 drivers sit above the cut line in the regular standings, with deJong on top, Manes in second, and Total Advantage Motorsports’ Femi Olat in fourth. As was done for the relegated drivers, taking a look at the standings with a drop week included, that number rises to 12. Blade Whitt from Lowline Racing falls out with a drop week, while both Steven Wilson from Total Advantage Motorsports and Taylor Hurst from LockDown Racing move above the line.
The pressure continues to build for a handful of hopefuls who have shown speed, but have not had the results to back it up. Seth DeMerchant, Donovan Strauss, Brian Mercurio, Jose Solis Jr., and Michael Gonzales will all need to pick up fantastic finishes from here on out to get back into contention.
THIS TUESDAY: THE MONSTER
The series heads to Dover, Deleware to take on Miles the Monster at Dover International Speedway on Tuesday night. Another retuning track from the 2019 Pro Series, it was Graham A. Bowlin who took the checkered flag last season. Looking at the drivers in the series again in 2020, Nathan Lyon finished second, and Steve Sheehan collected a fifth place finish.
On the Road-to-Pro side earlier this year, both Steven Wilson and Jose Solis Jr. took home wins in their respective splits. In the Coke Series at Dover this year, Dylan Duval finished in third, while Eric J. Smith took home seventh, and Sheehan again collected a good finish, finishing 10th.
RICHMOND RACEWAY RESULTS
- (2) Garrett Manes – Elliott Sadler Esports / Richmond Raceway eSports
- (98) Ashton Crowder – Elliott Sadler Esports
- (47) Nathan Lyon – Deadzone Racing
- (14) Vicente Salas – Elliott Sadler Esports
- (1) Alex McCollum – Legacy Esports
- (34) Matt Bussa – Team Conti / Williams Esports
- (33) Michael Guest – Deadzone Racing / Team Dillon eSports
- (10) Justin Bolton – Stewart-Haas eSports
- (12) Mitchell deJong – Coanda Simsport / Virtual Racing School
- (74) Taylor Hurst – LockDown Racing
- (22) Isaac Gann – Norse Force Racing
- (42) Danny Hansen – Garrett Smithley eSports
- (77) Ryan Doucette – Nexxus eSports
- (31) Derek Justis – Norse Force Racing
- (48) Brandon Hayse Kettelle – Slip Angle Motorsports
- (46) Collin Bowden – Deadzone Racing
- (24) Zack Nichols – Norse Force Racing
- (57) Seth DeMerchant – Horizon Racing Team
- (32) Steven Wilson – Total Advantage Motorsports
- (55) Brian Schoenburg – Norse Force Racing
- (5) Femi Olat – Total Advantage Motorsports
- (16) Chris Overland – Slip Angle Motorsports / Wood Brothers Gaming
- (75) Jose Solis Jr. – Nexxus eSports
- (41) Dylan Duval – Five Star Racing / Stewart-Haas eSports
- (15) Michael Guariglia – Deadzone Racing
- (6) Jarl Teien – SIMUCUBE ineX Racing
- (44) Brian Mercurio – Lowline Racing
- (62) Anthony Burroughs – Nexxus eSports
- (7) Blade Whitt – Lowline Racing
- (4) Santiago Tirres – Slip Angle Motorsports / LETARTE eSports
- (21) Allen Boes – Total Advantage Motorsports
- (52) Jake Matheson – Nexxus eSports
- (9) Eric J. Smith – Slip Angle Motorsports / Jim Beaver eSports
- (45) Donovan Strauss – Horizon Racing Team
- (90) Zack Novak – LockDown Racing / Richmond Raceway eSports
- (19) Eddie Kerner – Total Advantage Motorsports
- (17) Kollin Keister – Deadzone Racing
- (72) Michael Gonzales – Total Advantage Motorsports
- (51) Malik Ray – Deadzone Racing / Joe Gibbs Racing
DID NOT START: (20) Steve Sheehan – Independent
POINTS STANDINGS AFTER RICHMOND RACEWAY
- Mitchell deJong_____+46
- Garrett Manes______+43
- Michael Guest______+40
- Femi Olat_________+37
- Ashton Crowder_____+37
- Nathan Lyon_______+35
- Allen Boes________+28
- Matt Bussa________+25
- Ryan Doucette______+24
- Vicente Salas_______+20
- Isaac Gann________+14
- Chris Overland______+13
- Derek Justis________+12
- Malik Ray_________+7
- Santiago Tirres______+5
- Jake Matheson______+4
- Blade Whitt________+4
- Dylan Duval________+3
- Alex McCollum______+1
- Eddie Kerner_______+1
- Eric J. Smith________+0 (tiebreaker: best finish)
- Steven Wilson_______-0
- Justin Bolton________-1
- Danny Hansen_______-4
- Taylor Hurst________-6
- Brian Schoenburg_____-8
- Collin Bowden_______-9
- Zack Novak________-9
- Anthony Burroughs____-11
- Jarl Teien__________-11
- Zack Nichols________-12
- Michael Guariglia_____-13
- Brandon Hayse Kettelle_ -15
- Seth DeMerchant____-16
- Jose Solis Jr._______-24
- Brian Mercurio_____-25
- Kollin Keister______-25
- Donovan Strauss____-31
- Steve Sheehan_____-36
- Michael Gonzales___-37
Check out the photo gallery from Tuesday night’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Series event at Richmond Raceway! Photos by Justin Melillo / TRE via iRacing.com.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com