(Virtual) DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Michael Cosey Jr took the white flag in fourth place after a tumultuous night. He wound up winning the thing when the dust settled on Wednesday night.
Before that, Cosey was an afterthought on the final restart. After racing up front early on, Cosey Jr was involved in the first caution of the night after racing for the lead with Cody Dutton. He never got to lead that lap as he kept the damage minimal through the spin cycle.
Back to the finish, there were many moments that attributed to the eventual victory. Dale Earnhardt Jr was coming with a head of steam. With a slight move to prevent a three-wide pass by Earnhardt Jr, Cosey Jr kept the No. 88 behind him as he got a push across the line with one to go.
Up front, Logan McAnally led his first lap of the race just ahead of Eddie Kerner. The two had a decent lead, but the rest of the pack was closing in fast, led by Michael Conti.
Conti caught the pair in the center of the backstretch. As Kerner made a move to take the lead, Conti took his ’87 Monte Carlo low, three-wide on the pair. Kerner had enough of a run to clear McAnally and throw the block on Conti, but as he tried to plant the car, there was contact.
Kerner slid in front of the pack. Conti spun in the opposite direction. McAnally drove by but got clipped in the right rear. The rest of the field piled in.
Nobody was lifting, it was all a matter of having the right luck as the field crashed into the third turn. The seas parted for Cosey Jr as he kept his foot in it and cleared the smoke around the wrecked cars. Off of Turn 4, Cosey had a sizable lead and came across to take the checkered flag, becoming the second winner of the eRacr.gg Firecracker 400.
“How about that?” Cosey said after taking the checkers. “(I was) second in the Carnomaly (500), I was so upset about it. It hurt for months. We came back here… I don’t know what the hell just happened.”
398.5 MILES OF BUILD UP
The final lap came to be after 159 laps of close quarter, insane racing. There was an updated feel for the 1987 NASCAR Stock Cars on the iRacing service, specially prepared with perseverance from Earnhardt Jr, who recently became an Executive Director at iRacing.
430 drivers attempted to qualify. 88 advanced to the second round. 42 qualified on time plus the final spot was awarded to Earnhardt Jr by the promoters at eRacr.gg. With about 23 laps to go, at 42 of the 43 cars were still on track. About 40 of them still had a chance at victory.
A few gnarly incidents, with the New Damage Model on these 1987 cars, thinned the field for the final restarts. The last one came with two laps to go, and only 23 cars managed to make it back to the line with all 400 miles completed.
Last year’s winner, Brandon Kettelle, was a force to be reckoned with all night. Kettelle was crazy fast towards the beginning, leading early and often, knowing when to back out of dangerous situations to save his car for the end.
Unfortunately, a late caution marred his chances at going back-to-back. Kettelle led the most laps on the night at 32, while Nathan Lyon led 26, Eddie Kerner led 19, Blake McCandless led 17 and Zack Novak led 13.
Cosey Jr only led one lap, but it was the one that counted.
INCREDIBLE VIRTUAL SHOW FROM ERACR.GG
The whole 2021 Blue-Emu Firecracker 400 event had an incredible lead up to the main event on Wednesday. Signups were opened a week into June with preliminary rounds going off less than a week later.
The prelims had the most participation in eRacr.gg history with over 430 signups, some of those trying out included two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, NTT IndyCar driver Ed Carpenter, and a handful of others around the motorsport industry, from real drivers to spotters to crew members to media personalities.
In the immediate aftermath of the main event, the Twitch numbers showed an individual viewership number of 14.3k.
The whole team, led by NASCAR drivers Landon Cassill and Parker Kligerman and managed by Joshua Mendoza, put an incredible effort forward into promotion, retention, and giving viewers a reason to watch. Admittedly, I was screaming my head off in the closing laps. It was a heck of a show, and I hope next year that I personally get to make the main event.
Now with three large-scale events in the books for the folks at eRacr.gg, they’ve awarded over $52,000 in cash prizes. On top of that, tons of sponsorship opportunities arose throughout the month.
Kevin McAdams had earned a sponsorship through the Athelo Group, competing against others with AG sponsorships for a top prize. McAdams finished seventh in his Snow Monkey Monte Carlo, ahead of the other Athelo Group sponsored drivers and earned a prize of $1,000 for his efforts.
Radius put up a prize of $20,000 for the pole winner to start last and attempt win the race. Nick Ottinger, the pole winner, accepted the challenge, got as high up as fifth in the closing laps, but ultimately wrecked in the closing stage of the event.
Blue-Emu sponsored the entitlement while Transervice returned as a partner. Voyager, one of Cassill’s new sponsors in the real world, signed on as a partner later in the event and sponsored two competitors, Bob Bryant and John Gorlinsky.
A ton of money was thrown at this event, is what I’m getting at. With a finish like what was seen on Wednesday night, it can only mean that the event continues to grow in the future.
Plus, Earnhardt Jr said he’s going to keep trying to make the event as long as it’s running. That publicity is priceless.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com