THE VIRTUAL FORT WORTH, TX – Week two of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series is in the books, and after a little bump-and-run nearing the conclusion, Timmy Hill was able to capture the virtual checkers.
In the closing laps at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway, Hill put the bumper to William Byron in the corner to take the lead. In eNASCAR Overtime, Hill held off a late charge from Ryan Preece, as the two crossed the line side-by-side on Sunday afternoon.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Hill said on a teleconference after his victory. “Very exciting times for us, because we just don’t get the recognition on a normal basis. To be on an even playing field is excellent. To be on this platform, the Cup platform, is exciting. The amount of folks that reached out to me has just been tremendous.
“The last lap was just one I will definitely remember for a while.”
The virtual O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 was simulcast on FOX, FOX Sports 1, and the FOX Sports GO app in the United States. It was also shown in 165 countries or territories worldwide. This is expected to be the biggest television broadcast of an eSports event in history, eclipsing last week’s debut
Hill has 96 career NASCAR Cup Series starts since 2012, and has never once finished inside the Top 10. In that time, Hill’s best finish is only a 14th place effort at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017.
Online, however, Hill is regarded as one of the top sim racers on the iRacing platform, having participated in the top level of sim racing, what is now the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, from 2016 to 2019.
Hill’s accomplishments on iRacing shine past many of real world competitors, many of which only registered with the service in the last few weeks. In his iRacing official series career, Hill has earned 673 oval victories in 1676 races run.
While the win on Sunday on FOX won’t count towards his official series win count, Hill can also tout that he’s one of only two drivers through both races to finish in the Top 5 both times, the other being Garrett Smithley, who finished third at Texas.
William Byron took the virtual pole position for Sunday’s event, starting alongside last week’s runner up, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Byron led the opening stint of the race, but around halfway through it, John Hunter Nemechek showed his muscle, and took control for three laps. Byron wrestled it back before the first caution of the day waved for an incident involving Kyle Busch, Michael McDowell, and others.
A handful of drivers would have to spend their Fast Repair way too early on in the going, and in a change from the two given last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the drivers were limited to only one at Texas.
Anthony Alfredo took a massive virtual hit against the outside wall entering Turn 3 to bring out the second caution of the day. A misaligned bump from Matt DiBenedetto sent Alfredo driver’s side first into the virtual SAFER barrier, ending his chances.
Alfredo, along with Alex Labbe, Ty Majeski, and Ruben Garcia, Jr. all advanced to the main event from the 30 lap qualifier held earlier in the day that was broadcasted on eNASCAR.com.
The qualifier had 32 entrants vying for four spots, and some names who made the show last week, such as Ryan Truex, Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier, and Austin Cindric, failed to advance this week.
During this caution, last week’s winner, Denny Hamlin, decided to stay out of the pits and take control under the caution, but the virtual tire wear was too great, as he immediately began to fall back following the restart.
Chase Elliott originally snagged the lead from Hamlin, but it wasn’t too long after that the dominant car of Byron was back out front.
Ryan Preece made his presence known towards the middle of the event, taking over the lead from Byron at lap 53. Nemechek was still hanging around, though, and took the opportunity a few laps later to get back out front at lap 60.
Byron was saving his virtual stuff though, and at lap 67, he returned to the top spot. The long green flag run spotlighted the mid-portion of the event, and set up differing strategies that eventually set up the finish.
Hill short pitted Byron by two laps, coming in at lap 86. The field cycled to put Hill up as high as he’d been all race, in second, but still trailing Byron by a large margin.
Daniel Suarez brought out the third caution of the event after what seemed to be a failed retaliation attempt on Ty Dillon for an incident earlier. Suarez was virtually parked by iRacing officials, and appeared as disqualified on the official race results.
Now with Hill alongside Byron on the ensuing restart, he had to make the most out of the opportunity. A restart, followed by a quick yellow, gave Hill enough information to set up his move on the next try.
On lap 122, with only a few laps remaining in regulation, Hill used the chrome horn, and bumped Byron out of the groove. Byron collected his car, but fell victim to the clutches of the rest of the field.
With only two laps to go, Byron was slightly collected in a melee off of the final corner with Parker Kligerman and others. The damage was enough to take Byron out of contention.
On the final restart, Hill gapped Preece ever so slightly, and it was enough as he held on to take the virtual win.
— eNASCAR (@NASCAR) March 29, 2020
The race saw five total cautions for 21 laps, and ran five laps past the originally scheduled distance with the one eNASCAR Overtime attempt, a total of 130 laps.
Byron led the most laps on the day, at 81, but was relegated to a seventh place finish when it was all said and done.
The next eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series race will take place on the virtual high banks at Bristol Motor Speedway, and on Tuesday night, race fans can get catch the iRacing professionals in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series on the same track, 9:00 pm ET on eNASCAR.com/live.
- 66 – Timmy Hill
- 37 – Ryan Preece
- 51 – Garrett Smithley
- 89 – Landon Cassill
- 88 – Alex Bowman
- 8 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- 24 – William Byron
- 38 – John Hunter Nemechek
- 42 – Kyle Larson
- 1 – Kurt Busch
- 14 – Clint Bowyer
- 77 – Parker Kligerman
- 19 – Bobby Labonte
- 34 – Michael McDowell
- 21 – Matt DiBenedetto
- 13 – Ty Dillon
- 18 – Kyle Busch
- 17 – Chris Buescher
- 48 – Jimmie Johnson
- 9 – Chase Elliott
- 20 – Erik Jones
- 6 – Ross Chastain
- 47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- 11 – Denny Hamlin
- 43 – Bubba Wallace
- 90 – Alex Labbe
- 12 – Ryan Blaney
- 31 – Tyler Reddick
- 3 – Austin Dillon
- 45 – Ty Majeski
- 27 – Ruben Garcia Jr.
- 16 – Greg Biffle
- 96 – Daniel Suarez
- 95 – Christopher Bell
- 33 – Anthony Alfredo
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com