Nick Ottinger will face Bobby Zalenski, Michael Conti, and Ryan Luza in the Championship 4 round at Homestead-Miami Speedway
(VIRTUAL) HOMESTEAD-MIAMI, Fla. – The biggest prize yet is on the line for four drivers; $100,000 goes to the winner of the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series championship, the best finisher among the four contenders at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
On Friday, I spoke with each driver competing for the 2020 title. Part two of four in the TReSports Championship 4 ePreview Series is Nick Ottinger, driver of the No. 25 Logitech G Chevrolet for William Byron eSports.
The 2020 season was good to Ottinger, as he collected a pair of victories over the course of the 19 race season. Ottinger’s first victory on the year came in Round 6 at Dover Int’l Speedway, and his second came two weeks ago, to punch his ticket to the title race, when he won at Kansas Speedway.
On the season as a whole, Ottinger has eight Top 5 finishes, as well as 12 Top 10’s. In nine career seasons, this is Ottinger’s fifth with multiple wins on the year.
“At the end of the day, I’m not really looking at any specific one that we can’t beat. We’ve got to put ourselves in position. That’s what we’ve done all year, just focus on ourselves.”Nick Ottinger
Ottinger has been in the series since 2012, where in his first career start, he went out and won the race from the pole at Phoenix Raceway. Four times, Ottinger has finished in the Top 5 in the standings, having a pair of third place overall finishes in 2013 and 2014.
Here’s what Ottinger had to say on Friday afternoon.
ON MAKING THE CHAMPIONSHIP 4 – “It felt good being able to lock ourselves in (at Kansas Speedway). That’s a track that I’ve always been hit or miss at. We won it the first year we went there as a series (in 2013). Our team was really solid with the pit strategy that got me out front. We’re always in contention every week this year, and that’s something we’ve lacked in prior years. I’ve had a great team behind me, they’ve always been a good team around me, and they’ve given me the tools to propel me to the next step, to finally make the final four… we’re not done though. We’ve got one race left, and everyone is wanting to go out there and win the championship. I think we have a real solid shot this time.
What an incredible race last night!! Was a special moment for me and our team last night to punch our golden ticket to Homestead in the final four. First trip to the final four and for @WBeSports_!— Nick Ottinger (@NickOttinger) October 21, 2020
To to battle for a 🏆!@LogitechGesport | @LogitechG | @SimSeats | @WilliamByron pic.twitter.com/UQMlm4ztNE
“Kansas was something that was meant to be for us, to lock in then, because we weren’t too good at Texas on Tuesday night. We didn’t need to be, either, but we tried a couple of things to try and find some speed, to find what we’ve been lacking all year, but it felt good to get it done at Kansas for William (Byron) and everyone (at William Byron eSports), they deserve to be in the final four.”
THE IMPACT OF MAKING THE CHAMPIONSHIP 4 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE SERIES’ BIGGEST SEASON YET – “It’s kind of immeasurable, to equate the growth (the series) has had since last year. This year, to be able to be in the final four, I mean, obviously everyone is looking at that $100,000 prize, but ever since I got into this series, I’ve just got one thing to check off on my list, and that’s the championship. To me, it’s a great opportunity to have that chance, but to also represent my partners, Logitech G, the gaming side of that company, and Sim Seats, who has been a tremendous help in giving me a sim rig to compete on, that’s a lot more comfortable to race in. I think it’s a real added benefit to be able to race with three monitors, compared to what I used to race on, with just one. There are a lot of things that have been stepped up outside of just me, a lot of help from William, and a lot of help from our partners.”
THE COMPETITION – “I think all four of us deserve to be there. I have to include myself, obviously. I would consider, for this year alone, I think it’s the four best pure talent drivers that we’ve had this year. You have to look at Keegan (Leahy) too, he deserves a shot to be in there, but it didn’t work out for him this year. At the end of the day, it’s a team effort. Mikey (Conti) and I are going to be on the same page, like we’ve been all week, all year. I don’t expect us to keep too much from each other (Nick laughs). We may try keeping an adjustment from one another… At the end of the day, I’m not really looking at any specific one that we can’t beat. We’ve got to put ourselves in position. That’s what we’ve done all year, just focus on ourselves. All the other guys, I’ll keep my eye on, but you can’t beat yourself when you’re racing. That’s just what we’ve got to do first, just focus on ourselves, try to get position on those guys, just keep looking in that windshield and get away from them.”
LEADING UP TO THE FINALE ON MONDAY NIGHT – “I’m going to get as much practice anytime that I can, but unfortunately, since yesterday morning (Thursday), around 10:00 am, we’ve had no power at our place. Luckily, I’ve got a great teammate in John (Gorlinsky) whose been able to do a lot of testing time for me. We’ve been in constant communication just to see what works. He’s done a lot of 30 lap runs for me, which is what it’s going to take to have a good long run car. If we can get this power and internet situation working today, it’ll be looking like some six or seven hour days, easy… Terrible timing, ain’t it?
“I’m a believer in doing the same thing I’ve done all year. Just going to practice as much as I can, not really change anything before going into the race… Just need to make sure I’m on the same page as my teammates, my spotter and crew chief, make sure we know what is on the line. We’ll make sure we hit on all eight cylinders, as they say, and nothing more except maybe a little more aggressiveness towards the playoff drivers.”
ON POSSIBLY WINNING THE $100,000 CHAMPIONSHIP PRIZE – “Well, I don’t really do much unless I get something, so I don’t really know what to tell you on that one. I’ll definitely save it up, probably do some investments, some things for my car, my 1969 Pontiac Catalina, maybe get a paint job, she’s getting a little surface rust, and she needs a fresh coat of paint, maybe some fresh rubber too. Outside of that, I don’t know.”
At Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ottinger’s best finish is a second place effort in 2012. The series also visited Homestead-Miami earlier this season, and Ottinger came home with a 16th place finish.
Tune in for a special Monday night broadcast of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series where the champion will be decided after 134 laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The action starts at 8:00 pm ET on eNASCAR.com/live.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com