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Zalenski wins, Advances to Championship Four with Leahy, Novak, and Reynolds

zalenskiwins
Bobby Zalenski pulled a walk-off at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “Roval”, and will race for a championship in two weeks. Photo by Justin Melillo / TRE via iRacing.com.

Bobby Zalenski was in a different zip code on Tuesday night.

As it was at Sonoma Raceway earlier in the season, it was Zalenski’s race to lose, and once again, he proved to have nerves of steel.

The eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series took it to the twisted “Roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the penultimate race of the 2019 season.

Zalenski entered the night in a must-win situation to advance to the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway in just over two weeks, so he led every lap and won by over eight seconds.

Keegan Leahy, Blake Reynolds, and Zack Novak will join Zalenski in the fight for the title at Homestead.

***

backandforth
Blake Reynolds (30) and Garrett Lowe (28) battle for the final spot in the Championship Four. Photo by Justin Melillo / TRE via iRacing.com.

When it became evident that Zalenski was heading towards victory, eyes turned towards the fight for the final spot.

Blake Reynolds and Garrett Lowe entered the “Roval” TIED for the third position, but with Zalenski heading towards a lock by victory, the tie was now for the final spot.

Lowe and Reynolds ran in eighth and ninth for the majority of the race, and coming into the second half of the race, the gap was within one second of each other.

Reynolds pitted a lap before Lowe, and it resulted in Reynolds cycling ahead.

Lowe was far from out, and was back on Reynolds’ bumper in a short amount of time.

 

The two championship hopefuls traded blows for multiple laps. Eventually, Lowe made the bigger mistake, and cut the course.

The sim requires time to be given back when the course is cut, and Lowe was unable to clear Reynolds before having to serve his penalty, and fell multiple seconds back.

Lowe never gave up, but wound up cutting the course a second time after contact with Ashton Crowder, and that eventually led to the end of his playoff run. Reynolds finished ninth, while Lowe wound up 11th.

Meanwhile, both Leahy and Novak had to have uneventful races and bring their cars home with decent finishes, and both were able to accomplish just that.

 

Leahy brought it home fifth, and was a force inside of the Top 5 all evening. Leahy just needed a few drivers to fall out and was ultimately clinched early on in the night.

Novak, on the other had, had a quiet night, and brought it home 15th, with enough of points to spare, 11 above the cut line.

conti
Michael Conti
mullis
Jimmy Mullis
luza
Ryan Michael Luza

On the other side of the coin, four drivers were eliminated from championship contention on Tuesday night. Lowe was the closest to making it, but had he and Reynolds taken each other out, Michael Conti was sitting in the best position.

Conti was second best all race, good enough to distance himself from the rest of the field, but not quite on Zalenski’s level. Conti’s second place effort wasn’t good enough, as he missed the cut by 10 points.

Jimmy Mullis was competitive on the “Roval”, and came home with a sixth place finish. However, Mullis needed help to make the championship round, and at the end of the day, was 22 points shy of advancing.

Ryan Michael Luza is one of the biggest surprises to miss the final four. Luza has three wins and the second most laps led on the season, but after a fuel mileage mishap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago, it seemed like he would need a miracle to advance to the championship round.

Luza has never shown the speed at the road courses like he has at the ovals, and it was no different on Tuesday night. Luza limped home to a 20th place effort, and missed the cut by 24 points.

***

The championship finale will take place at a different time, on a different day, at a different place. Tune in on October 10th at 5:00 pm ET, LIVE on NBCSN, for the conclusion to the 2019 eNASCAR Peak Antifreeze iRacing Series Season.

SOURCES:
iRacing
RaceSpot TV
NASCAR

RACE RESULTS:

  1. 18 – Bobby Zalenski – Joe Gibbs Racing
  2. 8 – Michael Conti – JR Motorsports
  3. 47 – Nick Ottinger – JTG Daugherty Racing
  4. 99 – Logan Clampitt – Burton Kligerman eSports
  5. 62 – Keegan Leahy – G2 eSports
  6. 46 – Jimmy Mullis – Richmond Raceway eSports
  7. 14 – Casey Kirwan – Clint Bowyer Racing
  8. 37 – Christian Challiner – JTG Daugherty Racing
  9. 30 – Blake Reynolds – Team Dillon eSports
  10. 77 – Ashton Crowder – Burton Kligerman eSports
  11. 28 – Garrett Lowe – Renegades
  12. 88 – Brad Davies – JR Motorsports
  13. 5 – Matt Bussa – Williams eSports
  14. 66 – Jarl Teien – G2 eSports
  15. 6 – Zack Novak – Roush Fenway Racing
  16. 27 – Corey Vincent – Renegades
  17. 33 – Benjamin W. Nelson – Team Dillon eSports
  18. 75 – Philip Diaz – Mode Motorsports
  19. 15 – Michael Guariglia – Jim Beaver eSports
  20. 53 – Ryan Michael Luza – FlipSid3 Tactics
  21. 42 – Dylan Duval – Independent
  22. 36 – Chris Shearburn – Letarte eSports
  23. 20 – Jake Nichols – Joe Gibbs Racing
  24. 74 – Taylor Hurst – Independent
  25. 51 – Eric J. Smith – Jim Beaver eSports
  26. 83 – Adam Benefiel – Independent
  27. 4 – Nathan Lyon – Letarte eSports
  28. 19 – Casey Tucker – Independent
  29. 17 – Michael Guest – Roush Fenway Racing
  30. 16 – Chris Overland – Wood Brothers Racing
  31. 90 – Malik Ray – Richmond Raceway eSports
  32. 24 – Cody Byus – Mode Motorsports
  33. 21 – Ray Alfalla – Wood Brothers Racing
  34. 63 – Timmy Hill – FlipSid3 Tactics
  35. 80 – Brandon Hayse Kettelle – Independent
  36. 55 – Brian Schoenburg – Williams eSports
  37. 79 – Nickolas Shelton – Clint Bowyer Racing
  38. 7 – Ryan Lowe – Independent

DID NOT RACE:
31 – Logan Kress – Independent
2 – Caine Cook – Independent

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Justin Melillo View All

Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com

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