On the Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ throwback night at Darlington, Casey Kirwan threw it back to Tony Stewart with not only the paint scheme on his No. 95 XSET Chevrolet, but also with his driving on the way to the fifth win of his eNASCAR career.
This win came in his 100th start in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
“Tony [Stewart] was my childhood hero growing up, and to run the throwback to his championship year was an honor,” Kirwan said.
Kirwan, the defending Coca-Cola Series champion, bounced back from an early incident, gained track position through clever strategy during green flag pit stops, and held off some of the series’ best en route to his second win of the season.
“I think everyone saw that first caution there, and I thought we would be in trouble,” Kirwan said post-race. “The car was not badly damaged, but with how bad we slid the tires in that wreck, I was scared on that long run, but we still had really good speed.”
2020 series champion Nick Ottinger came home second, followed by 2014 champion Michael Conti in third. Polesitter Graham Bowlin crossed the line in fourth, and Malik Ray utilized an overcut strategy to leapfrog forward and complete the top five.
“I could have navigated the positions a little bit better,” Ottinger reflected in his post-race interview with Alan Cavanna. “I needed to get around the 7 a lot quicker. I used a little bit more of my tires to try and get by him.”
Bowlin led the opening three laps, but he quickly surrendered the lead to Matt Bussa. Shortly thereafter, on lap 8, the first caution of the night came out when Daniel Faulkingham in the No. 54, Femi Olatunbosun in the No. 43, and Kirwan in the No. 95 made contact on the front stretch. In front of them, Dylan Duval hit the wall in the No. 41, creating an accordion leading to the bigger wreck behind him.
When the green flag flew again on lap 12, the race settled into a long green flag run, and Bussa would dictate the pace out front. Bussa led 36 straight laps before giving up the top spot to Ottinger on lap 40.
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