Hometown favorite Casey Kirwan, competing in the playoffs for the first time, raced to the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series championship on Tuesday.
For the series’ 2022 finale, the final four contenders competed in person at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. They ran on a virtual Phoenix Raceway along with the rest of the field, drivers who were competing virtually from home.
Kirwan, from Matthews, N.C., is the 10th driver to win the series title, the fourth straight driver to win it for the first time. Six different competitors won the past six championships.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was on the scene to give the command of “Drivers, start your engines” to open the race, and he handed the championship trophy to Kirwan.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Kirwan, who drives the No. 95 Chevrolet. “I’ve always joked with streaming (that) I need a nice trophy for the backdrop. I’ve won a lot of big races, but they never come with trophies. This (trophy) is even bigger than a stream backdrop. I may have to work on the camera angle to make sure it gets all in there.”
For the championship, Kirwan earned $100,000 from the prize pool of more than $300,000.
Asked what he would do with the money, Kirwan said, “I have some ideas, but I probably should probably be a little logical. There’s a lot you can do with it.”
Keegan Leahy of Halifax, Nova Scotia, not one of the Championship 4 competitors, wound up as the race winner in the No. 45 Toyota. Kirwan was second, just ahead of another Championship 4 racer, Bobby Zalenski of Fresno, Calif., in the No. 18 Toyota.
Logan Clampett and Ryan Luza, both not among the Championship 4, took fourth and fifth place, respectively.
The other two Championship 4 drivers were Graham Bowlin of Houston, who came in 18th place in the No. 48 Toyota, and Steven Wilson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who placed 33rd in the No. 10 Ford.
–Field Level Media