As cars crashed among the lead group heading to the checkered flag, Casey Kirwan went high to pass Malik Ray just before the finish line to win the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event at a virtual Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Tuesday.
Kirwan, the 2022 eNASCAR season champion, earned his first official win of the 2023 season, though he did capture an exhibition victory at a virtual Los Angeles Coliseum on Jan. 31.
Kirwan, in the No. 95 Chevrolet, was in seventh place midway through the final lap. However, a late wreck allowed him to be the final challenger to Ray, who was on the verge of his first series win. Instead, it was Kirwan who prevailed by 0.035 seconds.
Collin Bowden came in third in the No. 69 Chevrolet, just 0.042 seconds behind Ray in the No. 7 Ford.
The win was the fourth lifetime for Kirwan, a Matthews, N.C., resident.
“We got a real big run (at the end),” Kirwan said. “I literally said heading into the tri-oval, ‘Well, the only chance is if they wreck.’ And low and behold, they started wrecking, and it just worked out where I had the run on Malik. I didn’t think I was gonna beat him to the line. It would have been really close. I just checked up in the mirror real quick and I saw Bowden coming and I just turned hard right and prayed. …
“It’s crazy. I felt like I’ve been up front and had a shot at winning these (restrictor) plate races now for, I don’t know, the past four or five of them, I feel like. It feels really good to finally win one.”
Ray, a Greer, S.C., resident, said of the ending, “It went about as expected. I don’t really know how to win one of these. I always lead (at) the white flag but I don’t really know what to do as far as the white-flag scenario.
“They wrecked out of the tri-oval. I didn’t think that Casey was going to have enough speed to get to me, then all of a sudden he got shot right before the line, and, yeah, that’s pretty much how that ended up.”
Wyatt Tinsley came in fourth place in the No. 20 Toyota, and Kollin Keister took fifth place in the No. 42 Chevrolet.
The series resumes action on May 2 at a virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
–Field Level Media