Michael Conti earned his second victory of the 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, cruising to a win at a virtual Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
Conti, a Charlotte, N.C., resident who was the 2014 series champ, is in his final season on the circuit. He also prevailed at a virtual Milwaukee Mile on Feb. 28.
He drove the No. 8 Chevrolet to his 15th career victory on Tuesday. Conti joins Bobby Zalenski as a multiple winner this year.
“It was tough,” said Conti, who navigated the final 68 laps after his last pit stop. “We had such great pace. The preparation going into this week … we did better than we did at Milwaukee, and I thought we did as good as we could of done there. My hat’s off to all of the Team Conti guys in the background that made this happen. Really good showing for us.”
He added, “What better way to go out than to win, and now we’ve got two, so it’s super, super cool.”
Asked whether he is having second thoughts about his pending retirement, Conti said, “Any professional, whether it’s esports, professional sports, whatever it is, you always want to go out doing just as well as you did at the peak of your career. And for the longest time I thought the peak was years ago, I thought I was done, I thought I was on the downward trend, but this Next Gen car has really brought me back into the fold. …
“But no, this is it. It’s going to be a great way to go out. We’re going to have a fantastic rest of the year. We’re playoff-bound. … This is the end, but we still have a long way to go this year.”
Nick Ottinger of Claremont, N.C., came in second place in the No. 25 Chevrolet, 0.843 seconds behind Conti.
Ottinger said of his chances of keeping up with Conti, “I could have managed my run a little bit better the first 15, 20 laps, but everything’s hindsight 20-20. … Mike (did) a good job managing up front. We were definitely pushing each other probably a little too hard, I’d say, the first 15, 20 as well. … One spot (higher) would have been nicer.”
Jordy Lopez Jr. finished in third place in the No. 3 Chevrolet. Jimmy Mullis took fourth place in the No. 46 Chevrolet, and Tucker Minter rounded out the top five in the No. 33 Chevrolet. Ford occupied the next four spots.
The series continues on May 16 at a virtual Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
–Field Level Media