By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Logan Clampitt edged out his William Byron eSports teammate Nick Ottinger to win the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Clash at Daytona International Speedway.
On an overtime restart in the exhibition event, 23XI Racing’s Keegan Leahy led the field to the line. Seven previous cautions had already eliminated 13 competitors from the 39-car field. As the field came up to speed, Clampitt’s virtual No. 97 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE surged forward. With a push from teammate and 2020 series champion Ottinger, the No. 97 cleared Leahy.
After taking the white flag, the race was guaranteed to end under green. On the backstretch, Leahy’s virtual No. 32 Toyota Camry was hooked into the outside wall. In the chaos Clampitt ducked below the double-yellow line to avoid getting collected. Ottinger, Jake Matheson, Jake Nichols, and Jimmy Mullis all avoided the wreck on the backstretch.
Run to the Checkered
Coming to the checkered, Clampitt darted up and down the track to protect his lead. Meanwhile Roush Fenway Racing’s Nathan Lyon, Spacestation Racing’s Malik Ray, and Elliott Sadler eSports’ Garrett Manes joined the fray. When the checkered flag waved, Clampitt slid across the line, straddling the transition between the apron and banking.
Ottinger, up against the outside wall, crossed the line in second, 0.013 seconds behind his teammate. Williams eSports’ Matheson took the checkered flag third, in the grass. Nichols and Mullis completed the top-five.
“That whole last lap was complete chaos,” admitted Clampitt. “I was mirror driving at that point. What a way to start off the season there. That was a lot of fun. Really exciting and cool to get second there for William Byron eSports. Great way to kick off the season. It wasn’t the season opener race, but it was a fun race and a great way to start off the year.
“I think we’ve got a really good team for this season. Defending champion Nick Ottinger and I, we work together on Team Conti, so it’s going to be fun. I think we’re going to do well. Just looking forward to the season and enjoying my time here at William Byron eSports.”
Lyon, Ray, Manes, Zack Nichols, and Matt Bussa rounded out the top-10. Lyon ran the fastest lap of the race, 202.771 MPH on the second lap. The returning Roush Fenway driver also was the hard charger, gaining 33 positions after starting 39th.
With no points on the line and a fixed setup, drivers were making aggressive moves in preparation for next week’s season opener. Leahy, Stewart-Haas eSports’ Graham Bowlin, and Ottinger led the most laps of the race.
The 40-car grid has 11 rookies taking part this season. One of those rookies, Elliott Sadler eSports (ESE) driver Garrett Manes used the race as a learning experience.
“Tonight is all about making friends,” team owner Elliott Sadler explained to Manes on the radio. “You’re new. Maybe they don’t know you, want to feel you out. It’s like that in real life too.”
Most incidents that took place occurred when the driver on the inside line clipped the apron. The ensuing bobble sent cars up into the outside line creating chaos.
One of the most spectacular incidents took place with under 10 laps to go. A wreck in the tri-oval sent Jim Beaver eSports’ Caine Cook and Sadler’s Ashton Crowder flipping down the frontstretch. Both drivers ended the race upside down.
1. 97-Logan Clampitt , 2. 25-Nick Ottinger , 3. 52-Jake Matheson , 4. 24-Jake Nichols , 5. 46-Jimmy Mullis , 6. 6-Nathan Lyon , 7. 11-Malik Ray , 8. 2-Garrett Manes , 9. 29-Zack Nichols , 10. 75-Matt Bussa , 11. 37-Derek Justis , 12. 33-Taylor Hurst , 13. 32-Keegan Leahy , 14. 66-Blake Reynolds , 15. 79-Ryan Doucette , 16. 88-Brad Davies , 17. 55-Vicente Salas , 18. 38-Casey Kirwan , 19. 23-Mitchell deJong , 20. 8-Michael Conti , 21. 10-Graham Bowlin , 22. 41-Dylan Duval , 23. 44-Isaac Gann , 24. 67-Allen Boes , 25. 83-Bobby Zalenski , 26. 16-John Gorlinsky , 27. 14-Blade Whitt , 28. 1-Ashton Crowder , 29. 15-Caine Cook , 30. 77-Bob Bryant , 31. 18-Femi Olat , 32. 4-Ryan Luza , 33. 9-Michael Guest , 34. 51-Ray Alfalla , 35. 3-Corey Vincent , 36. 21-Garrett Lowe , 37. 17-Steven Wilson , 38. 47-Brian Schoenburg , 39. 90-Zack Novak .
Lead Changes: 16 among eight drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Nick Ottinger 1-3, Graham Bowlin 4-5, Nick Ottinger 6-7, Graham Bowlin 8-10, Nick Ottinger 11-12, Graham Bowlin 13-16, Nick Ottinger 17-20, Ashton Crowder 21-23, Nick Ottinger 24, Blade Whitt 25, Femi Olat 26-27, Graham Bowlin 28-35, Michael Conti 36-37, Keegan Leahy 38-43, Graham Bowlin 44, Keegan Leahy 45-61, Logan Clampitt 62-63.
Laps Led: Keegan Leahy 23, Graham Bowlin 18, Nick Ottinger 12, Ashton Crowder 3, Logan Clampitt 2, Michael Conti 2, Femi Olat 2, Blade Whitt 1.
Hard Charger: 6-Nathan Lyon (+33).
Tough Break(s): 1-Ashton Crowder and 4-Ryan Luza (-21).
Cautions: Seven for 21 Laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.013 seconds.
Time of Race: One hour, eight minutes, 42.314 seconds.
Average Speed: 137.544 MPH.
Pole Winner: 25-Nick Ottinger, 47.919 seconds (187.817 MPH).
Fastest Lap: 6-Nathan Lyon, Lap 2, 44.385 seconds (202.771 MPH).
Feature Photo Credit: Seth Eggert / Kickin’ the Tires