Dylan Duval Calls His Shot, Ends Winless Drought at Talladega

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

Prior to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series’ annual trip to the virtual Talladega Superspeedway, Nitro Circus Sim Team’s Dylan Duval channeled his inner Denny Hamlin, and called his shot.

Dylan duval broke an eight-year winless streak by taking the checkered flag at talladega superspeedway in the enascar coca-cola iracing series.
Photo by Justin Melillo.

In a race that featured triple overtime, Duval’s virtual No. 41 Nitro Circus / Kickin’ the Tires Ford Mustang Dark Horse slowly navigated through the constant, and at times organized chaos, to be in position at the end. Although the first 57 laps of the race went caution free, it was anything but calm. Before the halfway mark and green flag pit stops, the race featured over 30 lead changes in a three and four-wide battle.

A late-race caution for Ryan Doucette and others turned the scheduled 70-lap race into a caution-breeding-caution bonanza. In the spurts of green flag racing between the cautions, Duval slowly picked off his competition row by row. That was until the penultimate caution.

When Kaden Honeycutt was spun in the back of the pack, Duval had climbed up to second. He restarted second, on the outside of Collin Bowden, and ahead of Tucker Minter. On the restart, Duval cleared Bowden. He then threw a block on Minter that sent both bouncing off the wall. The William Byron eSports driver dove inside as a chain reaction sparked a field consuming wreck behind them. At the same time, Garrett Lowe surged forward on the inside, unaffected by the stack-up.

However, before either could take advantage of their momentum, the race-ending caution waved with Duval in the lead by the narrowest of margins. Cruising under caution, the Canadian sim racer took his second career eNASCAR victory, 2,841 days after his first at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his rookie season. Minter finished second with Lowe third, and both Bobby Zalenski and Daniel Faulkingham rounding out the top-five.

“It feels incredible, I can’t thank everyone enough who stuck with me through this journey these past eight years,” Duval said. “I have to thank Nitro Circus, all of our partners … Travis [Pastrana, Nitro Circus’ team owner] picked me up this year. I’m just grateful to be able to put it in victory lane for them. Man, this has been a long time coming.

“Last year was a big confidence boost for me. I felt like I could have, and maybe should have, won a couple races last year, but it just didn’t happen. I’m happy that we were able to turn it around and win tonight. I feel like I kind of called my shot this week too. I’d been kind of saying that I was going to go out and win this thing. Man, we actually did it.”

Dylan duval broke an eight-year winless streak by taking the checkered flag at talladega superspeedway in the enascar coca-cola iracing series.
Photo by Justin Melillo.

While Talladega was only Duval’s second victory in nearly eight years, the fact that he is still in the series is a testament to his competitiveness and determination. He was one half of the duo at Stewart-Haas eSports that, with Steven Wilson, won a team championship. Duval also has not been cycled or relegated out of the series completely during those eight years.

The Nitro Circus sim racer recognized how sim racing has changed, from the drivers to the cars, tracks, and even the simulated racing packages. Despite the changes, he’s continued to put as much effort as possible to be competitive throughout his time on the virtual track.

“It’s an amazing feeling to get back to victory lane,” Duval admitted. “It’s a testament to the effort that goes into this behind the scenes to be competitive. I feel like that is something I’ve done myself compared to other people who have cycled in and out is that pure amount of effort I put in each week.

“It takes a lot to still be competitive in this series. Back when I won in my first full-time season in 2016 it was a completely different atmosphere. It’s really been about adapting to the new guys coming (into the series), the cars right now. I’m proud of myself for being able to stick around this long and still be competitive.”

Atlanta Motor Speedway winner Malik Ray, Jimmy Mullis, Michael Guest, Kollin Keister, and Vicente Salas completed the top-10. Salas’ top-10 run was an adventure itself as he started from pit road due to a penalty from Dover Motor Speedway. He spent much of the race one lap down and was collected in several late-race accidents.

Next for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series is the annual trip to the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET. All eNASCAR races are streamed live at enascar.com/live and iRacing’s Twitch, YouTube and social media channels.

The Finish

1. 41-Dylan Duval [24], 2. 97-Tucker Minter [28], 3. 89-Garrett Lowe [26], 4. 18-Bobby Zalenski [27], 5. 54-Daniel Faulkingham [29], 6. 7-Malik Ray [1], 7. 29-Jimmy Mullis [5], 8. 45-Michael Guest [36], 9. 66-Kollin Keister [4], 10. 11-Vicente Salas [32], 11. 69-Ray Alfalla [37], 12. 8-Kaden Honeycutt [35], 13. 53-Parker White [14], 14. 80-Ryan Luza [18], 15. 90-Jordy Lopez [17], 16. 3-Jonathon Dulaney [19], 17. 12-Garrett Manes [31], 18. 6-Timmy Holmes [7], 19. 42-Tyler Garey [20], 20. 33-Taylor Hurst [21], 21. 20-Wyatt Tinsley [9], 22. 99-Matthew Zwack [3], 23. 25-Nick Ottinger [16], 24. 88-Briar LaPradd [10], 25. 62-Matt Bussa [22], 26. 48-Graham Bowlin [23], 27. 10-Steven Wilson [30], 28. 17-Collin Bowden [33], 29. 38-Michael Cosey Jr. [6], 30. 22-Femi Olatunbosun [34], 31. 36-Quami Scott [11], 32. 40-Dylan Ault [12], 33. 27-Cody Byus [8], 34. 14-Seth DeMerchant [25], 35. 51-Donovan Strauss [39], 36. 5-Zack Novak [15], 37. 77-Casey Kirwan [13], 38. Darik Bourdeau [38], 39. 23-Keegan Leahy [2], 40. 55-Ryan Doucette [40].

Lead Changes: 43 among 24 different drivers.

Lap Leader(s): Malik Ray Grid, Matthew Zwack 1-2, Malik Ray 3, Tyler Garey 4, Steven Wilson 5, Malik Ray 6, Parker White 7, Casey Kirwan 8-9, Graham Bowlin 10, Wyatt Tinsley 11, Femi Olatunbosun 12, Graham Bowlin 13-14, Collin Bowden 15, Graham Bowlin 16, Steven Wilson 17-18, Graham Bowlin 19, Wyatt Tinsley 20, Ray Alfalla 21, Michael Cosey Jr. 22, Jonathon Dulaney 23, Collin Bowden 24, Michael Cosey Jr. 25-26, Jimmy Mullis 27-28, Femi Olatunbosun 29, Zack Novak 30, Quami Scott 31, Garrett Manes 32, Zack Novak 33, Parker White 34-36, Kollin Keister 37, Timmy Holmes 38, Graham Bowlin 39-40, Steven Wilson 41-45, Briar LaPradd 46-47, Malik Ray 48-51, Keegan Leahy 52, Briar LaPradd 53, Steven Wilson 54, Daniel Faulkingham 55, Ryan Doucette 56, Steven Wilson 57-61, Daniel Faulkingham 62-74, Collin Bowden 75-78, Dylan Duval 79-80.

Laps Led: Steven Wilson 14, Daniel Faulkingham 14, Graham Bowlin 7, Malik Ray 6, Collin Bowden 6, Parker White 4, Michael Cosey Jr. 3, Briar LaPradd 3, Matthew Zwack 2, Casey Kirwan 2, Wyatt Tinsley 2, Femi Olatunbosun 2, Jimmy Mullis 2, Zack Novak 2, Dylan Duval 2, Tyler Garey 1, Ray Alfalla 1, Jonathon Dulaney 1, Quami Scott 1, Garrett Manes 1, Kollin Keister 1, Timmy Holmes 1, Keegan Leahy 1, Ryan Doucette 1.

Hard Charger: 45-Michael Guest (+28).

Pole Position: 7-Malik Ray, 52.938 seconds (180.891 mph), Spire Motorsports; first career and first of season.

Rookie of the Race: 3-Jonathon Dulaney (16th), Team Dillon eSports.

Caution Flags: Six for 16 laps.

Winning Team: Nitro Circus Sim Team.

Margin of Victory: Under caution.

Time of Race: One hour, 25 minutes, 53.490 seconds.

Average Speed: 148.653 mph.

Fastest Lap: 11-Vicente Salas, Lap 41, 47.107 seconds (203.282 mph), Tony Kanaan eSports.

Race scheduled for 70 Laps, extended due to overtime.

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