Richmond Raceway eSports’ Jimmy Mullis dominated the competition at the virtual New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series driver took the lead on lap 42 and never looked back. Mullis opened up a lead of nearly two seconds over polesitter Graham Bowlin and Matt Bussa. The virtual No. 46 Coca-Cola Energy Toyota Camry appeared poised to run away when the caution waved during green flag pit stops.
The theory that ‘cautions breed cautions’ proved true as a rash of yellow flags broke out. Mullis easily controlled the lead as the second half of the race spent more time behind the pace car than it did at full speed. On each restart at the ‘Magic Mile,’ he shot forward, leaving Bussa and the field behind.
The race eventually was forced into overtime, in which Mullis proved unbeatable. When the field entered turn one, Bussa battled Nick Ottinger for second. Meanwhile, Mullis quietly drove to a 0.296 second victory over Bussa with Ottinger third. Bowlin and Michael Conti completed the top-five.
“This is incredible,” Mullis explained. “This has to be the best performance I’ve ever had personally in the series. All of the thanks goes to Zack Novak, Christian Challiner, Corey Vincent. We just nailed it this week on the setup. It was on rails. I got nervous there at the end with all of the yellows. I was able to close it out and I’m speechless at this point.
“After about lap 15 our drive off was just incredible compared to everybody else. We never lost center rotation so that was huge. The way that our car handled we were able to run the lower groove, which saved tires. I’m not sure everybody was able to do that as good as we were. Obviously, that was a big factor in how the car performed tonight.”
Logan Clampitt, Ryan Luza, Ray Alfalla, Corey Vincent, and Bobby Zalenski rounded out the top-10.
Luza was at the center of a race-changing accident. The Williams eSports driver nudged Mullis’ teammate, and defending eNASCAR Champion, Zack Novak. The virtual No. 90 Sunoco Toyota Camry broke loose and spun up the track. The Richmond Raceway eSports driver collected Eric J. Smith and Kollin Keister.
Meanwhile, Luza also broke loose. He collected Christian Challiner, Brad Davies, and Nathan Lyon. The carnage jumbled the running order and left many damaged. Several successive cautions ultimately forced the 151-mile race into iRacing Overtime.
Mullis’ win moves him closer to the playoff cutoff. He sits ninth in the points standings, 19-points behind the cutoff, held by Bowlin in eighth.
Further back in the standings, Bussa and Bob Bryant are tied for the final position in the top-20. Casey Kirwan is three points behind in 21st, and currently faces the possibility of relegation.
1. 46-Jimmy Mullis , 2. 5-Matt Bussa , 3. 25-Nick Ottinger , 4. 18-Graham Bowlin , 5. 8-Michael Conti , 6. 99-Logan Clampitt , 7. 53-Ryan Luza , 8. 2-Ray Alfalla , 9. 27-Corey Vincent , 10. 83-Bobby Zalenski , 11. 21-Garrett Lowe , 12. 51-Malik Ray , 13. 55-Caine Cook , 14. 33-Michael Guest , 15. 97-John Gorlinsky , 16. 23-Casey Kirwan , 17. 3-Blake Reynolds , 18. 16-Chris Overland , 19. 42-Bob Bryant , 20. Brandon Kettelle , 21. 10-Justin Bolton , 22. 32-Keegan Leahy , 23. 1-Steve Sheehan , 24. 54-Alex McCollum , 25. 36-Chris Shearburn , 26. 4-Santiago Tirres , 27. 15-Michael Guariglia , 28. 41-Dylan Duval , 29. 24-Jake Nichols , 30. 75-Phillip Diaz , 31. 17-Kollin Keister , 32. 90-Zack Novak , 33. 66-Jarl Teien , 34. 9-Eric J. Smith , 35. 77-Ashton Crowder , 36. 37-Christian Challiner , 37. 79-Brian Schoenburg , 38. 88-Brad Davies , 39. 6-Nathan Lyon , 40. 47-Jeremy R Allen .
Lead Changes: One among two drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Graham Bowlin 1-41, Jimmy Mullis 42-157.
Laps Led: Jimmy Mullis 116, Graham A. Bowlin 41.
Hard Charger: 53-Ryan Luza (+27)
Tough Break: 37-Christian Challiner (-33)
Cautions: 11 for 53 laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.296 seconds.
Time of Race: One hour, 50 minutes, 0.809 seconds.
Average Speed: 90.592 MPH.
Pole Winner: 18-Graham Bowlin, 29.582 seconds (128.754 MPH).
Fastest Lap: 5-Matt Bussa, Lap 121, 29.800 seconds (127.821 MPH)
Strength of Field: 6,864 average iRating.