By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
July proved to be a magical month for Jimmy Mullis as he followed up his New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a win in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race at the virtual Nashville Superspeedway.
The series hit the track for the first time with the virtual NASCAR Next Gen car at the virtual Nashville Superspeedway. It was the first time the eNASCAR Series competed at the newly added content for iRacing.
The All-Star format put tire management on display as the drivers only had one set of tires. Last year’s winner at the virtual Talladega Superspeedway, Brandon Kettelle, opted to charge to the front, taking the lead from Graham Bowlin. Others chose to save their tires until the second competition caution.
Mullis first took the lead in his virtual No. 46 Sunoco Toyota Camry at the halfway mark of the 60-lap race. He slipped back just as the second competition caution waved. The lead shifted to Kligerman Sport’s Bob Bryant, who opted not to pit. That provided Team Dillon Management’s Corey Vincent and Richmond Raceway eSports’ Mullis an opportunity.
The duo pitted under the second competition caution for tires. They charged back into the battle for the lead. A spirited battle saw Kettelle’s No. 80 Radius Chevrolet Camaro sent into the outside wall.
The lead pack slowly became a battle between Bowlin, Bryant, Michael Guest, Mullis, and Vincent. On older tires, Bryant quickly got cast aside. Vincent charged to the lead in his No. 3 Coca-Cola Zero Chevrolet Camaro with five laps to go. With $3,500 on the line, Mullis moved the Chevrolet out of the way coming to the white flag. Vincent gave it all that he had, but ultimately finished second, 0.261 seconds behind, earning $1,000. Guest, who transferred in from the All-Star Open earned $500 for finishing third.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race is Mullis’ second win in a row. He won the series’ visit to the virtual New Hampshire Motor Speedway two weeks ago.
“Man, this is huge, admitted Mullis. “I really hope I didn’t wreck Corey. Man, that was a lot of fun. I didn’t even think I had a shot at it with the way that everything was playing out. This is huge. It’s crazy the momentum we’ve had these last few races. I just hope to keep it going. Really hope Corey ain’t too mad. I wasn’t trying to wreck him or anything. Bottom line we were out here having fun and we came out 1-2.
“Any momentum and success you can have just builds confidence. I’m more confident than ever in our team right now. I feel like we’re firing on all cylinders. I feel pretty good about Watkins Glen. Hopefully we can lock ourselves into the playoffs here in these next few races.”
The 2021 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series All-Star Race was broken into three segments. The first, the All-Star Open allowed drivers without wins or poles from 2020 and 2021, or championships, an opportunity to make the big show. Matt Bussa took the All-Star Open win with Guest earning the final transfer spot in second.
The second segment of the eNASCAR All-Star Race was a 40-lap Heat race. With no cautions for incidents, the race proved short for Ashton Crowder, Mitchell deJong, and Keegan Leahy. The trio crashed four laps into the Heat race.
The finishing order of the Heat race created the starting grid for the Feature. Bowlin took the win in the Heat as Nick Ottinger, Logan Clampitt, and Mullis provided a photo finish for second.
1. 46-Jimmy Mullis  ($3,500), 2. 3-Corey Vincent  ($1,000), 3. 9-Michael Guest  ($500), 4. 10-Graham Bowlin , 5. 77-Bob Bryant , 6. 25-Nick Ottinger , 7. 97-Logan Clampitt , 8. 75-Matt Bussa , 9. 51-Ray Alfalla , 10. 83-Bobby Zalenski , 11. 32-Keegan Leahy , 12. 90-Zack Novak , 13. 80-Brandon Kettelle , 14. 8-Michael Conti , 15. 55-Vicente Salas , 16. 1-Ashton Crowder , 17. 38-Casey Kirwan , 18. 23-Mitchell deJong , 19. 5-Kollin Keister , 20. 4-Ryan Luza , 21. 36-Chris Shearburn .
Lead Changes: Eight among six drivers.
Lap Leader(s): Graham Bowlin 1-9, Brandon Kettelle 10-20, Graham Bowlin 21-30, Jimmy Mullis 31-42, Graham Bowlin 43, Casey Kirwan 44-46, Bob Bryant 47-55, Corey Vincent 56-58, Jimmy Mullis 59-60.
Laps Led: Graham Bowlin 20, Jimmy Mullis 14, Brandon Kettelle 11, Bob Bryant 9, Casey Kirwan 3, Corey Vincent 3.
Hard Charger(s): 9-Michael Guest (+12).
Caution Flags: Two for Seven Laps.
Margin of Victory: 0.261 seconds.
Time of Race: 36 minutes, 3.6 seconds.
Average Speed: 133.078 MPH
Fastest Qualifier: 4-Ryan Luza, four lap qualifying average, 10-car invert, and a heat race determined starting line-up for the feature.
Fastest Lap: 9-Michael Guest, Lap 53, 29.312 seconds (163.715 MPH).
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by Justin Melillo