Trump Coin Ad
Kickin The Tires

Ryan Luza snaps eNASCAR winless streak at Homestead

Photo by SETH EGGERT for KICKIN' THE TIRES / iRacing

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

While breaking his own 343-day winless streak, Ryan Luza earned Williams eSports their first eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Luza had fresh tires on his No. 53 Williams/Chillblast Ford Mustang at the perfect time. The 2017 Coca-Cola Series Champion drove through the field to chase down race leader Bobby Zalenski with 38 laps to go. While Luza pitted under caution, caused by Caine Cook’s spin, on lap 72, Zalenski, Garrett Lowe, and Chris Shearburn stayed on track.

The Williams eSports driver took the lead with 30 laps to go and never looked back. With track position equaling power, he extended his lead over the competition. The trio that stayed on track with 60 laps to go slowly faded as the tire wear played a factor late in the run.

This was set-up by back-to-back cautions in the middle of the race. Shearburn moved into the top-10 during the shuffle. Luza had just taken the lead from Keegan Leahy during green flag pit stops.

“We got the caution, then another quick caution after a three-lap run,” explained Luza. “I didn’t want to stay out. I knew it would be safer to, but we made the right call, came in and got tires. That helped me pass Bobby, it was so hard to pass him, especially with him having the fresh air. Once I got by him the car was absolutely perfect.

“I knew if I could short pit him (Keegan Leahy) by a lap, I didn’t want to overdo it and short pit him by two or three laps, and we picked the right lap to pit. Beating him out of the stall, I had the fresh air. I was pretty confident that I could stay in front of him even with the one lap disadvantage on tires.”

The win makes Luza the third different winner of the 2020 Coca-Cola Series in three races. He has now won at least one of the first three races in the past four consecutive seasons, dating back to his 2017 championship run.

It also marked the first win for Williams eSports in their first win as an organization in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series competition. The team has found success in other disciplines (sports cars, Formula 1, etc.) of eSports with other drivers.

“We finally brought home a win, it’s been too long,” admitted Luza. “It’s cool to get Williams eSports a win as well. They deserve to be in victory lane for sure.”

As Zalenski, Lowe, and Shearburn faded, iRacers Logan Clampitt, Leahy and others surged forward. Burton-Kligerman’s Clampitt crossed the line in second with Daytona winner and 2019 championship runner-up Leahy in third.

Lowe and Shearburn, two of the three that drivers that stretched out the tires finished fourth and fifth. Rounding out the top-10 were Jimmy Mullis, Matt Bussa, Zalenski, Jeremy Allen, and Ashton Crowder.

While Cook’s spin caused one of the two race altering cautions, the other pause in competition came on lap 64. Nathan Lyon suffered a flat tire and eventually spun while attempting to limp back to pit road in his virtual No. 6 Oscar Meyer Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.

The Finish:

Ryan Luza, Logan Clampitt, Keegan Leahy, Garrett Lowe, Chris Shearburn, Jimmy Mullis, Matt Bussa, Bobby Zalenski, Jeremy Allen, Ashton Crowder, Michael Conti, Jake Nichols, Zack Novak, Christian Challiner, Dylan Duval, Nick Ottinger, Justin Bolton, Brad Davies, Michael Guest, Bob Bryant, Chris Overland, Blake Reynolds, Graham Bowlin, Ray Alfalla, Eric J. Smith, John Gorlinsky, Kollin Keister, Malik Ray, Nathan Lyon, Corey Vincent, Brandon Kettelle, Michael Guariglia, Phillip Diaz, Jarl Teien, Alex McCollum, Caine Cook, Brian Schoenburg, Santiago Tirres, Casey Kirwan, Steve Sheehan.

Lead Changes: Six among six drivers

Lap Leader(s): Keegan Leahy 1-42, Logan Clampitt 43, Zack Novak 44, Chris Shearburn 45-62, Ryan Luza 63-72, Bobby Zalenski 73-104, Ryan Luza 105-134

Laps Led: Keegan Leahy 42, Ryan Luza 39, Bobby Zalenski 33, Chris Shearburn 18, Logan Clampitt 1, Zack Novak 1

Caution Flags: Two for eight laps.

Average Speed: 151.839 MPH

Margin of Victory: 4.083 seconds

Strength of Field: 6960

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *