Drivers from the eNASCAR iRacing Series gathered at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to compete for the championship. But it was Steven Wilson who came out on top and took home $100,000.
After falling just 20 points shy of the championship last season, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Steven Wilson sealed the eNASCAR title in the season finale on the Homstead-Miami Speedway. In doing so, he joined the elite club next to the likes of Casey Kirwan, 4-time champion Ray Alfalla and the retiring Michael Conti.
All 39 competitors were situated in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wilson qualified second behind first-time pole winner Donovan Strauss. The Williams Esports driver led from the start with Wilson settling in behind.
Wilson’s rivals for the championship were Team Dillon Esports’ Tucker Minter, Jim Beaver eSports’ Garret Lowe and William Byron eSports’ Nick Ottinger, the 2020 series champion. They had qualified 15th, 24th and 30th respectively, so it was a pretty tall order for them.
The race lasted surprisingly long before the first caution was thrown on lap 46. In that time, Minter had fought his way through to the field and was seventh. After the caution, the Team Dillon Esports driver was up to fifth.
After outgoing champion Kirwan crashed and brought out another caution, Minter got up to third behind Wilson. But a gap had formed, with the dominant Strauss still out in front and Wilson on his tail. All of the contenders had the same amount of points heading into the event, so it was a simple case of whoever was ahead come the end would be champion.
Minter could not catch up to Wilson, and whilst he along with Ottinger and Lowe hoped for a caution, it never came. Despite being in his first season, to end up in the Championship 4 was a remarkable feat for Tucker.
The rookie ended up seventh at the flag, with Ottinger 13th and Lowe 35th. All Wilson had to do was stay on the back of Strauss. Whilst the Williams driver brought it home for the victory, it was Wilson who could finally breathe as he was eNASCAR champion.
This was a huge moment for Wilson, who made the Championship 4 for the first time last season after winning the most races. On that occasion, he came up short at the end but this time, a complete invert of fortunes.
“It sounds unbelievable, I can’t believe I’m in this situation. I got to thank Stewart-Haas Racing, Smithfield, everyone who came out to support me, all the family and friends who came out. They’re unbelievable.”2023 eNASCAR iRacing Series champion Steven Wilson, Stewart-Haas Esports
What’s Next for eNASCAR?
Just like in the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup, the drivers who ended up in the latter half of the standings will have to requalify. One of the most noteworthy names who will have to go through the eNASCAR Road to Pro Contender Series is 2019 series champion Zack Novak.
Hanging on by the skin of his teeth was 2021 champion Keegan Leahy, who only just sealed 20th. The main series will return in February 2024, with a schedule set to be confirmed soon.
To rewatch the race, check the broadcast from the official iRacing YouTube channel.
Did you follow the eNASCAR iRacing finale? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!