After eight years, Nick Ottinger achieved his dream. But it was a hard-fought battle.
A dramatic and controversial final of the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series brought forth the best virtual driver stock cars have to offer. Nick Ottinger survived the mayhem and smartly strategized his way to a second-place, which was enough to secure him the victory.
OMG WE ARE CHAMPIONS!!! So overwhelmed with emotion still. Worked so hard this year with my @WBeSports_ team to get to this opportunity and we never quit after being on the outside looking in. Was some of the best restarts I have had in my sim-racing career late tonight!— Nick Ottinger (@NickOttinger) November 3, 2020
A day to remember, not only for the maiden champion. In the opening stages of the race it very much looked like a battle between Ryan Michael Luza and Bobby Zalenski. The two driver swapped positions back and forth, which led to multiple close situations.
Was that a $100,000 pass??— iRacing.com (@iRacing) November 3, 2020
Tune in to find out!
less than 30 laps remaining in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season.https://t.co/yj2VU77Eau pic.twitter.com/M88cZjaXNy
What appeared to be a race with no significant incidents turned upside down after the midway point. By that time, the two other championship contenders Michael Conti and Nick Ottinger were trailing behind slightly, seemingly not being able to keep up the pace. Due to that, they changed to an alternative tire strategy. This strategy would only pay off if a lot of yellow flags happened. Their prayers were seemingly heard, as a chain of events made the impossible possible.
To the lead: @bobbyzalenski @RyanLuza is coming@MikeConti5 & @NickOttinger are going to need a caution ASAP to get back into this.#eNASCAR | @iRacing pic.twitter.com/SPuMEi0hQ6— Justin Melillo (@justinmelillo) November 3, 2020
During a scramble for what they thought was the win, Ryan Luza was sent crashing into the wall by opponent Bobby Zalenski. Luza was, therefore, out of the hunt for the championship, and Zalenki was hoping for a quick restart.
DISASTER AT THE FRONT!— iRacing.com (@iRacing) November 3, 2020
The battle for $100,000 ends in a caution and we’re going to OVERTIME.https://t.co/yj2VU77Eau pic.twitter.com/7DlNYTR8dG
Unfortunately for Zalenski, two following cautions happened and he was left to play sitting duck for the remaining two contenders, Conti and Ottinger, on fresher tires. With little time left, a firm lunge to the inside made sure Ottinger wouldn’t let the chance pass to overtake Zalenski. While the eventual race win went to Chris Shearburn, Ottinger was the highest placed final four contender and therefore the champion of the 2020 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.
CHAMPION!@NickOttinger gets it done. He’s $100,000 richer. #eNASCAR @CocaColaRacing @iRacing @WBeSports_ pic.twitter.com/vIMuL3UezD— Steve Luvender (@steveluvender) November 3, 2020
Overcome with emotion and joy; the freshly baked champion talked about some hardships over the past weeks for him in a press conference after the event.
“We don’t quit. 2020 was a weird year for a lot of people, and I was very worried during this week. A lot of preparation challenges I had to overcome. I didn’t have internet or power for three days in a row. I was going to my buddy’s house three days in a row to race. It’s just a huge amount of challenges we have surpassed.”
Joining him was real-life NASCAR driver and team owner of Ottinger’s crew, ‘William Byron.’ He attested to Ottinger’s ability by saying:
“He is a super talented guy and possesses a lot of knowledge. There is nobody more deserving than him.”
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