Conti, Davies Run Into Trouble in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Debut at COTA

Ron Lemasters | 5/19/2021

Axe Brad Davies eNASCAR iRacing Michael Conti News WR1 Sim Chassis

A huge first-corner crash in Tuesday night’s iRacing event at Circuit of the Americas collected both JR Motorsports drivers.

Track Specs: 3.4-mile road course / 34 laps

Conti’s finish: 13th
Davies’ finish: 30th  
Team Standings: 9th (-87)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 19, 2021) – A huge first-corner crash in Tuesday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event at Circuit of the Americas caught out both JR Motorsports drivers, and both Michael Conti and Brad Davies had to improvise, adapt and overcome in the eighth round of the premiere iRacing Series for stock cars. Michael Conti wound up 13th at the finish and teammate Brad Davies was 30th when it was over. (Watch the full race.)

Conti, driving the No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Chevrolet out of the JRM stable, had a decent run in qualifying to 14th but was concerned about his race pace. On the initial break, Conti was in position to advance when the leaders tangled into the sharp bend atop the hill at Turn 1. Taking the inside line, Conti was able to dodge most of the carnage, but ended up making front-end contact with the car that initially started the mess in the first place.

Conti’s No. 8 Camaro suffered minor damage in the fracas and he soldiered on, duking it out with Garrett Manes, Ryan Luza and Garrett Lowe on the way to 13th at the finish. Post-race, Conti said work had to be done on his road-course setup prior to the next road-racing event at Road America.

Davies had a good run going in qualifying, but a slip through one of the esses cost him a couple of tenths and he lined his No. 88 AXE Chevrolet up in 22nd position for the fateful start. The Florida driver knew that starting deep in the field would mean being careful through the uphill hairpin that is Turn 1 at COTA, hoping to get through with the rest of the field and let it string out a bit before beginning to move forward. Davies never got that chance.

As the field rushed toward Turn 1, contact was made among the lead pack. In the resulting scramble, Davies’ No. 88 AXE Chevrolet was hit from multiple angles back in the pack before ever getting to Turn 1. Despite the contact, he recovered with minimal damage, only to run up into the melee and wind up in the outside retaining wall at the edge of the runoff.

That added damage to the suspension and knocked the right front splitter onto the track, which made the prevalent left-hand corners more difficult the rest of the night. Once the carnage cleared, Davies was able to make up 10 or more positions to eventually finish 30th.

Polesitter Mitchell deJong won the race, ending Bobby Zalenski’s record streak of six consecutive triumphs on road circuits as well as a similar streak of pole positions. The rookie led all 34 laps on the way to his first series victory. Jimmy Mullis was second, with Graham Bowlin third, Zalenski fourth and rookie Steven Wilson fifth.

The two-car JRM team dropped two spots to ninth in the team standings, 87 off the lead, after eight races.

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series will compete again next week on May 25 at the virtual Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Michael Conti, driver No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Going into tonight, even with as much practice as I put in for the race, I knew my race pace was not as strong as it has been at previous road courses. I’m not sure if I’m missing something in my driving or if something’s off with the setup, but we lacked a lot of front turn in the low-speed sections. Looking ahead to Road America, we have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident we’ll get this WR1 Sim Chassis team back up front where it belongs!”

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 AXE JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“Again, I’m pretty frustrated with our result today but not because of our pace or efforts going into the race. More so because of the impatience of everyone out there. It was the first time we’ve run this course and you’d think that the best drivers in the world could use their heads a little and let the field string out a bit before making bold moves. Instead, we had 15 guys all trying to out-brake each other into turn 1, lap 1, which pretty much ruined our day in the No. 88 AXE Chevy right from the start. Not much else to say but we just feel like we’ve been a pinball out there the past few races.  It’s probably a good thing that we don’t have a week off before the next race. It will give us a chance to rebound quickly at Charlotte next week.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • June 12 04:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 250Texas Motor Speedway
  • June 19 03:30 PM ET
    Tennessee Lottery 250Nashville Superspeedway
  • June 27 12:00 PM ET
    Pocono Green 225Pocono Raceway
  • July 3 02:30 PM ET
    Henry 180 Road America
  • July 10 03:00 PM ET
    Atlanta Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After B&L Transport 170

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course | 6/5/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric5580
2AJ Allmendinger462-96
3Daniel Hemric437-121
4Harrison Burton437-121
5Jeb Burton419-139
6Justin Haley401-157
7Justin Allgaier395-163
10Michael Annett326-232
11Noah Gragson324-234
16Josh Berry #256-302