Conti Fourth in eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Regular Season Finale; Davies 29th After Crash Damage

Ron Lemasters | 8/18/2021

Axe Brad Davies eNASCAR iRacing Michael Conti News WR1 Sim Chassis

Entering the playoffs, JR Motorsports will enter the four-race set eighth in the team standings.

Track Specs: 2-mile oval / 100 laps
Conti's finish: 4th   
Davies' finish: 29th  
Team Standings: 8th (-138)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 19, 2021) – Michael Conti punctuated the end of the regular season in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series with a fourth-place finish at the virtual Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday night. Teammate Brad Davies' run of regrettable luck continued, as the Florida driver ended the night in 29th position. (Watch the full race.)

Entering the playoffs, JR Motorsports will enter the four-race set eighth in the team standings, 138 off the lead.

Conti, driving the No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis Chevrolet, qualified a solid ninth and maintained his position in the top 10 through the first segment of the race. Conti, along with JRM teammate Davies and several more drivers, elected to pit under green at lap 33 rather than try to do the 100-lap event on just one stop.

On pit road, Conti was a little hot into the pit box and slid through the stall, costing him several seconds. That put him at the tail end of the 40-car field. The first caution flag of the race waved at lap 47, and that proved his salvation. On the restart, Conti put his head down and drove from 35th at the green to fourth in just 10 laps, putting him into contention for a second victory on the season. In the process, Conti led nine of the 100 laps and was in the mix heading into the final lap.

Heading down the backstretch on the final circuit, the leaders tangled ahead of him. Conti was caught with no momentum at that moment and was unable to capitalize, eventually finishing fourth. Conti will begin the playoffs tied for third in driver points with Mitchell deJong, the only multiple winner so far this season. The two are nine points off the lead now that the points have been reset.

Davies, driving the No. 88 AXE Chevrolet, qualified 13th for the 100-lap event and had high hopes of getting a solid finish with a good-handling Chevrolet Camaro and an even better race setup on board. Fuel mileage being what it was, Davies soon figured out that making it 50 laps on fuel was going to be iffy at best.

Knowing that some drivers would try to make the distance on one pit stop, the veteran iRacer began saving fuel from the initial green flag, but soon determined it was going to be impossible. Davies and a group of 10 or 12 cars decided to force the issue by pitting at lap 33, hoping to put themselves in a good position for a top-five finish.

Davies and his group of cars were making their way back through the field when the caution flag at lap 47 came out, just as the drivers who had stayed out were going to be forced to pit under green, negating the advantage Davies and the others had carved out. Davies felt like his AXE-backed Camaro was good enough to come through the field and was doing just that when a multi-car accident erupted just ahead of him.

Davies was able to miss the crash, but had to take to the infield to do it, doing some minor damage to the grille area that was not, at first, apparent. A couple of laps back under green, Davies began to notice his temperatures rising quickly, especially the oil, and was forced to pit to remove tape from the nose. After losing a lap to the leaders while on pit road, Davies was able to get the free pass on the next caution, but had no fresh tires for the run to the finish, leaving him in 29th at the checkered.

With four races remaining in the season, Davies sits 26th in driver points, 59 markers below the cutoff for automatic inclusion in next year's eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series.

Matt Bussa, who ended a three-season winless streak, won the race with a last-lap pass to earn the final playoff spot, with Jake Matheson, Jake Nichols, Conti and Zack Novak the remainder of the top five.

Three drivers who won races during the season—Ryan Luza, Chris Shearburn and Alfalla--failed to qualify for the playoffs on points. Luza was eliminated in the lap-47 crash that brought out the initial caution flag and finished last, paving the way for Bussa to make the playoffs in thrilling fashion. Alfalla was taken out of playoff contention on the subsequent restart.

The opening round of the four-race playoffs is set for Aug. 31 at the virtual Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

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

"Tonight was solid for our No. 8 WR1 Sim Chassis team. We were able to rebound from basically dead last to be in contention for the win by race end. Going into tonight, we took a risk and opted for a setup that was very much tailored for short runs. Based on my experience and how past races at this track have gone (especially since we switched to low horsepower, high downforce), I had a feeling that we'd end up with a bunch of short runs. Ultimately, that's exactly what we got and the raw pace in our car allowed us to be aggressive and make up a ton of time on the restarts. With the regular season over and the playoffs starting next race at Darlington, it's time to get serious. We need to check every box, cross every T, and dot every I if we want to have a shot at our second series championship. Heads down, eyes focused from here on out."

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

"First off, I have to say congrats to all those who made it to the playoffs this year, especially our teammate Michael Conti in the No. 8. For us, it's been a pretty rough season. Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong even when we're not directly involved in a wreck. With the regular season behind us, I think we can approach these last four races a little bit more aggressively than we typically have been and put our No. 88 AXE Chevy in a better position to win. Darlington is one of my favorite ovals to race on so I'm already excited to be going there in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, we can put some of this bad luck behind us and get a victory before the season is out."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 25 07:30 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 2 04:30 PM ET
    Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 9 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 16 03:00 PM ET
    Andy’s Frozen Custard 335Texas Motor Speedway
  • October 23 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway | 9/17/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1AJ Allmendinger10430
2Austin Cindric1033-10
3Justin Allgaier924-119
4Daniel Hemric895-148
5Harrison Burton871-172
6Justin Haley864-179
7Noah Gragson863-180
14Michael Annett524-519
34Sam Mayer #186-857