Nick Ottinger is finally an eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion – and $100,000 richer.
The 26-year-old sim-racing veteran has been a fixture in iRacing’s top-level series, but despite 16 wins over nine years, he’d never hoisted the champion’s trophy. That all changed in Monday night’s championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, when Ottinger, the William Byron eSports driver, outdueled Bobby Zalenski on a triple-overtime restart to nab a fourth-place finish – the highest finisher among four championship finalists – good enough to win the title.
Fellow championship contender Ryan Luza looked like the driver to beat from the start, quickly taking the top spot from polesitter Keegan Leahy, who narrowly missed the Championship 4 after a late elimination. Luza swapped the lead with Zalenski back and forth throughout the opening run of the race, neither able to establish themselves as the dominant car.
In addition to the championship battle, Monday night also meant it was the last chance for drivers to clinch their spot in next year’s Coca-Cola iRacing Series field by finishing top 20 in points. In the end, defending series champion Zack Novak was among those who didn’t make the cut, meaning he’ll need to re-qualify for the series over the winter through the iRacing Pro Series.
Ottinger’s championship meant the first title for William Byron eSports – in the team’s first season.