Steven Wilson scores redemption with 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series championship

Donovan Strauss scores first career win to lock into Top 20 points position

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—In October 2022, Steven Wilson entered the first-ever live eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Championship 4 finale at the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a favorite to win the title, coming into the evening with more wins than anyone else. He finished last of the four as XSET’s Casey Kirwan took top honors instead.

It was a different path for Wilson to get back to Charlotte this year, but he would be the only driver to make that return to the Championship 4, once again live and on-stage at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. On Tuesday night, the Stewart-Haas Racing phenom found redemption, qualifying second and finishing second only to Williams eSports’ Donovan Strauss, which was more than enough to claim the 2023 championship.

Wilson was faced up against Team Dillon eSports’ Tucker Minter, William Byron eSports’ Nick Ottinger and Jim Beaver eSports’ Garrett Lowe for the title. Qualifying for the 100-lap event wound up to be most crucial. Wilson started up at the front of the field, so it would become a much harder challenge for his competition to catch him in a mostly green event, with Minter starting in 15th, Lowe in 24th and Ottinger all the way down in 30th.

In the first half of the race, Wilson trailed Strauss for the lead, but he didn’t need to put on pressure to make the pass. In the Championship 4 format, a win isn’t necessary to clinch a championship for any of the competitors on stage; finishing the best of the group is all that it takes.

Ottinger made up more than half of the spots he needed to catch Wilson through the first green-flag run, but eventually his car became too tight and he started to fall back. Ottinger even passed Lowe at one point in the first half, but neither were close to getting into the top 10, needing some sort of shake-up to get back into the game after both fell to the middle of the pack.

Minter, meanwhile, was working methodically up the running order, getting as high as seventh before the first caution of the race flew on Lap 46, just four laps shy of halfway. The entire field came down pit road and exited with four fresh tires and enough fuel to make it to the end of the event. On the ensuing restart, another quick spin, this time involving 2022 series champion Casey Kirwan, restacked the field for one final restart with 45 laps remaining.

Once again, Strauss and Wilson were able to pull away, but Minter moved into the third position, the highest he had been all day. Minter showed on the first run that he was able to save the tires better than most, making the most net gains of the Championship 4. But as he tried to keep his tires under him on the final run, the rest of the competition kept him running hard, with RFK Racing’s Kaden Honeycutt and Charlotte Phoenix competitor Graham Bowlin taking runs where they could to get around the rookie title contender.

Eventually, the tires fell off for Minter as the field would consume him, ultimately resulting in a seventh-place finish. Ottinger did a much better job in saving his tires and getting positions, moving up to finish 13th at the end of the night. Lowe had the opposite happen, as his tires wore out early into the final run. With no further cautions, his final result was a 35th place finish.

Wilson admittedly didn’t have anything for Strauss, but he didn’t need to, as second place would be more than enough to claim his first title in only his third season. Wilson raised the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Championship Trophy together with NASCAR Cup Series star William Byron, one of the many real-world NASCAR drivers in attendance. Wilson then posed with his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate from the NASCAR Cup Series, Kevin Harvick, who was the Grand Marshal of the race alongside his son, Keelan Harvick.

Wilson became the 11th different champion in 14 seasons of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, also pocketing a cool $100,000 for his season-long efforts. Like last season when Kirwan hoisted the trophy, Wilson’s family surrounded him on stage in celebration, a surely wholesome moment.

Strauss, meanwhile, becomes the 64th different driver to win in series history. Coming into the night only needing a 26th place finish or better to lock into finishing inside the top 20 in the standings, he led all 100 laps enroute to his first victory. In the battle of relegation, Strauss will join Matt Bussa (William Byron eSports), Garrett Manes (fgrAccel eRacing) and Tyler Garey (Tony Kanaan Esports) above the top 20 cut line. Former series champion Keegan Leahy (23XI) and rookie Wyatt Tinsley (Kansas City Pioneers) tied for 20th, but Leahy earned the tiebreaker thanks to fewer incident points over the course of the season.

2014 series champion Michael Conti (JR Motorsports) and Allen Boes (Front Row Motorsports) both competed in their final races in the series. Conti finished a “bittersweet” 30th and ultimately took home 10th in the final standings, while Boes, a three-time winner in the series who would have been qualified for a spot in the eNASCAR Contender iRacing Series, finished 38th, the final car on the lead lap, in his final race.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series results from the Championship Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway were as follows:

Fin.

St.

No.

Name

Team

Laps

Interval

Led

Best

Pts

1
1
51
Donovan Strauss
Williams eSports
100
0.000
100
32.855
40

2
2
10
Steven Wilson
Stewart-Haas Racing
100
-0.344
0
32.816
35

3
4
11
Parker White
Tony Kanaan Esports
100
-3.329
0
32.961
34

4
3
48
Graham A. Bowlin
Charlotte Phoenix
100
-4.639
0
33.031
33

5
22
3
Jordy Lopez
Team Dillon eSports
100
-4.667
0
32.990
32

6
5
43
Femi Olatunbosun
Charlotte Phoenix
100
-5.189
0
33.020
31

7
15
33
Tucker Minter
Team Dillon eSports
100
-7.271
0
32.873
30

8
7
38
Michael Cosey Jr
Front Row Motorsports
100
-7.495
0
32.961
29

9
9
18
Bobby Zalenski
Joe Gibbs Racing
100
-7.574
0
33.038
28

10
6
36
Brandon McKissic
LETARTE eSports
100
-7.816
0
33.061
27

11
18
41
Dylan Duval
Stewart-Haas Racing
100
-7.966
0
33.006
26

12
8
20
Wyatt Tinsley
Kansas City Pioneers
100
-7.984
0
33.002
25

13
30
25
Nick Ottinger
William Byron eSports
100
-8.172
0
33.129
24

14
20
17
Kaden Honeycutt
RFK Racing
100
-8.192
0
32.949
23

15
10
66
Tyler Garey
Tony Kanaan Esports
100
-8.364
0
33.016
22

16
34
23
Keegan Leahy
23XI
100
-8.464
0
33.164
21

17
32
27
Cody Byus
Elliott Sadler eSports
100
-8.549
0
32.994
20

18
33
42
Kollin Keister
eRacr
100
-8.586
0
33.137
19

19
12
14
Joey Brown
fgrAccel
100
-9.729
0
33.216
18

20
13
6
Timmy Holmes
RFK Racing
100
-9.896
0
32.923
17

21
38
77
Ryan Doucette
Pittsburgh Knights
100
-9.895
0
33.119
16

22
36
4
Ryan Luza
XSET
100
-11.098
0
33.288
15

23
17
12
Garrett Manes
fgrAccel
100
-11.613
0
33.139
14

24
28
46
Jimmy Mullis
Rise eSports
100
-11.763
0
33.167
13

25
29
95
Casey Kirwan
XSET
100
-11.960
0
32.818
12

26
27
2
Corey Vincent
Pittsburgh Knights
100
-12.070
0
33.245
11

27
37
7
Malik Ray
Jim Beaver eSports
100
-12.392
0
33.050
10

28
19
88
Kevin King
JR Motorsports
100
-13.272
0
33.160
9

29
26
75
Zack Novak
Rise eSports
100
-13.529
0
33.181
8

30
14
8
Michael Conti
JR Motorsports
100
-14.504
0
32.986
7

31
31
45
Michael Guest
23XI
100
-14.792
0
33.019
6

32
16
97
Matt Bussa
William Byron eSports
100
-14.811
0
33.157
5

33
35
54
Daniel Faulkingham
Joe Gibbs Racing
100
-15.172
0
32.967
4

34
23
1
Darik Bourdeau
Elliott Sadler eSports
100
-15.397
0
33.126
3

35
24
15
Garrett Lowe
Jim Beaver eSports
100
-15.986
0
33.017
2

36
25
40
Dylan Ault
LETARTE eSports
100
-19.134
0
33.121
1

37
39
69
Collin Bowden
eRacr
100
-21.402
0
32.987
1

38
21
34
Allen Boes
Front Row Motorsports
100
-27.377
0
33.036
1

39
11
31
Derek Justis
Kansas City Pioneers
58
-42L
0
33.164
1

The 2023 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series final points standings are as follows:

Steven Wilson, 3035
Tucker Minter, 3030
Nick Ottinger, 3024
Garrett Lowe, 3002
—————————

Jordy Lopez, 2131
Bobby Zalenski, 2110
Casey Kirwan, 2105
Michael Guest, 2084
Jimmy Mullis, 2079
Michael Conti, 2077
—————————
Dylan Duval, 408
Parker White, 399
Michael Cosey Jr, 376
Graham A. Bowlin, 367
Malik Ray, 359
Donovan Strauss, 358
Matt Bussa, 323
Garrett Manes, 317
Tyler Garey, 310
Keegan Leahy, 309

The drivers that did not finish inside the top 20 in the final standings will now take on the eNASCAR Road to Pro Contender Series in two weeks, matched up against the top 20 or so drivers from this season’s second round of the eNASCAR Road to Pro Qualifying Series.

For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit www.enascar.com or www.iracing.com/enascar. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iracing.com.