Final four drivers work tirelessly as eNASCAR title showdown looms


Four drivers – each in North Carolina, California, Canada and Germany respectively – will race for $ 100,000 on Tuesday night when the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series crowns its next champion.

The final four include series rookie and road runner Mitchell deJong, two former finalists in Logan Clampitt and Keegan Leahy, and Bobby Zalenski, who is making his fourth appearance in the final four but still in search of his first title.

The $ 100,000 prize is the biggest the series has ever offered and comes after the popularity of iRacing and sim racing in general exploded during last year’s pandemic. The amount of practice and time taken by the last four reflects the substantial amount of money involved.

Logan Clampitt of William Byron eSports estimated he completed around 1,800 practice laps at Texas Motor Speedway. Keegan Leahy (23XI Racing) completed 800 laps, most of which focused only on one-lap qualifying laps. Leahy has estimated he will reach around 1,500 laps by the time he completes his race relay trials.

“Every lap counted, come out of the pits, go around, come back into the pits, then look at the telemetry and change the settings,” said Leahy. “I have done 800 laps so far, mainly in qualifying. I will probably have around 1,500 as I switch to racing setup. Usually that’s about what it takes.

In total, Leahy will have completed approximately 11.5 hours of track driving. It might sound like a lot, but that’s barely a quarter of the amount of training he did for last year’s playoff race at Charlotte ROVAL.

Leahy and 23XI teammate Mitchell deJong were one of the strongest qualifying teams. Taking into account Bobby Zalenski, who works with deJong and Leahy through a technical partnership with Coanda Simsport, and the trio are well positioned to start the race from the far end of the field.

Clampitt, meanwhile, may be alone in the final four, but he’s not without the help of defending Series champion Nick Ottinger and his technical alliance partners. With three drivers from a technical alliance and the fourth man entering the race without revealing his speed to the others, this is an interesting point for Zalenski of Letarte eSports to ponder.

“I don’t think any of them worry me,” Zalenski said. “The only thing is, I don’t know what Clampitt is going to bring for the setup. I know what Mitchell and Keegan will bring. I know their speeds because we all work together on the car and we have worked together all year.

“We are in a very privileged position to have all three of us in the last four, which has never happened in the history of the last four, you have never had three people from a working group working together on the settings during this final. four. Maybe it hurts us, maybe it helps us because we are all fighting against each other.

“Clampitt, he might have teammates pushing him and it’s the result of teamwork that earns him the championship. I do not know. Hope we can all increase for ourselves and the best one wins, but you know some people get help.

For most drivers, training for the race is the number one task on their prep list. For Mitchell deJong, however, the preparations were a bit more fundamental. Hailing from Southern California, the former Red Bull Global RallyCross driver now lives in Germany, at Coanda Simsport, who has competed in various simulation racing champions.

When the green flag falls on Tuesday night, it will be 3 a.m. Wednesday morning for deJong. Typically, deJong takes a nap right after dinner and wakes up in time for the run, he explained. For the final, however, he started adjusting his sleep schedule from Saturday to gradually adapt it to the race.

“I’m already going to start changing my schedule to maybe stay up for up to two or four hours, just gradually change my schedule so that it isn’t such a sudden change once Tuesday rolls around,” he said. declared deJong.

Drivers’ plans for the money if they win are all reasonable. Leahy plans to invest in the stock market and pay off her student loans. Putting everything in red at the casino has been ruled out, according to Leahy.

Even Clampitt, the youngest driver of the last four at just 21, gave a sane answer.

“I really enjoyed keeping it for the future and future needs,” Clampitt said. “But maybe take a little vacation somewhere or, you know, upgrade my computer, maybe something like that. Most of it will go away and just save it for the future.”

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