DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The storyline entering Monday night’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series Clash at the virtual Daytona Int’l Speedway was the many driver and team changes ahead of the new season.
But while plenty of things were different, one thing remained constant at the end of the non-points, preseason exhibition race at the World Center of Racing: the No. 97 William Byron eSports Chevrolet Camaro in victory lane.
Logan Clampitt took the entry to its second-straight Clash win in a thrilling overtime finish, never leading in regulation but surviving a myriad of crashes throughout the night to be in position when it counted.
Clampitt lined up second for the two-lap sprint to the finish, after a multi-car accident in the back of the field coming to two to go set up the extra distance, then surged to the point after receiving a huge push from Garrett Manes.
After that, Clampitt defended the double yellow line for a lap and a half for the finish, surviving contact from his new teammate – defending series champion Nick Ottinger – coming into the tri-oval on the final lap to hold on for the win in a photo finish.
The margin of victory for Clampitt over Ottinger was a scant .013 seconds, marking a one-two finish for the eSports team owned by Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series regular William Byron.
“Man, that whole last lap was complete chaos,” said Clampitt after the race. “I was mirror driving at that point, but that was … boy, what a way to start off the season that was. That was a lot of fun and really exciting. It’s really cool to have Nick get second there, with me joining William Byron eSports this year.
“It doesn’t pay points, but this is still a great way to kick off the season,” Clampitt added. “Obviously, this isn’t the true season opener, but it was a fun race and gives us some momentum going into the real thing next week.”
Clampitt tipped that the team chemistry between himself and Ottinger – carried over from past endeavors on the iRacing service – bodes well for their chances of success throughout the season.
“I think we’ve got a really good team under our hands for this year. To have the defending champion and myself working together, we worked with each other on Team Conti in the past … so we’ve already got a good rapport and I think that it’s going to be really awesome to continue that in the Coke Series.
“I think we’re going to do really well and I’m looking forward to the season and spending my time over here at William Byron eSports.”
Ottinger had a shot to draft past Clampitt on the outside coming through turn four to the finish, but was tagged by Malik Ray – who tried to make a third lane against the outside wall – and ended up slamming into the side of Clampitt’s car coming toward the finish line.
“It’s hard to gauge what you could have done differently, when it comes down to a small margin like that,” Ottinger explained. “In turn three, we knew it was basically going to be a two- or three-horse race and pretty much whichever one of us got the push from Malik (Ray) was going to be in a really good shot. I took a leap to try and block Malik, and that just got me a little loose trying to stay off the wall and it just pitched the car straight into Logan and killed our momentum.
“All in all, though, a one-two for WB eSports and a great showing for Logan … can’t ask for much more.”
New England’s Jake Matheson crossed the line third for Williams eSports, with Jake Nichols finishing fourth in the second Williams entry and Richmond Raceway eSports’ Jimmy Mullis filling out the top five.
Seven multi-car incidents whittled the field down throughout the race, before a pair of crashes on the final lap generated the chaos that led to Clampitt and Ottinger’s fierce battle to the checkered flag.
Daytona hosts the points opener for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series on Monday, Feb. 8.
1. 97-Logan Clampitt , 2. 25-Nick Ottinger , 3. 52-Jake Matheson , 4. 24-Jake Nichols , 5. 46-Jimmy Mullis , 6. 6-Nathan Lyon , 7. 11-Malik Ray , 8. 2-Garrett Manes , 9. 29-Zack Nichols , 10. 75-Matt Bussa , 11. 37-Derek Justis , 12. 33-Taylor Hurst , 13. 32-Keegan Leahy , 14. 66-Blake Reynolds , 15. 79-Ryan Doucette , 16. 88-Brad Davies , 17. 55-Vicente Salas , 18. 38-Casey Kirwan , 19. 23-Mitchell deJong , 20. 8-Michael Conti , 21. 10-Graham Bowlin , 22. 41-Dylan Duval , 23. 44-Isaac Gann , 24. 67-Allen Boes , 25. 83-Bobby Zalenski , 26. 16-John Gorlinsky , 27. 14-Blade Whitt , 28. 1-Ashton Crowder , 29. 15-Caine Cook , 30. 77-Bob Bryant , 31. 18-Femi Olat , 32. 4-Ryan Luza , 33. 9-Michael Guest , 34. 51-Ray Alfalla , 35. 3-Corey Vincent , 36. 21-Garrett Lowe , 37. 17-Steven Wilson , 38. 47-Brian Schoenburg , 39. 90-Zack Novak .
Lead Changes: 16 among eight drivers
Lap Leader(s): Nick Ottinger 1-3, Graham Bowlin 4-5, Nick Ottinger 6-7, Graham Bowlin 8-10, Nick Ottinger 11-12, Graham Bowlin 13-16, Nick Ottinger 17-20, Ashton Crowder 21-23, Nick Ottinger 24, Blade Whitt 25, Femi Olat 26-27, Graham Bowlin 28-35, Michael Conti 36-37, Keegan Leahy 38-43, Graham Bowlin 44, Keegan Leahy 45-61, Logan Clampitt 62-63.
Laps Led: Keegan Leahy 23, Graham Bowlin 18, Nick Ottinger 12, Ashton Crowder 3, Femi Olat 2, Michael Conti 2, Logan Clampitt 2, Blade Whitt 1.
Hard Charger: 6-Nathan Lyon (+33)
Caution Flags: Seven for 21 laps
Margin of Victory: .013 seconds
Time of Race: One hour, eight minutes, 42.314 seconds
Average Speed: 137.544 mph
Pole Winner: 25-Nick Ottinger, 47.919 seconds (187.817 mph)
Fastest Lap: 6-Nathan Lyon, 44.385 seconds (202.771 mph, lap 2)