HAMPTON, Ga. – Logan Clampitt made an emotional return to eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series victory lane during Tuesday night’s 250-mile race at the virtual Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Clampitt took control of the fourth race of the season by passing polesitter Mitchell deJong on a lap-53 restart, following the only caution of the night, then held off defending series champion Nick Ottinger down the stretch run to the finish.
The Trabuco Canyon, Calif., native led 97 of 163 laps, including the final 43 revolutions of the 1.54-mile quad-oval, for his third career Coca-Cola Series win and first since Sept. 11, 2018 – a drought of 44 races.
“Man, this is so emotional. It’s been two and a half years, 44 races … this is amazing,” Clampitt said in victory lane. “I moved out here (to North Carolina) with Michael (Conti) to change my life, and this game has changed my life so much. Tonight was special. It’s my first win being away from my parents, but I’m glad I have my friends to celebrate with, because they’re all like family. I love them all.
“We put so much time into this series and so much has gone on the past two and a half years. When I was crossing the line to take the white flag, it didn’t even feel real,” Clampitt added. “It’s very hard to win in this series, but thankfully we got the right strategy in place, made the right adjustments on the last pit stop there, and thankfully qualified up for this race to put ourselves in position to win.”
With his victory, Clampitt becomes the fourth driver to lock up a playoff berth in the 10-driver eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series postseason field, giving him a shot to chase his first series championship.
“We’re finally locked into the playoffs, which is so huge,” Clampitt noted. “Now we have to finish (in the) top 20 (in regular season points), which we’ve done every season, but winning tonight was the first step and now we’ve done that.”
Ottinger, a teammate to Clampitt at William Byron eSports this season, cycled out as the race leader on lap 116 following the final round of green flag pit stops. However, he pitted two laps sooner than Clampitt did and thus had older tires on the virtual iteration of Atlanta’s worn-out asphalt.
In the end, those two laps of wear made all the difference, as Clampitt cut a near two-second deficit down to nothing over a five-lap span, then made the winning pass on the inside of turn three at lap 121.
From there, Ottinger could only watch as Clampitt drove away by 2.064 seconds at the checkered flag, but the Claremont, N.C., native had nothing but congratulations to give his teammate after the race.
“What a win for Logan, and what a night for this William Byron eSports team. A one-two finish tonight is exactly what we hoped for, and I’m so proud of Logan,” Ottinger said. “He’s been wanting another one for a couple of years; he’s been plenty fast enough and he proved it tonight. I definitely wanted that win too, but it just wasn’t in the cards.
“We tried jumping the two in front of us on a pit call there at the end, and we gave up a little bit of the tire advantage to try to hold Logan off,” Ottinger added. “I tried, and I just couldn’t do it. He was too fast. We run the same stuff and he just wielded the night.”
Williams eSports’ Zack Nichols completed the podium in third place, followed by JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti and Roush Fenway Racing’s Steven Wilson.
Four teams were represented among the top five.
Brad Davies, Keegan Leahy, Ryan Luza, Casey Kirwan and Garrett Manes closed the top 10, while polesitter Mitchell deJong faded to 19th after leading the first 52 laps uncontested.
Tuesday night’s lone caution flag waved on lap 49, when Bob Bryant was turned around on the frontstretch after contact from Zack Novak while Bryant was trying to get to pit road.
Both drivers continued, with Novak finishing 28th and Bryant coming home 29th.
The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season continues March 30 at the virtual Auto Club Speedway.
1. 97-Logan Clampitt , 2. 25-Nick Ottinger , 3. 29-Zack Nichols , 4. 8-Michael Conti , 5. 17-Steven Wilson , 6. 88-Brad Davies , 7. 32-Keegan Leahy , 8. 4-Ryan Luza , 9. 38-Casey Kirwan , 10. 2-Garrett Manes , 11. 55-Vicente Salas , 12. 10-Graham Bowlin , 13. 9-Michael Guest , 14. 83-Bobby Zalenski , 15. 75-Matt Bussa , 16. 36-Chris Shearburn , 17. 41-Dylan Duval , 18. 33-Taylor Hurst , 19. 23-Mitchell deJong , 20. 6-Nathan Lyon , 21. 46-Jimmy Mullis , 22. 51-Ray Alfalla , 23. 21-Garrett Lowe , 24. 79-Ryan Doucette , 25. 14-Blade Whitt , 26. 11-Malik Ray , 27. 24-Jake Nichols , 28. 90-Zack Novak , 29. 77-Bob Bryant , 30. 67-Allen Boes , 31. 52-Jake Matheson , 32. 15-Caine Cook , 33. 3-Corey Vincent , 34. 47-Brian Schoenburg , 35. 37-Derek Justis , 36. 18-Femi Olat , 37. 66-Blake Reynolds , 38. 16-John Gorlinsky , 39. 44-Isaac Gann , 40. 1-Ashton Crowder .
Lead Changes: Seven among six drivers
Lap Leader(s): Mitchell deJong 1-52, Logan Clampitt 53-106, Isaac Gann 107, Mitchell deJong 108-113, Ray Alfalla 114, Blade Whitt 115, Nick Ottinger 116-120, Logan Clampitt 121-163.
Laps Led: Logan Clampitt 97, Mitchell deJong 58, Nick Ottinger 5, Isaac Gann 1, Ray Alfalla 1, Blade Whitt 1.
Hard Charger: 75-Matt Bussa (+24)
Rookie of the Race: 29-Zack Nichols (Williams eSports)
Caution Flags: One for three laps
Margin of Victory: 2.064 seconds
Time of Race: One hour, 28 minutes, 54.822 seconds
Average Speed: 169.391 mph
Pole Winner: 23-Mitchell deJong, 29.159 seconds (190.130 mph)
Fastest Lap: 97-Logan Clampitt, lap 110, 29.775 seconds (186.196 mph)