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Steven Wilson seals eNASCAR playoffs’ top seed with third win

May 8, 2022; Darlington, South Carolina, USA; A general view of the press box and front stretch grand stands during the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Wilson earned his third victory of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series on Tuesday at a virtual Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, wrapping up the top spot for the circuit’s upcoming playoffs.

In the final race of the regular season, Wilson drove his No. 10 Ford to a 0.682-second win over the No. 15 Ford of Blake Reynolds. No other driver won three times this campaign.

Bobby Zalenski, in the No. 18 Toyota, eked into the postseason as the 10th and final seed thanks to a third-place finish on Tuesday.

Wilson, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, resident, was in front following the last restart with three laps to go, and he wasn’t challenged the rest of the way.

“First run was all about saving tires,” Wilson said. “That was a pretty big key tonight. Second run, after we pitted, everyone was going so slow, stacking up, so I thought my move would be try to be different, get the lead and see what happens.

“I was hoping for a caution. We were probably going to finish fourth without that. With the caution, we took two tires and were the first one out on two, so that definitely helped bring us home the win.”

Wilson said of heading into the playoffs as the favorite, “Yeah, it’s a little boost to the ego. It’s probably not something I need to hear if you talk to some people. … I do have a lot of confidence this year, and I’ve been pretty good at every track.”

Reynolds, of Cypress, Texas, needed a victory on Tuesday to make the playoff field, but he finished just short.

“That caution late always throws a wrench in,” Reynolds said. “I threw two tires on it. I knew if I got those tires prepped right and get in the right lane, I could probably get up in the top three, and, man, did I. …

“Crazy night. I did my best, but I didn’t get the 10th spot on points. Congrats to Bobby. What a run for him. What a run for everyone who needed it tonight.”

Said Zalenski, “They just can’t keep me out of the playoffs, I guess.”

The four-event playoffs start on Sept. 13 at a virtual Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The postseason also includes races at a virtual Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Sept. 27 and at a virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 11 ahead of the finale at a virtual Phoenix Raceway on Oct. 25.

eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoff field
1. Steven Wilson, No. 10 Ford
2. Nick Ottinger, No. 25 Chevrolet
3. Michael Conti, No. 8 Chevrolet
4. Casey Kirwan, No. 95 Chevrolet
5. Matt Bussa, No. 75 Ford
6. Graham Bowlin, No. 48 Toyota
7. Mitchell deJong, No. 23 Toyota
8. Femi Olatunbosun, No. 79 Ford
9. Garrett Lowe, No. 21 Ford
10. Bobby Zalenski, No. 18 Toyota

–Field Level Media