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Iracing Texas 1

Luza Wins at Texas

Ryan Luza won his second eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series race in 2019, narrowly beating Keegan Leahy in a one-lap shootout at Texas Motor Speedway. Luza, whose dominant No. 53 Flipsid3 Tactics Toyota paced the field for 98 of 167 laps, was out front seemingly headed to victory when a late caution flew with 11 laps to go. The caution sent the lead-lap cars to pit road for tires with Luza’s crew holding serve during the stop.

Another quick caution after the restart set up a one-lap shootout between Luza and G2 eSports’ Keegan Leahy. Luza got the jump at the green flag and used the inside to his advantage, narrowly holding off Leahy by .055 seconds as others tangled coming to the checkers. Renegades teammates Corey Vincent and Garrett Lowe finished third and fourth, respectively and polesitter Michael Conti (JR Motorsports) used the late cautions to rally for a fifth-place result.

“I wish we would have went green, that was a lot more stressful at the end,” said Luza, describing the events of the last few laps. “I was worried about them going through the grass, but I was able to block it. Great race by everyone.”

Iracing Texas 2Conti led early but Luza’s superior long run speed allowed him to move into the lead on Lap 26. The pair continued to occupy the top two positions until Conti pitted on Lap 44, unsure if he could stretch his fuel to make it on only two pit stops if the race stayed green. Luza, on the other hand, planned to stretch his mileage and did not pit until Lap 56.

After the cycle of stops Conti regained the lead but it was becoming clear that if the race went green to the finish and the cars on the two-stop strategy did not run short on fuel, Conti, and the rest of the drivers on the three-stop strategy, would be in trouble.

When Luza pitted again on Lap 112, it was clear he would go the distance on fuel. He held nearly a five-second margin over Keegan Leahy and Corey Vincent, but the chasing pair were faster and began to close the gap. By 15 laps to go the gap was nearing two seconds and while the caution a few laps later drew everyone closer, it also put Luza back on equal tires.

Luza nailed both restarts, as the 2017 series champ has put himself in great position early on. The new package, an unknown a few weeks ago, has not been an issue for the #53 team as it seems as though Luza runs up front no matter the rules package or track.

The win increased Luza’s points lead to 10 markers over Leahy, who kept his top-five streak intact through four races. With his first top-five of 2019, Michael Conti is now third in the standings, 27 points back of the lead. He is closely followed by Richmond Raceway eSports driver Jimmy Mullis and Roush Fenway’s Zack Novak. Still notably absent from playoff eligibility is Ray Alfalla, who continues to struggle. The four-time champion is without a top-five finish and sits eleventh in the standings, but there is still plenty of time for him to rebound.

Richmond Raceway, the first short track event of 2019, is next on the schedule. This will also be the first test of the 2019 short track rules package, featuring the same high downforce of the bigger tracks and 200 additional horsepower. With the second new package debuting in three races, drivers and teams will have just two short weeks to dial in their cars in hopes of chasing down Luza and Leahy. Will anyone close the gap or will the top two continue to show the way? Find out in two weeks when the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series goes short tracking at Richmond!

Results

Fin. St. Driver Laps Laps Led Status Team Name
1 4 Ryan Michael Luza 167 98 Running Flipside Tactics
2 6 Keegan Leahy 167 2 Running G2 eSports
3 15 Corey Vincent 167 2 Running Renegades
4 25 Garrett Lowe 167 0 Running Renegades
5 1 Michael Conti 167 58 Running Jr Motorsports
6 28 Michael Guest 167 0 Running Roush Fenway Racing
7 39 Ryan Lowe 167 3 Running N/A
8 38 Casey Tucker 167 0 Running N/A
9 8 Jimmy Mullis 167 0 Running Richmond Raceway eSports
10 5 Nick Ottinger 167 1 Running JTG
11 19 Ray Alfalla 167 0 Running Wood Brothers
12 21 Blake Reynolds 167 2 Running N/A
13 7 Matt Bussa 167 0 Running Williams F1
14 11 Brad Davies 167 0 Running Jr Motorsports
15 35 Benjamin W. Nelson 167 0 Running N/A
16 34 Nickolas Shelton 167 0 Running Clint Bowyer Racing
17 32 Jake Nichols 167 0 Running Joe Gibbs Racing
18 33 Chris Overland 167 0 Running Wood Brothers
19 20 Michael Guariglia 167 0 Running N/A
20 9 Brian Schoenburg 167 0 Running Williams F1
21 10 Jarl Teien 167 0 Running G2 eSports
22 36 Malik Ray 167 0 Running Richmond Raceway eSports
23 29 Logan Kress 167 0 Running N/A
24 14 Cody Byus 167 0 Running Mode Motorsports
25 31 Brandon Hayse Kettelle 167 0 Running N/A
26 18 Adam Benefiel 167 0 Running N/A
27 22 Dylan Duval 167 0 Running N/A
28 26 Casey Kirwan 167 0 Running Clint Bowyer Racing
29 17 Phillip Diaz 167 0 Running Mode Motorsports
30 2 Chris Shearburn 166 0 Running N/A
31 16 Nathan Lyon 166 0 Running N/A
32 23 Logan Clampitt 166 0 Running Burton Kligerman eSports
33 30 Eric J. Smith 166 0 Running N/A
34 12 Zack Novak 166 0 Running Roush Fenway Racing
35 3 Bobby Zalenski 163 1 Running Joe Gibbs Racing
36 24 Ashton Crowder 154 0 Running Burton Kligerman eSports
37 13 Christian Challiner 142 0 Running JTG
38 27 Caine Cook 102 0 Running N/A
39 37 Timmy Hill 59 0 DNF Flipside Tactics