In a thrilling finish, two of the best eNASCAR sim racers, Zack Novak and Michael Conti, duked it out for a photo finish at the virtual Rockingham Speedway on Thursday evening.
It was the second televised race in the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series on NBCSN’s NASCAR America. It was also the first race of any kind to be televised at The Rock since the 2013 Gander Outdoor Truck Series race. (Note: It was called the Camping World Outdoor Truck Series at the time.)
In the closing laps, Conti was two car lengths behind leader Novak. Driving for JR Motorsports, Conti dived into turn 3 on the final lap underneath Roush-Fenway Racing’s Novak to make for a pass.
They stayed side-by-side through turns 3 and 4 and in shades of 2004, Novak edged out Conti in a photo finish much like Matt Kenseth had done against Kasey Khane in the final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Rockingham.
“It was extremely hard to pass,” said Novak on NASCAR America, “but Conti is a very good driver and he kept putting pressure on me. I just tried to hold the top as much as I could and make it hard for him.”
In the post-race interview, Novak was asked about how his background in real-life quarter midget racing has helped him in sim racing.
“To come out here and do this and put on a show for live television is crazy. It’s so surreal. And the quarter midget racing definitely helped out a lot when I got on iRacing.”
According to its website, iRacing is: “the world’s premier motorsport racing simulation.”
‘iRacing puts you in the driver’s seat by allowing members to experience today’s newest form of competitive motorsport: virtual racing. iRacing is a fun, inexpensive and highly competitive way for race fans and gamers to break a sweat by braking hard at the apex, while overcoming head-to-head racing challenges usually reserved for professional racers.
“iRacing is the ultimate global racing portal. Whether you want to experience a NASCAR Cup car, a World of Outlaws Sprint car, an open-wheel IndyCar, an Australian Supercar, an IMSA Prototype or Touring Car, or the ultimate: an FIA Grand Prix car, iRacing’s online racing simulations offer them all. All you need is a computer equipped with one or more USB ports, and a digital wheel/pedal, or gamepad backed by a high-speed Internet connection. iRacing does the work for you by organizing and managing more than 50 official series, or you can choose to race in more than 400 private leagues or launch your own hosted events.”
Although the NASCAR iRacing Series has been around for a number of years, the eNASCAR brand kicked off in 2018. In addition to the PEAK Antifreeze Series, there is also the Ignite Series, which is also on iRacing but for ages 13-16. There is also the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, which is run on Xbox and PlayStation consoles with the NASCAR Heat video game series.