Duval Snaps Eight-Year eNASCAR Winless Drought


Dylan Duval celebrates winning Tuesday night's eNASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway. (Justin Melillo/NASCAR photo)

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Canadian sim-racer Dylan Duval snapped an eight-year winless drought with the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in dramatic fashion Tuesday night at the virtual Talladega Superspeedway.

Leading only the final two laps of a triple-overtime thriller, Duval found himself ahead by a nose on the Alabama Gang Superstretch when a multi-car crash – that he himself was all but involved in – froze the field under caution as a trio of cars were three-wide battling for the win.

Ultimately, it was Duval who survived brief contact with the outside wall – and then with Tucker Minter and Collin Bowden in the lanes below him – to have the bumper of his No. 41 Nitro Circus Ford Mustang out in front at the perfect moment.

It allowed him to coast around for the final lap and a half at pace-car speed for his second career series win and first since July 27, 2016, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It feels incredible. I can’t thank everyone enough who stuck with me through this journey these past eight years,” said Duval. “I have to thank Nitro Circus, all of our partners … Travis [Pastrana, team owner] picked me up this year and I’m just grateful to be able to put it in victory lane for them. Man, this has been a long time coming.

“Last year was a big confidence boost for me. I felt like I could have, and maybe should have, won a couple races last year, but it just didn’t happen,” he added. “I’m happy that we were able to turn it around and win tonight. I feel like I kind of called my shot this week too. I’d been kind of saying that I was going to go out and win this thing … and man, we actually did it.”

For most of the night, it appeared the race at the 2.66-mile behemoth might run caution free, as more than half the field led at least one lap in a wild and woolly affair that saw comers and goers throughout.

But that hope ended, and Pandora’s Box was opened, with 13 to go in regulation when Graham Bowlin checked up and then contacted Taylor Hurst to spark the first melee of the night.

That began a sequence of six yellow flags in the final laps, which jumbled the order and led to various different contenders down the stretch.

Parker White being turned in front of the field after a restart with four to go sent the race into overtime, with sophomore driver Daniel Faulkingham leading over Minter, Bowden, and Duval.

All three attempts at extra distance ended in calamity off turn two and down the backstretch, with Kaden Honeycutt getting turned into the pack bringing out the yellow during the first overtime try.

The second overtime saw Jordy Lopez spin through the pack – remarkably not getting hit by any other cars – halfway down the backstretch after accordion contact that began with a shove from Vicente Salas.

That was also when Faulkingham lost control of the race, after he was unable to block a run from the tandem of Bowden and Duval off turn two that set the duo up on the front row for the final overtime.

Bowden got the jump with help from Faulkingham, drifted up in front of Duval, then came back down in front of Faulkingham as the outside lane built a full head of steam through turn two.

Exiting the corner, it was Bowden down low with help from Minter, while Duval was top side pushed by Minter and Malik Ray. Just as Duval got even for the lead, however, an off-set bump from Minter got the No. 41 loosened up enough that Duval slapped the outside wall as he tried to regain control of his car.


The moment of the race-ending caution for the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series at Talladega Superspeedway. (Justin Melillo/NASCAR photo)

As Duval broke momentum, Minter darted to the middle to make it three-wide, but met Bowden’s RFK Racing Ford while making the move. The side-to-side contact sent Bowden spinning wildly as Minter came down the track, creating a stack-up that wrecked most of the field behind the leaders.

Though Minter was gaining momentum that might have netted him the victory if the caution had come out a split second later, he had to settle for his third runner-up finish in the last four races.

“We live by the timing of the last caution, like we did at Phoenix [Raceway] last fall, and die by it at other times like tonight,” noted Minter. “I definitely thought I was ahead of Dylan. I saw the caution light, and I knew I had the momentum, but it is what it is.

“It’s just kind of the way our season’s been so far; always the bridesmaid and never the bride,” he continued. “But, hey, at least we’re finishing second and clicking off some good finishes here after a rough start.”

Garrett Lowe came through the chaos with enough momentum to climb from seventh to third by the time the field was frozen, with Bobby Zalenski fourth for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Faulkingham faded to fifth in the second JGR Toyota after leading a race-high 14 laps, followed by Malik Ray, Jimmy Mullis, Michael Guest, Kollin Keister, and Vicente Salas – who rebounded from a pit-lane start that pinned him a lap down for most of the night to round out the top 10.

Defending series champion Steven Wilson, who also led 14 laps Tuesday, was collected in the final two overtime accidents and ended up with a disappointing 27th-place finish after winning two weeks ago at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway.

Overall, the event featured 43 lead changes among 24 different drivers. The number of lead changes tied for fourth-most in series history, while the number of leaders set a new series record.

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season continues May 21 at the virtual Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway with its longest race of the year – a 160-lap, 240-mile affair leading into Coca-Cola 600 week.

A replay of every eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series event is available via iRacing’s YouTube channel.

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RESULTS: eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series; Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway; May 7, 2024

1. 41-Dylan Duval [24], 2. 97-Tucker Minter [28], 3. 89-Garrett Lowe [26], 4. 18-Bobby Zalenski [27], 5. 54-Daniel Faulkingham [29], 6. 7-Malik Ray [1], 7. 29-Jimmy Mullis [5], 8. 45-Michael Guest [36], 9. 66-Kollin Keister [4], 10. 11-Vicente Salas [32], 11. 69-Ray Alfalla [37], 12. 8-Kaden Honeycutt [35], 13. 53-Parker White [14], 14. 80-Ryan Luza [18], 15. 90-Jordy Lopez [17], 16. 3-Jonathon Dulaney [19], 17. 12-Garrett Manes [31], 18. 6-Timmy Holmes [7], 19. 42-Tyler Garey [20], 20. 33-Taylor Hurst [21], 21. 20-Wyatt Tinsley [9], 22. 99-Matthew Zwack [3], 23. 25-Nick Ottinger [16], 24. 88-Briar LaPradd [10], 25. 62-Matt Bussa [22], 26. 48-Graham Bowlin [23], 27. 10-Steven Wilson [30], 28. 17-Collin Bowden [33], 29. 38-Michael Cosey Jr. [6], 30. 22-Femi Olatunbosun [34], 31. 36-Quami Scott [11], 32. 40-Dylan Ault [12], 33. 27-Cody Byus [8], 34. 14-Seth DeMerchant [25], 35. 51-Donovan Strauss [39], 36. 5-Zack Novak [15], 37. 77-Casey Kirwan [13], 38. Darik Bourdeau [38], 39. 23-Keegan Leahy [2], 40. 55-Ryan Doucette [40].

Lead Changes: 43 among 24 different drivers.

Lap Leader(s): Malik Ray Grid, Matthew Zwack 1-2, Malik Ray 3, Tyler Garey 4, Steven Wilson 5, Malik Ray 6, Parker White 7, Casey Kirwan 8-9, Graham Bowlin 10, Wyatt Tinsley 11, Femi Olatunbosun 12, Graham Bowlin 13-14, Collin Bowden 15, Graham Bowlin 16, Steven Wilson 17-18, Graham Bowlin 19, Wyatt Tinsley 20, Ray Alfalla 21, Michael Cosey Jr. 22, Jonathon Dulaney 23, Collin Bowden 24, Michael Cosey Jr. 25-26, Jimmy Mullis 27-28, Femi Olatunbosun 29, Zack Novak 30, Quami Scott 31, Garrett Manes 32, Zack Novak 33, Parker White 34-36, Kollin Keister 37, Timmy Holmes 38, Graham Bowlin 39-40, Steven Wilson 41-45, Briar LaPradd 46-47, Malik Ray 48-51, Keegan Leahy 52, Briar LaPradd 53, Steven Wilson 54, Daniel Faulkingham 55, Ryan Doucette 56, Steven Wilson 57-61, Daniel Faulkingham 62-74, Collin Bowden 75-78, Dylan Duval 79-80.

Laps Led: Steven Wilson 14, Daniel Faulkingham 14, Graham Bowlin 7, Malik Ray 6, Collin Bowden 6, Parker White 4, Michael Cosey Jr. 3, Briar LaPradd 3, Matthew Zwack 2, Casey Kirwan 2, Wyatt Tinsley 2, Femi Olatunbosun 2, Jimmy Mullis 2, Zack Novak 2, Dylan Duval 2, Tyler Garey 1, Ray Alfalla 1, Jonathon Dulaney 1, Quami Scott 1, Garrett Manes 1, Kollin Keister 1, Timmy Holmes 1, Keegan Leahy 1, Ryan Doucette 1.

Hard Charger: 45-Michael Guest (+28)

Pole Position: 7-Malik Ray, 52.938 seconds (180.891 mph); first career and first of season

Rookie of the Race: 3-Jonathon Dulaney (16th)

Caution Flags: Six for 16 laps

Winning Team: Nitro Circus

Margin of Victory: Under caution

Time of Race: One hour, 25 minutes, 53.490 seconds.

Average Speed: 148.653 mph

Fastest Lap: 11-Vicente Salas, Lap 41, 47.107 seconds (203.282 mph)

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.