The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series concludes its short season with an inaugural race at one of the most iconic tracks in the NASCAR circuit – North Wilksboro.
There has not been a race on the track at North Wilksboro since 1996 when Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag at the final race.
A part of NASCAR before it was NASCAR, North Wilksboro fell into disrepair after it was no longer a part of the regular NASCAR schedule, but thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr who took a group of volunteers to the track last December to clean up the track so that iRacing could laser scan the track to add it to their list of virtual tracks.
While it won’t be available to the general public until next month, the NASCAR drivers will debut the track for the Wilksboro 160 to close out the Pro Invitational Series.
After a supposed one and done at Talladega, Jeff Gordon has decided to give it one more try and make a run at the new virtual North Wilksboro. Also making their iRacing PIS debut are Martin Truex Jr and Jon Wood.
With Jeff Gordon back in the simulator, attired with his helmet from 1988 is Michael Waltrip to join FOX commentator Mike Joy.
F former driver and now award winning Country music artist, Chase Rice performs the National Anthem before the race.
And performing the most famous words in motor sports – the command – is Houston Texan JJ Watt with an enthusiastic command to start engines.
Parker Kligerman won the pole, but after an inverted top 10, Cole Custer will bring the field to green with Ryan Preece starting alongside on the front row.
After failing to complete his qualifying round, Clint Bowyer will bring up the rear of the field.
While the drivers will be able to complete the race on a single fuel load, the tires will not last as long.
The drivers will get one quick repair reset in the race.
Cole Custer brings the field down for the green flag start of the race with Cole Custer quickly takes the top spot.
North Wilksboro is one of the many short tracks on the circuit at just over half a mile around.
The first caution flag of the race comes out on lap five after John Hunter Nemechek gets turned around with several other drivers getting caught up in the melee.
Cole Custer brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 12 with Ryan Preece on the outside lane getting out in front for the lead.
Lap 23, Ryan Preece continues to lead the race with Garrett Smithley in second; Ross Chastain, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Cole Custer round out the top five.
The caution flag comes out on lap 30 when Timmy Hill and Michael McDowell make contact; Erik Jones was also involved in the wreck.
Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.
After staying out on the track, Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 38. Ross Chastain holds on to the lead with Ryan Preece in second; Timmy Hill, Garrett Smithley, and Dale Earnhardt Jr round out the top five.
Cole Custer spins out and gets into the grass bringing out the third caution flag of the race.
Ryan Preece brings the field down for the green glag restart on lap 47 and jumps out in front for the lead.
Lap 52, Ryan Preece has pulled out to a lead of nearly two seconds on Ross Chastain.
Christ Buescher brings out the caution flag on lap 53 for a crash.
Leader Ryan Preece brings a group of drivers down pit road for service.
Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 61 and edges out Dale Earnhardt Jr in second place; Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Landon Cassill round out the top five.
Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon are the only drivers in the race who have actually driven on the real North Wilksboro track.
Parker Kligerman brings out the caution flag on lap 69 when he hit the wall after a wreck involving Garrett Smithley.
Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 73 and edges out Dale Earnhardt Jr to hold on to the lead; Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Landon Cassill round out the top five.
The caution flag comes out on lap 76 for a wreck involving Dale Earnhardt Jr, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Brennan Poole, and Landon Cassill.
Christopher Bell brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 81 with Dale Earnhardt Jr in second.
Jeff Gordon missed a shift on the restart and dropped out of the top 10 to 13th driving his number 24 “Rainbow Warriors” car.
With 74 laps to go in the race, Christopher Bell leads the race with Ross Chastain in second; Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
With 65 laps remaining in the race, Christopher Bell continues to lead the race with Ross Chastain a tenth of a second behind in second; Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Kevin Harck round out the top five.
Sixty to go, Christopher Bell has a narrow lead on Denny Hamlin with 24 cars on the lead lap.
Enny Hamlin finally gets around Christopher Bell for the lead after putting pressure on Bell. With 42 laps to go, Ross Chastain, Dale Earnhardt JR, and Garrett Smithley round out the top five. There are 22 cars on the lead lap.
With 38 laps to go, Clint Bowyer has come from starting last place to make it into the top 10 at seventh place.
Thirty-five to go, Denny Hill has pulled out to a one second lead on Christopher Bell.
The caution flag has come out with 33 laps remaining in the race after Bobby Labonte and Parker Kligerman make contact and send the cars spinning.
After all of the drivers come down pit road for service,
The brake pedal on Corey LaJoie’s car and becomes the first driver out of the race.
Ross Chastain brings the field down for the green flag restart with 27 laps remaining in the race. Chastain holds on to the lead with Timmy Hill, Landon Cassill, Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell rounding out the top five.
The caution flag comes out with 25 laps to go after a big crash including Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Joh Hunter Nemechek.
Ross Chastain and Timmy Hill bring the field down for the green flag restart with just 16 laps remaining in the race.
Martin Truex Jr spins out and gets against the wall but the track stays green with 13 laps to go.
Ten to go, Ross Chastain leads the race with Denny Hamlin in second: Timmy Hill, Landon Cassill, and Dale Earnhardt Jr round out the top five.
Nine to go, Ross Chastain gets loose and Denny Hamlin takes the lead with Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, and Garrett Smithley rounding out the top five after some beating and banging.
Five to go, Denny Hamlin leads the race with Timmy Hill just over a half second behind.
Denny Hamlin takes the white flag.
After winning the PIS opener at Homestead-Miami, Denny Hamlin takes his second win in the final PIS race at Wilksboro to be the second driver to win more than one race.
Next week the drivers return to reality when they take to the track at Darlington Speedway.