RELATED: Full iRacing schedule/results
The NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing heads to the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway for Tuesday’s Championship 4 finale for the 2017 season. Four drivers, Ray Alfalla, Logan Clampitt, Ryan Luza and Bobby Zalenski, remain in the hunt for the $10,000 first-place prize as $15,000 in prizes are at stake in NASCAR’s premiere eSports series featuring the cars and tracks of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
With wins allotting an automatic bid into the final round of the playoffs, Ray Alfalla and Ryan Luza took the first two spots in the Championship 4 courtesy of their wins at Darlington Raceway and Dover International Speedway, respectfully. Series sophomore Logan Clampitt and rookie Bobby Zalenski were the next two highest points earners and claimed the third and fourth spots in the Championship 4.
The top finisher from the final four drivers will be crowned a NASCAR champion, earn the $10,000 prize money and receive his championship trophy on stage at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Many consider 28-year-old Alfalla the favorite heading into the 16th and final race on the 2017 season, and for good reason. Originally from Cuba and now hailing from Southern Florida, Alfalla is not only the defending NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion, but also a three-time series champion, having won back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. No other driver has won more than one series championship, leaving him in a class of his own.
While this has been his first season at sim-racing’s top level, Luza has been a veteran racer both on and off the simulator for some time. The Californian has over 10 National Karting Championships, and was the 2015 Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series Champion at 5 Flags Speedway. In iRacing, the 21-year-old Luza is the defending NASCAR iRacing Pro Series Champion, the qualifying series for the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series. Luza leads the series with four wins, nine top-five finishes and two pole positions, with 306 laps led.
Just like Luza, Zalenski has made the Championship 4 in his first season competing in the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series. This rookie from California qualified for this series through the 2016 NASCAR iRacing Pro Series, finishing second to Luza.
Zalenski, a teammate to Alfalla, would love to correct that finishing order this time around. Zalenski won the fifth race of the year at Phoenix International Speedway along with the series’ only road-course race at Sonoma Raceway. He, Alfalla and Luza are the only multi-time winners this year.
The fourth driver on the Championship 4 grid is series sophomore Clampitt. The Texas native won his first career NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series race in his rookie season last year en route to 22nd place in points. While he has yet to win in 2017, Clampitt, comfortably qualified for the playoffs with consistent top-10 finishes through Darlington, New Hampshire and Dover to safely qualify for the Championship 4 without much drama. That’s guaranteed to change on Tuesday night.
Clampitt is the only driver in the Championship 4 with no real-world racing experience, the epitome of a self-made sim-racing force of nature. Since 2013, Clampitt has led over 113,000 laps on NASCAR tracks over the course of his iRacing career in official races.
While only Luza, Alfalla, Zalenski and Clampitt have a shot at the title, the entire field of 43 will be ready to take the final green flag of the season when it flies this Tuesday.
Watch the final race of the 2017 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing live as it happens on Tuesday, Oct. 10 online at www.iRacing.com/Live . Coverage begins at 8 p.m. EDT with the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series — a special series featuring real world future NASCAR stars battling online for bragging rights.
— Story by Evan Posocco