Brad Keselowski is one of the top NASCAR Cup Series drivers at Talladega Superspeedway with five wins in his career. He can add an unofficial sixth to that count after winning Wednesday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event at the superspeedway.
For the second race of the PIS season, the field featured some curious names as Kurt Busch and Chase Briscoe opted out due to their participation in a tyre test at Nashville ahead of the inaugural Cup race there in June. To fill out the grid, part-time Camping World Truck Series driver Jesse Iwuji and Kevin Harvick‘s eight-year-old son Keelan were invited. Iwuji, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, qualified for the grid via fan vote and placed his iRacing simulator in the Annapolis school’s Dahlgren Hall.
Iwuji was in the #99 as the real-life number’s driver Daniel Suárez switched to #97 in honour of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Red Farmer, while the younger Harvick used his karting number #62, which is also an upside-down inversion of his father’s #29 that he used for the first half of his Cup career.
In spite of this, the very considerable age gap did not stop Keelan from being the fastest driver in practice. The Harvicks’ Stewart-Haas Racing team-mate Aric Almirola did not start the race after suffering from the very relatable misfortune of his wi-fi disconnecting right as green flag waved.
“You can’t make this stuff up. This is just how our year as gone,” Almirola said in a video on social media. “A minute before the race was getting ready to start, our internet went out and I got kicked out of the iRacing session and so now, I can’t race the iRace tonight at Talladega.
“I have nightmares about this stuff in real life. I always have these dreams where I’m getting ready for the race but I’m not getting ready fast enough and I can’t get my suit on and I can’t tie my shoes. They’re going out for pace laps and I’m not ready yet, like I’m late to get into the car and the race is gonna start without me. Virtually, that really happened to me.”
James Davison, who is not entered in the real-life Talladega race on Sunday, dominated the race from the pole by leading 61 of 70 laps. Those behind him were not as lucky as drivers like Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, Bristol Dirt iRace winner William Byron, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Matt DiBenedetto, and Justin Haley found themselves in numerous wrecks. Haley’s wreck, which collected Bubba Wallace and Hamlin, with two laps to go set up a final restart as Keselowski battled with Davison for the win.
Keselowski would take the lead with Christopher Bell in tow to score his first Pro Invitational Series victory. Davison fell to eighth, while Iwuji and Keelan finished nineteenth and thirty-eighth, respectively.
The next PIS race will take place at Darlington Raceway in two weeks. After Darlington will be two rounds at Circuit of the Americas (19 May) and the Chicago Street Course (2 June).
|1||12||2||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||70||Running|
|2||24||20||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||70||Running|
|3||5||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||70||Running|
|4||6||66||Timmy Hill||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||70||Running|
|5||33||48||Alex Bowman||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|6||8||34||Michael McDowell||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||70||Running|
|7||7||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|8||1||15||James Davison||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|9||27||41||Cole Custer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||70||Running|
|10||15||3||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|11||29||77||Justin Haley||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|12||14||23||Bubba Wallace||23XI Racing||Toyota||70||Running|
|13||9||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||70||Running|
|14||3||51||Garrett Smithley||Rick Ware Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|15||40||12||Ryan Blaney||Team Penske||Ford||70||Running|
|16||13||17||Chris Buescher||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||70||Running|
|17||11||5||Kyle Larson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|18||25||6||Ryan Newman||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||70||Running|
|19||22||99||Jesse lwuji||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|20||34||79||Clint Bowyer||Clint Bowyer Racing||Ford||70||Running|
|21||4||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||70||Running|
|22||17||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||70||Running|
|23||28||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|24||38||43||Erik Jones||Richard Petty Motorsports||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|25||36||97||Daniel Suárez||Trackhouse Racing Team||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|26||26||00||Quin Houff||StarCom Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|27||35||52||Josh Bilicki||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||70||Running|
|28||16||7||Corey LaJoie||Spire Motorsports||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|29||21||8||Tyler Reddick||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|30||2||38||Anthony Alfredo||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||70||Running|
|31||37||42||Ross Chastain||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||70||Running|
|32||19||24||William Byron||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||69||Running|
|33||23||9||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||69||Running|
|34||10||21||Matt DiBenedetto||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||69||Running|
|35||18||28||Joey Gase||Rick Ware Racing||Ford||69||Running|
|36||32||14||Chase Briscoe||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||69||Running|
|37||30||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||69||Running|
|38||39||62||Keelan Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||68||Running|
|39||31||78||B.J. McLeod||Live Fast Motorsports||Ford||68||Running|
|40||20||10||Aric Almirola||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||0||Disconnected|