Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin will compete in the championship race for the NBC Esports Short Track iRacing Challenge.
The action continued Tuesday night with a pair of 40-lap races at the virtual Lucas Oil Raceway.
Larson started from the pole and led every lap in the first race to advance. He took the checkered flag ahead of Xfinity Series drivers Chase Briscoe and Harrison Burton.
Denny Hamlin rebounded from spinning on lap 23 to finish fourth. Justin Allgaier was fifth, and Christopher Bell, who was turned by Allgaier on lap 2, finished last. Allgaier took the blame for the accident, explaining he bounced off the backstretch wall and tagged Bell in the right rear.
“I was a little surprised by that, I thought I was maybe running a little too fast early, but it seemed like Chase and I kind of maintained a little bit,” said winner Larson. “Then, [Briscoe] must have burned his stuff up. It’s cool to win, and hopefully, we can run up front this next race, and see what happens.”
The field was inverted for the second race. Bell got the jump on the start and built up a healthy lead for most of the race. The top five would close back within a second of each other around lap 16 with Larson stalking and hounding Hamlin lap after lap. Larson finally grabbed the second spot on lap 23.
Hamlin took the spot back a few laps later, and he and Larson then spent a few laps bouncing off the wall in a unique attempt to try to erase the gap to Bell. But instead, Bell continued to drive away as fourth place Chase Briscoe tracked them down.
On the final lap, Hamlin caught Bell coming off Turn 4, and as Bell took the checkered flag, Hamlin tagged him in the right rear. Both drivers spun past the finish line.
Behind them, Larson and Briscoe spun together in Turn 4. Burton caught the wall off Turn 4 and spun down frontstretch on lap five. Needing a reset, Burton finished last, multiple laps down.
“Just tried to make it interesting for the fans,” said Bell.
Hamlin was awarded a “Peacock Provisional” by Steve Letarte also to earn a place in the championship race. Hamlin joins Larson, Bell, along with Monday winner William Byron in the Thursday night race at virtual Martinsville Speedway. Kyle Busch will also be there after being given a “Peacock Provisional” on Monday.
The third race in the series is Wednesday night at virtual Myrtle Beach Speedway.