Denny Hamlin opened and closed the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series with victories.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver took the win Saturday afternoon at virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway, the final race of the series, having kicked off the league with a win at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway back in March.
A bump-and-run on Ross Chastain in Turn 4 with nine laps to go gave Hamlin the victory. Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota had fresher tires, and, after grabbing the top spot, he drove away from the field.
“I knew we had the fastest car; it was just getting through traffic,” said Hamlin.
Chastain spun Hamlin after the checkered flag, but Hamlin said the contact near the end of the race was two drivers going for the same spot.
Hamlin led 24 laps while Chastain led 31.
Timmy Hill finished second with Tyler Reddick coming home third, Chastain fourth and Austin Dillon rounding out the top five.
Garrett Smithley, Brennan Poole, Parker Kligerman, Kevin Harvick, and Landon Cassill finished sixth through 10th.
NASCAR last ran a race at North Wilkesboro in 1996. Now scanned into the iRacing program and rolling out with a grand debut Saturday afternoon, it will be available for all users beginning next month.
Jon Wood finished 13th driving the No. 21 for Wood Brothers Racing. Christopher Bell led a race-high 61 laps and finished 14th while Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 15. Through the 10 invert, Cole Custer started from the pole and led 12 laps.
Jeff Gordon was 18th with Martin Truex Jr. finishing 20th. Saturday was the first time that Truex competed in the Pro Invitational Series, not having a sim rig available to him while he quarantined in Florida.
Corey LaJoie had to retire from the race after the brake pedal on his rig broke. Ryan Preece, who led 32 laps, finished 27th after blowing an engine with Ty Dillon bringing up the rear of the field.
eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series
Race Results: May, 9 2020 at virtual North Wilkesboro Speedway
Total Race Length: 160 laps
1. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 160.
2. (66) Timmy Hill, Toyota, 160.
3. (31) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 160.
4. (6) Ross Chastain, Ford, 160.
5. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 160.
6. (51) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 160.
7. (15) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 160.
8. (77) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 160.
9. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 160.
10. (89) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 160.
11. (52) JJ Yeley, Ford, 160.
12. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 160.
13. (21) Jon Wood, Ford, 160.
14. (95) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 160.
15. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 160.
16. (41) Cole Custer, Ford, 160.
17. (53) Joey Gase, Ford, 160.
18. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 160.
19. (018) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 160.
20. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 160.
21. (17) Chris Buescher, Ford, 155.
22. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 150.
23. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 147.
24. (38) John Hunter Nemechek, Ford, 139.
25. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 133.
26. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 103.
27. (37) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 99.
28. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 92.
29. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 84.