After winning the first race of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series and booking his ticket to the playoffs, JR Motorsports’ Michael Conti has backed up his win on the superspeedway at Daytona with two more top five finishes and five additional top 10 results. With playoffs looming and his last win coming some six months ago, it’s crunch time.
“We need to do better,” Conti said after a ninth-place finish at Watkins Glen.
“We need more out of the cars. I need more out of my driving. As the playoffs loom, the time to button up our weaknesses is now. We’ll reflect on tonight and set our sights to Michigan in two weeks’ time,” Conti added.
One of those weak spots for Conti has been in qualifying where his average starting position is just 17th, markedly behind other playoff favorites like Bobby Zalenski, Keegan Leahy, and Mitchell DeJong who all average starts inside the top six. That weak spot hurt Conti at Watkins Glen, the penultimate round before the playoffs.
After running off track on his fastest qualifying lap and having his time deleted, he had to settle for 21st and faced a long road ahead.
“After a dismal qualifying run, I was frustrated beyond belief,” he said. “As we came to take the green flag, I told my crew chief that I was going to be on a mission to pass the most cars tonight; we did just that.
“Huge moves on the initial start paired with several others along the way helped us bring home a very respectable finish. Still, we need to do better.”
Conti is one of the most experienced drivers in the series. He made his first start in the top level of NASCAR sim-racing in 2011 and has been a full-time driver since 2012. He won the championship in 2014 and made it all the way to Championship 4 last season before falling short of his second title.
Conti has been the workhorse for the JR Motorsports effort this season, but the squad is just eighth in the team’s championship with teammate Brad Davies sitting outside of the top 20 and unable to match the success of his counterpart.