Six races into the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series season, two things have become clear. The first is that Team Conti eSports with Michael Conti and Nick Ottinger are really good. That’s not surprising, though, as the setup alliance is full of proven talent and championship winners. The other thing that has become clear is that Femi Olatunbosun is a potential dark horse for a deep playoff run.
It’s easy to write off the winner of Daytona as a simple fluke, a one-off with no chance of finding further success once the series moves off the high banks. The season is now five races beyond Daytona, however, and Olatunbosun hasn’t gone anywhere.
With two top-five finishes and three top-10s, Olatunbosun has placed himself third in the championship standings. He’s ahead of Conti, whose two wins is tied for the most this season. He’s ahead of reigning champion Keegan Leahy. He’s one of only three drivers with an average finishing position inside the top 10. He’s likely to be a factor for the rest of the season.
The good results, kickstarted by that win at Daytona, have left him entering each race with more confidence and a better mindset.
“When you are able to finish well consistently, especially to start off the season, that builds a lot of momentum and with that momentum comes a lot of confidence. You’re just better all-around,” Olatunbosun said. “I think I’m driving much more confident than I did last year, especially with the new car — I’m much more confident with this car. I’m also looking forward to the races more, which helps the preparation a lot and it’s been keeping me motivated so far.”
Olatunbosun’s 2021 season in comparison to this year was dreadful. His best finish last season was sixth and it was his only top-10 result. He finished outside the top 30 on seven occasions and ended the year 27th in the championship.
Part of the reason for the change in fortunes has been the team’s qualifying preparation, Olatunbosun explained. With drivers incredibly close together on single-lap pace and throughout the race, track position is key. The importance of those factors has been heightened by races that are shorter in length than previous seasons.
Olatunbosun sees the kind of racing that this season has produced as annoying as well as rewarding.
“I’d say it’s quite annoying for the simple fact that you have got to be 110% focused every single lap. The slightest mistake, just being out of line for one corner, can cost you a couple of spots and those spots are not going to be easy to come by.
“I think that places a lot of emphasis on the driver this season. You need to prepare your qualifying lap a lot and go out there and nail it. The track position is so important and being able to start the race upfront is a huge part of my season so far,” Olatunbosun said.
Ottinger, who claimed his season win of the season at Dover on Tuesday night, currently leads the championship over Steven Wilson. Olatunbosun is in third, ahead of Matt Bussa and Graham Bowlin. Stewart Haas eSports leads the team’s championship by six points over Jim Beaver eSports.
The next race of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series is on May 10 from Kansas Speedway.