eSportsNASCAR Cup SeriesSim Racing

Brad Keselowski wins first eNASCAR PIS race at Talladega

3 Mins read
Credit: NASCAR/iRacing

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.

The addition of Keelan, who races in go-karts, unsurprisingly raised eyebrows due to his age. iRacing‘s privacy policy states it “is not designed for or directed to children under the age of 13” and that although one “must be an adult according to the laws of the jurisdiction […] in which (they) reside” in order to have an account, minors can play provided a “parent or guardian enroll(s) to use the Service on (their) behalf. If you authorize a minor child for whom you are a parent or guardian to use the account you create to use the Service, you should not provide us with any personally identifiable information about such child.” Other quesitons surrounded NASCAR’s decision to let him compete after previously barring Timmy Hill, who was entered for Talladega via provisional, from running the 2021 PIS opener as his MBM Motorsports team does not have a charter; while he did enter said race in Keselowski’s car, the ruling led to him missing real-life Cup races as MBM lost out on critical promotion and sponsorship.

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.

Credit: NASCAR/iRacing

“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).

Race results

FinishStartNumberDriverTeamManufacturerLapsStatus
1122Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord70Running
22420Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota70Running
3518Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota70Running
4666Timmy HillMBM MotorsportsToyota70Running
53348Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet70Running
6834Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord70Running
7788Dale Earnhardt Jr.JR MotorsportsChevrolet70Running
8115James DavisonRick Ware RacingChevrolet70Running
92741Cole CusterStewart-Haas RacingFord70Running
10153Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet70Running
112977Justin HaleySpire MotorsportsChevrolet70Running
121423Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota70Running
1394Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord70Running
14351Garrett SmithleyRick Ware RacingChevrolet70Running
154012Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord70Running
161317Chris BuescherRoush Fenway RacingFord70Running
17115Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet70Running
18256Ryan NewmanRoush Fenway RacingFord70Running
192299Jesse lwujiTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet70Running
203479Clint BowyerClint Bowyer RacingFord70Running
21411Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota70Running
221719Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota70Running
232847Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet70Running
243843Erik JonesRichard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet70Running
253697Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet70Running
262600Quin HouffStarCom RacingChevrolet70Running
273552Josh BilickiRick Ware RacingFord70Running
28167Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet70Running
29218Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet70Running
30238Anthony AlfredoFront Row MotorsportsFord70Running
313742Ross ChastainChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet70Running
321924William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet69Running
33239Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet69Running
341021Matt DiBenedettoWood Brothers RacingFord69Running
351828Joey GaseRick Ware RacingFord69Running
363214Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord69Running
373022Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord69Running
383962Keelan HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord68Running
393178B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord68Running
402010Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord0Disconnected
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History major at San Jose State University and lifelong motorsports fan who covers NASCAR and the Stadium Super Trucks.
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