Zack Novak held off a strong last lap challenge by Michael Conti to win the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series All-Star race held live Thursday on NASCAR America and televised on NBCSN.
Novak, who drives the No. 6 Ford Mustang for the Roush Fenway Racing esports team, claimed the win on a virtual Rockingham Speedway, forcing Conti, who drives for JR Motorsports, down low coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap of the 90-lap event and was able to hang on to take the checkered flag.
The 16-year-old Novak, from Clinton, Connecticut, leads the Peak Series points standings — he won last year’s Ignite Series championship — and goes for the $100,000 prize pool on October 10, which will also be televised on NBCSN.
I don’t even have a driver’s license yet. — Zack Novak
“I don’t even have a driver’s license yet,” Novak told NASCAR America analysts Krista Voda, Parker Kligerman (who also competed in the race in the NBC Sports simulator in Stamford, Connecticut) and former NASCAR Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger. “It was extremely hard to pass but Conti is a very good driver and kept putting pressure on me.
“I just tried to hold the top as much as I could and make it hard for him. The top line came in real good there, a lot better than I expected, and we luckily had a real good finish for everybody watching and it was really fun to race him and battle side-by-side.”
Finishing third through fifth in the 32-driver field were 2017 series champion Ryan Michael Luza (Flipsid3 Tactics), Logan Clampitt (Burton Kligerman Esports) and Nathan Lyon (Letarte Esports).
Sixth through 10th were Ashton Crowder (Burton Kligerman Esports), Matt Bussa (Williams Esports), Chris Overland (Wood Brothers), Bobby Zalenski (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Brian Schoenburg (Williams Esports).
The race was the second iRacing event broadcast on national television, and included NASCAR On NBC analyst Parker Kligerman and teams owned by real NASCAR organizations, tracks and drivers, including fellow NBC analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte.
“The return of iRacing eNASCAR action to live television on NBCSN for a second All-Star race provides viewers with a unique outlet to enjoy simulator racing at its best,” said Jeff Behnke, Vice President of NASCAR Production, NBC Sports. “The growth and popularity is impressive on many fronts, and with a variety of NBC announcers moonlighting as owners, fans will get first-hand, expert analysis during the broadcast.”