Garrett Lowe became the first driver to punch their ticket to the Championship Four round of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series playoffs last week after winning at the virtual Michigan International Speedway.
With two more races before he and three other drivers fight for the title at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Lowe will turn his attention to finding speed at Homestead-Miami Speedway, a track that he’s struggled with in the past. By clinching a spot in his first opportunity, it turns a two-week period of preparation into one that stretches over a month.
“Going into the night, we had already started preparing a little bit for at least Dover, just because like I said, we’re on a two-week turnaround and playoffs is quite a grind,” Lowe said. “We’ve been trying to be prepared at least a little bit for every track and then just work really hard when we get to each one.
“For me… I don’t need to turn 1,500 or 2,000 laps at Dover to be competitive, because I don’t need to be. It’s not going to be the normal playoff grind of turning 2,000 laps for one race,” Lowe explained.
Able to now look past Dover Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, Lowe’s attention will turn to Homestead where he’s still searching for how to get better.
“I’ve raced there probably three or four times and I think the best I’ve ever finished is fourth. Which is not to say that was a terrible race, but I just think the car was capable of more. Ever since they touched up the artwork, I have just been junk at that track so I’ve got to figure that out.
“I think I’ll get it figured out now that I have time but when you’re in a two-week stretch of just back-to-back, you’ve got to get ready for races, it’s hard to sit down and really learn a track from scratch,” Lowe said.
After crossing the line at Michigan, Lowe’s first reaction was one of relief. Relief that he would have the time to prepare for Homestead and relief that he wouldn’t have to fight for his spot on two of the calendar’s more difficult short tracks.
“The first thought is a lot of relief. You’re like, ‘Thank goodness, I don’t have to go to Dover and run good.’ It’s a relief at first and it’s extremely exciting because not only am I going to try for a championship, but I just won another race and I’ve had probably the best stretch of my career so far… The next step is as soon as you sit down and kind of collect your thoughts, you’re like, ‘Man, OK, we have a lot of work to do if we’re going to win this championship.’ So already turning the page is the next emotion.”