FORT WORTH, Texas – Alex Labbe converted a last-lap pass into the victory in the 30-lap qualifying race for the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on Sunday morning at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway.
Labbe started second and lurked in a top-four running position all race long, but took advantage of a shuffle inside of 10 to go to slot in behind Anthony Alfredo, who took over the top spot from race-long leader Ty Majeski on the 22nd lap around the 1.5-mile oval.
From there, Labbe laid in wait until the final lap before ducking to the inside of Alfredo in turn one, completing the pass down the backstretch and holding serve to the finish line.
Labbe reached the checkered flag .12 seconds ahead of Alfredo, with Majeski hanging on for third and Ruben Garcia Jr. taking the final transfer spot in fourth place.
For the past NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion, Sunday morning’s sprint race was a wild affair – expected only to get crazier come time for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 against the full NASCAR Cup Series field.
“I waited a long time, and just wanted to be committed to Ty’s bumper and just ride out there and try to get a little gap … because I knew it was going to get pretty crazy there with all the runs and everything at the end,” said Labbe. “I just stayed with Ty a long time. Just seemed like … I don’t know if he got a little damage there with (Tyler) Ankrum or if he was just slowing down a little bit, but we got past him in a good spot. Then I decided to go and on the last lap we were able to get the job done.
“I’m really looking forward to (being in the big show),” added Labbe. “I knew it was going to be really tough. I was pretty stressed … I’ve never been stressed like that for an iRacing race before. The first couple of laps were really nerve wracking, with the big pack and I knew it was going to be a big challenge really to get into the show, because there were a lot of really fast guys here and it doesn’t take much to wreck here with all the runs.”
Jeb Burton was the first man missing the cut to the big show, followed by Kraus, Brennan Poole, Kaz Grala, Stewart Friesen and Joe Graf Jr.
Chase Briscoe, who finished fourth last week in the Pro Invitational opener, Christian Eckes and Ryan Truex were among some of the drivers who saw their hopes at advancing end prematurely due to crashes or other incidents.
The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 goes green at 1 p.m. ET, live on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports app.
1. Alex Labbe, 2. Anthony Alfredo, 3. Ty Majeski, 4. Ruben Garcia Jr. / 5. Jeb Burton, 6. Derek Kraus, 7. Brennan Poole, 8. Kaz Grala, 9. Stewart Friesen, 10. Joe Graf Jr., 11. Todd Gilliland, 12. Jesse Iwuji, 13. Brandon Brown, 14. Spencer Boyd, 15. Chase Briscoe, 16. J.J. Yeley, 17. Chandler Smith, 18. Justin Haley, 19. Myatt Snider, 20. Tyler Ankrum, 21. Justin Allgaier, 22. Trevor Bayne, 23. Austin Cindric, 24. Joey Gase, 25. Sam Mayer, 26. Ryan Truex, 27. Harrison Burton, 28. Ryan Ellis, 29. Scott Stenzel, 30. Christian Eckes, 31. Jeffrey Earnhardt, 32. Kyle Weatherman.
Lead Changes: Two among three drivers
Lap Leaders: Ty Majeski 1-21, Anthony Alfredo 22-29, Alex Labbe 30.
Laps Led: Ty Majeski 21, Anthony Alfredo 8, Alex Labbe 1.
Caution Flags: None for 0 laps.
Average Speed: 179.814 mph