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NASCAR iRacing: Alex Bowman earns first virtual win at Talladega

April 26 (UPI) -- Hendrick Motorsports picked up its third consecutive win in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series when driver Alex Bowman edged Corey LaJoie and Ryan Preece in a three-wide finish Sunday in the GEICO 70 at virtual Talladega Superspeedway.

Bowman held off LaJoie and Preece in a two-lap overtime sprint to the finish, securing the victory by only .037 seconds.

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"I guess just right place, right time, kind of the normal speedway racing deal," Bowman told reporters after the race. "I've really got to thank Preece for pushing me because that's what made the difference at that point."

William Byron, Bowman's teammate with Hendrick Motorsports, won the last two races in NASCAR's virtual racing series. On Sunday, he finished sixth.

In Sunday's 74-lap overtime race, there were 14 leaders and 27 lead changes. LaJoie came in second and Preece in third. Garrett Smithley and Landon Cassill rounded out the top five.

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon stepped out of the booth and made his virtual debut Sunday, finishing in 38th after he was involved in two separate wrecks. Gordon, who was replaced by Michael Waltrip this week, typically calls the races for FOX Sports alongside Mike Joy.

"It's incredibly realistic," Gordon said. "I loved being a part of it. It was great being back in there in the action and competition on the track. I had a blast."

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FOX's in-race reporter Clint Bowyer had his race ended by a blown engine for the second straight week. Bowyer was pushing Bowman for the lead when the engine virtually overheated.

Brennan Poole (seventh), Kyle Busch (eighth), Kurt Busch (ninth) and Daniel Suarez finished inside the top 10. Timmy Hill, a one-time winner in the iRacing series, came in 11th and Kevin Harvick in 12th.

The next event in the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series is scheduled for May 3 at virtual Dover International Speedway.

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