Friday, July 1, 2022

Graham Bowlin Scores $10,000 Payday by Winning 2021 Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge


Editor’s Note: If you missed Friday night’s Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge Presented by Blue-Emu, feel free to watch the full event in the embedded video player above.

On Friday night, it was Graham Bowlin in the No. 10 Ford Mustang who scored the massive $10,000 payday as he scored the massive dub over a star-studded field of eRacers in the Main Event of’s 2021 Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge Presented by Blue-Emu.

As if the pressure of putting down a quick lap wasn’t enough, the event took place at the virtual Darlington Raceway, which is a monstrous challenge for the iRacing drivers, but then the format of the Main Event added even more pressure for the competitors.

The Main Event consisted of 4 Rounds, which featured head-to-head elimination qualifying challenges, where the top seeds (determined in old school All-Star race qualifying) and reseeded for Round 2 and 3 based on the previous round speeds, had the opportunity to select whoever they wanted to go against.

In order to take the big payday, competitors had to be nearly perfect in four-separate qualifying laps on the night.

Bowlin, The Houston, Texas-native, who came into Round 1 as the No. 12 seed, and was actually voted as an underdog in the eRacr predictor poll, scored the fastest lap in every round of the Main Event, and he had some wondering by the end of the night whether he was a robot due to his lightning quick and precise lap times all evening.

For Bowlin, it all came down to practice, practice, practice.

“It just came down to practice and I was really keen on just being like a hundredth off every lap,” Bowlin explained while conducting his victory donuts. “I would take breaks, like for 20 minutes to mimick this, instead of going out every two seconds, just so it would be just like this. It came down to consistency.”

In the end, Bowlin overcame the pressure of a final head-to-head matchup against Casey Kirwan for the ultimate prize.

Meanwhile, after Bowlin recorded his blistering 29.475 sec. lap in the final round, Kirwan went hard into the outside wall in the final set of turns on his lap as the pressure of trying to match Bowlin’s time got the best of him.

Friday night’s Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge was intense from start to finish.

So, how did things play out?

Here are the results from round 1:

  • No. 38 Casey Kirwin (seed 1) vs No. 9 Garrett Konrath (seed 16)
    Kirwin (29.591 sec.) eliminated Konrath (66.463 sec.), who crashed off turn two on his lap.
  • No. 97 Logan Clampitt (seed 2) vs No. 06 Spencer Burns (seed 15)
    Clampitt (29.576 sec.) eliminated Burns (30.101 sec.)
  • No. 6 Garrett Lowe (seed 3) vs No. 42 Conor Horn (seed 4)
    Lowe (29.689 sec.) eliminated Horn (29.788 sec.)
  • No. 10 Tucker Minter (seed 5) vs No. 41 Brian Mercurio (seed 11)
    Minter (29.615 sec.) eliminated Mercurio (29.645 sec.)
  • No. 32 Keegan Leahy (seed 6) vs No. 5 Jarrett Liebert (seed 10)
    Leahy (29.573 sec.) eliminated Liebert (30.171 sec.)
  • No. 51 Ray Alfalla (seed 7) vs No. 37 Oisin Walsh (seed 9)
    Walsh (29.801 sec.) eliminated Alfalla (30.064 sec.)
  • No. 83 Bobby Zalenski (seed 8) vs No. 66 Blake Reynolds (seed 13)
    Zalenski (29.635 sec.) eliminated Reynolds (31.455 sec.)
  • No. 10 Graham Bowlin (seed 12) vs No. 51 Donovan Strauss (seed 14)
    Bowlin (29.465 sec.) eliminated Strauss (29.563 sec.)

Here are the results from Round 2:

  • No. 10 Graham Bowlin vs No. 6 Garrett Lowe
    Bowlin (29.464 sec.) eliminated Lowe (29.660 sec.)
  • No. 32 Keegan Leahy vs No. 37 Oisin Walsh
    Leahy (29.547 sec.) eliminated Walsh (29.590 sec.)
  • No. 97 Logan Clampitt vs No. 10 Tucker Minter
    Minter (29.522 sec.) eliminated Clampitt (29.627 sec.)
  • No. 38 Casey Kirwan vs No. 83 Bobby Zalenski
    Kirwan (29.532 sec.) eliminated Zalenski (29.823 sec.)

Here are the results from Round 3:

  • No. 10 Graham Bowlin vs No. 32 Keegan Leahy
    Bowlin (29.490 sec.) eliminated Leahy (34.206 sec.)
  • No. 10 Tucker Minter vs No. 38 Casey Kirwan
    Kirwan (29.583 sec.) eliminated Minter (29.623 sec.)

Here are the results from the Final Round

  • No. 10 Graham Bowlin vs No. 38 Casey Kirwan
    Bowlin (29.475 sec.) eliminated Kirwan (29.926 sec.)

Heading into Friday night’s event, Cassill, David Schildhouse and Parker Kligerman, who handled broadcasting duties for the qualifying challenge, picked their favorites to score the big cash prize.

Cassill selected Logan Clampitt, who came home in sixth.

Schildhouse picked Keegan Leahy, who came home in fourth.

And Kligerman hitched his rocket to Casey Kirwan, who came into the night as the No. 1 seed in the competition and finished second.

Overall, more than 200 drivers attempted to make it into Friday night’s Main Event. The top-16 drivers waged a war for the cash. And, ultimately, it was Graham Bowlin, the underdog, who schooled the competition on Friday night.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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