Four eNASCAR Ignite Series takeaways

Zack Novak claimed the inaugural eNASCAR Ignite Series championship Thursday night, beating Ireland’s Dave Walsh for a $10,000 racing scholarship, one-on-one time with Max Papis and a heap of other prizes.

The series, designed to showcase up-and-coming talent in a virtual setting, featured 13- to 16-year old drivers from around the globe racing on short tracks using iRacing’s legends cars — not much unlike the cars used at local short tracks to groom young talent for a future in stock car racing.

Here’s what we learned after the first season.

Zack Novak is really good.

Not only did Zack Novak put on an absolutely clutch performance to win the eNASCAR Ignite Series, he also is a NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series driver — and winner. In his rookie season, the driver from Connecticut won at Chicagoland Speedway, and he’s already picked up three runner-up finishes in 2018.

Zack Novak has proven at a young age he can get it done in the smaller, slower, lightweight eNASCAR Ignite Series legends cars, as well as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series-replica cars of the PEAK Series.

People are watching.

The inaugural eNASCAR Ignite Series drew plenty of attention.

Between social coverage and live viewership, racing fans followed the progression of the series from its launch in June. The finale broadcast stream drew over 100,000 views.

The right people are paying attention.

There are eyes on the eNASCAR Ignite Series — and the right eyes, too.

NASCAR race director Jusan Hamilton tweeted his congratulations to the champ after stopping by the pre-race broadcast earlier in the evening.

iRacing’s Executive Vice President Steve Myers offered his congratulations, too.

There’s talent here.

In addition to highlighting Zack Novak’s skill, the eNASCAR Ignite Series made names for other up-and-comers.

Ireland’s Dave Walsh demonstrated maturity beyond his years in his post-race interview after coming up just short of the title.

Garrett Lowe of North Carolina led the entire playoff-opening race and looked like a favorite to contend.

Briar LaPradd made a name for himself throughout the season.

And that’s just a short list to start — a three-month season put the spotlight on a whole new crop of drivers.

Watch the eNASCAR Ignite Series finale broadcast from Martinsville: