Nick Ottinger is a seasoned iRacing-winning driver that began competing when he was 15 years old. In 2020 he will pilot the No. 25 Camaro ZL1 for William Byron eSports in the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series.
His love for racing developed at age 13 when his time playing football, baseball and basketball came to a screeching halt when complications required him to have open heart surgery. During the months of recuperation, one of his brothers (Chris) bought him a PlayStation and some racing games. His passion grew as he raced in video games and heard stories about his dad's racing career. In the 1980's, Fred Ottinger competed at local short tracks such as Hialeah Speedway in southern Florida. The younger Ottinger credits his dad in teaching him the technical aspects of racing, car setups and the mental preparedness that a skilled driver needs to maintain throughout a race.
With his growing desire to race competitively against other talented drivers, it didn't take long for Ottinger to stumble upon iRacing. Ottinger found himself racing against Michael Conti, the 2014 NASCAR Peak Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing champion in various league races, and it was Conti's recommendation that Ottinger explore iRacing.
As he began iRacing in mid-2010, Ottinger's daily routine consisted of transitioning from a normal high school day to racing in the evenings. While running in a street stock practice session, he raced NASCAR driver Cale Gale bumper to bumper for several laps without wrecking. Gale took notice of Ottinger's talent and approached him about creating Gale Force Sim Racing in August 2011. That opportunity and an upgraded computer continued to open doors for the Claremont, N.C.-native. Gale and Ottinger made the decision to move up to the eNASCAR level. It was then that Gale paired Ottinger with Matt Holden as his crew chief, and Holden and Ottinger remain together today after many successful years.
In 2012, Ottinger began competing in the eNASCAR iRacing Series and won in his first career start at Phoenix Raceway – the only driver to do so since the series started. He went on to win again at Charlotte Motor Speedway, collected a total of eight top-fives and finished fourth in the championship point standings in his rookie season. He returned in 2013 to earn a record six wins in a single season and to finish third in the point standings.
Ottinger continued to hone his skills year after year, however 2017 would prove to be a year of trials. After the season opener, Ottinger had his yearly cardiologist checkup – a visit that determined it was time to have another heart surgery to replace the pig valve that was put in in 2008. The necessary surgery would force Ottinger to miss the second race of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Unable to compete, he was looking forward to watching the race from his laptop in his hospital room and cheering on his good friend and teammate at the time, Matt Bussa, however he slept through the whole event.
As the iRacing popularity continued to skyrocket, Richmond Raceway moved onto the scene as a team owner and recruiting Ottinger as a driver in 2018. Ottinger kicked off the season with a win at Daytona – another defining moment in his career as he has won the majority of eNASCAR iRacing Series biggest events: The Daytona 250, The Coke 300, and Indy 200.
iRacing introduced a driver draft for the 2019 eNASCAR season and Ottinger was picked up by JTG Daugherty Racing. Ottinger earned a big win at the famed Talladega Superspeedway, and a few weeks later would claim the victory in iRacing's first ever live broadcasted event on the NBC Sports Network. Ottinger collected five top-five finishes en route to a ninth-place finish in the championship point standings.
For the 2020 season, iRacing changed to driver selection format to a free agency for the eNASCAR iRacing World Championship Series. Ottinger signed with William Byron eSports, pairing the seasoned driver with a team owner that shares the same committed efforts to win races and a championship in 2020.
Family is a big priority for Ottinger. When he's not racing or working as a mechanic for his family business Limitless Automotive, he looks forward to their get-togethers where he enjoys grilling out and making chicken pie, a favorite family recipe, with his dad. He always makes it a point to watch NASCAR races with his dad on the weekends.