23XI hires Esports ace as performance consultant

Keegan Leahy, the 2021 eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series champion and 23XI Racing’s eNASCAR driver, has a new title with the team: performance consultant. Or what Leahy calls, “just a big mismatch of whatever I can do to help the race car, or the drivers be faster for the race.”

23XI’s use of Leahy is perhaps the most a regular NASCAR team has integrated its eNASCAR driver, and Leahy is ideal candidate to be tapped for such a promotion. Alongside his experience as one of the best sim racers, particularly on road courses, Leahy holds bachelor’s degree in physics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada giving him a robust base of knowledge on what makes a car quick.

“It’s a really interesting job, something I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of and try to find my niche,” Leahy said. “I got to try a whole lot of different stuff this week and figure out what I’m good at or what I like and enjoy, and what the team needs me to do. So honestly, I can’t tell you exactly what I’m doing because I don’t know yet, either.”

Regardless, Leahy’s impact is already being felt. After Tyler Reddick won the NASCAR Cup Series race from Circuit of the Americas, he credited Leahy for helping him improve his speed on the road course.

The team gave him a tour of the race shop and welcomed him on top of the pit box for last year’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway. As part of the new job, Leahy will be moving from Canada to North Carolina.

“What I can say is what we did work on this week, especially my one-on-one with Tyler Reddick, and Denny Hamlin was there in the meeting as well, we really got to go over what I thought they were doing in the simulator,” he said. “How I thought they could go faster, just watching what they were doing, drawing on my experience from racing Circuit of the Americas on iRacing.

“We had a race there in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series in 2021, I believe, so I have a lot of laps at the track, especially drawing off my teammate Mitchell DeJong and good friend Bobby Zalenski for those tips and tricks as well. But I’m able to pass along what I know to my teammates in real life now. I’m glad to hear from Tyler that it did translate, and it did help them and whether it was a big part or a small part, I’m proud to be a part of that victory.”

Hamlin believes the skillset that Leahy and others have will become a valuable asset to race teams.

“I know that I worked with him on road courses quite a bit, COTA being one of them,” Hamlin said on his podcast. “Now again, I’m probably not a great case study because I haven’t taken the big jump that I need to. I know that I worked with him at the Daytona road course, and I led early on at the Daytona road course because of the preparation that I put in with him and the team… I think that you’ll see in the future that these guys are going to have positions or be assets to some of these teams.”

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