Some call him lucky. Others call him skilled. But from now on, they’ll call him CHAMP.
Daniel Buttafuoco, better known as LuckyDog385 in the gaming world, captured his first-ever eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship Wednesday night courtesy of a classic bump-and-run move on title rival Justin Brooks.
The Germain Gaming driver made the pass with two laps to go at Bristol Motor Speedway and left no room for retaliation, quickly powering away from Brooks to earn the 2020 title and a $30,000 payday.
“It’s an unreal feeling. I’m humbled and honored to be the champion,” said Buttafuoco. “A lot of emotion, as you can see. I worked very hard to get to this level … There was so much stress leading up to these races. I put so much pressure on myself because I want to win, I want to be the best.”
Buttafuoco was forced to survive a unique elimination-style format that saw the night start with eight championship contenders and three races on the horizon, before ultimately whittling down to a Final 4 showdown at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The first race at Michigan International Speedway saw Team Penske eSports’ Brian Tedeschi and Gibbs Gaming’s Josh Parker get knocked out of contention, followed by a race at Phoenix Raceway which KO’d Wood Brothers Gaming’s Slade Gravitt and Chip Ganassi Gaming’s Maxwell Castro.
This left Buttafuoco, Brooks (JTG Daugherty), Stewart-Haas eSports’ Brandyn Gritton and Leavine Family Gaming’s Josh Harbin to battle it out for the crown.
Gritton, who won the inaugural title last year, and Harbin showed speed early in the final race at Bristol but ultimately lacked the speed needed to compete with the top two.
The championship run for Buttafuoco, and a stout season from his teammate Kyle Arnold also propelled Germain Gaming to the 2020 team championship.