By Dustin Albino
Over the past six years, Chris Cockrum has been a staple in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at superspeedway tracks. He’ll do that again in 2021.
Cockrum will enter into the season opening Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13, driving his family-operated No. 25 ACG Motorsports Chevrolet.
The Georgia native also isn’t ruling out running in other select events throughout the season, depending on his Daytona effort.
"If everything falls our way, we should be OK to go run a few more races than we did last year," Cockrum told Jayski.com. "After the accident last year, we got our car fixed in no time but there was no sense for us to go and race if we knew beforehand we weren’t guaranteed in it."
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning last March, Cockrum was scheduled to run in all three superspeedway races in 2020. But with no practice or qualifying, the No. 25 team elected not to show up at either race at Talladega Superspeedway nor the August race at Daytona.
"The plan this year is, we think we can work with it a little more, now that we know we’re going to practice and qualify at Daytona — we’re going to go and race competitively," Cockrum said. "If we go and finish in the top five or top 10, if we miss the road course and [Homestead-Miami Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway] before Atlanta [Motor Speedway] – if we’re above the top 36 in points, then we should still be locked into the race by showing up and racing at Atlanta.
"We should be OK by missing those races, providing the outcome of Daytona works in our favor. If it doesn’t, then we’re kind of stuck and we’ll have to see how it unfolds because without the practice and qualifying and going based off points."
Should Cockrum have a strong outing at Daytona, he’d be interested in running at Atlanta, his home racetrack. The team’s race shop is based out of Jeff Spraker’s shop (Cockrum’s crew chief) in Mooresville, N.C., so running at Charlotte Motor Speedway isn’t out of the question either.
Cockrum noted the team has three chassis, two of which are superspeedway cars, the other is an intermediate car. For the February race, he will run an old Chip Ganassi Racing car that the team purchased a year and a half ago. The No. 25 car will also have an ECR engine under the hood.
Per usual, Cockrum will be sponsored by Advanced Communications Group, his father’s (Lynn) company. It’s the same company that Cockrum works at daily at throughout the year.
Cockrum said, "We focus all of our intentions on the speedways because we’re very limited on our funding, so we just focused on them because there [are] only three or four races per year."
Even if Daytona goes awry next month, Cockrum is going there to run all out, as he’s earned a best finish of 19th at the track in seven starts. His lone top-10 finish in 19 career starts came at Talladega Superspeedway in 2019.