NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At Daytona
The Place: Daytona Road Course
The Date: Sunday, February 21
The Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 252.7 miles (70 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 16), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 34), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 70)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Super Start Batteries 188 At Daytona Presented by O’Reilly
The Place: Daytona Road Course
The Date: Saturday, February 20
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 4:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 187.72 miles (52 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 52)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: BrakeBest Pads 159 At Daytona Presented by O’Reilly
The Place: Daytona Road Course
The Date: Friday, February 19
The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 6:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 158.85 miles (44 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 12), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 25), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 44)
NASCAR Cup Series
2021 NASCAR Cup Series Season embraces road racing
For the first time in a NASCAR Cup Series season (1949-2021) the schedule calls for the series to visit seven different road course tracks – Daytona International Speedway Road Course, Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Watkins Glen International, Sonoma Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (ROVAL) and Road America. The previous most the NASCAR Cup Series competed on in one season was four back in 1964 and 1957.
|Cup||Augusta (RC)||Road Course||Fireball Roberts||11/17/1963||1964|
|Cup||Bridgehampton||Road Course||Billy Wade||7/12/1964||1964|
|Cup||Riverside||Road Course||Dan Gurney||1/19/1964||1964|
|Cup||Watkins Glen||Road Course||Billy Wade||7/19/1964||1964|
|Cup||Kitsap||Road Course||Parnelli Jones||8/4/1957||1957|
|Cup||Lancaster||Road Course||Marvin Panch||11/11/1956||1957|
|Cup||Titusville-Cocoa||Road Course||Fireball Roberts||12/30/1956||1957|
|Cup||Watkins Glen||Road Course||Buck Baker||8/4/1957||1957|
The first of the seven road courses on the 2021 schedule is this weekend’s Daytona International Speedway Road Course. The series made its debut at the Daytona Road Course last season with the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion taking the checkered flag. This weekend’s race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At DAYTONA is scheduled for 70 laps or 252.7 miles (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The starting lineups for this weekend’s race was determined by Metric Qualifying and as a result Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott will start from the pole and 2021 Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell will start on the outside front row (second).
Michael McDowell looks to join elite company to win first two races of the season
After bagging the biggest race in NASCAR, the Daytona 500, Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell must come back down from the Cloud-9-type celebration all week and return his focus to battle it out on the 3.61-mile, 14-turn Daytona International Speedway Road Course in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At DAYTONA this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in hopes of becoming just the sixth different driver to win the first two races of a NASCAR Cup Series season.
If McDowell can accomplish the feat, he will join some elite company: Matt Kenseth (2009: Daytona, Auto Club), Jeff Gordon (1997: Daytona, Rockingham), David Pearson (1976: Riverside, Daytona), Bob Welborn (1959: Champion, Daytona), Marvin Panch (1957: Lancaster, Concord).
The Glendale, Arizona native, McDowell, made his series debut at the Daytona Road Course last season; he started 30th and finished 10th.
King of the Road: Elliott looking for his sixth career road course victory
No active driver has more wins on road courses in the NASCAR Cup Series than Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott. What’s even more impressive is Elliott’s ascension to the ‘King of the Road’ in the series has all happened since 2018. In the last seven NASCAR Cup Series road course races, Elliott has won five including the last three consecutively.
Chase Elliott’s road course dominance has garnered him five wins which has him tied for seventh on the NASCAR Cup Series all-time road course wins list with Dan Gurney, Darrell Waltrip and Tim Richmond.
If the defending winner of the Daytona Road Course, Elliott, wins this weekend, he will join Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace in a tie for third-most series road course wins with six each.
Jeff Gordon leads the series in road course wins with nine (five at Sonoma, four at Watkins Glen). Tony Stewart has the second-most road course wins with eight (four at Sonoma, four at Watkins Glen).
In the inaugural Daytona Road Course race, the Dawsonville, Georgia native started seventh and raced his way up to the front leading 34 laps en route to the victory.
Heading into this weekend, Elliott is likely the favorite and the stats support the assumption. Elliott is the series leader in the following key pre-race loop data categories – Driver Rating (135.6), Average Running Position (3.1), Lap Led (34), Laps in the Top 15 (64 laps, 98.5).
Austin Dillon holds Cup points lead for first time in career
Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon didn’t win the Daytona 500 last weekend, but his third-place finish was enough to give him the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings points lead for the first time in his career. Hi previous career-best points position in the series was third after winning the 2018 Daytona 500.
Dillon ran a masterful race last Sunday and was in contention to win on the final lap, but the 2018 Daytona 500 winner had to settle for third when the caution came out to end the event. Dillon racked up points all race, finishing third in the first stage and fifth in the second stage. Now the North Carolinian holds a six-point lead over second-place Denny Hamlin.
Dillon will look to retain his points lead this weekend at the Daytona Road Course, where he made his track debut in the Clash last Tuesday, because he missed the race last season due to COVID-19 protocols. In the Clash, he started 19th and finished 11th.
Clash winner Kyle Busch looks to add to his road racing resume
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch and new crew chief Ben Beshore were gifted with a win last Tuesday night in the 2021 Busch Clash, when Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney took each other out in the last turn (Turn 14) opening the winning door for Busch.
Now this weekend, Busch is looking to keep the good mojo going and get his first win of the 2021 season in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At DAYTONA (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Busch currently has four road course wins in the NASCAR Cup Series – two at Sonoma and two at Watkins Glen – but is looking for his first points-paying victory on the Daytona Road Course. If he accomplishes the feat, he will tie Chase Elliott for the series most road course wins among active drivers.
Busch’s first attempt at the Daytona Road Course last season was grim; he started fourth but was caught in an incident and relegated to a 37th-place finish.
Small but mighty 2021 Sunoco Rookie class
With only two drivers vying for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, the class might be small but is definitely not short on talent and has the potential to make quite a splash this season.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe grabbed the first Rookie of the Race Award of the season at Daytona after he finished 19th in the Daytona 500. Now the Indiana native has 13 points lead in the rookie standings over his lone competitor Anthony Alfredo.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Daytona Road Course, Briscoe is optimistic. He has 11 career wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and he scored two of them on road courses – Charlotte and Indianapolis. In last season’s Xfinity race at the Daytona Road Course, he started second and led 26 laps (race-most) but was caught in an accident late in the race and finished 29th.
Front Row Motorsport’s Anthony Alfredo is currently 13 points behind Briscoe in the rookie standings after he finished 32nd in the season-opening Daytona 500 due to an incident.
Alfredo will have his work cut out for him this weekend, the Ridgefield, Connecticut native has only one NASCAR national series start at a road course and it was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course last season. He started seventh and finished 20th.
Quick Recap: 2020 NASCAR Cup Series debut at Daytona Road Course
The NASCAR Cup Series debut at the Daytona Road Course last season was a wild event that saw wet and dry conditions resulting in 13 lead changes among six different leaders across the 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin looked like the dominant driver to beat in the early stages of the race, swapping the lead with other competitors several times. In total, he led 16 laps in the event.
But as the race went on and the rain started to fall, Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott would take command of the inaugural road course event and ultimately win. Elliott led a race-high 34 of the scheduled 65 laps (52.3%). Hamlin would finish runner-up, followed by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR Cup Series Etc.
Kevin James, Star of "The Crew" on NETFLIX, to Serve as Grand Marshal: Kevin James, the star and executive producer of the sitcom "The Crew" for Netflix, now streaming on NETFLIX, will serve as the Grand Marshal for this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on the Daytona Road Course (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The command for drivers to "Start Your Engines" by James will be conducted virtually.
James is widely known as the start of "The King of Queens," which premiered in 1998, ran for nine seasons on CBS with James starring and executive producing, the show garnered him an Emmy nomination in 2006 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The sitcom concluded its run in 2007 but continues to air daily in syndication across the country and around the world. He also starred in hit films including Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Zookeeper, Grownups, and most recently Hubie Halloween.
CeCe Winans to Perform National Anthem: CeCe Winans, the best-selling and most-awarded female gospel artist of all-time, will perform the pre-race National Anthem for the NASCAR Cup Series race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At DAYTONA (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Winans will perform the anthem virtually.
Winans has long since cemented her status as one of the most accomplished and celebrated women in modern music history. Her mantel holds a staggering 12 GRAMMY Awards, 20 Dove Awards, and 7 Stellar Awards. She’s been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Nashville Music City Walk of Fame. In addition, she was named a Trailblazer of Soul by BMI and has garnered multiple NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Awards, Essence Awards, and more. She has over 17 million album sales worldwide, topping the Gospel charts repeatedly while crossing over with smashes like "Count On Me," her stunning duet with Whitney Houston from the multi-platinum ‘Waiting To Exhale’ soundtrack, which sold 2 million copies and cracked the Top 10 on the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts. She touched millions more with inspirational performances everywhere from Oprah to The White House, and even showed off her acting chops on television series like ‘7th Heaven’ and ‘Doc’.
Kicking off the season right: Several drivers scored their career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish in the 2021 season-opening Daytona 500.
Michael McDowell leads the list of drivers getting their best finish in the 2021 Daytona 500 with his first career NASCAR Cup Series win. McDowell is one of eight drivers to score his first win in Great America Race – Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994), Michael Waltrip (2001), Trevor Bayne (2011) and Michael McDowell (2021).
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ross Chastain scored his first NASCAR Cup Series top-10 finish (seventh) last weekend in the Daytona 500. The Floridian is in his first full season with No. 42 team.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe made his series debut last weekend and posted a 19th-place finish in the Daytona 500.
Possible Milestones This Weekend At Daytona RC: Below is a look at the possible milestones that could be achieved this weekend.
STARTS: Ryan Blaney will attempt to make his 200th NASCAR Cup Series career start this weekend at the Daytona Road Course. Blaney made his first start in the NASCAR Cup Series on May 10, 2014 at Kansas Speedway for Team Penske in the No. 12 Ford. In Blaney’s first 199 starts he has posted four wins, 38 top fives, 76 top 10s and six poles.
WINS: Kyle Busch (57 wins) can tie Kevin Harvick (58 wins) for the most NASCAR Cup Series wins by an active drivers. … Wood Brothers Racing has 99 wins all-time. A victory this weekend by Matt DiBenedetto would give the organization 100 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series.
LAPS LED: Three active drivers have led more than 10,000 laps led in the NASCAR Cup Series – Kyle Busch (17,947), Kevin Harvick (15,582) and Denny Hamlin (11,326). This season Kurt Busch has the opportunity to become the fourth active driver to lead more than 10,000 laps and the 19th all-time in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kurt Busch currently needs 98 more laps led to accomplish the feat; he has 9,902 laps led. Martin Truex Jr. is also not far behind Busch with 9,856 laps led.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Austin Cindric claims season-opener at Daytona
Road course ace Austin Cindric finally got a superspeedway win at Daytona International Speedway in the season-opener on Saturday.
After rain canceled qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Cindric started in the first position with JR Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier joining him on the front row. Cindric led 26 laps en route to the victory in a race that saw 16 lead changes and had nine cautions for 42 laps. Cindric beat second-place finisher Brett Moffitt by .104 seconds.
Cindric had made it known he really wanted to add a superspeedway win to his resume. Not only did he accomplish the feat, but he also participated in the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 for Team Penske where he started 39th and finished 15th.
Cindric’s win has him back atop the points standings as well, with a 15 points lead on second place Ty Dillon.
Team Penske’s Cindric can set more records this weekend
With his big win to kick off the season at Daytona, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric became just the second driver in NASCAR Xfinity Series history to win the championship and the season-opener the following year; joining Randy LaJoie who accomplished the feat in 1997. Now, Cindric has the opportunity to become the only driver in series history to win a championship and then the first two races of a NASCAR Xfinity Series season the following year.
And, lucky for Cindric, the series heads back to Daytona this weekend, but this time will race on the 3.61-mile, 14-turn road course. Last season was the first time in history that the NASCAR Xfinity Series raced on the Daytona Road Course and Cindric made history by winning the event from the pole by a massive 7.108-seconds over second place Brandon Jones. It was one of Cindric’s six victories en route to the title last season.
Cindric led 21 of 52 laps in a race that saw seven lead changes and seven cautions for eight laps. This weekend, Cindric will look to stay undefeated at the Daytona Road Course in The Super Start Batteries 188 At Daytona Presented by O’Reilly (5 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The race will be broken up into three stages: Stage 1 will end on Lap 15 and Stage 2 will end on Lap 30. The race will be 52 laps total for 187.72 miles.
Brett Moffitt will start on the pole this weekend with Cindric joining him on the front row. Jeb Burton, Harrison Burton and Daniel Hemric will round out the top-five starting positions.
First road course of the season on deck at Daytona
In 2020, the NASCAR Xfinity Series ran on four road courses. They started the season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and then went to Road America, the Daytona Road Course and closed out at the Charlotte ROVAL.
This weekend, the Super Start Batteries 188 At Daytona Presented by O’Reilly will kick off a season with seven road courses on the schedule – Daytona Road Course, Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course, Road America, Watkins Glen International, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (ROVAL).
Austin Cindric, last week’s winner, also won this race last season. He went on a two-race road course winning streak, winning at Road America and then at the Daytona Road Course the following week. Of Cindric’s nine total wins in the Xfinity Series, four of them were at road courses. He will try to make that five this weekend.
Xfinity Road Course Ringers Aplenty
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings leader Austin Cindric is known for running well on road courses, but he’s not alone in that. The Xfinity Series has a lot of talented drivers on road courses and this weekend will be no different.
AJ Allmendinger, who won at the Charlotte ROVAL last season, finished fourth last season at the Daytona Road Course and will be back behind the wheel of the No. 16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing this weekend. Of Allmendinger’s five Xfinity Series victories, four of them were at road courses.
Andy Lally is joining Our Motorsports this weekend, chasing a victory on the road course. Lally finished fifth in this race last season.
Miguel Paludo will be behind the wheel of the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports on Saturday. This will be his third start in the Xfinity Series. The last time he ran a race in the series was 2012 at Road America and Watkins Glen.
Preston Pardus will also be back behind the wheel this weekend for DGM Racing. Pardus has six starts in the Xfinity Series, all coming from road courses in 2019 and 2020. He has a best finish of eighth at Road America last season.
Jade Buford will make his fifth start in the Xfinity Series this weekend. All four of his previous starts were in 2020 on road courses. He had a best finish of eighth at the Charlotte ROVAL.
Jones had a great race at the Daytona Road Course last season and led two laps en route to his second-place finish. Noah Gragson is also strong on road courses and tends to run up front. He finished third last season with Allmendinger and Lally rounding out the top five.
Recapping Xfinity’s Top 10 in points
|NXS Top 10 In Point Standings|
We may only be one race into the season but taking a look at some of the drivers that started out the season on a high note, there are some new faces in the points standings top 10.
Ty Dillon, who hadn’t made a Xfinity Series start since 2018, is running a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing in the series. He kicked things off for the team at Daytona and currently has the No. 54 in second in the points standings.
Brandon Brown is sitting in third, the highest he’s ever been ranked in the points standings. He finished sixth in the opening race of the season and had a great points day for his No. 68 family-owned team – Brandonbilt Motorsports. Brown didn’t get to finish the race at the Daytona Road Course last season after an axle issue but will look to have a better finish coming off some great momentum from the season-opener.
Harrison Burton came off a strong rookie season, winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in 2020, and started this season off just as strong. He finished third in the season-opener last weekend and finished eighth at the Daytona Road Course in 2020. He’s currently sitting in fourth in the points standings.
Harrison’s cousin Jeb, who is running his first fulltime season in the Xfinity Series with Kaulig Racing, has already made a statement. He’s currently sitting in fifth in the points standings and finished fourth in the season opener. This weekend will be his first start on the Daytona Road Course.
Myatt Snider is sitting in sixth in the points standings. This is his first fulltime season with Richard Childress Racing. He finished seventh last weekend and in 2020, he finished 10th at the road course for RSS Racing.
Daniel Hemric got a new ride for 2021 in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He finished ninth last weekend. Unfortunately, Hemric finished 37th last season at the Daytona Road Course after being involved in a wreck but he still has more experience on the track than those making their debuts. He is sitting in seventh in the points standings.
AJ Allmendinger, one of the road course kings in the Xfinity Series, is sitting in eighth in the points standings. He finished fourth in this race last season and with all of his road course experience, you can expect he’ll be up front this Saturday, too.
Brandon Gdovic and Jason White are two names that we don’t see in the top 10 in points standings very often. But that’s Daytona. Gdovic finished eighth last weekend while White finished 10th. Gdovic finished 28th last season at the Daytona Road Course. Last weekend was Jason White’s first Xfinity Series start since 2014. It also marked his second top 10.
Vargas partnering with Saint’s running back Alvin Kamara for Daytona RC
Ryan Vargas was without a sponsor for this weekend’s race at the Daytona Road Course for his No. 6 JD Motorsports Chevrolet but as we’ve seen in the past, Vargas has a way of making things happen through social media.
Last year, Vargas got Tik Tok onboard his No. 6 to finish the season and it all started on Twitter.
Vargas took to social media again after the season-opener at Daytona, looking for sponsorship for the Daytona Road Course this weekend. Alvin Kamara, NFL running back for the New Orleans Saints, ended up reaching out to Vargas about a partnership and putting The Big Squeezy on his car. The Big Squeezy is Kamara’s chain of juice bars based in Louisiana. The deal was quickly finalized, and Vargas will sport a colorful car on Saturday with the help of Kamara.
"Having the opportunity to work with Alvin Kamara and The Big Squeezy is such a huge honor. As one of the best Running Backs in the game, I know Alvin puts 110% effort into everything he does and that can easily be said for myself and our No. 6 JD Motorsports Team. I’m excited to be a part of Alvin’s first step into the NASCAR Industry and I believe this is just the start of a long, successful partnership," Vargas said in an interview with NASCAR.com.
Kamara became a NASCAR fan last season and attended multiple races as a VIP fan. This weekend will be the first that he is involved as a sponsor.
"When this opportunity presented itself, I knew I couldn’t let it slip by," Kamara said in a team release. "I did a bit of research on Ryan as an individual and JD Motorsports and was impressed with what I read. I’m excited to play a small role in what they already have going on."
Kamara serves as co-owner of The Big Squeezy chain, which has nine locations throughout Louisiana. Find out more at www.bigsqueezyexpress.com.
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Starr is back: David Starr is returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series beginning this weekend at the Daytona Road Course. Starr will take over the No. 13 for MBM Motorsports with Whataburger as the primary sponsor of the car for 19 events. Starr announced that he will run the remainder of the schedule for MBM.
Antonio Williams invests in Joe Graf Jr.: Another NFL player is getting involved in NASCAR. This time it’s Antonio Williams who just completed his rookie season with the Buffalo Bills. Williams committed to helping Graf expand his current relationship in the sport, bringing new interest and even sponsorships to Graf and the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet. Williams is going to be actively involved in the business side of things and will attend races as a supporter of Graf.
Natalie Decker making NXS debut: Natalie Decker will make her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend for RSS Racing in partnership with Reaume Brothers Racing in the No. 23 Ford. Jason White was the driver of the No. 23 in the season opener and finished 10th. Decker will take over on Saturday and will be sponsored by Christian music label Red Street Records, which was formed by Jay DeMarcus of country music group Rascal Flatts. Decker made 13 Truck Series starts in 2020 for Niece Motorsports.
For those that love numerology, Decker will be driving the No. 23 Ford this weekend as she attempts to become the 23rd different female to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series all-time. Decker will be the first female since Angela Ruch in 2018 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to make a start in the series.
The record for the best finish by a female in NASCAR national series history is fourth by Danica Patrick at Las Vegas in 2011. Decker holds the record for best finish by a female competitor in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with her fifth-place finish in the season-opener last year at Daytona. The best finish by a female making her NASCAR Xfinity Series debut is 15th by Shawna Robinson at Rougemont in 1991.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Camping World Trucks go road racing at Daytona Road Course
Every season (1995-2021), except a small stint between 2001-2012, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has had a road course on the schedule in some form or fashion. This season, the series has embraced road racing like never before. The 2021 Truck Series schedule has four road courses listed – Daytona Road Course, Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – the most of any season in series history.
|1||1995||Heartland Park||Ron Hornaday Jr|
|2||1995||Sonoma||Ron Hornaday Jr|
|3||1996||Heartland Park||Mike Skinner|
|4||1996||Watkins Glen||Ron Hornaday Jr|
|6||1997||Heartland Park||Joe Ruttman|
|7||1997||Watkins Glen||Ron Fellows|
|9||1998||Watkins Glen||Joe Ruttman|
|10||1998||Heartland Park||Stacy Compton|
|12||1999||Portland International||Greg Biffle|
|13||1999||Watkins Glen||Ron Fellows|
|14||1999||Heartland Park||Mike Bliss|
|15||2000||Portland International||Andy Houston|
|16||2000||Watkins Glen||Greg Biffle|
|20||2016||CTMP||John H. Nemechek|
|24||2020||DAYTONA RC||Sheldon Creed|
The first road course the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ever competed at in a point-paying championship event was at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka Kansas on July 29, 1995. NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. won the race from the pole dominating the event leading 58 of the scheduled 60 laps.
In total the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has held 24 series points-paying races on six different road courses – Heartland Park Topeka, Watkins Glen International, Sonoma Raceway, Portland International Raceway, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and the Daytona Road Course – from 1995-Present. Prior to this season’s four, the most road courses the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has competed on in a single season is three – from 1996 to 1999.
The 24 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on road courses have produced 18 different winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. (1995: Heartland Park, Sonoma; 1996: Watkins Glen) and Joe Ruttman (1997: Heartland Park, Sonoma; 1998: Watkins Glen) with three road course wins each. Only two other drivers have multiple road course wins in the Truck Series – 2000 series champion Greg Biffle grabbed road course wins at Portland International Raceway (1999) and Watkins Glen (2000) and Canadian Ron Fellows collected two wins at Watkins Glen in 1997 and 1999.
Last season, the Camping World Truck Series took to the Daytona Road Course for the first time. It was an action-packed event that saw 10 lead changes, but ultimately it was the eventual series champion, Sheldon Creed, taking the checkered flag.
Among the drivers entered this weekend only three have previous wins on road courses in the series, Creed’s Daytona Road Course win last year and the other two were at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – John Hunter Nemechek (2016) and Brett Moffitt (2019).
Sheldon Creed returning to defend
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was the first NASCAR national series to take to the twists and turns of the Daytona Road Course last August when the famed circuit became a replacement race for the Watkins Glen race during COVID-19 schedule adjustments last season.
And the first winner on the replacement track was Sheldon Creed, who narrowly edged Brett Moffitt for his second win of the 2020 season en route to capturing the championship.
Both Creed and Moffitt will be back this weekend to compete in the BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 at Daytona Presented by O’Reilly. Creed is slated to start fifth, while Moffitt will start 21st.
In fact, the top six finishers from last season (additionally Raphael Lessard who finished third, Matt Crafton – fourth, Austin Hill – fifth, and Tyler Ankrum – sixth) will be returning to the road course as part of full-time Camping World Truck Series campaigns. In all, 20 drivers will return to compete in their second Camping World Truck Series road course race at Daytona.
In addition to the plethora of 2020 series regulars who return for their second shot at the Daytona Road Course, two drivers competed in the ARCA Menards Series at the track last year – Hailie Deegan and Sam Mayer. The pair put in impressive performances on the 3.61-mile road course, with Mayer finishing third and Deegan placing sixth.
Camping World Truck’s Sunoco Rookie of Year class update
And just like that, the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year class is off and running, as this season looks to be another great one.
|Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
Coming out of the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Chandler Smith leads the rookie standings by five points over Daytona’s Rookie of the Race Award winner Carson Hocevar, currently in second. Niece Motorsport’s Carson Hocevar received the award for being the highest finishing eligible rookie in the race with his fifth-place finish in the season-opener at Daytona, but Smith holds the rookie points lead by racking up more points through the stages than Hocevar.
Rookie finishes from Daytona last weekend – Hocevar (fifth), Smith (ninth), Kris Wright (12th), Hailie Deegan (24th), Chase Purdy (29th) and Tim Viens failed to make the race.
Looking ahead to this weekend, road course experience is limited with the 2021 rookie class.
Smith will be making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course debut this weekend. But the KBM driver does have some experience on the Daytona Road Course, he made an ARCA Menard Series start at the track last season – he started first and finished ninth.
Hocevar made his first NASCAR national series road course start last season at the Daytona Road Course. He started 27th and finished 28th.
Young’s Motorsports Kris Wright will be making just his third career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this weekend, and coincidentally he made his series debut last season at the Daytona Road Course. In his track debut he started 26th and finished 25th.
David Gilliland Racing’s Hailie Deegan will also be making her first road course start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. But it won’t be her first time competing on the Daytona Road Course, the California native made an ARCA Menards Series starts at the Daytona Road Course last season, where she started seventh and finished inside the top-10 (sixth).
GMS Racing’s Chase Purdy will be making his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series road course start this weekend at the Daytona Road Course. Purdy doesn’t have any road course experience in the NASCAR national series ranks, but he did compete in at Watkins Glen International in the ARCA Menard Series East finishing 15th.
Tim Viens is still looking to get his rookie season started and this weekend’s event at the Daytona Road Course could be just the place. Viens has one road course starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, last season at the Daytona Road Course he started 38th and finished 24th.
Camping World announced $500k in cash and prizes for NCWTS
Prior to the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener on Friday, Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway, Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis announced bonus money and prizes provided by Camping World for the 2021 season.
The first winner was Ben Rhodes, who won the NextEra Energy 250 and was awarded a $25k driver bonus and $25k road crew bonus.
This is what the rest of the season looks like for cash and prizes from Camping World:
- The team leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship points standings after the Kansas Speedway race will receive a $50k road crew bonus.
- The team leading the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship points standings after the Knoxville Raceway race will receive a $75k road crew bonus.
At the end of the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season:
- Camping World will award the team (i.e., single entry) that leads the most laps during the season with a $50k driver bonus and a $25k road crew bonus.
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship driver will receive an electric pickup truck and a Lordstown electric (Class E) RV.
Camping World will also tap into a $100k fund for incremental bonuses or team needs throughout the season. Camping World requests that if a Truck Series team or driver needs help securing sponsorship or has interest in exploring B2B opportunities on behalf of a potential/renewing partner, to reach out to NASCAR (CampingWorldTrucks@nascar.com).
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Parker Chase joins KBM: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Parker Chase will make two starts for the organization’s No. 51 Toyota in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Chase, 19, will make his debut at the Daytona Road Course on Friday. He will also compete in the May 22 event at COTA. Vertical Bridge will be the primary sponsor for the Daytona Road Course and Tige Boats will be on the hood of the Toyota at COTA. Chase, who competes fulltime in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, was a teammate of Kyle Busch on the AIM Vasser Sullivan No. 14 entry in the 2020 Rolex 24. Chase earned a top-10 finish in his ARCA Menards Series debut on the Daytona Road Course in 2020.
Jett Noland making debut for Niece Motorsports: Jett Noland and Niece Motorsports announced a partnership for a partial schedule in the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. He will make his debut at the Daytona Road Course on Friday. Noland was slated to run six events with Niece in 2020 but it was put on hold after COVID-19 hit. Noland will also run at Richmond, COTA, Bristol, Martinsville and Phoenix for the team. Noland participated in the Trans-Am Series last season and capture TA-2 Rookie of the Year honors. He also participated in the Southern Super Series and Super Late Model events.
Herbst back in a Truck: NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Riley Herbst will join David Gilliland Racing on Friday for the BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 at Daytona Presented by O’Reilly. He’ll pilot the No. 17 Ford with Lincoln Welders on board. Herbst has eight career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and captured a best finish of third at Talladega Superspeedway in 2019.
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