Ty Dillon, Bass Pro Shops and Black Rifle Coffee Company return to theNo. 96 Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) when the NASCAR Cup Series makes its historic debut at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, for Sunday’s EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. The 20-turn, 3.426-mile road course that has been home to Formula One’s United States Grand Prix since 2012 is hosting NASCAR’s top three national touring series for the first time this weekend.
The 29-year-old Dillon will be making his third Cup Series start of the season and the 165th of his career in Sunday’s 68-lap, 231-mile race. Earlier this season, he drove the No. 96 GBR Toyota to a 19th-place finish on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, and to 26th-place finish in the first-ever Food City Dirt Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In this year’s Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500, Dillon finished a solid sixth in the No. 96 Toyota but was nipped at the finish line by .04 of a second in his bid to qualify for The Great American Race with the non-chartered team. It marked the highest Duel finish ever by a team that did not qualify for the Daytona 500.
The No. 96 Bass Pro Shops/Black Rifle Coffee Toyota Camry will be making GBR’s 77th start since joining the Cup Series as a part-time team in 2017. Team owner Marty Gaunt’s almost two-decades-long relationship with Toyota dates back to his ownership of the Toyota-powered Clean Line Racing team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which became Red Horse Racing, as well as his executive role in the formation of Red Bull’s nascent Toyota-powered Cup Series team. Gaunt’s Toyota ties strengthened after the 2008 season when he purchased Triad Racing Development, which leased Toyota engines across NASCAR’s Cup, Xfinity and Truck series and continues to be NASCAR’s exclusive distributor of Toyota parts as Triad Racing. Gaunt founded GBR in 2010, with his eponymous team starting out in the Canada-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series and the U.S.-based NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Its first driver, Jason Bowles, scored GBR’s maiden victory in the 2011 Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, with the precursor to that win being the pole position in track-record time at the 2011 Streets of Toronto 100. After seven years competing in NASCAR’s development divisions, Gaunt stepped up to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. His team contested the full Cup Series schedule with Daniel Suárez in 2020, but scaled back its focus in 2021 to the superspeedway and road-course races with an eye toward the introduction of NASCAR’s Next Gen Cup Series car in 2022.
— Gaunt Brothers Racing —