NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: EchoPark Texas Grand Prix
The Place: Circuit of The Americas
The Date: Sunday, May 23
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 231 miles (68 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 32), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 68)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: Pit Boss 250
The Place: Circuit of The Americas
The Date: Saturday, May 22
The Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 156 miles (46 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 14), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 46)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Toyota Tundra 225
The Place: Circuit of The Americas
The Date: Saturday, May 22
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 139.81 miles (41 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 12), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 26), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 41)
NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR to make debut at Circuit of The Americas
The anticipation has been building and the time has come for the NASCAR Cup Series to make its debut at the Circuit of The Americas this Sunday, May 23 for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at 2:30 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is a multi-elevational, 20-turn, 3.41-mile, paved road course located just outside Austin, Texas, and will be the stage for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race. The Circuit of The Americas is the second of seven road course tracks on the Cup Series schedule this season – Daytona RC (won by Christopher Bell, 2/21), COTA (5/23), Sonoma (6/6), Road America (7/4), Watkins Glen (8/8), Indianapolis RC (8/15) and Charlotte ROVAL (10/10).
This weekend’s procedures will be action packed, with practice and qualifying taking place over the weekend. This will be the third of eight race weekends this season with designated practice and qualifying.
The lone NASCAR Cup Series Practice will take place at 10:05 a.m. ET – 10:55 a.m. ET (Saturday, May 22) and can be viewed on FS2 from 10-11 a.m. ET.
The Busch Pole Qualifying will be held on the same day as the race at 11:00 a.m. ET (Sunday, May 23) and can viewed on FS1 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET followed by NASCAR Race Day (1 p.m. ET).
Expect the drivers and teams to soak up every bit of the extra time on track because very few of the competitors in the field have any experience in a stock car at the road course. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champ Kyle Busch participated in a FOX Sports production day at COTA back in April, where he got to drive production cars around the 3.41-mile course.
“It’s definitely an interesting place,” said Busch. “It’s a long course – a lot of corners, a lot of high-speed straightaways, heavy braking zones, so it’s definitely going to have its challenges for the drivers as well as the equipment.”
This weekend’s event, the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix is scheduled for 68 laps (231 miles). The race will be broken up into three stages. The first stage is 15 laps, the second stage is 17 laps, and the final stage will be 36 laps in length.
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 road courses 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|
Road Warriors: Cup Series best on the road courses
With so many unknowns for the teams this weekend, a lot of eyes will be on the known road course ringers in the NASCAR Cup Series, specifically 2020 series champion Chase Elliott who leads all active drivers in road course career wins with five victories. But Elliott isn’t the only active driver entered this weekend with road course wins on his resume, a total of nine drivers entered this weekend have a former NASCAR Cup Series road course victory.
Active Cup Drivers With Road Course Wins & Where
|Active Drivers||Road Course Wins||Tracks/Seasons|
|Chase Elliott||5||Charlotte RC (2019, 2020), Daytona RC (2020), Watkins Glen (2018, 2019)|
|Martin Truex Jr||4||Sonoma (2013, 2018, 2019), Watkins Glen (2017)|
|Kyle Busch||4||Sonoma (2008, 2015), Kyle Busch (2008, 2013)|
|Kevin Harvick||2||Sonoma (2017), Watkins Glen (2006)|
|Christopher Bell||1||Daytona RC (2021)|
|Ryan Blaney||1||Charlotte RC (2018)|
|Denny Hamlin||1||Watkins Glen (2016)|
|Joey Logano||1||Watkins Glen (2015)|
|AJ Allmendinger||1||Watkins Glen (2014)|
|Kurt Busch||1||Sonoma (2011)|
Three drivers thirsty for a win this season, Kevin Harvick (nine wins), Denny Hamlin (seven wins) and Chase Elliott (five wins), led the series in wins last season scoring victories in 21 of the 36 races. But this season all three have goose eggs in the win’s column, but this weekend that could all change.
If Elliott secures his sixth NASCAR Cup Series road course victory this weekend, he will become the seventh driver all-time with six or more road course victories, joining the all-time series leaders and NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon (nine road course wins), Tony Stewart (eight wins), Bobby Allison (six), Richard Petty (six), Rusty Wallace (six) and Ricky Rudd (six). Elliott almost got his sixth at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season, leading a race high 44 laps but was shuffled in a late restart that took him off the course, he rebounded to finish 21st.
Expect the former road course winners to contend for the victory this weekend as well. Six of the nine former Cup road course winners entered this weekend finished in the top-10 at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season: Christopher Bell (first), Joey Logano (second), Denny Hamlin (third), Kurt Busch (fourth), Kevin Harvick (sixth), and AJ Allmendinger (seventh).
Several of the Cup drivers will be pulling double duty this weekend, to log those much-needed extra laps, one such driver is Kevin Harvick who will be in both Cup and Xfinity races this weekend.
“I want to make sure we’ve hit most of the curbs and know where you can take a risk making a pass and where to make time and how to get on and off pit road in a live situation, because the practices are short,” said Harvick. “The Xfinity car is going to be the best tool, and just being able to make laps is the most important thing.”
Harvick will be joined by fellow Cup drivers – Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick – in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday.
Called Up: Road Aces join the fun on Sunday
Three drivers that have been tapped to showcase their road racing skills this weekend that are worth keeping an eye on are Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger and Live Fast Motorsport’s Kyle Tilley.
Team Penske’s 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, Austin Cindric, will be piloting the No. 33 Ford this weekend and will have to qualify on time to make the race, but if he does, he anticipates quite the event.
“I think the restarts are gonna be wild,” said Austin Cindric in his media availability this week. “You have a very wide inviting front straightaway. You even see it in the F1 races there. I mean, guys will drive it off in there and collect three or four cars, so I think restarts are definitely going to pretty crazy in all three series — a lot of opportunities to pass at this racetrack, a lot of tire fall off, which obviously provides a bit of a dynamic to the race, whether if it’s on strategy or on the racetrack, so, otherwise, you kind of have every type of corner at this racetrack. There’s a lot to look forward to, I think for the NASCAR fans and a lot of unknowns for us as drivers.”
Cindric has made four Cup starts this season for Team Penske posting an average finish of 21.8. Before competing in the NASCAR, Cindric learned the ropes in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship from 2017-2019 gaining valuable road racing skills. Plus, the up-and-coming star has posted four of his 11 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins on road courses.
Kaulig Racing has entered their part-time No. 16 Chevrolet team with road ace AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel this weekend. Allmendinger’s lone NASCAR Cup Series career victory came at Watkins Glen International (2014). He also has four road course wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Allmendinger also has road course wins in CART and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (2021 Rolex 24). He competed in the first road course on the schedule this season at Daytona and started 34th due to Metric Qualifying and raced his way up to a seventh-place finish. He will also be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday.
Last but not least is Live Fast Motorsport’s pick for the inaugural Circuit of The Americas event, driver Kyle Tilley. Tilley is an accomplished road racer from Bath, England, that will pilot the No. 78 Ford this weekend at COTA. Tilley currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the Era Motorsport’s ORECA LMP2 07. Tilley alongside drivers Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel and Paul-Loup Chatin finished sixth overall and won the LMP2 class in this season’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. This will be Tilley’s NASCAR national series debut this weekend.
Joe Gibbs Racing looks to ring the ‘Bell’ at COTA
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell surprised many of the critics with his early season win at the Daytona Road Course, but now the 26-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma has the opportunity to continue to prove the win was not a fluke as he goes for back-to-back road course wins this weekend in the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas.
Bell led twice for five laps en route to his first career NASCAR Cup Series win at the Daytona Road Course back in February. Bell passed Joey Logano with just two laps remaining to take the win in a wild, rain-filled event.
Bell is no stranger to running well at road courses. In the NASCAR Xfinity he also has a victory at Road America (2019).
Bell is currently 12th in points having posted one win (Daytona RC), two top fives and five top 10s this season.
Road Courses are a great place for a driver looking for his first win
With all the unknowns and the outstanding unpredictability of the competition this season, this week’s new venue – the Circuit of The Americas – could offer a great opportunity for a driver to grab a first-time win.
Road course events are notorious for granting drivers their first career win in the NASCAR Cup Series. The most recent example of that was at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season when Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell grabbed his first Cup career victory. Even the sport’s ‘Most Popular’ driver Chase Elliott, now considered a road course favorite, grabbed his first career NASCAR Cup Series win at Watkins Glen International in 2018. In total, 16 different drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series have earned their first NASCAR Cup Series career victory on a road course.
Drivers That Earned Their First NASCAR Cup Series Win On A Road Course
|First-Time Winners||Dates||Road Courses|
|Christopher Bell||Sunday, February 21, 2021||Daytona RC|
|Chase Elliott||Sunday, August 5, 2018||Watkins Glen|
|AJ Allmendinger||Sunday, August 10, 2014||Watkins Glen|
|Marcos Ambrose||Monday, August 15, 2011||Watkins Glen|
|Juan Pablo Montoya||Sunday, June 24, 2007||Sonoma|
|Steve Park||Sunday, August 13, 2000||Watkins Glen|
|Bill Elliott||Sunday, November 20, 1983||Riverside|
|Ricky Rudd||Sunday, June 5, 1983||Riverside|
|Tim Richmond||Sunday, June 13, 1982||Riverside|
|Mark Donohue||Sunday, January 21, 1973||Riverside|
|Ray Elder||Sunday, January 10, 1971||Riverside|
|Darel Dieringer||Sunday, November 3, 1963||Riverside|
|Dan Gurney||Sunday, January 20, 1963||Riverside|
|Eddie Gray||Sunday, June 1, 1958||Riverside|
|Parnelli Jones||Sunday, August 4, 1957||Kitsap|
|Chuck Stevenson||Sunday, November 20, 1955||Lancaster|
This weekend, 19 different drivers entered at the Circuit of The Americas are looking for their first career NASCAR Cup Series win.
Playoff Bubble: New venue provides new opportunity to win
With 10 drivers already locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and one spot reserved for the points leader without a win (currently Denny Hamlin), that leaves just five spots still up for grabs by virtue of a win or on points as the series heads to the Circuit of The Americas this weekend. The NASCAR Cup Series has reached the halfway point in the 2021 regular season schedule and time is of the essence for teams to solidify their position in the postseason.
One driver along the Playoff cutline riding the momentum right now is Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick. After dropping as far as 28th in the points following Atlanta (3/21), the 25-year-old from Corning, California has put up five of his six top-10 finishes this season and has clawed his way back up to 16th in the series driver standings – the final transfer spot for the Playoffs. With his eighth-place finish at Dover last weekend, Reddick is now 17 points up on Matt DiBenedetto in 17th in the driver standings – the first spot outside the postseason cutoff.
Of the drivers not already locked in to the Playoffs by wins or being the points leader but are above the postseason cutline – Kevin Harvick (+151 above Playoff cutline), Chase Elliott (+146), Austin Dillon (+60), Chris Buescher (+28) and Tyler Reddick (+17) – getting that first of 2021 season is crucial with the parity of the competition this season. With 13 races left in the regular season and already 10 different winners in the first 13 races of the season, the odds of five more different winners happening are not that farfetched. Though it would be the first time more than 15 drivers have won in the NASCAR Cup Series since going to the elimination-style format in the Playoffs (2014-2021), the previous record for most wins during that time was 15 different winners in 2017. Last season the NASCAR Cup Series produced 13 different winners, led by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick with nine victories. Harvick is still looking for his first win of the 2021 season; he finished in the top-10 (sixth) at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season.
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Matthew McConaughey named grand marshal at COTA – This week it was announced that Texas native Matthew McConaughey, an award-winning actor, bestselling author, co-owner of Austin FC and a professor and Minister of Culture at the University of Texas, has been named the Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas.
“We are thrilled to have Matthew McConaughey serve as the Grand Marshal for the much-anticipated inaugural EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix here at Circuit of The Americas,” said Bryan Hammond, executive director for NASCAR at COTA. “Matthew is beloved here in the state of Texas and makes his home right here in Austin when he’s not traveling around the world for work and passion projects. As a motorsport enthusiast of NASCAR and other forms of racing, we couldn’t think of anyone better to give the command to start engines for this historic race.”
It’s the second time McConaughey has served in a Grand Marshal role for a NASCAR race as he also gave the command to start at the Daytona 500 in 2005.
“I’m honored to be the Grand Marshal for NASCAR’s first visit to Circuit of The Americas here in my hometown of Austin,” said McConaughey. “There’s nothing more American than NASCAR racing and it’s wonderful to see the sport make its first visit to this challenging road course.”
William Byron surfs a top-10 hot streak to COTA – Hendrick Motorsport’s driver William Byron has been considerably consistent this season posting 11 consecutive top-10 finishes from the third race in the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he won to just last weekend at Dover International Speedway. Now the North Carolina native, Byron, heads to the Circuit of The Americas to keep the streak alive. Byron is tied with Joey Logano (2015) for the third-most consecutive string of top-10 finishes among active drivers with 11 each, behind Kevin Harvick (2020) and Kyle Busch (2018-2019) each with 13 consecutive top-10 finishes.
Top Five Active Cup Drivers With Most Consecutive Top-10 Finishes
|Active Drivers||Consecutive Top-10 Finishes||Season|
Harvick and Busch’s streaks began in one season and ended in the next season, where as Logano and Byron’s were achieved all in one season. Logano’s streak of 11 straight top 10s also included five wins in 2015.
The all-time NASCAR Cup Series record for the most consecutive top-10 finishes is 24 set by Herb Thomas in 1953 (5/17/1953 – 10/4/1953) and then later tied by Joe Weatherly in 1962 (7/17/1962 – 11/22/1962).
NASCAR Hall of Famer and FOX Sports TV analyst Jeff Gordon holds the record for most consecutive top-10 finishes by a Hendrick Motorsports driver with 21 straight top 10s from 6/14/1998 – 2/14/1999, Gordon also put up 14 straight top 10s from 6/18/1995 – 10/1/1995.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Standings leader Austin Cindric adds to his victory total
Team Penske’s Austin Cindric was victorious last weekend at Dover International Speedway for the third time this season in the No. 22 Ford. The reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion took the lead from Justin Allgaier with 51 laps remaining in the race at Dover and took home another checkered flag.
Josh Berry passed his JR Motorsports teammate Allgaier with only 28 laps to go to finish second in the race and win the fourth and final Xfinity Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus prize. Allgaier finished third after a dominating day followed by Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger in fourth and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs in fifth. Gibbs had a strong weekend at Dover, leading all 125 laps on Friday night to win the ARCA Menards Series East race prior to his fifth-place finish on Saturday in the Xfinity race.
Allgaier and Berry ran out front for most of the race with Allgaier winning the first stage and Berry winning the second stage. But Cindric, who finished eighth at the end of Stage 1 and third in Stage 2, rallied to the front for his series’ best third victory. His 3.786-second margin of victory showcases what he was able to accomplish in his Ford.
Harrison Burton, Michael Annett, Ryan Sieg, Daniel Hemric and Brandon Brown rounded out the top 10 at Dover.
This weekend the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Circuit of The Americas (COTA) for the inaugural Pit Boss 250.
This will be the first time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visits the Austin, Texas track. The race will be 46 laps and 156 miles with Stage 1 ending on Lap 14 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 30.
Road Course ringers ready for COTA
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.
Cindric has 11 total Xfinity Series wins in his career and four of those have come at road courses. His first-ever win was at Watkins Glen International in 2019. Earlier this season, Cindric finished runner-up at the Daytona Road Course after winning the season-opener at Daytona.
AJ Allmendinger, who won at the Charlotte ROVAL last season, finished fourth last season at the Daytona Road Course. Of Allmendinger’s six 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 at the Daytona Road Course last season. He also has more than 30 wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Miguel Paludo will be behind the wheel of the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports on Saturday. This will be his fourth Xfinity Series start. Earlier this season, he ran in the No. 8 at the Daytona Road Course and started 35th and finished seventh.
Preston Pardus will also be back behind the wheel this weekend for DGM Racing. Pardus has seven starts in the Xfinity Series, all coming on road courses since 2019. He has a best finish of eighth at Road America last season. Most recently, he finished 33rd at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season.
Spencer Pumpelly will make his Xfinity Series debut with JD Motorsports with Gary Keller on Saturday. Pumpelly is a twenty-year veteran of professional sportscar racing, and holds multiple victories in IMSA, World Challenge, and Continental Challenge. He is a two-time class winner in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 2016 Continental Sportscar Challenge ST champion. Also noteworthy, Spencer has competed in the 24 Hours of LeMans four times.
Kris Wright will make his second career Xfinity Series start for Sam Hunt Racing this weekend at COTA. His first came at the Daytona Road Course where he started 19th and finished 18th.
Said heads can rejoice, their favorite driver is returning to NASCAR. Boris Said will run this Saturday at COTA for MBM Motorsports in the No. 13. His last Xfinity starts was back in 2015. This will be his 29th career start in the Xfinity Series with his first coming in 1998. He has one win that came in 2010 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada driving for RAB Racing. He also has seven top fives that all came at road courses. Most recently, he finished fourth in 2015 at Watkins Glen.
Xfinity Sunoco Rookie Update
Josh Berry continues to lead the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco rookie standings after his runner-up finish last weekend at Dover International Speedway.
|Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
JR Motorsport’s Josh Berry took the lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings after Darlington Raceway. And extended his lead over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs, who had been in the lead since his win at the Daytona Road Course early in the season, to +35 points.
In nine starts so far this year, Berry got his first-ever Xfinity Series win at Martinsville and has three top fives and five top 10s to his name. He’s also led 151 laps this season and has an average start of 14.9 and average finish of 17.1.
Ty Gibbs is running a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing this season and in his first-ever start at the Daytona Road Course, he won after starting 15th. He’s made five starts so far in 2021 and has four top-five finishes and four top 10s. His average finish is 6.0 and average start is 20.2.
JD Motorsport’s Ryan Vargas is still sitting in third in the rookie standings with 89 points. In nine starts so far this season for JD Motorsports, Vargas has a best finish of 18th from the season-opener at Daytona. Most recently, he finished 26th at Dover.
Bubble Trouble: Who’s in, out in Xfinity Playoffs?
Points leader Austin Cindric got his third victory of the season at Dover International Speedway last weekend. He holds onto the Playoff standings points lead with Justin Allgaier, AJ Allmendinger, Jeb Burton and Myatt Snider all in on wins with him.
Two drivers without wins yet this season that are comfortable in the points right now are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Daniel Hemric and Harrison Burton. Hemric continues to be the highest ranked driver without a win in sixth with a 144-point cushion ahead of the Playoff cutoff. And Harrison Burton is behind him in seventh 132 points ahead of the cutline.
The next five drivers in the Playoff outlook are all within 75 points of the postseason cutoff – Noah Gragson (+69 points), Justin Haley (+61), Jeremy Clements (+46), Michael Annett (+13) and Brandon Jones (+9).
Gragson’s rough start to the 2021 season has come full circle after a couple strong finishes in a row and winning the three Dash 4 Cash installments so far. After Dover, he jumped another spot above the cutline to eighth.
Clements has been in the Playoff standings for the entire season, showcasing the consistency and talent of his small family-owned race team. Clements has posted four top-10 finishes this season and is riding a string of six top-15 finishes into this weekend.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones has had an up-and-down season so far, with four DNFs of 30th or worst; including a 35th-place finish at Dover last weekend. The Georgia native’s Playoff hopes are on life support with him dropping to 12th – the final postseason transfer spot just nine points above the cutline.
Following Darlington Brandon Brown fell out of the top 12 in the driver standings but has been hanging on to 13th the first spot outside the postseason cutoff. Heading to Circuit of The Americas this weekend, Brown is looking to get back in Playoff contention. Brown has put up four top 10s this season; including an eighth-place finish at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver Playoff Outlook Following Dover:
|Rank||Driver||Points||Starts||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts From Cutoff|
|1||Austin Cindric||437||10||3||5||20||In On Wins|
|16||Tommy Joe Martins||185||10||0||0||0||-55|
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Manufacturer standings heading to COTA: Chevrolet is leading the manufacturers championship standings right now with six wins and 376 points. With Austin Cindric’s win last weekend, Ford’s gap in points became smaller with 345 points and three wins. Toyota has one win this season so far and 341 points.
Reddick running for Jordan Anderson Racing at COTA: Jordan Anderson Racing announced that Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick will drive the No. 31 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series race at COTA on Saturday. Reddick, who is the back-to-back Xfinity Series champion in 2018 and 2019, will use his time behind the wheel on Saturday to help him prior to the start of Sunday’s Cup race. Jordan Anderson Racing will compete in the Xfinity races that they are eligible for in the current COVID-19 qualifying protocol with cars from RCR and engines supplied by ECR.
Cindric pulling double duty in TX: Austin Cindric will make his fifth Cup Series start of 2021 at COTA this weekend. Cindric has a road racing background and is always out front at road courses in the Xfinity Series. He will pilot the No. 33 Team Penske Ford on Sunday with sponsorship from Pirtek. In his four starts in the Cup Series, he has an average finish of 21.8 with a best finish of 15th at the Daytona 500 in February.
Harvick doubling down at COTA: Kevin Harvick will pull double duty this weekend. It was announced on Monday that Harvick will run the No. 5 Ford for BJ McLeod Motorsports in Saturday’s Xfinity race sponsored by Rush Truck Center. Harvick hasn’t competed in the Xfinity Series since 2018. But Harvick is the 2014 Cup Series champion and can use the additional laps to prepare for the inaugural Cup Series race on Sunday. B.J McLeod Motorsports has competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2016, the organization’s best finish in the series is fifth at Daytona with driver David Starr in 2017. Harvick is a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion with 47 career Xfinity victories.
100th start for Tommy Joe Martins this weekend: Tommy Joe Martins will make his 100th NASCAR Xfinity Series start this weekend at COTA. Diamond Gusset Jean Co. will service as the primary sponsor of the No. 44 Chevrolet. This is the first ever company that sponsored Martins. Martins Motorsports is sitting in the top 20 in owners points following a top-20 finish at Dover.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Taking a turn at Circuit of The Americas
After a week off, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be back in action this Saturday, May 22, for the Toyota Tundra 225 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The race will be the first in a double-header that features the NASCAR Xfinity Series later in the afternoon.
This will mark the first time NASCAR has raced at COTA, which is a 3.41-mile road course located just outside Austin, Texas. The multi-elevational track has 20 scenic turns for the trucks to navigate.
This weekend will also feature qualifying and practice for the Camping World Truck Series. Qualifying will be comprised of two rounds – the first round will be 25 minutes and will determine the 36 trucks that will make up the field for Saturday’s race. (There are 44 trucks entered this weekend.)
The lap times from that round will determine the starting positions for 13th through 36th on the grid.
Following a five-minute break after the opening round, the 12 trucks that posted the fastest lap times during that opening round will move on to contend for the Cometic Gaskets Pole Award in the final round. That round will be 10 minutes in length and will determine positions first through 12th on the grid.
Ben Rhodes (2021 – Daytona Road Course), Brett Moffitt (2019 – Canadian Tire), John Hunter Nemechek (2016 – Canadian Tire), and Sheldon Creed (2020 – Daytona Road Course) are the only active regular drivers in the Camping World Truck Series who have wins on road courses.
Matt Crafton, Nemechek and Creed each have a runner-up finish on a road course and Crafton leads all regulars with four top-five finishes on a road course. Nemechek and Creed each have three top fives.
Paul Menard returns to take on COTA
This weekend’s Toyota Tundra 225 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) will mark the return of veteran racer Paul Menard to the NASCAR track as he has been tapped to pilot the No. 66 Toyota for ThorSport Racing.
Menard last competed in a NASCAR national series race in 2019. And although he only has six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races to his credit, his most recent NASCAR win came in 2015 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series on the long and sweeping Road America circuit in his native Wisconsin.
In his six previous Camping World Truck Series starts (five in 2003 and one in 2007), Menard had one top 10 at Kansas. None of those starts were on a road course.
In 471 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Menard recorded 20 top-five and 69 top-10 results.
Creed and Chevrolet end Toyota’s 2020 dominance
Leading into Darlington Raceway two weeks ago, Toyota had dominated Victory Lane thus far in the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season – winning all seven races to date.
That all changed last Friday night when Sheldon Creed piloted his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet to the win over ThorSport Racing’s No. 99 Toyota driven by Ben Rhodes.
The win also ended a five-race win streak by Kyle Busch Motorsports that saw John Hunter Nemechek and Kyle Busch each win a pair of races while Martin Truex Jr. won on the Bristol dirt.
Darlington marked Creed’s first win of the season – and first since he won the season finale at Phoenix in November to win the season championship. He is just one race off the pace from when he earned his first victory of the title season – in the seventh race of the year at Kentucky.
Overall, Creed won five races last year.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Etc.
Jack Wood to make series debut at COTA: ARCA Menards Series driver Jack Wood will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut next weekend at COTA, driving the No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet, the team announced last week. Wood has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in four ARCA Menards Series starts this season.
Austin, Texas, native Logan Bearden to make debut at COTA: Logan Bearden, a native of Austin, Texas, will be looking to make his NASCAR national series debut with Niece Motorsports this weekend. The 25-year-old is a Super Late Model racer on the West Coast and will be driving the No. 44 Chevrolet this weekend. Niece will also field a truck with Bayley Currey in the No. 45.
Triple Truck Challenge Presented by Womply: Sheldon Creed won the opening round of the Triple Truck Challenge this season at Darlington Raceway, netting a $50,000 bonus. This marked Creed’s third Triple Truck Challenge victory after winning the bonus last year at Daytona and World Wide Technology Raceway. This weekend’s race at COTA will be the second leg of the 2021 edition of the Triple Truck Challenge, which will wrap up at Charlotte.
Sunoco Rookie Update: Coming out of Darlington, Carson Hocevar has a 19-point lead over Chandler Smith in the standings (195 to 176). Hailie Deegan is in third with 131 points, while Chase Purdy has 93 points in fourth and Kris Wright is in fifth with 44 points.
— NASCAR —