Key storylines for Road America
Roadway America is not brand-new to the NASCAR Cup Series landscape, although you’ll be forgiven for believing otherwise.
The four-mile roadway course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin hosted its only Cup race on Aug. 12, 1956. Tim Flock triumphed over a field that consisted of a number of stock vehicle racing’s essential leaders, consisting of Fireball Roberts, Lee Petty, Dollar Baker, Curtis Turner and Junior Johnson.
Less than 10,000 fans participated in that weekend. At that time, NASCAR was a mostly Southern custom.
Almost 65 years later on, as the sport’s premier department go back to the Wisconsin woods, it has actually ended up being something much larger.
Naturally, a much larger crowd will be enjoying – both at the track and in your home on NBC (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET).
Kings of the roadway
Kyle Busch snapped Hendrick Motorsports’ six-race win streak in last Sunday’s fuel battle at Pocono. However as Busch himself confessed, the Hendrick automobiles were still quicker.
That efficiency has actually been particularly pronounced on roadway courses. Hendrick has actually won 6 of the last 7 roadway course races going back to the 2019 race at Watkins Glen.
Ruling Cup Series champion Chase Elliott has 5 of those wins, including his only success of 2021 in the rain-shortened inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas.
Colleague Kyle Larson swept both phases and won in overtime in the most current roadway course race at Sonoma Raceway previously this month.
Alex Bowman, who won last Saturday’s race at Pocono after Larson blew a tire while leading on the last lap, hasn’t been bad on roadway courses, either. He’s published top-10 surfaces in his last 4 roadway course races.
The only Hendrick motorist who hasn’t stood out on roadway courses this season is William Byron. While his 14 top-10 surfaces are connected with Larson and Kevin Harvick for the majority of in Cup, none have actually begun a roadway course. He’s completed 33rd at Daytona, 11th at COTA, and crashed out at Sonoma.
A winding course to the playoffs
Roadway America is the very first of 3 roadway course races in the last 7 races of the Cup routine season.
The series will return from the Olympic break with back-to-back roadway course races on Aug. 8 at Watkins Glen and Aug. 15 at Indianapolis, the latter being a brand-new design for Cup.
Those plus the Aug. 28 routine season ending on the oval at Daytona supply adequate chances for somebody outside the playoff cutline to alter the post-season image totally with a triumph.
Getting In Roadway America, Kurt Busch holds the 16th and last playoff position by 3 points over Chris Buescher. Daniel Suarez (-48 behind Busch), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-54 behind Busch) and Bubba Wallace (-54 behind Busch) follow in 18th, 19th, and 20th in the playoff standings.
All 5 of those chauffeurs have at least one top-10 surface in Xfinity competitors at Roadway America. Suarez has the very best surface of the group, positioning 4th in the 2016 Xfinity race on his method to that year’s series title.
Behind them in the standings are Matt DiBenedetto in 21st (-60 behind Busch) and Ross Chastain in 22nd (-72 behind Busch).
Pocono was not kind to either. DiBenedetto completed 32nd and 18th in the doubleheader, while Chastain completed 33rd and 26th.
DiBenedetto has actually completed 18th or even worse in the last 8 races. Chastain’s momentum was zapped last weekend. Both require a huge outcome Sunday.
Getting the representatives
Back to the abovementioned Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. The 2 previous Cup champs have actually never ever contended at Roadway America in any series.
As such, they’ll be double-dipping this weekend. In addition to Sunday’s Cup race, they’ll likewise run Saturday’s Xfinity Series race (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).
Busch has actually been a best three-for-three in Xfinity competitors this season. In his newest Xfinity start, he declared his 100th series win on June 19 at Nashville Superspeedway.
He’ll be back in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, leading a five-car JGR armada for Saturday. Along with Busch and Xfinity regulars Daniel Hemric, Harrison Burton and Brandon Jones, Ty Gibbs will drive a 5th JGR entry, the No. 81.
“Being able to come to a new track – when everything was announced that we were coming here – I wanted to run there as much as I could,” Busch stated previously today.
“We were able to work it out so both myself and Ty (Gibbs) can run here, as well, so I think it’s beneficial for both of us. He loves road racing, too.
“It was kind of a perfect scenario – being able to get in the Xfinity Series and be able to practice in both of those races. I’m hoping it will be a really good weekend for us.”
When It Comes To Harvick, he’ll drive the No. 99 Ford for B.J. McLeod Motorsports in Saturday’s Xfinity race. Harvick ran a McLeod entry for the Xfinity race at COTA, completing 4th.
“I’m a huge visual person,” Harvick stated previously today. “The experience I have in going to these racetracks for a long time – I can tell you every crack, every curve and every marker on the wall, and those are the things I want to have embedded in my mind before we get to Sunday.
“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.
“The Xfinity car is going to be the best tool, and just being able to make laps is the most important thing.”
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Secret stories for Roadway America initially appeared on NBCSports.com
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.