NASCAR’s Return to Road America Goes Well for Chase Elliott

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Road America, Plymouth, WI — July 4th, 2021

What a way to celebrate the 4th of July, NASCAR returns to Road America for the first time in 65 years. The Jockey Made in America 250 Presented by Kwik Trip will bring the Cup Series stars and cars to the 4.048-mile circuit just on the outskirts of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The scenic setting in the hills of the “Badger State’s” farm country is known as “America’s National Park of Speed.”

On the new venue, practice and qualifying were held and William Byron(24) sits on the pole with a speed of 110.359 mph. Kyle Larson(5), the winner of the last Cup Series road race at Sonoma, joins his teammate on the front row.

The field on a pace lap at Road America / NASCAR Photo

Today’s Race

Road America, the longest race course these guys run on, will feature 62 laps making up the 250 miles of the event. Stages are 14/15/33 laps and technically the defending champion is Tim Flock, the winner of the only previous premier series NASCAR race at the track back in 1956.

Flock is a NASCAR Hall of Famer. In 187 starts, he had 39 victories, a total that still ranks 18th on the all-time wins list. A number of drivers in today’s race have experience at Road America as the Xfinity Series has competed at the track since 2010.

Stage 1

Byron led from the drop of the green, fending off challenges from AJ Allmendinger(16) and Larson. Lead changes are only counted at the start/finish line, a lot can happen on a 4-mile twisting and turning stretch of pavement.

Daniel Suarez(99) brought out the day’s first caution when he stalled on the track after only completing 2 laps. His car was pushed to the pits with a transmission problem.

Several drivers choose to pit with 3 laps left before the pits closed at the end of Stage 1. Kyle Tilly(78) got off the track and became mired in a sandpit. Rescuing his car and towing it back to the pits ended the Stage under caution. Byron stayed out and took the Stage 1 win.

Stage 1 Results

Position Car Driver Points
1 24 William Byron 10
2 16 AJ Allmendinger 9
3 5 Kyle Larson 8
4 8 Tyler Reddick 7
5 42 Ross Chastain 6
6 11 Denny Hamlin 5
7 20 Christopher Bell 4
8 48 Alex Bowman 3
9 1 Kurt Busch 2
10 9 Chase Elliott 1

Stage 2

On the restart, Martin Truex Jr.(19) Matt DiBenedetto(21), Austin Cindric(33), Kyle Busch(18), and Aric Almirola(10) led the field to the green flag. In a bold move, Cindric drove around the two front road cars and took over the top spot. Cindric led for two laps until he was passed by DiBenedetto, who quickly stepped out to a 1-second lead.

With 6 laps to go in the Stage Cindric had caught DiBenedetto and grabbed the lead back. Kyle Busch(18) followed him past the Woods Brothers #21 Ford Mustang. Something happened to the rear differential on Cindric’s car and he spun giving the lead to Busch. Cindric was able to limp the car back to the pits where his crew decided it needed to go to the garage to see if the problem could be repaired.

Just as they did in the previous Stage, several teams choose to pit early. Tyler Reddick(8) inherited the lead followed by Byron, Ross Chastain(42), Larson, and Kurt Busch(1). They finished Stage 2 in that order.

Stage 2 Results

Position Car Driver Points
1 8 Tyler Reddick 10
2 24 William Byron 9
3 42 Ross Chastain 8
4 5 Kyle Larson 7
5 1 Kurt Busch 6
6 22 Joey Logano* 5
7 4 Kevin Harvick* 4
8 23 Bubba Wallace 3
9 77 Justin Haley 2
10 18 Kyle Busch 1

*Ford Mustang Drivers

The Final Stage

After all the different schedules on pit road, Kyle Busch was the leader starting the Final Stage. He was followed to the green by Chase Elliott(9), DiBeneddeto, Denny Hamlin(11), and Chase Briscoe(14). However, it was DiBeneddeto back out front at the end of the first lap of racing.

Everyone will have to make at least one more stop for fuel. When and if cautions occur, may determine the timing of those visits to the pits. On Lap 38, Elliott took the lead for the first time on the day, he already has a road course win in 2021 at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

Chase Elliott leads at Road America / NASCAR Photo

Late Caution

Anthony Alfredo(38) exploded a brake rotor and a left rear tire, a spin into the sandpit off Turn 1 brought out the caution flag with 20 laps to go. Ryan Blaney(12) was on pit road at the time and will have an advantage when the race goes back to green. The yellow will allow everyone to come to pit road, hopefully for the final time.

Almirola and Blaney lead the field back to green with 17 laps to go. Kyle Busch was the first to pass the pair, taking the lead almost immediately after the restart. Busch could not hold the top spot back to the flagman as Elliott moved to the front. Hamlin runs 3rd, and look out, Larson is coming to the front driving up to 4th.

Larson’s run stalled out when his tires began to go away, Christopher Bell(20) was able to pass and move into 3rd. Larson’s problems were compounded when his teammate, Alex Bowman(48), lost brakes, slid into a corner, and clipped the rear of the #5 car spinning Larson out. The contact took Larson out of the Top 10

With 3 Laps to go Elliott led, Bell had moved to 2nd but was 5 seconds back. Kyle Busch, Hamlin, and Kurt Busch comprised the remainder of the Top 5.

Chase Elliott is becoming the master of the road course, with this victory he ranks third on the all-time list with 7 trips to victory lane. Jeff Gordon leads with 9 wins, Tony Stewart is 2nd haven taken the checkered flag 8 times on the non-oval circuits. With NASCAR scheduling more events on these tracks, expect Elliott to dominate that list soon.

Of Elliott’s 13 career Cup Series wins, 7 have come on road courses.

Playoff Standings

Rank Driver Points Status
1 Kyle Larson 795 In Win(4)
2 Martin Truex Jr. 634 In Win(3)
3 Alex Bowman 561 In Win(3)
4 Kyle Busch 685 In Win(2)
5 Chase Elliott 674 In Win(2)
6 William Byron 713 In Win
7 Joey Logano* 678 In Win
8 Ryan Blaney* 603 In Win
9 Brad Keselowski* 593 In Win
10 Christopher Bell 463 In Win
11 Michael McDowell* 426 In Win
12 Denny Hamlin 798 +352
13 Kevin Harvick* 599 +153
14 Austin Dillon 544 +98
15 Tyler Reddick 521 +75
16 Kurt Busch 471 +25
NASCAR Playoffs Cut Line
17 Chris Buescher* 446 -25
18 Ross Chastain 402 -69
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 401 -70
20 Matt DiBenedetto* 397 -74

*Ford Mustang Drivers

Results of The Jockey Made in America 250 from Road America

Position Car Driver Interval Laps
1 9 Chase Elliott 62
2 20 Christopher Bell 5.705 62
3 18 Kyle Busch 9.831 62
4 1 Kurt Busch 15.539 62
5 11 Denny Hamlin 16.826 62
6 14 Chase Briscoe 19.937 62
7 42 Ross Chastain 20.116 62
8 8 Tyler Reddick 22.373 62
9 19 Martin Truex Jr. 23.184 62
10 21 Matt DiBenedetto 25.270 62
11 3 Austin Dillon 28.719 62
12 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 33.241 62
13 2 Brad Keselowski 35.339 62
14 10 Aric Almirola 35.931 62
15 22 Joey Logano 36.268 62
16 5 Kyle Larson 38.030 62
17 41 Cole Custer 40.135 62
18 17 Chris Buescher 44.082 62
19 43 Erik Jones 47.457 62
20 12 Ryan Blaney 51.833 62
21 7 Corey LaJoie 56.102 62
22 48 Alex Bowman 59.744 62
23 52 Josh Bilicki 64.319 62
24 23 Bubba Wallace 64.434 62
25 77 Justin Haley 64.823 62
26 96 Ty Dillon 69.816 62
27 4 Kevin Harvick 75.276 62
28 15 James Davison 83.959 62
29 16 AJ Allmendinger 87.438 62
30 34 Michael McDowell 94.398 62
31 51 Cody Ware 96.031 62
32 6 Ryan Newman 96.843 62
33 24 William Byron 97.366 62
34 0 Quin Houff 123.153 62
35 78 Kyle Tilley -2 60
36 99 Daniel Suarez -9 53
37 38 Anthony Alfredo -20 42
38 33 Austin Cindric -27 35
39 53 Ryan Eversley -35 27
40 37 Ryan Preece -56 6