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.
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.
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
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
*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.
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.
|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|
|NASCAR Playoffs Cut Line|
|19||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||401||-70|
*Ford Mustang Drivers
Results of The Jockey Made in America 250 from Road America
|9||19||Martin Truex Jr.||23.184||62|
|12||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||33.241||62|