NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
NASCAR Cup Series race at the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on May 22, 2021. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

You can’t call a Chase Elliott victory on a road course “unexpected,” but little else was predictable in the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin, Texas. After all, Elliott came to COTA having won five of the previous 10 road races, and on Sunday the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix became No. 6 after NASCAR called the race 14 laps short of the scheduled finish because of excessive standing water on the track and potential danger to the drivers.

Elliott’s first victory of the season and 12th of his career accounted for significant milestones. He delivered the 268th Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports, tying the organization with Petty Enterprises for most all-time. It was also the 800th NASCAR Cup Series victory for Chevrolet.
“Yeah, man, I couldn’t be more excited,” said Elliott, the reigning Cup champion, who is tied for third with Rusty Wallace in all-time road course wins. “I’ve never won a rain race before, so it’s kind of cool. Just super-proud of our team for continuing to fight. We kind of started the day, and we weren’t very good. I just kept pushing myself and (we) made some good changes throughout the day and got to where I think we were on pace with those guys there at the end.”
A week after Hendrick drivers finished 1-2-3-4 at Dover, the organization grabbed the top two spots at the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course, with Kyle Larson running second when NASCAR red-flagged the event after 54 of a planned 68 and then called it when the rain failed to abate.

Joey Logano ran third, followed by Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger. Chase Briscoe, Michael McDowell, Alex Bowman, pole winner Tyler Reddick and Kyle Busch completed the top 10. William Byron finished 11th, ending his streak of consecutive top-10 results at 11. For all but the first few laps, drivers raced in the rain until it became too heavy to continue.

With challenging visibility on the long, high-speed backstretch, a crash on Lap 25 brought the race to a halt for the first time. Martin Truex Jr. slammed into the back of the Ford of Michael McDowell, who had slowed in traffic. In a chain reaction, the Ford of Cole Custer plowed into the back of Truex’s damaged Toyota, lifting the rear of the Camry off the pavement. Custer then hit the Armco barrier to the inside of the straight. Custer hastily exited the crippled Mustang, which had lit on fire. NASCAR red-flagged the race and sent track dryers out to remove water from the racing surface.
“I’m all good,” Custer said after a trip to the infield care center. “It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it was going to be, but it’s just that you can’t see anything. It’s pretty bad. I mean, you can’t see a foot in front of your car. I was just rolling down the backstretch. You can’t see anything. I’m just so frustrated about having our day end like this. It killed the car, and it’s just really frustrating.”
The cars of Custer and Truex were damaged too severely to continue. Before that wreck occurred, Kevin Harvick and Bubba Wallace already had been eliminated in a similar low-visibility crash on Lap 19.

Even before the race went green, teams were faced with a choice. With rain seemingly imminent but the track dry to start the event, would a change to slick tires be in order, or would crew chiefs opt to stay on rain tires, which NASCAR had mandated for the initial roll off pit road.

Most of the field opted for slicks, and Austin Cindric streaked to an early lead. But the rain intensified, and those who had taken the green on dry tires soon came to pit road for rain tires. Earlier in the day, in only the second Cup qualifying session of the 2021 season, Reddick won the pole in dry conditions with a lap at 92.363 mph. The pole was the first for a Richard Childress Racing driver on a road course since Dale Earnhardt was top qualifier for the last time in his career in August 1996 at Watkins Glen.
“Road racing has been a big challenge in my career, and I’ve worked really hard to get better at it,” said Reddick, who qualified fifth in the rain and finished eighth in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. “Running yesterday’s NXS race helped me with some valuable seat time, so it’s great to see all that hard work come together with a pole.”
Source: NASCAR Wire Service

PositionDriverCar NumberStarting Position
1Chase Elliott 98
2Kyle Larson 52
3Joey Logano 226
4Ross Chastain 4220
5AJ Allmendinger 167
6Chase Briscoe1427
7Michael Mcdowell3423
8Alex Bowman4812
9Tyler Reddick81
10Kyle Busch184

NASCAR
NASCAR is the largest racing organization in the United States and is most famous for the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series. Each year NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 48 US states as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

Looking to the future, NASCAR is developing the Next Gen car, expected to hit the track in 2021. The new car is going to feature a redesigned body and under-the-hood enhancements to make NASCAR stock cars even more like the cars in showrooms across America.

Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas is the premier destination for world-class motorsports and entertainment in the United States. Set on 1,500 acres in the rolling hills just outside downtown Austin, Circuit of The Americas has hosted the biggest names in racing, action sports and music since 2012. At its heart is a 3.41-mile racetrack that was designed to challenge the world's most exacting competitors while providing a thrilling spectacle for audiences.

The 20-turn, counterclockwise circuit takes advantage of the naturally undulating landscape, including an intimidating 133-foot hill at Turn 1 that must be seen in person to be believed. It is home to Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, NASCAR EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, and MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, and has played host to ESPN's X Games, the FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and more.

NASCAR
web | facebook | twitter | instagram

Circuit of The Americas
web | facebook | twitter | instagram

Photos by Ralph Arvesen
web | facebook | twitter | instagram

NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen NASCAR Cup Series | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen