Notes of Interest
● Ty Dillon, Bass Pro Shops and Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) welcome an old friend and new racing partner to the No. 96 Toyota Camry when the NASCAR Cup Series makes its debut at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, during Sunday’s Jockey Made in America 250. Lure Lock, an innovator and new leader in the fishing tackle storage category, is a fitting addition to the GBR family of partners as the team prepares to spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend racing at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit widely known as America’s National Park of Speed. It will also be a home-state race for Lure Lock, which can be found online at LureLock.com and is available at such top retailers as Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, as the company is based in Ettrick, Wisconsin, approximately 200 miles west of Road America.
● The 29-year-old Dillon will be making his fourth Cup Series start of the season and the 166th of his career in Sunday’s 62-lap, 250-mile race. Most recently, Dillon drove to a 21st-place finish at the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin, Texas, on May 23. Earlier this season, he drove the No. 96 GBR Toyota to a 19th-place finish on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, and to a 26th-place finish in the first-ever Food City Dirt Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In this year’s Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500, Dillon finished a solid sixth in the No. 96 Toyota but was nipped at the finish line by .04 of a second in his bid to qualify for The Great American Race with the non-chartered team. It marked the highest Duel finish ever by a team that did not qualify for the Daytona 500.
● The No. 96 Lure Lock/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry will be making GBR’s 78th start since joining the Cup Series as a part-time team in 2017. Team owner Marty Gaunt’s almost two-decades-long relationship with Toyota dates back to his ownership of the Toyota-powered Clean Line Racing team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which became Red Horse Racing, as well as his executive role in the formation of Red Bull’s nascent Toyota-powered Cup Series team. Gaunt’s Toyota ties strengthened after the 2008 season when he purchased Triad Racing Development, which leased Toyota engines across NASCAR’s Cup, Xfinity and Truck series and continues to be NASCAR’s exclusive distributor of Toyota parts as Triad Racing. Gaunt founded GBR in 2010, with his eponymous team starting out in the Canada-based NASCAR Pinty’s Series and the U.S.-based NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Its first driver, Jason Bowles, scored GBR’s maiden victory in the 2011 Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, with the precursor to that win being the pole position in track-record time at the 2011 Streets of Toronto 100. After seven years competing in NASCAR’s development divisions, Gaunt stepped up to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. His team contested the full Cup Series schedule with Daniel Suárez in 2020, but scaled back its focus in 2021 to the superspeedway and road-course races with an eye toward the introduction of NASCAR’s Next Gen Cup Series car in 2022.
● Sunday’s race marks GBR’s 11th Cup Series road-course outing. Dillon’s road-course experience enabled him to avoid huge mayhem during the closing laps of February’s race on the 14-turn, 3.61-mile Daytona circuit en route to his 19th-place finish, the team’s best road-course run thus far.
● Sunday’s race marks Dillon’s 13th career road-course start in the Cup Series. His most impressive road-course outing, even though the final result didn’t reflect it, came in the rain last October on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval. He climbed in wet conditions from his 17th starting position in his Germain Racing entry to lead the final five laps of the opening stage. He went on to finish 22nd in the race, but the Stage 1 win earned him the spot in this year’s Busch Clash at Daytona.
● Dillon enjoyed modest success on road courses while competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 2014 to 2016. In 10 road-course outings, he had an average start of 7.3 and an average finish of 9.8, with top-fives at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington in 2015 (third) and 2016 (fourth), and another top-five at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2015 (fifth), all with Richard Childress Racing.
● Sunday’s race is the fourth of a ground-breaking seven NASCAR Cup Series races to be held on road courses in 2021. From 1988 to 2017, there were only two road courses on the schedule – Sonoma (Calif.) Racewayand Watkins Glen. The Charlotte Roval was added in 2018, giving the series three road-course venues. The initial 2021 schedule doubled that tally, with Circuit of the Americas, Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course all being added. And when COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the series’ stop this year at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, the Daytona road course was put in its place.
● At Road America, the No. 96 Lure Lock/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry will turn its wheels for the first time Saturday during a 50-minute practice session from 12:35 p.m. to 1:25 p.m. EDT. It returns to the track Sunday for qualifying and the race. Qualifying takes place at 11:05 a.m. and the Jockey Made in America 250 presented by Kwik Trip gets underway at 2:30 p.m. with live coverage on NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
● Lure Lock revolutionizes the way people fish. Its durable fishing tackle boxes protect prized lures, keeps hooks sharp and makes tackle organization fun and easy. They are tooled, crafted, manufactured and assembled in Ettrick, Wisconsin, and fishing enthusiasts and professionals alike can rest-assured the Lure Lock tackle system is made from quality materials that are built to last and are environmentally safe. Its green dividers Snap-Apart with a simple twist, eliminating the need for additional cutting and trimming. Each tackle box comes standard with a full set of dividers, allowing the fisherman to customize his tackle box to fit a variety of baits and lures, regardless the size. Lure Lock’s Tak Logic Technology is environmentally safe and is formulated from a soy-based recipe produced in-house at the Wisconsin factory. It’s made from renewable resources. Tak Logic Technology holds and cradles fishing lures, hooks and terminal fishing tackle into a soft, safe environment, locking it into place while keeping the vibration and movement from dulling the hooks, barbs, paint, and even the overall effectiveness of the lure itself.
● Bass Pro Shops is a longtime supporter of Dillon, an avid outdoorsman. North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company was with Dillon for his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in July 2014 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories – August 2012 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, June 2013 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, and November 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.