Speedway Digest Staff
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NASCAR driver Joe Graf Jr. is adding another marketing partner to his sophomore season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In a multi-race deal beginning with Pit Boss 250 at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on May 22, 2021, Graf will be proudly shining the G-Coin brand.
G-Coin brings gold into the digital age, making it accessible and giving it true utility. Unlike cryptocurrencies, G-Coin is a digital title to a real asset: 1 G-Coin token equals 1 gram of Responsible GoldTM.
G-Coin combines the best qualities of traditional gold – stability, security, value, confidence, and social status – with the benefits of digital innovation, allowing users to easily save, send, and spend gold.
Tech-savvy investors keen to avoid cryptocurrency volatility, or physical storage burden and costs, are now able to purchase G-Coin digital gold tokens. G-Coin tokens can be purchased in increments of 0.01gram, giving individual investors better access to the gold market and the ability to use gold for day-to-day purchases.
G-Coin Wallets give users the freedom to send and receive value instantly, securely, and at no cost from the convenience of your mobile phone.
Last month at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Graf and his SS GreenLight Racing team teased the partnership with G-Coin and its sister company Responsible Gold with a gold-colored car and tweets on Graf’s “irresponsible grandpa”.
“This is a unique partnership, and I am excited to officially welcome G-Coin to NASCAR and our SS GreenLight Racing team,” said Graf. “G-Coin is building an amazing ecosystem and we believe the NASCAR community will put G-Coin on the global map. Plus, we will strike gold in our No. 07 Chevrolet Camaro with some strong finishes on the track.”
“We are thrilled with this partnership with NASCAR and specifically with Joe Graf Jr.,” said Brent de Jong, Founder of G-Coin. “We believe gold is a powerful wealth creator and protector and we’ve made it our mission to give equal access to everyone. Join us! Buy G-Coin tokens! Boldly pursue your dreams!”
Additional races will be announced in the near future.
The highly anticipated NASCAR triple-header weekend at Circuit of the Americas marks the second road course race of the 2021 Xfinity Series season. Earlier this year, Graf earned a career-best road course finish at the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Road Course where he earned a lead-lap 20th place effort.
For additional information on G-Coin, please visit gcoin.com or download G-Coin on the App Store or Google Play (Trading where applicable).
The Pit Boss 250 (46 laps | 156 miles) is the 11th of 33 NASCAR Xfinity Series races on the 2021 schedule. Practice is set for Fri., May 21 from 3:00 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Sat., May 22 beginning at 10:05 a.m. The inaugural race will take the green flag later in the day shortly after 3:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. ET) with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Performance Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90. All times are local (CT).
SS Greenlight Racing PR
Saturday night at Grandview Speedway will offer an exciting night of racing. There will be variety featuring the United States Auto Club East Coast Sprints making their only appearance of the season. And there will be the always action packed T.P.Trailers NASCAR Modifieds along with the T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman. Qualifying events for all will take place and feature races for the top performers.
Expected to see action in the sprints will be such standouts as Alex Bright and Briggs Danner, both early season feature winners, along with Steve Drevicki, Ed Aikin, Mike Thompson and a host of others. The tripleheader show gets the green at 7:30 p.m. Spectator gates open at 5:30 p.m. Adults are admitted for the special night of racing for $25 while youngsters 11 and under pay $10.
The Low, Down and Dirty Meet and Greet (Hosted by Whippy) this Saturday at the main gate area will take place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Included will be USAC East Coast racer Billy Ney along with Modified talents Brad Grim and Nate Brinker.
Coming on Saturday, May 22nd another tripleheader show with Modifieds, Sportsman and the Outlaw Vintage Racers. Information on racing at Grandview is available at www.grandviewspeedway.com, Facebook or telephone 610.754.7688.
Grandview Speedway PR
Spire Motorsports announced today that 2020 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series Champion and 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series’ race winner Josh Berry will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut driving the team’s No. 77 Diamond Creek High Alkaline Water Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in Sunday’s Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway.
Berry will fill in for Justin Haley, who was originally scheduled to drive the No. 77 on Sunday. Haley has been temporarily sidelined in accordance with team and NASCAR COVID-19 protocols and will be unable to participate this weekend.
The Hendersonville, Tenn., native competes regularly for JR Motorsports and picked up his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory last month in the Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway. In 15 career starts on NASCAR’s junior circuit, Berry has earned one win, two top-five and six top-10 finishes.
“First off, I hope Justin is doing well and I can’t wait to compete with him in a few weeks at Charlotte in the Xfinity Series,” said Berry. “I can’t thank Spire Motorsports enough for giving me the opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time. This is a great opportunity for me, and I am going to do my best to give the team a solid finish Sunday afternoon.”
Berry, a consistent winner throughout his career, stormed the late model stock car scene in 2020, tallying 27 victories in 40 starts, including a flag-to-flag victory in the Valley Star Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway and a dominant performance in the Old North State Nationals.
This season, the 30-year-old short-track standout picked up where he left in 2020, collecting his second consecutive $30,000 check by winning this year’s edition of the Old North State Nationals, leading 153 of the event's 200 laps.
“We’re excited to provide Josh Berry with the opportunity to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Dover International Speedway,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “It’s a little bittersweet because Justin Haley has to sit out this weekend, but at the same time, Josh has earned the opportunity to get a shot in the Cup Series. He’s a proven winner and raises the bar every time he gets in a race car. We know he’ll do a good job.”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled for Josh to get the call from Spire Motorsports to make his Cup racing debut,” added Dale Earnhardt Jr. “It’ll be thrilling for Josh to experience Cup action and I’m confident he will do a great job for them. Big thanks to Spire for presenting Josh with such an awesome opportunity.”
The Drydene 400 from Dover International Speedway will be televised live on FS1 Sunday, May 16 beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 13th of 36 races on the 2021 NCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
Spire Motorsports PR
In accordance with NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols, Justin Haley will not compete in this weekend’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway. Kaulig Racing continues to fully adhere to NASCAR’s safety protocols, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, to ensure the safety of its employees and fellow competitors. Zane Smith will drive the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet on Saturday.
Kaulig Racing PR
Due to ongoing restrictions in Ontario focusing on COVID-19 health-and-safety measures, organizers for the Honda Indy Toronto and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES jointly announce that this year’s event, July 9-11, will no longer be a part of the 2021 schedule.
“The NTT INDYCAR SERIES race around Exhibition Place and Princes’ Gates is a hallmark of our summer schedule,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “To have that void for a second straight year is heartbreaking. We deeply miss our fans there and urge them to remain safe during these unprecedented times. INDYCAR looks forward to a high-powered return in 2022 and for years to come.”
The festival atmosphere on the Streets of Toronto has been a staple of the INDYCAR SERIES since 1986. The list of champions includes legendary names such as Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti, Alex Zanardi, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.
INDYCAR is considering various scenarios for the remainder of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar as it relates to the cancellation of the event on the Streets of Toronto.
The current mid-summer portion of the schedule will resume Sunday, Aug. 8 for the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, with live coverage on NBCSN. That event is the first of three races on consecutive weekends for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, with the Nashville race followed by another historic NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend Saturday, Aug. 14 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then the exciting oval at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 21.
NTT Indycar Series PR
Kreator TV and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series made an agreement so Kreator TV will produce and deliver live full 2021. season starting with this weekend’s Valencia races on the Ricardo Tormo Circuit! Co-operation in which Kreator TV produced races from Automotodrom Grobnik in Croatia and the Valencia Super Speedweek from Circuit Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Spain started last year.
Kreator TV is a specialized motorsports TV network based in Croatia. Founded in 2011. for broadcasting Formula 1™ extended their scope to all motorsports in 2013. With building its own production capacities in 2020 Kreator TV produced ESET Cup series racing weekends from Hungaroring, Automotodrom Brno, Slovakia Ring, Automotodrom Grobnik and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series from Croatia and Spain. Kreator TV is present in all major IPTV & cable operators in Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina with the reach of 3 million people and from this April in Slovenia in Slovenian language reaching another 690.000 people.
“We always work to offer our fans the best possible racing show and we definitely provide one of the best at-track racing experiences in Europe. So we are very happy to reach this partnership with Kreator TV to develop and improve the NWES TV contents for our fans from all over the world who can't join us at the racetracks. With Davorin, we have the common goal to transmit the spark and excitement of EuroNASCAR thru every kind of device, thru our live streaming platforms and our TV broadcasting partners.” said Jerome Galpin, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series CEO & President.
“We are extremely happy to work with one of the most attractive racing series in the World. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series proved to be attractive and great racing and with our multilanguage broadcast we are planning additional European reach. It is great to work with partners like them and with our unique approach we will definitively raise the broadcast on another level.", said Davorin Štetner, Kreator TV’s CEO.
With the highest-paying weekend of the 2021 MARS Racing Series season on deck this weekend, the brightest stars are scheduled to come out and compete.
$25,000 in total winner’s shares is on the line as the Midwest’s biggest DIRTcar-sanctioned MARS Late Model names visit two of Illinois’ most popular dirt tracks – Farmer City Raceway and Fairbury Speedway.
The fifth annual Farmer City 74 kicks the weekend off Friday night, May 14, with a $10,000-to-win Feature for the MARS Late Models, joined by DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, Pro Late Models and Stock Cars. Grandstand gates at 1pm; adult general admission tickets are $25, children 12-and-under are free. Pit gates open at noon; pit passes are $40 for adults, $20 for children 12-and-under. Hot Laps are scheduled for 6:30pm.
From there, the Series heads 45 minutes northward on Saturday, May 15, for a $15,000-to-win Spring Showcase spectacular at Fairbury Speedway alongside the UMP Modifieds. Grandstand gates open at 2pm; adult general admission tickets are $25, children 12-and-under are free with paying adult. Pit gates open at noon; pit passes are $40 for adults, $15 for children 12-and-under with paying adult.
Here are the storylines to follow and drivers to watch for this weekend…
BACK TO THE B5 – Brandon Sheppard will make his first MARS starts of the season and blow the dust off his family-owned #B5, marking his first weekend stretch of racing this year not piloting the Mark Richards-owned Rocket Chassis house car.
Fairbury and Farmer City are Sheppard’s old playgrounds. He grew up racing around the banked quarter-mile facilities before joining the national Late Model tour ranks, providing him with more than enough experience to get the job done on the black-dirt bullrings at a moment’s notice.
Sheppard won MARS’ most recent stop at Fairbury last year, besting a loaded field of national, regional and local talent that hosted over 50 cars in the pits.
OPERATION: DEFENSE – Bobby Pierce holds a lot of recent merit at these two facilities.
Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, won the inaugural Farmer City 74 in 2017, as well as the preliminary night last year, scoring $5,000 in a dominant performance that saw him lap the field up to eighth place with a seven-plus-second lead before a yellow halted that progress in traffic.
Two days later, he won the MARS-sanctioned FALS Super Nationals at Fairbury, besting all 33 other cars on the property for a $10,000 paycheck against his biggest DIRTcar Late Model rivals.
Two big wins against the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series in April has propelled him to an eighth-place spot in the current DIRTcar national points standings.
CHAMP OUT FRONT – The defending MARS champion, Brian Shirley, of Chatham, IL, had a solid outing with the Series last weekend at LaSalle with two runner-up finishes in two days. He led most of Saturday’s Thaw Brawl finale before giving up the lead just after the halfway point, showing the Bob Cullen Racing team’s consistency early in the season.
While he fell just short of his second victory in the event, Shirley did retain the points lead and carries it coming into this weekend, just five points ahead of season-opening Feature winner Ryan Unzicker.
Shirley had wins at both Farmer City and Fairbury last year with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals and placed third and ninth, respectively, in the final MARS visits to the two venues.
WINNER WINNER – With one MARS Feature win already under his belt this year, Ryan Unzicker heads into the weekend second in the standings, five points back of Shirley.
The El Paso, IL-native also has a Feature win at Fairbury that came in the season opener two weeks ago for the track’s FALS Cup weekly series against a host of strong DIRTcar Late Model talent expected to be in the field this weekend, including Mike Spatola, Jason Feger and McKay Wenger.
Unzicker placed sixth in both the Farmer City 74 and a special summer edition of the Spring Showcase last year.
HUSTLER ON THE HIGHWAY – Jason Feger made it a night to remember in last year’s running of the Farmer City 74 (named after the highway that runs just north of the track), passing former event winner Shannon Babb for the lead around halfway and holding he and Pierce off for the win.
Feger, of Bloomington, IL, has two third-place finishes in weekly action at both tracks so far this year, and will be a threat to defend his event title this weekend.
He and his MB Customs chassis ran fifth in both MARS events last weekend at LaSalle, placing him fifth in the standings and 17th overall in DIRTcar Late Model national points.
DIRTcar Series PR
A busy weekend for the Western Midget Racing presented by Masters Design and Construction championship hits the track this weekend, with the production-powered Midgets charging into Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and Petaluma Speedway. The Northern California two-step earns points towards the “best of 12” title format during a busy 2021 season.
Both nights of competition will be streamed live on FloRacing and also will have fans in attendance. Friday’s races at Ocean are part of “Modified Madness” with both IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Mods, while Saturday at Petaluma sees USAC West Coast 360s, USAC Western Midgets, and Micro Sprints competing along with WMR.
The double header weekend has attracted entries from Southern California and Arizona to take in the action. Drivers competing for the WMR championship must compete in at least one start each at Petaluma and Arizona’s Adobe Mountain Speedway, and two each at Venutra Raceway and Ocean Speedway.
David Prickett is the most recent winner in the series with his fourteenth career triumph coming at Adobe Mountain last Saturday. Prickett’s Neverlift Motorsports team will have Jon Santibanes of Fairfield and Granite Bay’s Gary Dunn on Friday. Jim Weiler of Rohnert Park joins the team on Saturday.
Santa Paula’s Megan Moorhead has four top-fives this season. Ventura WMR champion Randi Pankratz returns to the series this weekend as well. Mountain View’s Antonia Boscacci and Brentwood’s Blake Bower make up a two-car effort for Orland Public Auction. Petaluma Speedway Sprint Car champion Shawn Arriaga of Antioch will look to use home track advantage for his first series win, after scoring two runner-up efforts this year. Cameron Beard of Atwater, Hawaiian Kala Keliinoi, and Arizona’s Cory Brown are also expected to compete. Kevin Felkins out of Lodi is expected to field a multi-car effort as well.
For more information on Western Midget Racing, visit them at www.WesternMidgetRacing.com or follow them on Facebook!
Western Midget Racing is presented by: Masters Design and Construction, Rockwell Security, Rams Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire, Extreme Mufflers, FTK, King Racing Products, and BR Motorsports.
As NASCAR prepares for the debut of all three of its national series next weekend at Circuit of The Americas, the following is a collection of quotes regarding the facility, track layout, anticipated racing and more. The quote board features the three NASCAR Cup Series champions – Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski – who participated in a Goodyear tire test March 2 on the 3.41-mile permanent road course in Austin, Texas.
The Xfinity Series Pit Boss 250 and Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 225 will both run on Saturday, with the NASCAR tripleheader weekend culminating with Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix NASCAR Cup Series race. Please click here for the weekend schedule of events and a track map.
- NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing): “Definitely quite a different road course from what we’ve been on here in NASCAR over the years. I actually didn’t get any time on the simulator or on iRacing or anything to learn the track, so coming here this morning (March 2), I’d only watched videos, so it was a big learning curve this morning. It was fun to make those first few runs, learn the track and get up to speed. Now we’re starting to get into some testing stuff – working on the cars and working on the tires. It’s been fun so far, and it’s been neat to learn a new track.”
- NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing): “It’s definitely an interesting place. It’s a long course – a lot of corners, a lot of high-speed straightaways, heavy braking zones, so it’s definitely going to have its challenges for the drivers as well as the equipment.”
- NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports): “It’s a super neat facility – super nice facility, number one. The track’s fun. It has a lot of character to it, I feel like. I’ve never been here, never seen it before in person before today and really haven’t watched a ton of races here, so it’s really been a pretty steep learning curve for me, trying to piece together all the different parts of the track and understand where you need to be good and how to make it flow.”
- NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford Mustang for Team Penske): “There are a couple of really high-speed sections that were really like eye popping, the backstretch one, specifically. … The transition from the high-speed to the low-speed sections is dramatic. It’s not a bad thing; it’s probably a good thing since it can open up some passing opportunities. You’ll see different drivers taking advantage of that without braking so curious to see how that plays out a little bit. … Restarts are going to be super important and I can see the race being wildly unpredictable.”
- NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Daniel Hemric (No. 18 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing): “I am blown away. You cannot fully appreciate COTA for itself until you actually come and have a chance to run a lap. We can all have simulation and look at film and do all kinds of stuff, but being on the racetrack, seeing all the elevation, seeing how fast some of the high-speed stuff is, how hard some of the braking zone are and how tight some of the switchback corners are, it’s going to be incredible to see how everybody, all of us – the whole field – can navigate that together. It’s going to be a challenge for these race teams, a challenge for the drivers, but I’m sure we’re up for it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
- Keselowski: “It’s different than a lot of road courses we go to – very high-speed. This section over here, it’s about 185mph. Then you slow down to about 30, so – 185 to 30, you know that’s a heck of a ride; I know it would make my wife sick if she was riding with me. And you really have to finesse the cars down in the corners.”
- Elliott: “Any time you go somewhere new, just to see a fresh road is refreshing for a race car driver. I’ve enjoyed the challenge. There are a lot of places on the track – I’ve not made a ton of laps, so really trying to understand ‘hey, is this the right way or is this the wrong way?’ When you’re new and you’re just trying to get going, you might hit the first part of the track pretty good but miss two spots back here. Your lap time doesn’t tell the whole story, so you really have to piece that together to understand what you did good and what you didn’t, and then go put the pieces of the puzzle together and try to put the whole thing in the works. It’s been fun, and I look forward to the rest of the day.”
- NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones (No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Petty Motorsports): “I think it is just technical as far as COTA is concerned. From what I’ve done on the simulator, there’s just a lot of technical portions of the race track. A lot of slow-speed stuff and a lot of really tight hairpin corners. It’s a matter of taking your time and being easy with it. Our cars are really heavy and got a lot of power and not a lot of grip so you just have to be easy with the race car and get it to do its work and not really force it to do anything.”
- Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith: “We’re really, really looking forward to an amazing inaugural weekend. We’re looking forward to seeing these pros hit the track, and I know it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. It’s high speed, it’s technical and I think it’s a little bit deceiving at how fast this track is, but we’ll find out soon enough.”
- Keselowski: “One of the things about this track here in Austin, it’s got a couple of key action spots. Turn one is designed as though a fan said, ‘how can I have the most calamity in that corner on the start?’ So, there’s a couple of things – first off, it’s uphill, which helps the car stop, so it encourages the driver to try to out-brake another driver, which is big on a restart or a start because all of the cars are already so close together. Second thing is, it’s really wide on entry, so it’s almost impossible to block because there’s just a lot more racetrack. And then, of course, the third part is it’s a super slow corner meaning you have to use a lot of brakes to get through there. So, like I said, almost like it was intentional – I’m sure it was intentional – to create some epic starts. I think you’ll see that here.”
- Truex Jr. “I would say the start of this race, will probably be pretty cool. You’ve got that long, front straightaway and it’s very, very wide, then you go into a very, very slow corner. We have races at places like Pocono where we get five and six-wide down the frontstretch, and there’s potential for that to happen here as well, but you’ve got to turn around and go the other way, so, it could be pretty hairy.”
FAVORITE PORTIONS OF LAYOUT
- Keselowski: “There are a couple of spots that certainly stand out as being a lot of fun. The esses are such a rhythm section. You feel like you’re doing a tango dance with your feet. You have to be really precise and hit everything perfectly. So, there’s a really strong rhythm section on the front half of the course, and then the back half of the course, kind of the ballsy place is the entry to this really high-speed corner section. Again, 185 mph down to 35 mph, you know it. You’re going at that corner really, really fast. You’re pushing it to the limit, and it really stands out.”
- Truex Jr.: “Really all the turns for me this morning were like, ‘OK, this is pretty cool; this is going to take a lot of figuring out.’ Like I said earlier, my learning curve was really steep. I’ve had no practice. I’ve never seen this track before, never watched a race here before. I literally watched five minutes of in-car footage last night (in March), I think it was a Porsche going around this place, and I was like, ‘OK, this looks pretty straightforward.’ Then you get out here and you’ve got the elevation changes. You’ve got the blind corners. Those are the things that take time to learn because you’ve got to go off of instinct more than what you’re seeing. It’s all about markers and points on the track and when you turn in and what gear you’re in and how much speed you’re carrying and finding the brake points and all those things. It takes over two minutes to get around here, so if you make a mistake, you’ve got to wait two minutes to correct it, and you can’t forget it when you come back around. It was interesting to do that and a lot of fun to do that.”
COMPARISONS OF COTA TO OTHER ROAD COURSES
- Keselowski: “This track reminds me a lot of Road America up in Wisconsin. A lot of similarities – really big straightaways, not as many esses at Road America, but tight chicanes. Big slowdowns. We’ll definitely take a lot of what we learn here up to Road America.”
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Hunter Nemechek (No. 4 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports): “All in all, this place is amazing. It brings a lot of different road courses together and kind of throws a lot of different components in to it and I think it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be technical, it’s going to be a mixture of a bunch of different road courses, and as a driver, I like to see that. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be the Toyota Tundra 225, so it’ll be neat supporting the Toyota Tundra driving it out here with their only manufacturing plant in the world only 90 minutes from here.”
- Truex Jr.: “We’ve been going to Watkins Glen and Sonoma for years. They’re both purpose-built road courses, but completely opposites. I feel like this is kind of part Sonoma, part Watkins Glen. There are some fast sections, some slow sections. It’s got the older asphalt, wearing tires out more like Sonoma, but it’s got the really high-speed straights and the really hard braking zone like Watkins Glen going down the backstretch. It’s a mix of both. It’s got a little bit the blind corner, up-and-down elevation change like Sonoma. It’s a pretty unique place. It’s been pretty fun to learn so far and I look forward to shaving off some more time this afternoon and having some more fun.”
IMPORTANCE OF OPENING PRACTICE
- Jones: “It’s going to be huge. Any time you go to a new track you need the practice time, that time to work out the bugs. The simulator is great and it does teach you a lot but there is really nothing matches getting on the race track and making those changes and feeling it in person.”
NASCAR COMPARISON TO OTHER FORMS OF RACING AT COTA
- Elliott: “I hope people will come out and give it a chance. It’s just a different type of racing. We’re not going near as fast as those cars do, but I feel like the product and the competitiveness on track and us being able to race around each other is much more feasible with the speeds we’re going and how big and heavy these cars are. No, it’s not the ooohhhs and aaahhhs of going through the esses at however fast those guys go, but I do think the racing’s better to watch, and I think that’s what’s made NASCAR popular over the years, and I’m not sure why that would be any different here.”
- Truex Jr.: “As far as selling our sport, I think it sells itself. We’ve got great racing every single weekend – a lot of surprises, obviously this year already a couple of young guys winning is big. That’s just the kind of thing we see in NASCAR. The parody is incredible. We always talk about just how close the field is and how the tiniest little things make a huge difference in winning or losing and we see that everywhere we go. I expect it to be no different here.”
IMPORTANCE OF BRAKE CARE ON ROAD COURSES
- Elliott: “The brakes are, for us, it’s just keeping them as cool as you can, and that’s a hard thing to do. Over the years, it’s honestly impressive watching how these teams have figured out how to keep these brakes cool. When I ran my first Cup race, I was like, ‘there’s no way the brakes are going to last on this thing,’ and guys would just be burying it in the corner and push all day. So, it’s really just a matter of keeping them as cool as you can and giving the driver the ability to continue to attack the corner, I think is important.”
KEY TO SUCCESS ON ROAD COURSES
- Elliott: “Good people, like anything else. Just good people and fell into a good situation. They’ve had fast cars to drive, so the only way to continue that is to just keep pushing forward and keep doing better – everybody on our team to keep pushing each other, me doing better behind the wheel, find that extra little bit in the car and try to take it to the next level. That’s all you can do. You like, like everything else, good people and a good situation.”
NEW MARKET FOR NASCAR
- Truex Jr.: “It’s huge. Anytime we can go somewhere new, it’s cool – get some local fans to maybe come to their first race. A lot of fans travel to the races. They don’t mind traveling. If we can get some new folks interested, especially with it being a road course -- there’s no road course anywhere close to here that we’ve ever raced at – that could have the potential to bring in some interest of some new people, some sports car guys and F1 guys, MotoGP guys that come here and like this stuff and understand this place. This is a unique facility. It’s an honor to get to come here and get to run on the track. I suppose it will be a special day when we get to come here and run on this track for race weekend.”
- Keselowski: “I think it is super important to rotate the tracks around – different venues, different towns. I think it is critical to the success of our sport and make our way to new fan bases. I like the opportunity for our sport, glad it was able to come together … I know there was a lot of different things behind the scenes to make it possible and I’d just like to say, ‘thank you’ to those who made it come together and in advance to the media and fans that come out to support it.”
DIVERSE 2021 SCHEDULE
- Keselowski: “We get joked at all the time for only making left-hand turns, so you all here are proof that we do more than that. It’s a nice challenge. When you look at what it takes to win and to be successful as a NASCAR driver, it’s really unique compared to all other forms of motorsports because you have to really excel at multiple forms and disciplines of racing, whether it’s the superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega, the short tracks like Bristol and Martinsville or intermediate tracks like Texas or Charlotte or places like that, Atlanta coming up and Vegas as well. All of those tracks, I always joke, are like playing a different position on the football field. It’s the same game, but the way you play it is much different. You have to be good at all of them to win a championship. You look at our playoffs, it’s one of every type of track, road courses, of course, being the fourth type of track. I like to joke, it’s like saying to take somebody who’s a great quarterback and say you’re going to play wide receiver next week. You’re going to play tight end and then running back the week after that. It’s still the same field. It’s still the same football field. It’s still the same objective, but the way you do it is so much different week to week.”