Monday, Mar 27
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Right. Left. Right. Hard on the gas. Light touch to the brake for a quick left-right-left. Quick on the gas. Light tap to the brake. Hard right and then hard on the gas. There is a cadence to road racing. There is a rhythm, similar to that of an elaborate foxtrot featuring an accelerated pace and intricate footwork, crafted to the design of the track and a driver’s racing style.


Artistic form aside, road racing is a challenge and requires a rigor that NASCAR drivers don’t get to experience on a weekly basis. As a veteran driver in the NASCAR Cup series, Denny Hamlin is well-versed in the unique demands of road-course racing. Of his 619 career starts in NASCAR’s top touring series, 45 have taken place on a road course.


The 42-year old driver will make his 46th career road course start this weekend in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) road course in Austin, Texas. It marks the first of six road-course events that make up the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule and just the third time the series has competed at the 3.4-mile track on the outskirts of the state capital. And the third is shaping up to be quite the spectacle.


It will be a star-studded field racing in the 2023 edition of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix. Former Formula One champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen are scheduled to compete, along with accomplished sports car racer Jordan Taylor and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who just completed a two-year stint competing in the IndyCar Series where road courses make up the majority of the schedule, before returning to the Cup Series ranks for a limited schedule this season.  


“These are legit, big-time drivers that have their own accolades in different series and are just superstars in their own right,” Hamlin said. “Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Jordan Taylor – I mean that’s quite the list. It’s great that we have those guys joining us. There certainly should be a lot of buzz around this weekend’s race. It’s going to be cool to share the track with them.”


Hamlin has competed in both previous Cup Series races at COTA. He finished 14th in the inaugural event in 2021 and 18th last year. The final result, however, isn’t always reflective of the performance. In 2022, for example, Hamlin won the second of the three stages in the race but wound up further back in the field once varying strategies started to unfold as the laps wound down.


As the series prepares to head to Austin once again, the level of star power isn’t the only change drivers will negotiate this weekend. NASCAR announced at the beginning of the 2023 season that stage breaks would be eliminated for the Cup Series for the entirety of the road-course racing schedule. For his part, Hamlin is conflicted on the elimination of stages at those races.


“I think stage racing has been a good thing for our sport, so I’m torn on that,” he said. “I’m not sure whether that’s a good call or the right call, but we’ll just wait to see how it plays out. I know teams really used to strategize on fuel mileage before we had stage breaks and that made it really cut and dry on what your strategy was going to be. I would just say that, without stage breaks at a road course, things could get spread way out. When I say way out, I mean way out. Everyone watching will need to temper expectations on getting the crazy restarts we’ve gotten used to since stage racing started.”  


While he’s still looking for a top result at COTA, Hamlin has experienced road-course racing success, scoring a win at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2016. Hamlin started sixth and raced solidly among the top-10 throughout the race before taking the lead with 10 laps to go en route to the victory. In addition to that win, Hamlin’s resume when it comes to NASCAR Cup Series road-course races includes 13 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s and 197 laps led. This weekend’s race is the first of six road-course races this season in which Hamlin will be able to add to his record.


Supporting that effort at COTA is an “Outrageously Dependable” partner in Texas-based Interstate Batteries. The longtime founding partner for Joe Gibbs Racing is taking over the primary role on the No. 11 Toyota Camry TRD this weekend – its first time operating in that capacity. 


“Interstate Batteries is so important to Joe Gibbs Racing and, honestly, to NASCAR in general,” Hamlin said. “They have been part of the sport for more than 30 years. There aren’t many companies in our sport with that kind of tenure. I speak for all of the JGR drivers when I say we all want to win in that car. We’ve all been part of the Interstate racing family, so it’s going to be nice to be able to finally wear those colors in a Cup race this weekend.”


Notes of Interest


● Current Situation. Hamlin enters the race at COTA ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, 37 points out of first place. Through the first five races of 2023, he has two top-10 finishes – a pair of sixth-place finishes scored at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California and Atlanta Motor Speedway, respectively.


● On the Road Again. This weekend’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix is the first of six road-course races that make up the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Hamlin has participated in both Cup Series races that have taken place at the 3.4-mile road course since the series started racing there in 2021. Hamlin won a stage during the 2022 race in Austin but his best result is the 14th-place finish he scored during the inaugural race in 2021.


● Road Racing History. Racing in Austin only tells part of Hamlin’s road racing history. Since he started competing in the NASCAR Cup Series fulltime in 2006, he’s made a total of 45 starts on road courses. In those starts, Hamlin has one win – 2016 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International – 13 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s. He’s led a total of 197 laps and has an average finish of 15.6.


● It’s Actually Quite Easy Being Green. Interstate Batteries is the founding partner for Joe Gibbs Racing and, for the first time since the organization started racing in the NASCAR Cup Series in 1992, Interstate Batteries will serve as the primary sponsor for at least one race on each of the four Toyotas fielded by the team. This weekend is the first time the iconic Interstate Batteries brand will appear in the primary role for the No. 11 Toyota Camry TRD.



NASCAR and Powerball announced today they are shifting their partnership into high gear with Powerball’s launch of a new national promotion. The “NASCAR Powerball Playoff” promotion will culminate with four lottery players winning a VIP trip for two to NASCAR Championship Weekend in Phoenix, Nov. 3-5, and the chance to win $1 million during a special drawing televised live from the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on Sunday, Nov. 5.

“This promotion captures the thrill of racing and winning that could only come from a NASCAR-Powerball partnership,” said Drew Svitko, Powerball Product Group Chair and Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director. “We’re excited to engage with players as the ‘Official Lottery Game of NASCAR’ and amplify Powerball’s mission of supporting state programs and services everywhere tickets are sold.”

“As we said when we announced our partnership with Powerball in February, this relationship is going to allow us to bring winning opportunities to our loyal fans,” said Daryl Wolfe, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. “This promotion is a perfect example of that, and as the excitement builds towards Championship Weekend at Phoenix Raceway, so will the excitement to award $1 million to one lucky lottery player.”

First teased during the partnership announcement during DAYTONA 500 festivities, the “NASCAR Powerball Playoff” promotion will begin at the state level with participating lotteries selecting entrants, by a method of their choosing, to form a national pool of semi-finalists. Sixteen semi-finalists will be drawn from the national pool, with no more than one semi-finalist per lottery advancing. The 16 semi-finalists will be announced during the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 26. The semi-finalists will then go head-to-head in a series of drawings that coincide with the elimination rounds of the NASCAR Playoffs.






Aug. 12

Aug. 26 at Coke Zero Sugar 400,

Daytona International Speedway

16 semi-finalists advance


Sept. 9

Sept. 16 at Bass Pro Shops Night Race,

Bristol Motor Speedway

12 semi-finalists advance

4 eliminated win $2,500


Oct. 1

Oct. 8 at Bank of America ROVAL™ 400,

Charlotte Motor Speedway

8 semi-finalists advance

4 eliminated win $5,000


Oct. 11

Oct. 29 at Xfinity 500,

Martinsville Speedway

4 finalists advance & win VIP trip

4 eliminated win $7,500


Nov. 5

NASCAR Cup Series Championship,

Phoenix Raceway

(1) $1 million winner

(3) $10,000 winners


The four semi-finalists still in the playoffs after the fourth drawing will win a VIP trip for two to NASCAR Championship Weekend in Phoenix, Nov. 3-5, and advance as finalists to the $1 million drawing. Cash prizes will be awarded to all 16 national semi-finalists based on their elimination position.

The VIP trip experience will include roundtrip airfare for two to Phoenix, three nights hotel accommodations – double occupancy, two Ally Curve Hospitality Club passes for both the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race on Nov. 4 and the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on Nov. 5, two passes for VIP experiences at Phoenix Raceway during the NASCAR Championship Weekend including NASCAR Cup Series™ VIP access, NASCAR team hauler tour, MRN radio booth tour, pace car rides, and Victory Lane access, welcome dinner and all meals, and ground transportation to scheduled events and activities.

Participating lotteries will kick off in-state contests and second-chance drawings throughout the 2023 NASCAR season. Participating lottery jurisdictions include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than half of all proceeds from the sale of a Powerball ticket remain in the jurisdiction where the ticket was sold. Drawings are broadcast live every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET from the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee. Drawings are also live streamed on

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season continues this Sunday, March 26 with live action from the first road course of the year, Circuit of the Americas, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The race will air live on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


After recording a career best four podium finishes, including three 2nd place finishes in 2022, Troy Talman is set to pursue his first career SK Modified® victory at Stafford Speedway with new primary sponsor Casella Waste Systems on his family owned #3 car.  One of Talman’s second place efforts came during the Sept. 23 Casella Employee Night and his performance opened the door for Casella Waste and Mark DiMaruo, Sr. to step up to a full-time sponsorship role for the 2023 season.  Talman and his #3 team will be the lead car in Casella Waste’s 2023 lineup of drivers that will include Stafford SK Modified® driver RJ Marcotte, Open Modified drivers George Bessette, Jr. and Max Zachem, Mark DiMauro, Jr. in the Wild Thing Kart Sr. Outlaw division on Monday nights at Stafford, and JDay Off Road GP driver Sadie Dodge.

“We really grew our relationship this year with Stafford Speedway, and we needed a good driver line up to go with it,” said Mark DiMauro, Sr., Division Manager for Casella Waste in Connecticut.  “Troy was coming on strong at the end of last year, almost winning the Casella Waste Employee Night at the track when we did a one race deal with him.  He turned heads that night, and he certainly captured our attention.  We decided to go forward with making him our flagship car for the 2023 season joining the rest of the Casella Waste racing group."

“I’m ecstatic for this season,” said Talman.  “Mark, Sr. and Mark, Jr. are both great people.  Things between us actually got started with a thank you note that I had sent to them for being a contingency sponsor last season.  We had a conversation one night in the parking lot at Thompson last August and one thing led to another as we were talking and they came on board with us as a sponsor for the Casella Night at Stafford and we were able to get a second place finish.  I’m super lucky that they decided to sponsor me for the 2023 season and I’m very happy to be representing the Casella brand this season.”

Talman came into the 2022 season with 4 career top-5 finishes in the SK Modified® division from 2018-2021.  Talman doubled his career top-5 total with 4 top-5 finishes last season, with three of his top-5 finishes coming in the final 7 races.  Talman credits an old family friend for helping to get his season turned in the right direction and feels confident coming into the 2023 season with positive momentum on his side.

“John Swanson ended up coming on board with us last August and he helped us with the car setup and the car felt awesome,” said Talman.  “Normally we would have a fast car for practice or a few laps and then it would fall off on a long run.  Now the car is much more balanced.  John has been a family friend since I was racing quarter midgets about 14 years ago now and who would have thought that one day 14 years later that we’re still friends and he would be helping us out with our SK Modified® car.  I always knew I could get the job done but those races really gave me more confidence.  I feel really good with where we’re at as a team.  We have to try to see if we can keep the speed in the car on those kind of nights this year.  We have a good chassis, a good setup, and good horsepower from Mike Pettit, I just have to finish the deal off as a driver.  I feel like this is as good of a spot as I’ve ever been in and a huge credit goes to everyone on the team for putting in all the long hours at the shop.”

Not only does Talman have his sights set on recording his first SK Modified® victory, but several trips to victory lane is the goal he has in mind for himself and the #3 Casella Waste team.

“It’s very tough to win in the SK division, everyone has their stuff together and everyone has all their ducks in a row,” said Talman.  “The goal this year is to win after we were so close last year.  It would be great to win every Friday night, but that’s a little unrealistic.  I try to not think about points, they’re going to fall where they fall and each week is its own challenge.  I’d like to be consistent this season and we definitely want to win on Casella Night.  Stafford is really the premier track in the Northeast and in every aspect of what they do is what all short tracks should shoot for.  Starting with the management, how the track is run, the facilities, and their social media presence can’t be compared to any other short track that I’ve seen, so to win at Stafford would mean a lot to me.”

Talman will have his first opportunity to add his first career SK Modified® victory on Sunday, April 30 as part of NAPA Spring Sizzler® Weekend.  The NAPA Spring Sizzler® kicks off on Saturday, April 29, and will consist of two 40-lap NAPA Duel qualifying races for the Open Modified division. The 40-lap races will each pay $3,500 to win and will set the field for Sunday’s NAPA Spring Sizzler®. The American Canadian Tour (ACT) Late Models will also make their return to Stafford Speedway on April 29th with a 75-lap feature with over 40 cars expected for the race.  Limited Late Model, Street Stock, and Vintage All-Star divisions will complete Saturday’s racing program.

Order 51st NAPA Spring Sizzler® Tickets

Sponsor a NAPA Spring Sizzler® Lap

Sunday, April 30th will play host to the $20,000 to win 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®.  Filling out Sunday’s racing card will be qualifying and feature racing for the SK Modified®, SK Light Modified, and Late Model divisions along with last chance qualifiers for the Spring Sizzler®.

For more information, visit, follow Stafford Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

Stafford Speedway PR

“America’s Favorite Short Track” is set for a historic 2023 season celebrating 119 years of auto racing on Saturday, April 1st. 7 local divisions will be on display, featuring Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, United States Air Force (USAF) Legends, and Bandoleros.

Fans have plenty to look forward to this year at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and it all begins at 5:00pm on Saturday, April 1st. The stars of the 1/4-mile will begin the exciting night of racing with hopes of getting their 2023 season started off on the right foot. Last year's 1/4-mile champions will be the ones to look out for on opening night, as they try to pull off one of the hardest feats in all of sports, repeating their championship run.

These include Murfreesboro Fence Company Bandolero champion #9 Gavon Veach, United States Air Force Legends pro champion #17 Oliver Cordell and semi-pro champion #9 Michael Crafton, Pest Doctor Front Runner champion #9 Matt Hamlett, Pure Stock champion #4 Michael Neidert, Street Stock champion #3 Travis Arms, and Limited Late Model champion #93 Kevin Rollins.

The great night of racing action will be capped off with 119 laps from the Pro Late Model division around the 5/8-mile track. The 119 laps run by the Pro Late Models are in honor of the 119 years of auto racing at the famed track. Last year’s Pro Late Model champion, Dylan Fetcho, picked up his 2nd championship, in the division, and will be one of the top competitors returning for the 2023 season. Fetcho will have a tough time defending his 2022 championship reign with full fields of talented wheelmen from around the country making their way to test their skills at "America's Favorite Short Track".

A great season is set in place for the 2023 racing schedule. After opening night, the US Legends Spring Nationals Championship will come to town on Friday and Saturday, April 14th and 15th. Featuring United States Air Force Legends, Bandoleros, Pro Late Models, & Trucks. Then moving on to May 12th and 13thwhich will be a double-header of racing action, with a local 1/4-mile show on the 12th, followed by the return of the ARCA Menards Series East for the ARCA Music City 200 on the 13th. Also racing on May 13th will be the Pro Late Models and CRA Street Stocks.

The schedule then flips over to June with the return of the Music City Triple 50’s. Featuring Pro Late Models, Modifieds of Mayhem Tour, Trucks, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stock, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros.

July will be the halfway point of the year with the North/South Super Late Model Challenge. Which will see the ASA Southern Super Series and ASA CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS, Pro Late Models, Trucks, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros battling it out around both the 1/4 and 5/8-mile tracks. This will be the first of two shows this year that feature the Super Late Model division.

Still in July, will see the return of non-winged asphalt Sprint Cars with the newly formed 500 Sprint Car Series. This will be the first time in 19 years that non-winged Sprint Cars will bring their high-speed action to Nashville. Joining the 500 Sprint Car Series will be the JEGS/CRA Pro Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stock, Pest Doctor Front Runners, United States Air Force Legends, and Bandoleros.

August will see the return of Bass Tire Family Night on Saturday, August 12th. Last year’s family night was filled with backpacks, collectables, bicycles, and TV giveaways. Accompanied by fantastic racing action and one of the best finishes of the year in the Pro Late Model division.  Bass Tire Family Night will see more of the same this year with Pro Late Models, Outlaw Late Models, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros returning for one of the can’t miss nights on the 2023 schedule.

October will see local racing return on Friday, October 6th with all 8 local divisions getting their final reps in before the end of the season. This will include Pro Late Models, Trucks, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros.

The final 3-days of the 2023 season will culminate in the All American 400 triple-header of racing action. Festivities kick off on Friday, November 3rd with the local 1/4-mile championship featuring Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, Pest Doctor Front Runners, USAF Legends, and Bandoleros chasing a 2023 track championship. Racing action continues Saturday, November 4th with pole qualifying for the ASA STARS National Tour Super Late Models and a full racing program with CRA Street Stocks and Vores Compact Touring Series.

Then on Sunday, November 5th the 39th running of the All American 400 will have some extra flair as it will now be under the umbrella of the newly formed ASA STARS National Tour. This will be the championship event for the 10-race national touring series and see some of the best Super Late Model drivers from around the country compete for a chance at grassroots racing history. Also joining the Super Late Models will be the JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour and local Pro Late Models. The Pro Late Model event will crown a new 2023 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway track champion.

For more information and tickets to opening night and the 2023 racing schedule visit You can also get constant updates by liking and following our social page @nashvillefairgroundsspeedway for Facebook and @racefairgrounds on Twitter. For tickets to opening night click this link

Nashville Fairgrounds PR

AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – WHAT DO YOU THINK THE STRATEGY WILL BE AND HOW WILL IT CHANGE WITH THE LACK OF STAGE CAUTIONS? “I think it changes a lot in comparison to… I’d say especially what we saw last year with stage racing and how it really impacted the road courses. I’d say COTA probably wasn’t the worst, but as far as like Sonoma, you either took points or you decided to finish well. You had opportunities for people to decide if they had a car that was good enough to win or just take points. Obviously, in my opinion, the purpose of the stage points is to reward the cars that run well, and I think everyone would agree that the winner of the race should be one of the best cars. With that all being said, I’m not saying that the best cars didn’t win races last year, but I think with eliminating the breaks and the ability for us to run green flags pretty organically – probably more traditionally – it really changes the opportunity for strategy depending on cautions and potentially fuel mileage. I think it really changes the strategy of the race and how to go about your speed, but also and most importantly, it gives the chance for the best cars of that race to be rewarded for being the best.”


AFTER A MESSY XFINITY AND TRUCK RACE AT ATLANTA, WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU THINK THIS WILL BE AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS? “I think relating to last week, obviously you saw a really messy Xfinity and Truck series race, and a relatively calm, but racy, Cup race by the end of things. I honestly think I’m going to credit the Next Gen car to that one, because our cars can race like that a lot better because we’re not relying on side force. At some tracks we go to, you kind of wish we had that as a thing where you can manipulate cars in front or behind, or whatever else. But in that style of racing, I feel that makes it a lot easier to race side-by-side with people on our doors. You can make the argument of the quality of driver or experience and so on as high as the Cup series, but at the end of the day, there was a lot of wrecks that happened in Xfinity and Truck due to side force getting taken away with cars on the door. So as far as road racing and what to expect this weekend, and I think an extension of my initial answer, with these stage breaks and cautions, everyone gets stacked up on the restarts, COTA is an opportunity in corner No. 1 as far as making it eight, nine-wide going into a hairpin corner. I think those opportunities are certainly a lot less because I think the opportunity to go green flag for a lot longer is a lot higher. You think about tracks like COTA that have the most run-off than anywhere we go – you’re probably going to have to have stranded vehicles or multiple incidents, or probably a tire falling off to cause a full-course caution.”


WERE YOU AT THE MUSTANG GT3 TESTING AT SEBRING, AND WHAT IS THE ANTICIPATION LEVEL FOR THAT CAR NEXT SEASON? WILL THIS BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR FORD DRIVERS TO PREPARE FOR ROAD COURSE RACES IN CUP? “No, but I’ve watched the video in question about a million times. It certainly has the opportunity to be – from my own standpoint and not based on anything else or conversations I’ve had. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships I have. It’s an exciting time in GT racing just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars. Also the opportunity with WC and Le Mans, and how it all lines up for that category of car, it’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible. How that relates specifically to NASCAR, the drivers and how often they want to participate or be in the Rolex… could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer. But the challenge, the drive and logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to kind of find your one-off ride for the race – at least in my experience and that’s what I still anticipate. I definitely think there is more of a pathway than I’d think before as far as Ford drivers are concerned. I’m excited. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. I think that’s the first box you have to check, and it’s cool for a guy like Jim Farley – there’s no doubt he’s a racer as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see that he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”


DO YOU AGREE WITH WHERE NASCAR PUT THE CHOOSE LINE AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS, AND DO YOU THINK IT WILL CHANGE MUCH FOR THE RESTARTS? “Do I think it’ll change much for the restarts? Probably not. I’ll be honest: It probably creates a bit more of a logistical complication at a road course, just because usually for me, I rely on my spotter a lot for the information. Especially when you’re kind of outside the top-10 and don’t have much of a scope on the field. I feel like anyone is just going to take the track position opportunity. But, it does give you the option to make a right or wrong decision, so it definitely adds plenty of stress to the driver, and it can certainly change your day depending on if it’s better or worse. You can certainly make the same argument for speedway racing, but regardless, I think the back straightaway out of Turn 11 is going to be the best place for the choose zone. It’s really the only straightaway that gives NASCAR enough time to look at the line-up and make the decisions they’d need to make if someone messes up on the choose or if there’s a problem with the line-up. So, from that standpoint, I think it’s the best location for it. I think that’ll be different depending on each road course as far as logistically which section of racetrack – it’ll probably be different at IMS, Chicago, Sonoma or somewhere else, or the rovals. It’ll be interesting to see how challenging it is. From my own personal standpoint, we’re prioritizing to have a spotter over in that location just for that implementation. So, it’ll be interesting to see how it goes this weekend and how much influence it’ll have. I feel like the choose for the drivers, more times than not, is an opportunity to screw up more than it is an opportunity to gain something. So, it’s definitely a factor but probably not as big of a factor as maybe what it was last weekend at Atlanta.”


WITH TWO FORMER FORMULA 1 CHAMPIONS AND A FORMER IMSA CHAMPION, HOW BIG IS THIS RACE AS A WHOLE, AND HAVE YOU FELT THIS MUCH HYPE FOR A ROAD RACE SINCE YOU BEGAN IN NASCAR? “It’s really cool. As far as the pedigree of drivers, not only in our own field but also guys who are coming in for a one-off or a couple of unique opportunities, I’d say between guys with experience with this Garage 56 program between Jordan [Taylor] and Jenson [Button] and obviously Kimi [Räikkönen]’s experience last year and actually coming in with some relative seat-time… the guys also won here in Formula 1 so it’s not like he doesn’t know the track – maybe Watkins Glen. I’ll be certainly expecting for him to perform at an even higher level than what he did at Watkins. Excited to see that and excited to race against guys like that, and have them in our sport, stadium and wacky way of doing things probably in comparison to what they’re used to. It’s a lot of fun and fun to see the growth of someone who’s trying this for the first time. I’ve been in this sport for what I would consider a limited amount of time, and the things that were new to me and strange to me are probably strange, new or different for someone else. It’s fun to see what those different, strange, awkward moments are for other people as they’re trying to learn. I think it’s fun for the race fans as well. Guys like that who are extremely established, I would expect probably every single one of them in a certain respect to have some pace this weekend.”


LAST YEAR, YOU HAD THE DAYTONA 500 WIN IN YOUR BACK POCKET. THIS YEAR, YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT POINTS RACING A LITTLE BIT MORE. WHAT’S THE APPROACH THIS YEAR AS OPPOSED TO LAST YEAR? “I’d say the first couple of races were a bit frustrating for us – just getting put into the wall three weeks in a row is just not going to be good for points. From that standpoint, last weekend was definitely our best points weekend in Atlanta. I’d say, the points are also extremely tight right now because everyone is kind of having that up-and-down trying to find that footing. That’s where going into this year, I really thought you’d see the same parity and the same up-and-down performance, trying to find our consistency as you saw from a lot of groups last year. And that’s continuing this year. That consistency is huge for being in control of your own destiny points wise. I’m still of the belief that you’ll have to win a race to feel comfortable as far as playoffs are concerned. So, from that standpoint, playoff points are nice but a win still gets everything done for you.”


NO STAGE BREAKS ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE STRATEGY FOR TEAMS, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVERS? “I personally have never done a NASCAR sanctioned race that didn’t involve stage breaks. It’ll be new to me, as far as pushing those cars for that long. If it were the last generation car, I’d be concerned about brakes and those long green flag runs. I’d say with this Next Gen car, not so much. But someone’s going to fall out of the seat – that’s my prediction for the weekend. I can tell you it’s not going to be me, but I think it’s more possible this weekend than any other weekend. it’s not going to be cool by any means, and it’s a physically challenging track. You have that long back straightaway to rest, but I did the Goodyear tire test a couple months ago, and two days of driving around that place knocks you around – it’s a bumpy racetrack. You’re using a lot of the runoff that wasn’t meant to be driven on, so you’re getting tossed around in there, banging around, grabbing gears all the time and using your legs to brake. On top of that, they’re pretty hot race cars to drive. From that standpoint, I think it’ll be a pretty physical weekend.”


FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS A ROAD RACING BACKGROUND, WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURGENCE OF ROAD COURSE RINGERS AND IS THIS TREND GOING TO CONTINUE IN THE SPORT? “I’d say as cool as it is, I’d love for it to be a gateway or catalyst to see guys of that caliber – they’re not just guys who come and do road courses but they’re champions and world champions and were, or are, the best at what they do… and they’re coming and joining our racing. I hope it’s a catalyst or gateway for them joining us on not just road courses, but oval racing as well. I mean, it’s so different, but I feel it challenges you in so many different ways. I’m looking forward to one of those guys getting the opportunity to go outside of their comfort zone and do just that. Because I know how big of a difference and culture shift it was for me. So yeah, I hope it’s a gateway for that.”


WHAT EFFECT DO YOU THINK THE SHORT TRACK ROAD COURSE PACKAGE WILL HAVE ON THIS RACE? “As far as the effect on this race: it’s hard to say. Obviously, we raced at Phoenix and kind of saw the differences or lack thereof as far as the race. It’s going to change a bit how you setup the car or how you offset it. Your guess is as good as mine as far as what it’s going to be like compared to last year’s aero configuration other than the fact that it’s a lot less downforce, which means there will be a lot less grip and a lot slower. You could make the argument that a couple inches off the rear spoiler probably creates less drag and you could probably make up some time on the straightaways. But passed that, I think you’ll be fighting for grip in the braking zones and definitely into the higher speed corners. It’s just how much and how much do I need to adjust our car for it.”


DOES THE LOWER DOWNFORCE LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR THE ROAD COURSE RINGERS JOINING THE FIELD FOR THE RACE? “I think to a certain extent, it does. I would also say whatever percentage of downforce we took off is probably just going to be that much less than Kimi Räikkönen or Jenson Button has ever driven in a race car – because it’s a lot less. From that standpoint, those guys are in for a treat depending on how you expect it. In comparison to Watkins Glen, you could be really aggressive with our cars at Watkins Glen just with how fast and how much grip that track surface has, and I’d say the lack of straight-line brake zones, that’ll probably be the biggest difference for a guy like Kimi who hasn’t really had to do that much straight-line braking in one of these cars. But these guys are really talented at what they do. I’ve always said, ‘A race car’s a race car.’ So, I think as far as car control and the ability to make lap time, I have zero doubt that those guys will be on pace. So, from that standpoint, does it level the field? Maybe, because everyone is scrambling just as much as the next guy. But, I think having practice and that 50-minute session, the opportunity to change some tires and feel some things out, that will probably be more beneficial than anything.”


WE SAW THE TOYOTA STRUGGLE ON THE ROAD COURSES A LOT LAST YEAR UNTIL CHRISTOPHER BELL WON AT THE ROVAL. NOW THEY HAVE TYLER REDDICK IN THEIR CAMP, WHO WON TWO RACES. WITH THIS NEW CAR, CAN ONE DRIVER MOVING OVER MAKE AN IMPACT ON HOW A PARTICULAR CAR PERFORMS – ESPECIALLY ON ROAD COURSES – WHEN THERE HAVE BEEN STRUGGLES IN THE PAST? “I think it’ll be a great example with Tyler, who clearly had an impact in almost every road course race that we ran last year as far as running out front, including Circuit of The Americas. From that perspective, absolutely. I think a driver can come in and make an impact as far as not just on the racetrack, but also the culture. As far as giving the team confidence, ‘Hey this is a somebody who’s clearly been able to make this work. We have to believe in how far off we are or aren’t.’ If they are on pace or not on pace. If it wasn’t the Cup series, I’d say it makes more of a difference. But it takes the entire package. It’s about the guy in the controls and making the right decisions about the race car, but it’s about having the right race car at the same time, the execution – it’s about all those things. I still think it’s about having the big package. I think having a clear-cut example of someone who’s been able to make it work can certainly help a program that may be struggling. The inconsistency and their performance I would agree with, certainly an observation of mine. It seemed like Hendrick and RCR were super strong, especially by the end of the year on road courses. So from that standpoint, I’d look at those guys as the groups to beat heading into COTA.”


NEXT WEEK AT RICHMOND WITH THE SURFACE, YOU THINK THE CHANGES WILL BE MORE PRONOUNCED THAN WHAT WE SAW AT PHOENIX? “Yeah, I think so. I think there are less places to hide at Richmond as far as when you’re bad, you’re really bad. This package, even at Phoenix, even when you were a little bit off, you were really off. I could certainly see Richmond being more of an extreme example and probably the most extreme you’d ever see as far as that’s concerned. I think that’s a perfect example of a race weekend that you’re going to have to think the guys that execute and keep up with the track are going to really be able to excel with this package or have the opportunity to excel more with this package than the previous package. But characteristically, I feel like a lot of those things are the same, but a little bit more exaggerated with there being a smaller window on grip.”


Ford Performance PR

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

The Place: Circuit of The Americas

The Date: Sunday, March 26

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $9,294,829

TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 231.88 miles (68 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 68)


NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Pit Boss 250 presented by USA Today

The Place: Circuit of The Americas

The Date: Saturday, March 25

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

The Purse: $1,695,270

TV: FS1, 4 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 156.86 miles (46 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 14),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 46)



Next Race: XPEL 225

The Place: Circuit of The Americas

The Date: Saturday, March 25

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

The Purse: $740,517

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 143.22 miles (42 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 12),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 26), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 42)


NASCAR Cup Series


Circuit of The Americas sets the stage for the NASCAR Cup Series

Crank up the lights and focus-in the cameras, because the stage is set for the NASCAR Cup Series to return to one of the country’s premiere tracks, the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix this Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This week the NASCAR Cup Series teams are preparing for the first of six road & street courses on the 2023 schedule – Circuit of The Americas (Mar. 26), Sonoma Raceway (June 11), Chicago Street Course (July 2), Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (Aug. 13), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 20) and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct. 8).


On 1,500 acres of land just outside of Austin, Texas construction began in 2010 on what is now known as the Circuit of The Americas. The 20-turn, 3.41-mile, multi-elevational counterclockwise circuit takes advantage of the naturally rolling landscape, including a 133-foot hill at Turn 1. The track also has an amphitheater, the largest permanent outdoor amphitheater in Central Texas, and a 251-foot observation tower.


The sprawling Circuit of The Americas road course has hosted two NASCAR Cup Series races (2021, 2022). The inaugural event was held on May 23, 2021, but was shortened from its scheduled 68 laps to 54 due to inclement weather. The race produced 11 lead changes among 10 different leaders, but it was Hendrick Motorsports driver and 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott who won the inaugural event under caution.


The series returned to 3.41-mile track in 2022 and this time ran the full scheduled length (68 laps) producing 13 lead changes among nine different leaders. The final lead change of the NASCAR Cup Series March 27, 2022 race took place with two laps to go – Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain passed Tyler Reddick for the lead – and went on to win his first career Cup Series race.


Last season’s race was also the premiere of the Next Gen car on a road course, and it didn’t disappoint. Circuit of The Americas produced a NASCAR Cup Series record for green flag passes for the lead on road course tracks with 30 green flag passes for the lead. The previous record was held by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course with 22 green flag passes for the lead in 2021.


This weekend’s on-track activity for the NASCAR Cup Series begins with practice on Friday, March 24 at 2 p.m. ET followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday, March 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET. Both events will be televised on FS1.


NASCAR introduces new package for short tracks and road courses

NASCAR has announced this season updates to the components of the NASCAR Cup Series car for races held at road courses and short tracks (excluding Bristol and Dover). The Road Course and Selected Short Track Package will consist of the following:


  1. 2” Spoiler


  1. Remove Engine Panel Strakes


  1. Remove Center and Inner Diffuser Strakes. Only the Outer Diffuser Strakes will remain installed. Spacers will be installed between the diffuser flap and diffuser due to removing the inner diffuser strakes. 


  1. Remove Diffuser Fences and Replace with Baseline Fences.


  1. Splitter stuffers will remain unchanged from the current components.


The rules are in place at the following tracks: Charlotte Roval, Chicago Street Course, Circuit of The Americas, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Martinsville, New Hampshire, North Wilkesboro, Phoenix, Richmond, Sonoma and Watkins Glen.


So that teams and drivers can have additional track time to adjust to these new components, NASCAR has made Circuit of The Americas an ‘extended practice’ weekend. A 50-minute practice is scheduled for Friday from 1:05 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. local time.


Standings leader Joey Logano dominated Atlanta, looks to keep success rolling at COTA

After a prevailing performance at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend, that saw Team Penske’s Joey Logano lead 130 of the 260 laps and pass RFK Racing driver Brad Keselowski to win, has leaped to the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings lead by one point over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell in second place.


Holding the points standings lead for the second-time already this season, Logano’s win has also etched his name on the list of 2023 Playoff drivers to secure their spot; joining Ricky Stenhouse Jr., William Byron and Kyle Busch. He has also earned his spot in this year’s NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race which will be held at the newly renovated North Wilkesboro Speedway (May 21). Now, the 32-year-old will look to extend his points lead and get his first series career win at Circuit of the Americas this weekend.


Logano is already an established road course racer in the series, taking the win at Watkins Glen International in 2015. In his two series starts at Circuit of The Americas he has put up one top-five finish (third) and an average finish of 17.0. Last season at COTA, he started sixth and ran well but was caught in a late race incident that relegated him to a 31st-place finish.


NASCAR road course aces to watch this Sunday

Heading into this weekend at the Circuit of The Americas, the NASCAR Cup Series has 12 former road course winners entered in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix this Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and 11 of them are looking for their first win of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season (all except Kyle Busch and Joey Logano).


Three new drivers were added to the NASCAR Cup Series road course winners list last season; including Trackhouse Racing teammates Ross Chastain, who won his first career Cup Series race at Circuit of The Americas, and Daniel Suárez, who earned his first career Cup Series win at Sonoma Raceway, and not to mention, 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, who earned two road course wins last season driving for Richard Childress Racing at Road America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.


“When I look back at our first win, I think of all of the people who helped me get here,” said Chastain. “My family, sponsors, team owners, all of the men and women who have spent time trying to help me put everything together so I could race. It would’ve been so easy for me to give up and go back and work at the farm. Instead, I kept working at it, and kept trying and so many people were there to help me.”


Of the three (Chastain, Suarez and Reddick) the pre-race loop data stats are pointing to Ross Chastain as the one to watch for this weekend at COTA. In his two starts at 3.42-mile course, he has posted one win and two top fives. He leads the series in average finish with a 2.5, average running position with a 6.785, driver rating with a 125.8, fastest laps run (20) and laps in the top 15 (112 laps, 91.1%).


Active Road Course Winners (12)

Total Wins







Road America

Kyle Busch









Martin Truex Jr









Kyle Larson









Kevin Harvick









AJ Allmendinger









Christopher Bell









Tyler Reddick









Joey Logano









Ryan Blaney









Denny Hamlin









Daniel Suárez









Jimmie Johnson









Ross Chastain










With current active Cup Series road course wins leader, Chase Elliott (with seven road course wins), sidelined with a broken leg, which leaves three drivers assuming the role this weekend at the Circuit of The Americas – Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson - each with four road course victories in their careers and none have come at COTA.


But of the active road course wins leaders – Busch, Truex and Larson – the pre-race loop data stats are pointing to Kyle Busch as having the most success this weekend at Circuit of The Americas. He ranks in the top five in nearly every category: average running position (9.065), second-best; driver rating (92.4), ninth-best; fastest laps run (9), third-best; laps in the top 15 (102 laps, 82.9%), second-most; and quality passes (80), second-most.


Probably, the hungriest to revisit Victory Lane of the three active road course wins leaders is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., who hasn’t won a points-paying NASCAR Cup Series race since Richmond on Sept. 11, 2021 - 49 races ago. Three of Truex’s four road course wins have come at Sonoma Raceway (2013, 2018, 2019) and he earned his fourth at Watkins Glen (2017). The veteran from New Jersey ran well at COTA last season posting a seventh-place finish after starting 17th.


Button, Räikkönen and Taylor join the Cup Series at COTA

With the announcements of Formula One champions Jenson Button and Kimi Räikkönen and IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car champion Jordan Taylor joining the NASCAR Cup Series to compete in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas on March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio the level of road racing competition in the series was officially raised.


Rick Ware Racing and Mobil 1 have worked in conjunction to bring the 2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button to NASCAR to compete in three races this season – Circuit of The Americas (March 26), Chicago Street Course (July 2) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (Aug. 13). This weekend, Button, native of Frome, England, will attempt to make his series debut piloting the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet with crew chief Billy Plourde on top of the pit box.


“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to,” Button said. “But I just get excited about that new challenge, and when I throw myself into something, I am 100% in.”


The 43-year-old driver has won 15 races in 306 career Formula One starts. His final start came in 2017, and his last full-time F1 season was in 2016.


Returning to the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend, after making his career debut at Watkins Glen International last season, is the 2007 Formula One world champion Kimi Räikkönen. The driver from Espoo, Finland will be back in the Trackhouse Project No. 91 Chevrolet with crew chief Darian Grubb on the pit box.


This will be Räikkönen’s second stint in the Project 91 car, he helped introduce the program last season at Watkins Glen International. The 43-year-old driver started the race at The Glen in 27th but was caught in an incident exiting the bus stop that relegated him to a 37th-place finish.


“Last year was a great experience,” said Räikkönen. “Unfortunately, the result wasn’t what we were looking for because we got caught up in a wreck, but that’s part of racing. I am excited to have another go and hopefully we will stay out of any big issues. This will be tricky for sure, but the further we go in the weekend the easier it gets. At least I have an idea of how we can approach the weekend. I think we did a good job last year. Is the car going to give us a better result? I don’t know, I hope so.”


Joining Button in making his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at the Circuit of The Americas will be IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car champion Jordan Taylor, who has been selected to replace an injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on road courses until Elliott is healthy enough to return. Taylor will be working with crew chief Tom Gray this weekend. 


Taylor, from Orlando, Florida, has also been tapped as the fourth driver in the NASCAR Garage 56 project that will have an adapted NASCAR Next Gen car compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.

“Jordan is a world-class road racer and has recently been working with our Garage 56 team preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “He’ll be able to step in and do a great job at COTA." 


Jimmie Johnson will check off a ‘bucket-list’ item this weekend at COTA

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and current owner/driver at Legacy Motor Club, Jimmie Johnson, will be returning to the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at the Circuit of The Americas – his second start of his 10-race part-time 2023 schedule.


“COTA has been on my racing ‘bucket list’ for a very long time,” said Johnson. “But my timing was off by a year or so. I was hoping it was going to be on the INDYCAR schedule – and it wasn’t – and then they added it to the NASCAR schedule after I left. I’m excited to finally be able to check this one off the list and thankful to Club Wyndham for making it happen. From everything I’ve heard, NASCAR drivers have had a lot of fun racing at COTA, so to say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement.”


Johnson made his return to the series in the season opening DAYTONA 500, where he started 39th and finished 31st.


Throughout Johnson’s NASCAR Cup Series career, he has made 40 starts on road courses posting one win (Sonoma, 2010), nine top fives and 20 top 10s. His most recent NASCAR Cup Series start on a road course was on Oct. 11, 2020 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval; where he started 30th and raced his way up to a 13th-place finish.


Top performers in the Next Gen last season on road courses

Last season the NASCAR Cup Series competed on six road courses in the newly introduced NASCAR Next Gen car. Now, the series is about to embark on the first of six different road courses this season, but before they do lets take a look at the top performers on road courses last season in the new car. 


Wins – Five different drivers won on road courses in the Next Gen car last season, led by Tyler Reddick who scored two victories in 2022 at Road America and the Indianapolis Road Course. The other four winners were Ross Chastain (COTA), Daniel Suarez (Sonoma), Kyle Larson (WGI) and Christopher Bell (Charlotte Roval).


Runner-Up Finishes – Six different drivers finished runner-up in the six road course Cup Series races last season: Alex Bowman (COTA), Chris Buescher (Sonoma), Chase Elliott (Road America), Austin Cindric (Indianapolis RC), AJ Allmendinger (WGI) and Kevin Harvick (Charlotte Roval).


Top Fives – A total of 18 different drivers scored top-five finishes in the six road course races run last season, led by Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick with three top fives each.


Top 10s – A total of 26 different drivers posted a top-10 finish in the six road course races run last season, led by Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick with five top 10s each.


Average Finishes – A total of five different drivers had an average finish of 10th or better in the six Cup road course races last season – Chase Elliott (9.0), Chris Buescher (9.0), Austin Cindric (9.3), Tyler Reddick (9.5) and Michael McDowell (10.8). 


NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.


Honorary Starter Darius Rucker will perform pre-race concert at COTA – Three-time GRAMMY® Award-winner Darius Rucker will perform his chart-topping hits during a one-hour pre-race concert prior to the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix NASCAR Cup Series race this Sunday, March 26 at 12:45 p.m. CT. Rucker has been named the Honorary Starter for the event.


Darius Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Diamond-certified debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the Top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time. Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart, including RIAA Platinum-certified Learn to Live and True Believers, plus 10 No. 1 singles at Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012 and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his 9x Platinum version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time.


Actor Brendan Hunt named Grand Marshal of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix - Two-time Emmy Award-winning actor, writer and producer Brendan Hunt, who co-stars in the Apple TV+ global phenomenon Ted Lasso, will serve as the Grand Marshal for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).


Hunt will have the honor of providing the “Drivers, start your engines” command to the field prior to Sunday’s race.


Hunt is best known for his role as “Coach Beard” in Ted Lasso and has won consecutive Emmy Awards in 2021 and ’22 for “Outstanding Comedy Series” as the show’s producer. Hunt is a six-time Emmy Award nominee, including five with Ted Lasso. In 2021, he was a nominee for “Best Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series” as well as two nominations for “Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series.”


Cup Series driver milestone starts to watch for – Over the next few races several drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series will reach milestones starts if they continue to run fulltime in the series.


This weekend at Circuit of The Americas on March 26, Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger will be making his 400th career NASCAR Cup Series start.


Then at Richmond Raceway in two weeks on April 2, Team Penske’s Austin Cindric will be making his 50th career NASCAR Cup Series start.


And at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt on April 9, Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch will be making his 650th NASCAR Cup Series career start. Busch will become the 27th different NASCAR Cup Series driver all-time to make 650 or more starts.


Then at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will be making his 800th career NASCAR Cup Series career start. Harvick will become just the 10th different NASCAR Cup Series driver all-time to make 800 or more starts in the series.


NASCAR Xfinity Series


Hometown boy Austin Hill wins again at Atlanta

Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill has proven that he is the one to beat, having already snagged three wins in the first five races of the season. The last time a driver won three of the first five races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series was in 2016 with Kyle Busch.


The Winston, Georgia native, Hill, raced his way to the checkered flag from the third starting position. He led three times for a race-high 103 of 163 laps. This was his second win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his home track.


Hill will now prepare for the next race on the schedule - Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Although he has yet to post a win on a road course in the Xfinity Series, this very well could be the weekend he accomplishes the feat. Last season on the Texas 3.41-mile road course, Hill posted a runner-up finish.

He also did well on other road courses last season, posting a third-place in Portland, a fourth-place finish at Road America, and a ninth-place finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.


Getting rowdy in Texas: COTA up next

The NASCAR Xfinity Series just wrapped up its fifth race of the season last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and will now gear up for the first road course on the schedule – the Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, March 25 at 5 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio – the second race of a doubleheader Saturday at COTA joining the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race, the XPEL 225, at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 


The Circuit of The Americas road course is a relatively new track on the NASCAR circuit, having only produced two Xfinity Series races. There has been a different winner in Victory Lane in both years – Kyle Busch won the inaugural race in 2021 and A.J. Allmendinger snagged the checkered flag last season.


Busch, who won the 2021 race from the pole position, is not entered in this weekend’s Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today, but Allmendinger will be pulling double duty in the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing in hopes of pulling off a back-to-back win at COTA.


The road course ringer, Allmendinger, is not the only NASCAR Cup Series driver pulling double duty this weekend. Aric Almirola (No. 08 SS-Green Light Racing Chevrolet), William Byron (No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet) and Ty Gibbs (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) will also join in on the fun.


Drivers will hit the track for practice on Friday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 7 p.m. streamed on FS1.


Circuit of The Americas bringing in drivers from all over the Americas

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will spice things up this weekend at COTA as two drivers from South America will attempt to qualify for the Pit Boss 250 Presented by USA Today.


One of the drivers is someone race fans have seen in a Xfinity Series race before – Miguel Paludo. The Brazilian driver has eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts under his belt. He has made two starts at the Austin, Texas road course, placing a top-10 finish last year in the No. 88 Chevrolet with JR Motorsports. 


Also joining NASCAR this weekend will be Baltazar Leguizamón, who will be racing in hopes of becoming the first Argentinian driver to post a start in a NASCAR national series race.


Leguizamón will make his qualifying attempt behind the wheel of the No. 74 Chevrolet for CHK Racing.

Although the 22-year-old has yet to run some laps in a Xfinity Series car, he has plenty of experience on road courses. He won the 2018 Atlantic Championship Series title and earned a runner-up championship finish in the inaugural season of F3 Americas.


“I am really proud to be the first Argentinean with a NASCAR national series license. It’s been a long way on my career living my dream in international motorsports. All the hard work is paying off right now, said Leguizamón. “This is huge for us, for my country, and for South America. It’s my childhood dream beginning to come true.”


Dash 4 Cash program returns in 2023 starting at COTA

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program was designed to add elements of unpredictability and drama leading up to and during four designated races, increase on-track competition, engage fans and reward / recognize NASCAR Xfinity Series regular competitors.


Eligible Xfinity Series regulars who are the top finishers at those designated events will pocket cash bonuses. This weekend’s race at COTA will act as a qualifying race to determine the four eligible drivers with the first crack at the extra money.


The four events in the 2023 Dash 4 Cash initiative are:


  • Richmond Raceway (April 1)
  • Martinsville Speedway (April 15)
  • Talladega Superspeedway (April 22)
  • Dover Motor Speedway (April 29)


The top four eligible Xfinity Series regulars from each event will form the field for the next race’s bonus.

Eligibility requirements for this year will be similar to the 2022 structure. Drivers who have not declared to collect Xfinity Series points may not participate in the series’ Playoffs, elimination events, or Dash 4 Cash races. That list of restricted events also includes the Chicago Street Race on July 1.


Top performers on road courses in the Xfinity Series

The first NASCAR Xfinity Series race on a road course took place in 1986 at Road Atlanta and the event was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip – the only road course on the schedule that season. Fast forward to this season, and the Xfinity Series will take on seven road courses – this weekend’s Circuit of The Americas, Portland International Raceway (June 3) Sonoma Raceway (June 10), Road America (July 29), Indianapolis Road Course (Aug. 12), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 19) and Charlotte Roval (Oct. 7). But before the competitors take to the track this weekend, here is a look at some of the top road course performers in the series.


In total, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has run 74 road course races all-time (1982-Present) producing 37 different winners, led by Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger with 10 road course wins. Four road course winners in the Xfinity Series are active this weekend – A.J. Allmendinger (10 wins), Justin Allgaier (three wins), Ty Gibbs (three wins) and Jeremy Clements (one win).


Last season, a total of eight different drivers had an average finish of 15th or better in the six Xfinity Series road course races – A.J. Allmendinger (2.0), Noah Gragson (6.3), Ty Gibbs (10.0), Josh Berry (10.8), Austin Hill (12.8), Brandon Jones (13.3), Ryan Sieg (14.3) and Sam Mayer (14.5).


NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.


Derek Kraus to make Xfinity Series debut – A familiar face at NASCAR, Derek Kraus, will be joining Kaulig Racing next weekend at Richmond Raceway behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet to make his Xfinity Series debut.


Kraus has been racing in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series since 2018 and has run three full-time seasons (2020-2022). In his 74 starts, he’s posted four top fives, 26 top 10s and has a best standings finish of 11th (2020, 2022).


Hocevar is taking his signature ‘fancy hats’ to the Xfinity Series – Rising NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series star Carson Hocevar will be seen this weekend attempting to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the first time in his career. The Portage, Michigan native, who has been seen around the tracks wearing his signature hats has been tapped to pilot the No. 07 SS-Greenlight Racing Chevrolet with crew chief Mike Hillman in the Xfinity Series race.




Truckin’ in the great state of Texas

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series just wrapped up race number three at Atlanta Motor Speedway and now heads to Austin, Texas for the fourth race of the season, the XPEL 225 on Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The race will be the first of a double-header Saturday that features the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at 5 p.m. ET.


The No. 38 Ford seems to be a lucky truck at the 3.41-mile road course as Todd Gilliland drove No. 38 to Victory Lane in the inaugural COTA race in 2021 and Zane Smith accomplished the same feat in 2022 once he got behind the wheel.


Smith will now have the chance to go back-to-back at the Texas road course and once again bring the No. 38 Ford to Victory Lane. The 2022 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champ already has one win under his belt this season (Daytona), two top fives and two top 10s.


Stats and figures: Texas edition

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series is heading to Circuit of The Americas for the third time in its history. The previous two races have produced a different race winner and different pole winner each time.


In the inaugural race in 2021, Tyler Ankrum won the pole with a speed of 75.041 mph, while Todd Gilliland went on to win the race.


In last season’s COTA Truck race, Sheldon Creed had the fastest truck in qualifying with a speed of 90.985 mph and Zane Smith ultimately took the checkered flag.


This year’s XPEL 225 winner will look to take the COTA race record from Todd Gilliland, a record he secured with a speed of 70.79 mph.


The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series will kick off the triple-header weekend with practice on Friday, March 24 at 4:30 p.m. ET followed by qualifying at 5 p.m. ET.


Several competitors pulling double duty action this weekend 

Circuit of The Americas seems to be a popular track amongst drivers as many will be pulling double duty this weekend. Cup series regulars Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman, and Xfinity Series driver Kaz Grala will kick off their COTA weekends with the XPEL 225.


This weekend’s Truck race will be Busch’s second start of the season. He made his first 2023 CRAFTSMAN Truck series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he won the race from the pole position. This will be Busch’s second time behind the wheel of his No. 51 KBM Chevrolet at the 3.41-mile Austin road course. In last year’s race, he posted a third-place finish.


Like Busch, Chastain has also made one Truck Series start this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but this will be his first NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start at COTA. He will be driving the No. 41 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet. Although he hasn’t ran COTA in a truck, he did get behind the wheel of a truck at Sonoma’s 1.99-mile road course last season and finished fourth. Plus, he won the NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA last season.


Bowman will be piloting the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet and posting his first CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start of the season this weekend. Last season, he made a Truck Series start at COTA and ultimately finished in the 25th position.


Grala will be behind the wheel of the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota this weekend. He has made one Truck Series start this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He enters this weekend’s XPEL 225 having made two Truck Series starts at COTA. In the 2021 inaugural race, he posted a runner-up finish and last season, he finished 14th.


Top performers on road courses in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has competed on road courses throughout its history, including the inaugural season in 1995. This season, the series will take on two road courses – this weekend’s Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 8. But before the trucks take to the track this weekend, here is a look at some of the top road course performers in the series.


In total, the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series has run 30 road course races all-time (1995-Present) producing 24 different winners, led by Joe Ruttman and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr. with three road course wins each. Four road course winners in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series are active this weekend – Ben Rhodes (Daytona RC, 2021), Zane Smith (COTA, 2022), Parker Kligerman (Mid-Ohio, 2022) and Kyle Busch (Sonoma, 2022).


Last season, a total of five different drivers had an average finish of 10th or better in the three CRAFTSMAN Truck Series road course races – Zane Smith (1.7), Chandler Smith (5.3), Carson Hocevar (5.7), Parker Kligerman (9.0) and Grant Enfinger (10.6). 




“Tyler Ankrum Day” in Austin, Texas – Tyler Ankrum, who won the inaugural pole at COTA in 2021 and went on to finish third in the race, will have the honor of saying that March 25, 2023 is officially “Tyler Ankrum Day” in the city of Austin, Texas.


The mayor of Austin, Kirk Watson, will officially proclaim “Tyler Ankrum Day” on March 25 at 9:50 a.m. CT at the No. 16 hauler in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series garage.


“This is really special,” Ankrum said. “To have my very own day in Austin for the second consecutive year, is crazy, but it’s truly an honor to be recognized and represent not only the city of Austin, but the more than 500,000 LiUNA! members and all the NASCAR fans out there.”


Truck Series drivers run a tire test at North Wilkesboro – Truck Series drivers Zane Smith, Corey Heim and Carson Hocevar spent some time at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Monday ahead of the much-anticipated race in May.


Monday’s test ran seven-plus hours as a prelude to three NASCAR Cup Series teams scheduled for their own Goodyear session Tuesday.


“Rarely do you have a test where you are smiling the whole time you are out there going around the track,” Hocevar said. “It was a lot of fun to be out there today slipping and sliding around on this historic track. It sounds silly, but this is our ‘Field of Dreams.’ I’m not a baseball fan, but it was super cool to see that. This is just like that. This is our deal. Everyone has high expectations and hopefully we meet (them). It felt like I was walking into a track where we weren’t supposed to be. I’m just really glad that NASCAR, Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. and the CARS Tour kept picking at it.”


Cole Custer Notes of Interest


•  Cole Custer is ready for a new challenge as the No. 00 Haas Automation team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) heads to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, for Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 presented by USA Today. Not much luck has been dealt to Custer thus far in 2023, but he’s looking to turn that around with an entirely different style of racing this weekend. After three consecutive 12th-place finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix Raceway, and Atlanta Motor Speedway, respectively, Custer is trading in the superspeedway-style and intermediate tracks for the complexities of road-course racing. Saturday’s 48-lap, 156.86-mile race marks Custer’s 116th NASCAR Xfinity Series start and his 16th on a road course. Best of his previous 15 road-course outings was a third-place finish at COTA last March in the No. 07 Ford Mustang for Bobby Dotter Racing.


•  The Pit Boss 250 will be Custer’s third Xfinity Series start at COTA. Before last year’s third-place finish at the 3.426-mile, 20-turn circuit, Custer finished seventh in 2021. He also has a pair of NASCAR Cup Series starts there with a best result of 23rd earned last March.


•  Custer’s strong road-course performances have not been limited to the Xfinity Series. He also has top-10s in all three of his NASCAR Truck Series outings on road courses, all occurring at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Best of those was his most recent outing in 2016 with the No. 00 JR Motorsports entry, for which he qualified on the pole, led a race-high 39 laps and finished just .034 of a second behind race winner John Hunter Nemechek. Custer also made three road-course starts apiece at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series with a best finish of third in the 2016 race at Watkins Glen.


Riley Herbst Notes of Interest


•  Riley Herbst is proving to be a silent title contender as the Xfinity Series heads to its sixth race of 2023 at the COTA. After leading laps and running up front in last Saturday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Herbst picked up his second consecutive top-five finish. The driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for SHR has now scored eight top-10 finishes in a row dating back to his eighth-place result on Oct. 22, 2022, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That consistency has spilled over to a pair of top-10s that Herbst secured outside the Xfinity Series, as well. He co-drove to a third-place finish in last November’s Baja 1000 off-road race in the Terrible Herbst Motorsports entry and earned a 10th-place finish last month in his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the 65th running of the Daytona 500.


•  Herbst’s five consecutive top-10s to start the 2023 Xfinity Series season is a career first. He’s one of only three drivers who have posted top-10s at each race thus far – Austin Hill and Nemechek are the others. Herbst arrives at COTA tied with Nemechek for second in the driver standings, the highest position he’s held at this point in a season. Herbst has collected a total of 44 stage points in 2023, and he’s finished outside the top-10 in just one stage so far this season.


•  Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 will mark Herbst’s third career Xfinity Series start at COTA. His first start there in the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang in 2021 resulted in a 16th-place finish. He returned last March to post a 26th-place finish after struggling with balance issues.


•  While Herbst looks to make a breakthrough Xfinity Series run at COTA this weekend, he’ll try to capitalize on the momentum from his string of strong road-course outings the latter half of last season. After an incident ended a top-three run at a rainy inaugural race June 4 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway, he went on to earn top-10 finishes at each of the next three road-courses events – July 2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (seventh), July 30 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (sixth), and Aug. 20 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (seventh). He also ran in the top-five for a majority of the playoff race Oct. 8 on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval, but a late-race incident on a restart ended his day early and took him out of the running for the championship.


Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang


You’re returning to COTA, which you’ve experienced in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series. Talk about your thoughts heading into the race and how you think those prior starts will help.

“I’ve always loved road-course racing and, honestly, COTA’s been a solid track for me. Road-course racing is fun. I ran the Xfinity race there the past two years as well as the Cup races, so hopefully we can keep building on what I learned there and go for the win this weekend. Any laps on a road course helps, but I have laps there in an Xfinity Series car, so thankfully I kind of know what to expect.”


After the first five races of the season, what do you believe it will take to get you back to victory lane in the Xfinity Series?

“Honestly, the team isn’t lacking in anything. We’ve brought fast cars and led laps, it’s just about having a perfect day where everything goes our way. We were fast at Auto Club, but bad luck and a cut right-front tire took us out of the running. Then, we have just struggled to get the position on the track and the balance right the past three weekends. We’re close. Hopefully, we can get it done this weekend.”


Riley Herbst, Driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang


You’re competing up front, leading laps, finishing well, and you’re currently tied for second in the driver standings. Would you consider the No. 98 Monster Energy team something of a silent contender?

“As much as I love to see the growth, I’m also OK with running under the radar. We’re going for the win every week, but I also don’t think it hurts to see just how far we’ve come. I think people are realizing that we can race for wins and be a top team, but I’m also OK being a dark horse in the series. I know what this No. 98 team and I are capable of and I hope to be able to show that to people each and every week.”


COTA has been a tough track for you in the past, but you and the team did seem to elevate your road-course game the latter half of last year with top-10s at Road America, Indy and The Glen, and you also had a strong runs cut short on the Charlotte Roval and at Portland. How do you feel going into this Saturday’s race?

“Yeah, I just haven’t really figured out COTA. It’s just a difficult track to figure out, to be honest. It definitely hasn’t been my best track on the circuit, but there’s always room for improvement. Cole performed well there in the Xfinity Series the past two years, so I’m hoping to learn from him. We did do well at the other road courses last year, but COTA is a beast of its own. Each road course is different. We have limited practice, but we’re ready to take on the challenge and continue to improve on our finishes.”




All three NASCAR national touring series will take on the first road course event of the season this weekend with the 3.41-mile, 20-turn Circuit of The Americas (COTA) set to host its third NASCAR tripleheader.


Chevrolet is the only manufacturer with a NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) win at COTA, recording momentous wins in each of the series’ two appearances at the circuit.  


The series’ inaugural event at the Austin, Texas, circuit in 2021 saw Chase Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 team take the victory in the rain-shortened event. Elliott’s win delivered Chevrolet its 800th all-time NCS win, extending the manufacturer’s record as the winningest manufacturer in NCS history. The victory also brought Hendrick Motorsports to a tie with Petty Enterprises’ all-time win record, with the Chevrolet organization going on to break the all-time win record the following week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports currently stands at 293 wins in NASCAR’s premier series, all recorded behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. 


The series’ 2022 appearance at the circuit saw the Bowtie brand back on top, this time with Ross Chastain and the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Camaro ZL1 team. The victory marked Chastain’s first career win in NASCAR’s premier series, as well as Trackhouse Racing’s first win since the organization started competing in the series. The victory was the start of a breakout season for Trackhouse Racing with the organization going on to win two more races and ultimately ending the season with both drivers in the top-10 of the final points standings (Chastain – second; Daniel Suarez – 10th). 


Chevrolet drivers have been the ones to beat in NASCAR Cup Series road course competition in recent seasons, with the manufacturer recording wins in 15 of the series’ past 17 road course events. Within that timespan includes a streak of 11 consecutive wins, starting with Chase Elliott’s victory in the inaugural NCS event at Circuit of The Americas in May 2021. Six drivers from four different Chevrolet teams contributed to that win streak:  

Chase Elliott, No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet:

(Circuit of The Americas; May 2021)

(Road America; July 2021)


Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet:

(Sonoma; June 2021)

(Watkins Glen; August 2021)

(Charlotte ROVAL; October 2021)

(Watkins Glen; August 2022)


AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet:

(Indianapolis Road Course; August 2021)

Ross Chastain, No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet:

(Circuit of The Americas; March 2022)


Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet:

(Sonoma Raceway; June 2022)


Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet:

(Road America; July 2022)

(Indianapolis Road Course; July 2022)

In 156 all-time road course races in NCS history, Chevrolet has recorded 62 wins, dating back to Buck Baker’s win at Watkins Glen International in 1957. 


Chevrolet’s already stout driver lineup has an added boost of experience for Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix. The compelling entry list includes a Formula One world champion, a four-time IMSA champion, a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and an INDYCAR phenom – all of whom will be behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. 

  • Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor will take over the driving duties for the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 for the weekend, marking Taylor’s first career start in NASCAR’s premier series. The four-time IMSA Drivers Champion competes full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Corvette Racing, while also playing a key role as the reserve driver and driver coach for the Garage 56 project. The 31-year-old sports car standout is familiar with victory lane at COTA, having two IMSA wins to his name at the 3.41-mile circuit.
  • Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 will make its return to NCS competition with a familiar face behind the wheel: Kimi Räikkönen. The 2007 Formula One World Champion was the first driver for Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 last season at Watkins Glen International, also marking Räikkönen’s first career start in NASCAR’s premier series. “The Iceman” has already logged laps at COTA, competing at the circuit eight times in his Formula One career – one of which included a trip to victory lane in the 2018 U.S. Grand Prix. 
  • After making his return to the driver’s seat at the 2023 Daytona 500, Jimmie Johnson is set to make his second start of the season this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 84 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Camaro ZL1. The 47-year-old California native has 84 all-time NCS wins and seven NCS championships to his name, but this weekend will mark his first time competing at the Austin, Texas, circuit.  
  • Conor Daly will be back behind the wheel of the No. 50 The Money Racing Camaro ZL1 this weekend, marking Daly’s second NCS start of the season. The Team Chevy NTT INDYCAR Series driver has made only five career starts in NASCAR’s national ranks, most recently in the 2023 Daytona 500 when the driver raced his way into the series’ crown jewel event.


Notable road course favorite AJ Allmendinger drove Chevrolet to its first NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) win at Circuit of The Americas in 2022. The victory by the 41-year-old California native was the start of a dominant season for the manufacturer in the series’ road course competition with the Bowtie brand going on to take wins in five of the six NXS road course races last season. In addition to his win at COTA, Allmendinger tallied three more road course victories in 2022, including the series’ debut at Portland International Raceway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and the Charlotte ROVAL. Kyle Larson also added to last season’s win count, driving the No. 88 JR Motorsports Camaro SS to the win at Watkins Glen International.


Allmendinger will be pulling double-duty this weekend, returning to a familiar seat in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Camaro SS as the driver looks to defend his race winning title. Allmendinger’s win in the series’ most recent road course race (Charlotte ROVAL) brought the Chevrolet driver to a double-digit win count in NXS road course victories with 10, making him the first driver in series’ history to accomplish that feat. With two NCS road course wins also on his résumé, Allmendinger has recorded 12 career road course victories at the NASCAR national level.


Hendrick Motorsports will again field the No. 17 Camaro SS in the series for select races this season, kicking off with William Byron behind the wheel this weekend. Byron made three starts in the series in 2022, recording a best finish of second at Texas Motor Speedway. In his young career, Byron competed in only one full-time season in the series (2017) before getting the call up to NASCAR’s premier series. He had an extraordinary rookie campaign in the NXS, taking both the 2017 Driver’s championship title and Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. To date, Byron is the second-youngest champion in series’ history (19 years, 11 months, 20 days). 



In just his third start with the Chevrolet organization, Christian Eckes drove McAnally-Hilgemann Racing to its first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend. The triumph came after Eckes battled with fellow Chevrolet driver Nick Sanchez in an overtime finish, ultimately surging to the lead on the backstretch of the final lap en route to the victory and a playoff berth. The victory also marked back-to-back victories for the Silverado RST, following up to Kyle Busch’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks prior.  


Chevrolet drivers will head to Austin, Texas, with a mission to get the Silverado RST to victory lane at Circuit of The Americas for the first time. Three of Chevrolet’s NASCAR Cup Series regulars will join the NCTS lineup, including the series’ winningest driver Kyle Busch (No. 51 KBM Silverado RST), Alex Bowman (No. 7 Spire Motorsports Silverado RST) and Ross Chastain (No. 41 Niece Motorsports Silverado RST). 


With a strong start to the 2023 season, Chevrolet will head to Circuit of The Americas as the manufacturer points standings leader across all three NASCAR national series.


Corey LaJoie (No. 7 Spire Motorsports Camaro ZL1) recorded a career-best fourth-place finish to lead Chevrolet to the checkered flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend. In addition to the manufacturer’s four NASCAR Cup Series wins this season, Chevrolet continues to lead in the series’ standings by 20 points. With five points-paying NCS races in the books, the Bowtie brand leads the series in wins (four), top-fives (12), top-10s (24), stage wins (seven) and laps led (724).


With Austin Hill’s win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chevrolet maintained the lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ manufacturer points standings, now sitting nine points ahead of second. Chevrolet’s three NXS wins this season have all come from the 28-year-old Richard Childress Racing driver, making Hill an early championship favorite. Hill also continues to lead in the NXS driver points standings, extending the gap to 46-points over second. Joining Hill in the top-10 of the points standings includes series’ rookie Chandler Smith (fourth), JRM Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier (fifth), Sam Mayer (sixth) and Josh Berry (eighth), and former series’ champion Daniel Hemric (10th).


Recording his first win under the Chevrolet banner, Christian Eckes also powered the Bowtie brand to the lead in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series manufacturer points standing. Eckes’ win at Atlanta Motor Speedway also took him back to the top spot in the series’ driver points standings. The 22-year-old New York native has become an early force to be reckoned with since joining the Chevrolet team, leading the series in top-10 finishes (three), laps led (54) and stage wins (two) thus far. Five drivers from five different Chevrolet team will head to COTA in the top-10 of the NCTS driver points standings including Eckes (points leader), GMS Racing’s Grant Enfinger (sixth), Rackley W.A.R.’s Matt DiBenedetto (seventh), Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Chase Purdy (eighth) and Niece Motorsports’ Carson Hocevar (ninth). 


·       Chevrolet has won both NASCAR Cup Series races at Circuit of The Americas with Chase Elliott (No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1) in 2021 and Ross Chastain (No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Camaro ZL1) in 2022.


·       Chevrolet’s Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain are the only two drivers in the series to record top-five finishes in both NASCAR Cup Series races at Circuit of The Americas, both having an average finishing position of 2.5.


·       Chevrolet has recorded wins in 15 of the past 17 NASCAR Cup Series road course races, including a streak of 11 consecutive wins that started with Chase Elliott’s victory at Circuit of The Americas in May 2021. 


·       Six active Chevrolet drivers have at least one career NASCAR Cup Series road course win:

Kyle Busch – 4 (Sonoma – 2008 & 2015; Watkins Glen – 2008 & 2013)

Kyle Larson – 4 (Sonoma – 2021; Watkins Glen – 2021 & 2022; Charlotte ROVAL – 2021)

AJ Allmendinger – 2 (Watkins Glen – 2014; Indianapolis Road Course – 2021)

Jimmie Johnson – 1 (Sonoma – 2010)

Ross Chastain – 1 (Circuit of The Americas – 2022)

Daniel Suarez – 1 (Sonoma – 2022)


·       Chevrolet leads its manufacturer competitors in wins this season across all three NASCAR national series with four NASCAR Cup Series wins, three NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wins.


·       Chevrolet’s four NASCAR Cup Series wins this season have been recorded by drivers from three different Chevrolet teams: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (JTG Daugherty Racing), Kyle Busch (Richard Childress Racing) and William Byron (Hendrick Motorsports).


·       Chevrolet drivers have recorded seven of the 10 NASCAR Cup Series stage wins this season: Ross Chastain (three), William Byron (three) and Kyle Larson (one).


·       With five points-paying NASCAR Cup Series races in the books, Chevrolet leads the series in wins (four), top-fives (12), top-10s (24), stage wins (seven) and laps led (724).


·       Chevrolet sits atop the manufacturer points standings in all three NASCAR national series, leading by 20 points in the NASCAR Cup Series, nine points in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and seven points in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.


·       With its 41 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer’s Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver’s Championships, and 837 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title of winningest brand in NASCAR Cup Series history. 




·       Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Midway at Circuit of The Americas.

·       Fans can check out an assortment of Chevrolet vehicles the Fan Midway including: Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison, Traverse 2LT, Corvette Convertible 3LT, Tahoe RST, Bolt EUV 2LZ, Silverado 2500 HD Crew. 

·       Fans can also view Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Camaro ZL1 show car at the Chevrolet Display in the Fan Midway.


Team Chevy Driver Appearances at the Display:

Saturday, March 25

·       Grant Enfinger, Rajah Caruth & Daniel Dye: 9:45 a.m.

·       Chase Purdy & Jack Wood: 10 a.m. 

·       Nick Sanchez: 10:15 a.m.

·       Matt DiBenedetto: 10:30 a.m.

·       Justin Allgaier & Miguel Paludo: 11:30 a.m.

·       Brandon Jones: 11:50 a.m.

·       Josh Berry: 12:00 p.m.

·       AJ Allmendinger: 12:45 p.m.

·       Sam Mayer: 1:30 p.m.


Sunday, March 26

·       Erik Jones: 10:30 a.m. 

·       Noah Gragson: 11 a.m.

·       Ross Chastain: 11:15 a.m.

·       Jordan Taylor: 11:30 a.m.

·       Kyle Busch: 11:45 a.m.


Chevrolet Display Hours of Operation: 

Friday, March 24: 12:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 25: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

Sunday, March 26: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.




Tune In:

·       NASCAR Cup Series – EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix; 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 26

(FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

·       NASCAR Xfinity Series – Pit Boss 250 presented by USA Today; 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 25

(FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90).

·       NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series – XPEL 225; 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 25

(FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90). 


Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1

You have your same crew from last year. Can you talk about the significance of that?

“I’m so happy to have the same group of people around me for this season. It’s so hard in this sport to keep the same groups together whether it’s because someone wants a different travel schedule, they get another opportunity at another team, or they have some other reason. We are the exact same group, from crew chief, to engineers, to crew guys, the pit crew, truck drivers – I mean everyone is the same. That’s very valuable to have in this sport and it’s rare that it happens, so I think it’s very significant that we’ve been able to do that.”


Now that it has been a year since your first win, what do you think was so special about it?

“Last year’s win was huge for so many people and so many different reasons. It was my first win, it was Justin’s first win as a team owner, it was my crew chief’s first win in his position, my spotter’s first win, and some of the crew guys, it was their first win. These people all put so much effort into making the car go fast and I have to execute to the car’s fullest extent, and when that happens and we win, there’s no greater feeling. I also got to share a special moment with my brother who was one of my spotters and I got to pick him up out there after he climbed over the fence, and we rode in the car together all of the way to victory lane. Those are the moments are so special. He’s six years younger than me but we are so close and he’s watched me have great opportunities and watched me have great opportunities go away.”



Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL1

Larson on racing at Circuit of The Americas:

"We’ve gotten both COTA’s I feel like. (We got) the monsoon the first year, which was my first-ever time really racing in the rain. So that was a blast. We came up a little short there because it started raining a little too hard and we had to call the race short. We were in position to win that one. Last year, I didn’t qualify well, didn’t race well and did a terrible job on restarts. I look forward to going back to hopefully do a better job behind the wheel, having a better setup under us and having a better opportunity to race for a win would be great."



Kyle Busch, No. 8 Netspend Camaro ZL1

“I enjoy road course racing and COTA is really fun. It’s obviously high prestige with it being a Formula One track when Formula One comes to the United States that those guys get to race on there, so it’s nice to have a shot on a big stage like that. Our cars are really big, really heavy and makes it for a big challenge getting those vehicles around there fast. There’s a lot of rhythm sections to the esses and down through the back area in the stadium section. It really is tough to kind of get a car that is really good set up for there. Our big, heavy stock cars are a challenge to try and slow them down in the braking zones. We obviously have to brake well earlier than many other divisions that get to race there but it still makes it for a fun road course.


Road course racing has definitely gotten a lot tighter and has increased on the competition level for sure. It used to be easy to kind of go to a track and think that you can come away with a top-five. Now you kind of go to a road course and you think you can come out of there with a top-10 and you’re hoping for a top-five. I think a lot of it, obviously, has to do with driver preparation. Everybody is getting more accustomed to road racing and with more road courses on our schedule plus the parity within the car and everybody running much of the same stuff. You don’t really have teams that are able to splurge on brakes or suspension components and things like that to make your stuff better than someone else’s. That makes it tough.”


Was the extra track time you had at COTA in the offseason with the Goodyear tire test a big help to you as you prepare for the Cup race?

“Getting to go there and run the Goodyear tire test earlier this year was really important for the chemistry of the team and just getting started off on the right foot. I think, though, with the aero changes that have now come about, we weren’t prepared for that, so we didn’t test that aero package that we’re going back to the road course with this weekend. We did get laps, but it wasn’t laps and reps in the proper setting.”



Jordan Taylor, No. 9 UniFirst Camaro ZL1

Taylor on the expectations and preparation for his first NASCAR Cup Series start:

"Any driver wants to be at the front and battling for the win, but I think I have to keep my expectations in check. Everyone in the Cup Series these days is good on every form of racing, whether it's a superspeedway, short track or a road course. I know that it's going to be a big uphill battle, battling these guys. I'm glad we do have an extra (practice) session to kind of understand it. From a driver's perspective, I have the belief that I can figure out how to drive the car and then it just comes down to the little details of pit stops, pit lane speed. I'm used to pushing a button on the steering wheel and it controls my pit lane speed. In NASCAR, you have to control it all yourself. So little details like that are the things that I've been bouncing off Chase (Elliott); little tricks of the trade and what to expect. Even little things like coming into the pit box, knowing how to launch the car and things like that. I know it’s going to be a big challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m really grateful for the opportunity."



AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Farmsmart Camaro ZL1

"Obviously last year we had a really good shot to win the race. It's a completely different year with a completely different package. Hopefully we'll unload close to what we had last year and just build off of that as the weekend goes on. New way of racing without stages there, so you have to qualify well and try to run up front because there isn't much you can do strategy wise. We know this is a weekend we can run up front, score good points and hopefully give ourselves the chance to win which is the ultimate goal.”



William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Camaro ZL1

Byron on running two races at COTA:

"I’m really optimistic for this weekend, especially running double duty. We’ve always seemed to run well at COTA but just need to be a step better. I think the No. 24 team has shown that this year already. The only real difference for this race is that there are no longer true stage breaks, but that just changes how we work our strategy. If we go out and execute, we should be in a good spot for both races in the end. Hopefully, we can go out and not only get Mr. (Rick) Hendrick a win in the No. 17 but also Liberty University a win in the No. 24."



Justin Haley, No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1

"I’m looking forward to the first road course of the year. COTA was the first track that we made the final round of qualifying at last year. We showed a ton of speed in both qualifying and the race along with my teammate, AJ (Allmendinger). It’s one of those tracks I’ve enjoyed racing at in other series and have some confidence going into the weekend."



Noah Gragson, No. 42 Black Rifle Coffee Company Camaro ZL1

Gragson on running at COTA:

“We finished fourth last year in the Xfinity car and we have put a lot of work in this season to get better at COTA. It’s a really fun track with some awesome energy from the crowd. We have a great looking Chevy Camaro ZL1 with the Black Rifle Coffee Company partnership and I was able to make it to victory lane with them in Xfinity and looking forward to the challenge. We had a great run last weekend at Atlanta and I want to keep this momentum going.”



Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1

With there being no stage breaks for this race, how will that affect the strategy in how you approach this weekend?

“I think it opens up some more options, the old stages how we've had the last few years, you were kind of locked in to one way or the other - take stage points or take a higher finishing position. We will see how it used to be I think with running the race backwards and trying to make sure you have enough fuel to get to the end of the race. We will see how much tires matter; I think they are going to be pretty important with probably some more fall off than what we've seen in the past with the track aging and getting more slick a bit. I think it will be a fine balance between tires and trying to pit as early as you can to make it on fuel, so we will see how it plays out with our Allegiant Chevy.”



Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 47 Kroger / Blue Buffalo Camaro ZL1

“We’re excited to get to COTA. It will be our first race with our partners at Blue Buffalo and the pain scheme looks amazing. I’m excited to get there. COTA is obviously a road course with a lot of shifting and a lot of crazy things going on. Weather could be an issue with rain. We’ve had a rain race there before and it was kind of chaotic. I’m looking forward to turning left and right. COTA is a really fun racetrack and it’s in a really cool town. There’s a lot of fun things there to do and I’ve got a lot of friends coming out to the race.”



Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1

Bowman on pulling double duty at COTA:

"I am excited to go truck racing at COTA this weekend. Last year, we had a lot of speed and I am hopeful we have the same this weekend. It would be really neat to have wins in all of NASCAR’s national series and this weekend gives me another chance to add that to my resumé. I also like running the truck because it helps me for Sunday’s Cup race."



Jimmie Johnson, No. 84 Club Wyndham Camaro ZL1

Johnson on running at COTA:

“This is going to be such a great weekend. I’ve had this race on my bucket list for a really long time and I’m thankful for a partner like Club Wyndham for making it possible. I’m looking forward to the challenge of the track, these NextGen cars with the low downforce, and thankful we have a practice on Friday to see what we have to work with. Todd Gordon and the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB team have prepared a great car back at the shop. From everything I’ve heard this track puts on a heck of a show, and from a venue standpoint, it’s such a great stage for this sport. I’m looking back to getting back to the track, we have spent some time in the SIM to prepare and I’m ready for the weekend.”


Todd Gordon, Crew Chief, No. 84 Club Wyndham Camaro ZL1

Gordon on running at COTA:

“I ran COTA with Ryan Blaney in 2021 in the rain. Neat venue, really long and lots of different facets to this place. There are high speed straightaways and some rhythm stuff through the esses, lots of short, tight 90-degree corners and it’s got some sweeping right handers through the stadium section. So, it’s really a track that has all the facets of road course racing. This track asks a lot out of the team, car and driver and it’s the first time we’ve gone there with this low downforce and the package we ran at Phoenix. It’s a really cool opportunity. I’m looking forward to the practice and see what Jimmie likes – he is a really good student - and I think his INDYCAR road course experience is going to be key because he understands how to race his way thought a road course. It’s great to have a very detailed driver who knows how he can affect the racecar. Should be a great weekend.”





Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Freeway Insurance Camaro ZL1

Are you looking forward to COTA?

"Yes, I feel like that track owes me one. We had a very fast car there last year and I felt like we were going to win the race if we didn't have any problems. Unfortunately, we did but Ross was able to get the win for Trackhouse. I was glad to see that, but I really thought we were going to be in victory lane."


What has allowed Trackhouse to stay near the front over the last year since that last win?

“That’s a very good question. I think it’s a combination of many things, starting with our people. We have great people; great engineers, good pit crews. I think that if we look back to one year year ago we were a team that was very promising. I feel like right now, Trackhouse is a reality. I think we have shown that we’re here to stay and to be competitive. Last year was a very good year and this year, so far, has gone in a very good way. We have to continue to work; not feel comfortable and not stay still because everyone is working very hard. I feel like that has been one of the keys of Trackhouse to continue to evolve and continue to move forward.”


Are you excited to have Kimi Räikkönen join the team this weekend?

"Of course. Kimi was a lot of fun last year when he raced with us in Watkins Glen. You can certainly see his talent. He picked up NASCAR racing so quickly last year. It's going to be interesting to see how he does this year on a track where he has won in Formula One. I think he will be very quick."




Chase Purdy, No. 4 Bama Buggies Silverado RST

Do you enjoy road course racing?

“I used to hate it, but now I actually kind of like it -- COTA specifically. COTA is probably my favorite road course that I get to race and that I have raced. I’m actually really excited to get to Austin this week and to race COTA.”


What do you think not having stage breaks will do to the flow of the race on Saturday?

“I think it will affect people’s strategy -- when they come to pit road and where they want to position themselves for the end of the race. Kind of going back to how it was years ago when you didn’t have stage breaks and you just ran until there was an actual caution or the end of the race. I think there will be a lot of green flag stops, I think that opens the door for that. Just being mindful of the rules changes this weekend and positioning yourself to where you can be there at the end of the race without having stage breaks.”


Evaluate how your team has performed over the first three races.

“I think we are obviously figuring out how to put together races and run consistently up front. We only want to get better from here. I think that if we can continue to get better every week and just get a little bit more at a time, I think one of these days we can finish one off and lock ourselves into the playoffs. Then we can concentrate on continue to have consistent finishes and run strong every week.”




Kyle Busch, No. 51 Zariz Transport Silverado RST

You already have a win in trucks this year. What is your outlook on getting a second win Saturday?

“I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Zariz Silverado this weekend at COTA. We were able to get Zariz a win at Las Vegas in their first race as a primary NASCAR sponsor -- that was pretty cool, and they were pretty pumped about it. Vegas was also the first race for me working with (Brian) Pattie in trucks and a few other new people on the 51 team, so to have that much speed out of the gates shows how hard everyone at KBM has worked to make sure that we didn’t skip a beat with the manufacturer change and the other changes that we had with our crew chief lineup and such over the offseason. Hopefully we can make it two-for-two on the year with a win at COTA Saturday. The goal every year in trucks is to go five-for-five with my five truck races -- we’ve been able to accomplish that before and I don’t see any reason why we can’t do it again, just have to click them off one at a time. We had a really fast truck at COTA last year, felt like we deserved the win and kind of got one taken from us. We just need to go out there Saturday and execute our race, control what we can control and try to be the first one to the finish line this time around.”



Grant Enfinger, No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Silverado RST

Though you don't necessarily consider yourself a road course racer at heart, your COTA track record may say otherwise. How well do you enjoy racing at this facility?

“I would say that I've definitely put a lot of effort into my road course racing over the last couple of years, and I think COTA is one of those tracks that has a little bit of everything - there are some technical sections, there are some slow-speed corners and high speed corners. Obviously, that back straightaway is really, really fast, and it forces you to almost have to get the truck completely stopped at the end of it. But yeah, it's a place I really enjoy; I enjoy the challenge of it and I've worked really hard at learning the layout. I know [Jeff] Hensley and the rest of my guys at GMS Racing have put a lot of effort into this Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet, so hopefully we will have something to contend with."



Rajah Caruth, No. 24 Wendell Scott Foundation Silverado RST

You've never seen the racetrack at COTA before, so how big of a help has iRacing been to you in preparing for this weekend?

"So since I've never been to COTA before, iRacing is going to be so pivotal to me this weekend. Albeit, I'm pretty much on the service all the time for any of the tracks that we go to, but for COTA, since I've never raced there before, it's going to be even more useful for me before I hop in my actual Wendell Scott Foundation Silverado RST. I'm excited to give it a whirl, and I think we will have a strong weekend, especially with all of the prep that Josh Wise and Scott Speed have us Chevrolet athletes doing, and I think the GMS Racing trucks should be pretty sporty across the board."



Daniel Dye, No. 43 Dell Children’s Medical Center/Nyle Maxwell Supercenter Silverado RST

COTA will be the first road course that you run with in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series, can you tell us a little more about your previous road racing experiences?

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I mean, COTA is a whole different beast compared to Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, and Portland that I’ve raced at before. I loved road course racing last year in the ARCA Series. It’s going to be fun to try it out in the CRAFTSMAN Truck Series; there’s a lot more trucks and competition out there, but to go to a huge place like COTA with 20 turns is going to be super cool. It’s going to be fun; we’re just going to stay on our toes and learn all day to be the best we can be by the end of it with our No. 43 Chevy.”


Veteran Southern California sprint car racer Brody Roa steered the Inland Rigging #17R to a second-place finish in last Saturday night’s 20th annual “Sokola Shootout” at Perris Auto Speedway. The result allowed him to increase his lead to 22 points in the series standings and gives him two wins and a second-place finish in the first three races of the 2023 season.

Twenty-five top-notch cars showed up for the race on the West Coast’s premiere dirt track.  Driving a DRC Chassis for the third time, Roa qualified fourth fastest with a lap of 16.449.  That put the Garden Grove, California racer in a good position for the remainder of the night as all he had to do was place in the top four of his heat race to be assured of starting in the first three rows of the main event.  The skilled driver did just that when he started fifth and placed third in the first 10-lapper of the night.   That finish by Roa secured a spot on the inside of the second row for the 30-lapper. 

Roa quickly advanced his way to second and began to chase leader Justin Grant, the 2022 USAC National Sprint Car champion, who started on the outside of the front row.  After chasing the pace setter for 16 laps, Roa flew into the lead on the 17th circuit.  The 2019 USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series champion maintained the top spot until lap 21 when he lost the lead on a restart.  He continued to chase Grant till the end but had to settle for a second-place finish. 

“I knew we had a chance,” Roa responded when asked if he thought he could beat Grant after starting behind him.  “Obviously I knew he wasn’t going to be easy to beat.  This new car (DRC) has brought a lot of confidence back into us.  It does not take a whole lot of changes to make it fast throughout the night.  Just little bits and it keeps the car on the ground making grip, but still turning.  That is a pretty odd feeling for me but it is a really comfortable car.  We probably could have gotten a little more aggressive with it, but it is still a bit of a learning curve.  It was the first time at Perris with it. We did not want to get ourselves too far out of the box.  If we were a little bit better, we probably could have had a slider fest as we did three or four years ago”

Roa’s second-place finish marked the first time he had not won in the three USAC/CRA races this year.  After the race, his finishing average for the year is an outstanding 1.33. 

“It was a pretty smooth night,” Roa said.  “We had one little leak in the heat race.   We got that cleaned up. Other than that, no issues, concerns, or worries.”

While Roa has two USAC/CRA wins in 2023, there is a bigger winner.  That is the rain.  Three weeks ago, the two-night show at the Central Arizona Speedway was canceled due to wet conditions.  This week’s races at Kings Speedway and the Tulare Thunderbowl also fell victim to the weather.  That leaves this season’s score at Mother Nature 4, USAC/CRA 3.

“I am a little bummed that we are rained out again,” Roa mused. “I was especially looking forward to going to Hanford.  We haven’t been there in like four years when the non-wing cars (USAC/CRA) have been there.  2018 maybe.  It has been a long time.  I have always liked Hanford.  It is a fun, fast racetrack.”

“I might go down and keep cleaning out the old shop.  Moving and storing stuff into my garage.  It is not an easy task with all the stuff we have collected over the last 12 years.  There is a lot of work to be done and there is a ton of stuff still down there.  A lot of stuff we held onto just in case we needed it and a lot of it is for sale.  My dad has been taking and posting a lot of pictures during his lunch break or after work.  The old shop is around the corner from his office.”

Weather permitting, and so far the forecast looks good, the Inland Rigging Racing Team will return to action at Arizona’s Mohave Valley Raceway on April 1st.  It will be the first of three races for USAC/CRA at the track that is located just 20 minutes away from Laughlin, Nevada.  On October 8th of last year, Roa made his lone appearance at the track and turned it into a memorable night.  Starting 11th in the 30-lap main, he sliced and diced his way through the field until taking the lead and subsequently winning the race by over a half straightaway.  Despite not running the full series schedule last year, it was his third victory.

In addition to Roa being in action at Mohave Valley, teammate Tom Dunkel will make his first-ever start in USAC/CRA.  It will not be the Murrieta, California racer’s first USAC start as he placed 13th in the USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series at last November’s Turkey Night Grand Prix in Ventura.  Two weeks ago he was running ninth with three laps to go in the So Cal Non-Wing Open Comp. show at the Imperial Valley Raceway.  Unfortunately, his steering gear let go knocking him out of the race with a 16th-place finish.

As always, Roa would be more than happy to jump in a race car on his weekends off from the #17R. His entire schedule is printed below.  If anybody wishes to contact him about open dates, they can do so at 714-932-7994 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

The team wants to thank the following sponsors for making the 2023 season possible. Inland Rigging, Dunkel Farms, United Asset Sales, Osborne Speed & Machine, Sander Engineering, “Biker” Bruce Fischer, ALR Virtual Services, Burris Racing, Caltrol, Competition Suspension, K-1 Race Gear, Molecule, Rod End Supply, Driven Racing Oil, Baldwin Filters, and NGK Spark Plugs. 



Two of television’s most recognizable custom cars from the 1960s—the Munster Koach and Drag-u-la—will frighten and delight visitors of all ages during Charlotte Motor Speedway’s April 13-16 AutoFair.

The Munsters’ TV series concept was that seven-foot-tall Frankenstein creation Herman Munster lived in the Los Angeles suburb of Mockingbird Heights with wife Lily and her father (both undead vampires), son Eddie (a werewolf), and Lily’s niece Marilyn (a sweet, beautiful blonde). Humor came from their fish-out-of-water interactions with neighbors, frustrated government officials, and the occasional scam artist. Dubbed “America’s First Family of Fright,” the original Munster clan appeared in 70 episodes from 1964 to 1966, plus an Easter special, and a theatrical movie. The show enjoyed tremendous success, rising to no. 18 in the all-important Nielsen ratings during its first season, but owes its long-term popular culture impact to countless reruns in syndication.

  • What is the Munster Koach? In the fourth episode of the first season, Lily wants to surprise Herman with a new car for his 114th birthday. She buys a T-bucket roadster and a 1920s-era hearse and asks the used-car salesman to “call a custom body shop, tell them it’s a rush job…” and combine the two. In the real world, that’s exactly what happened when the studio gave legendary custom car builder George Barris 21 days and $18,000 (about $175,000 today) to create the Munster Koach. The Koach rode on a 133-inch wheelbase, was covered in black pearl paint, featured a coffin-like blood red velvet interior with four-row seating, and was powered by a Ford Mustang V-8. The body was a creative blending of three Ford Model T roadsters and hearse elements, such as the ornate, enclosed middle section. The Koach can be seen in many episodes and was a wildly popular scale-model kit.
  • Where did Drag-u-la come from? In episode 36 of the first season, Herman bets the Koach on a race at the Mockingbird Heights Drag Strip and loses. Grandpa Munster builds a much faster, coffin-based dragster and wins back the Koach. In real life, Barris’ shop turned a fiberglass coffin into “Drag-u-la” by mounting it on a tube-frame chassis, equipping it with a Ford Mustang V-8, and putting a Plexiglas dome over the driver’s seat. The antique gold dragster, also a successful seller in scale-model kit form, featured exhaust headers that resembled pipes from an organ and a front “license plate” fashioned to resemble a tombstone. Strangely, Drag-u-la only appeared in one episode of the series.

The Munsters’ Koach and Drag-u-la will be displayed in the Showcase Pavilion during the April 13–16 AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Other show highlights include a museum-worthy collection of NASCAR race cars celebrating the sanctioning body’s 75th anniversary, a trio of uniquely quirky one-offs, an array of customs representing the hobby’s “Best of the Best,” and an autograph session with monster truck builder and racer Dennis Anderson.


The new-look AutoFair will transform the famed 1.5-mile speedway throughout the weekend. The latest technology, trends, parts, and products will fill the Manufacturer’s Midway. Guests can test drive the current line of Chevrolet vehicles, ride shotgun with professional Ford Performance Racing School drivers and visit all-new themed areas that explore the latest from the worlds of electric and off-road vehicles. Additionally, the reconfigured swap meet, hosted by the Hornet’s Nest Region AACA, will provide a wide array of hard-to-find parts and memorabilia.

On Sunday, the inaugural Smith Heritage Invitational will bring together a distinguished collection of some of the most sought-after vehicles in an assemblage on par with the world’s most exclusive car shows.


Single-day tickets are $15 for adults. Admission is FREE for children 12 and under with an adult. Guests can upgrade their AutoFair experience to include high-end hospitality in the Paddock Club, featuring private appearances by industry leaders, food, VIP parking and more. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Tickets will also be available at the gate.


Keep track of AutoFair attractions and events by following on Twitter and Instagram or become a Facebook fan. Keep up with all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.



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