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Car FYI's Revved Up Weekend Review: July 2-4, 2021

Photo Credit: Logan Riely/Getty Images



 

NASCAR Cup Series: Road Warrior Chase Adds Road America as Conquered


While his father’s legacy in the Cup series was defined by performances on superspeedway including logging the fastest-ever NASCAR qualifying time at Talladega, Chase Elliott’s career is currently being cemented by the rapid tallying of wins on road courses. This weekend, the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports’ #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 won the NASCAR Cup Series’ first modern era visit to the 4.048-mile (6.515-kilometer) Road America.


Starting deep in the field in 34th place, Chase Elliott made his victorious move for the lead on lap 46 of the 62-lap Jockey Made in America 250 presented by Kwik Trip on the road course. Prior to the #9 car’s presence at the front of the field, pole sitter William Byron, Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick and Matt DiBenedetto spent multiple laps in the lead. Leading two laps early in the event, 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion and part-time Cup driver Austin Cindric was also a contender early in the running of the Road America in the #33 Ford Mustang sponsored by PIRTEK. Leading two laps towards the start of stage two, Cindric’s performance was hindered by what was hinted as a driveline-related mechanical issue that affected the Penske Racing car resulting in retirement.


Daytona Road Course race winner Christopher Bell captured the runner-up spot in his #20 Toyota ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch. Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five finishers.


Elliott previously won the NASCAR Cup Series’ first visit to the Circuit of the Americas.



NTT IndyCar Series: Nice Drive For Newgarden at Mid-Ohio

 

Based on the presence of Team Penske in IndyCar racing, it’s difficult to believe it took 10 races before one of the superteam’s cars would have scored a victory in the 2021 season. Josef Newgarden driving the #2 XPEL Dallara/Chevrolet won the Fourth of July event on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after starting from pole position and leading 73 of the race’s 80 laps. Though the performance by Newgarden appeared dominant, a late charge from Marcus Ericsson in the Honda-powered #8 Chip Ganassi Racing machine chipped a more than 7-second gap on lap 66 down to less than a second during the final lap. Ericsson’s feverish push placed him 0.88 seconds short of victory. Newgarden was challenged by Colton Herta’s #26 machine from Andretti Autosport until a slow second pit stop dropped the 21-year-old from contention on the 2.258-mile (3.634-kilometer) road course.


The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio initially started slow with two caution periods during the opening 7 laps. The second incident involving a spin by Will Power after racing contact with Scott Dixon out of turn five. With the #12 Team Penske machine in the middle of the race track, the #18 car driven by Ed Jones was unable to avoid impact. Both Power and Jones would retire from the race being the only drivers not to finish the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.


Finishing third, Alex Palou remains the NTT IndyCar Series’ current drivers’ championship point leader with a 39-point advantage over Pato O’Ward who crossed the line at Mid-Ohio in eighth place. Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five finishers.


With the cancellation of the Honda Indy Toronto, the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series goes on a month-long break ahead of the Music City Grand Prix, the inaugural Nashville street race for the tour.



NASCAR Xfinity Series: Kyle Busch Extends Perfect Part-Time Run With Road America Win


With the benefit of a new set of tires and two full-course cautions late in the Henry 180 at Road America, Kyle Busch’s #54 M&Ms Toyota Supra carved through the pack. Using a little muscle to get around leader A.J. Allmendinger with 5 laps remaining, Busch claimed his 101st victory in the series and his won all four Xfinity Series events he has participated in for the 2021 season.


Though Busch’s margin of victory was sizable at 3.522 seconds, there were 12 lead changes among 8 drivers over the course of the 45-lap event with Allmendinger and Austin Cindric spent the longest time at the front. Among seven cautions during the Henry 180 was for the #6 Chevrolet Camaro driven by road course specialist Spencer Pumpelly. Pumpelly slid off track under braking into turn one and headed backwards before heavily impacting a tire barrier which the stock car’s rear end awkwardly mounted. The driver was left his car unhurt but retired from the race. The race’s final yellow flag was a multi-car incident exiting turn one at lap 38 with Myatt Snider, Cody Ware, Natalie Decker and Justin Allgaier involved. Finishing behind Kyle Busch’s Toyota at Road America was Daniel Hemric, Michael Annett, A.J. Allmendinger and Harrison Burton.

 


IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship


The weekend following the Shelen’s Six Hours of the Glen, the five classes of the 2021 IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship returned to Watkins Glen for a shorter distance 2-hour and 40-minute race. The WeatherTech 240 at Walkins Glen turned into an enduring adventure thanks t heavy rain that brought a red flag that last for three quarters of an hour of the event’s duration. When the weather cleared enough for racing to resume, the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Dpi.V-R gained track position to win overall honours shared by drivers Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani. Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen pulled off a convincing LMP2 victory driving the #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca while LMP3 victory was claimed by Felipe Fraga and Gar Robinson sharing a Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320. In the production-based classes, the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R shared by Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia took GTLM while the #14 Lexus RC GT3 machine from the Vasser Sullivan stables driven by Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz grabbed GTD victory at Watkins Glen.



W Series: Chadwick Cruises To Win In Austria

 

The second round for the 2021 W Series once again joined the Formula 1 championship weekend on the Red Bull Ring road course. A weekend after Alice Powell won the season opener from the pole, Jamie Chadwick took victory in a race where she started from the top spot. Chadwick bolted to an early lead and enjoyed a comfortable run at the front of the 30-minute event. Finishing more than 6.6 seconds behind the British driver Chadwick was Russia’s Irina Sidorkova that took the runner-up position after starting the race in sixth. The result was the 18-year-old Sidorkova’s first podium in the W series. Finland’s Emma Kimilainen took the final podium spot in the final results in a competitive third-place run. The best battle for the race was for fourth place late in the event where Brit Sarah Moore passed Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli with two minutes remaining.



SRX: Francis Fends Off All Challengers At Lucas Oil Raceway


The fourth event in the inaugural Camping World SRX Series marked the return to pavement racing as the 12 cars competed at Lucas Oil Raceway. 

 

After Scott Speed and Helio Castroneves won the night’s heat events, the 100-lap main feature was decided by the late intervention of two yellows flags. The first caution initiated by a Tony Kanaan spin set the stage for a six-lap dash to the finish. Scott Speed and Ernie Francis Jr. aggressively engaged in a side-by-side battle for the lead when the green flag was shown. Francis gained sole possession of the lead after two laps when Speed was forced to save his race machine. Paul Tracy spinning after contact with Santos brought out the second caution leaving a two-lap run where Francis took overcame Bobby Labonte to take the checkered flag.



The race review of the 2021 Formula 1 season’s Austrian Grand Prix is part of a separate article.


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