The NASCAR Cup Series raced for the first time on the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) road course yesterday (5/23). The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix took place in the rain and was ended by the rain.
Things started sketchy and kept getting worse. Through the first stage the rain went from a sprinkle to a light rain. Drivers pitted that did not start the race in rain tires to put them on for traction. The visibility kept getting worse and the slick conditions combined to make it worse. Joey Logano was able to score the win in the first stage.
During the second stage the rain got heavier and standing water began to make racing conditions even worse. The lack of visibility caused a multi car accident involving Kevin Harvick, Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney. The visibility again became such an issue that there was a very scary crash involving Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Custer. Kyle Busch end stage two as the winner.
NASCAR decided to send the air titans out on the back stretch of the course to blow the standing water of the track. This is where the worst visibility was causing the major issues.
During the third and final stage things improved for a good portion of the race as far as visibility was concerned. Chase Elliott made his way to the lead as the race was winding down. However, his team felt like he was going to be a couple of laps short on fuel.
The rain began to come harder and harder. Visibility dropped again and cars began to hydroplane dangerously. NASCAR decided to issue a caution for extreme rain conditions that were unsafe to race in. They brought the cars to pit row and issued a red flag with 14 laps remaining in the race. During the red flag period it was determined that the rain was not going to allow the race to restart on Sunday. Since they had passed the half-way point and the first two stages were complete, NASCAR rule says the race is official and Chase Elliott was declared the winner.
Chase’s win is his first of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. It is his sixth win in the NASCAR Cup Series on a road course. It is his fifth win in the last six road course races held in the NASCAR Cup Series. The win also ties his racing team, Hendrick Motorsports with Richard Petty Motorsports for the most NASCAR Cup Series wins at 268 wins each. It also gives Chevrolet their 800th NASCAR Cup Series win.
Kyle Larson finished second for the third consecutive race. Joey Logano took home third place. Ross Chastain finished in fourth with AJ Almendinger in fifth. See the complete race results for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix race here.
Denny Hamlin has yet to win a race this season but continues to lead in the point standings. William Byron holds steady as well in second. Kyle Larson moves up a couple of spots to third. Joey Logano remains in fourth for another week as Chase Elliott’s win moves him up to fifth. See the complete NASCAR Cup Series point standings here.
The next race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Memorial Day Weekend tradition, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.