NASCAR Spectator’s Guide: Road America

NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series cars are back on the road this weekend – at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The 67-year-old track will host the Cup and Xfinity competition. The Xfinity race is scheduled for Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET, USA Network) and the Cup drivers will race on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, USA Network).

The Cup Series returned to Road America last year. Chase Elliott won the race despite starting from 34th place, the worst starting position for a road winner in Cup history.

Hendrick, anyone?

Few things are certain, of course, but picking a winner in a Cup Series road course usually means leaning towards the Hendrick Motorsports camp.

Hendrick cars have won nine of the last 13 road events. During this period, Trackhouse Racing won two and Joe Gibbs Racing and Kaulig Racing one each.

Chase Elliott (six wins) and Kyle Larson (three wins) scored for Hendrick on the road during this 13-run run.

Elliott tops the list of active riders with road wins at seven, and is just two wins away from tying Jeff Gordon for the all-time “road” lead at nine. Tony Stewart, the only other driver ahead of Elliott, has eight.

The Hendrick team is the undisputed leader in road wins with 25 wins. Joe Gibbs Racing is a distant second at 13.

Harvick goes up

A 10th-place finish Sunday at the Nashville Superspeedway propelled Kevin Harvick to 16th (and final) playoff spot.

Harvick replaced his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola just above the cut-off line. Almirola enters this week’s race ranked 17th, nine points behind Harvick and one spot out of the playoffs.

Harvick, mired in a 60-race winless streak, is among several key drivers who have not reached winning lane this year. Also on this list are Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Bubba Wallace and Brad Keselowski.

In Nashville, Harvick benefited from recent crew changes. Four of his seven fastest pit stops of the season were recorded on Sunday.

Twelve drivers qualified for the playoffs with victories. They are Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, William Byron, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe.

Larson trailing on the road

Kyle Larson is usually a driver to watch on the road courses, but his record of left and right turns this year isn’t great.

Larson had three road wins last year but didn’t reach the top 10 on road courses this season.

At Circuit of the Americas, Larson made an early restart and clinched home for a 29th-place finish.

At Sonoma he finished 15th after losing a wheel after a pit stop.

Larson finished 16th at Road America last year. He spun on lap 57 while racing in fourth place after being hit by teammate Alex Bowman.

Entry lists

Thirty-seven cars are entered in Sunday’s Cup race. Joining series regulars are Joey Hand in a Rick Ware Racing Ford, AJ Allmendinger in a Kaulig Racing Chevrolet and Loris Hezemans in a Team Hezeberg Ford.

Road America Cup entry list

With the Cup teams joining the Road America grid, the Xfinity entry list contains 41 cars, meaning three will not qualify.

Series regulars include Kyle Larson in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Saga Karam in an Alpha Prime Racing Chevrolet and Sammy Smith in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Road America Xfinity Participant List

The program and forecast for this weekend

(all Eastern times)

friday july 1st

Forecast: cloudy. 81 degree high.

  • 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Xfinity training (USA Network)
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Xfinity Qualifiers (USA Network)

Saturday July 2

Forecast: Fairly sunny. 80 degree top.

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – Cup Practice (NBC Sports App, US Network coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET)
  • 12:20 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM radio)
  • 2:30 p.m. – Xfinity Race (75 laps, 182 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM radio)

Sunday July 3

Forecast: Partly cloudy. 81 degree high.

  • 3:00 p.m. – Cup Race (107 laps, 250 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM radio)

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