Three drivers that have been tapped to showcase their road racing skills this weekend that are worth keeping an eye on are Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger and Live Fast Motorsport’s Kyle Tilley.
Team Penske’s 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, Austin Cindric, will be piloting the No. 33 Ford this weekend and will have to qualify on time to make the race, but if he does, he anticipates quite the event.
“I think the restarts are gonna be wild,” said Austin Cindric in his media availability this week. “You have a very wide inviting front straightaway. You even see it in the F1 races there. I mean, guys will drive it off in there and collect three or four cars, so I think restarts are definitely going to pretty crazy in all three series — a lot of opportunities to pass at this racetrack, a lot of tire fall off, which obviously provides a bit of a dynamic to the race, whether if it’s on strategy or on the racetrack, so, otherwise, you kind of have every type of corner at this racetrack. There’s a lot to look forward to, I think for the NASCAR fans and a lot of unknowns for us as drivers.”
Cindric has made four Cup starts this season for Team Penske posting an average finish of 21.8. Before competing in the NASCAR, Cindric learned the ropes in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship from 2017-2019 gaining valuable road racing skills. Plus, the up-and-coming star has posted four of his 11 career NASCAR Xfinity Series wins on road courses.
Kaulig Racing has entered their part-time No. 16 Chevrolet team with road ace AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel this weekend. Allmendinger’s lone NASCAR Cup Series career victory came at Watkins Glen International (2014). He also has four road course wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Allmendinger also has road course wins in CART and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (2021 Rolex 24). He competed in the first road course on the schedule this season at Daytona and started 34th due to Metric Qualifying and raced his way up to a seventh-place finish. He will also be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday.
Last but not least is Live Fast Motorsport’s pick for the inaugural Circuit of The Americas event, driver Kyle Tilley. Tilley is an accomplished road racer from Bath, England, that will pilot the No. 78 Ford this weekend at COTA. Tilley currently competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the Era Motorsport’s ORECA LMP2 07. Tilley alongside drivers Dwight Merriman, Ryan Dalziel and Paul-Loup Chatin finished sixth overall and won the LMP2 class in this season’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. This will be Tilley’s NASCAR national series debut this weekend.