It’s a Fourth of July weekend full of road-course racing in Wisconsin at Road America. The 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course spread across 640 acres in Elkhart Lake has been home to 11 NASCAR Xfinity Series races. This season, the NASCAR Cup Series will head to Road America as well after the Xfinity Series kicks off the weekend Saturday afternoon with the Henry 180 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, the Xfinity Series saw Austin Cindric holding off a hard-charging Ty Gibbs to capture his fourth victory of the season. Justin Allgaier finished third, Noah Gragson finished fourth and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for 21 laps and 11 lead changes. Cindric topped Gibbs crossing the finish line by 0.331 seconds.
This weekend, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will compete in practice and qualifying at Road America for the fourth time this season. All other lineups have been set by metric qualifying due to COVID-19 procedures at the start of the 2021 season.
The Xfinity Series first and only practice at Road America will be on Friday, July 2 at 4:05 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the qualifying session will be on Saturday, July 3 at 11:35 a.m. ET on NBCSN beginning at 12 p.m. ET.
Can Road America’s Xfinity different winners streak continue?
Count ‘em up. A total of 11 different NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers have visited Road America’s Victory Lane in as many races and in this weekend’s Henry 180 will be on at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio we could see an 11th.
The top two different winner streaks by track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series belong to Road America (11 different winners) and Michigan (10 different winners).
The record for the most consecutive different winners a single track is 23, set at New Hampshire Motor Speedway between the 1990-2009 seasons.
Road America currently holds the longest active Xfinity Series different winners streak at 11 – dating back to the 2010 season.
Three former Xfinity Series Road America winners are entered this weekend – Austin Cindric, AJ Allmendinger, Jeremy Clements and Justin Allgaier.
|Road America’s Xfinity Different Winners|
|2010||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2011||Reed Sorenson||HScott Motorsports|
|2012||Nelson Piquet Jr||HScott Motorsports|
|2013||AJ Allmendinger||Team Penske|
|2014||Brendan Gaughan||Richard Childress Racing|
|2015||Paul Menard||Richard Childress Racing|
|2016||Michael McDowell||Richard Childress Racing|
|2017||Jeremy Clements||Jeremy Clements Racing|
|2018||Justin Allgaier||JR Motorsports|
|2019||Christopher Bell||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2020||Austin Cindric||Team Penske|
Facts & Numbers: Road America
Saturday’s Henry 180 will be the 12th running of a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America. There have been six different pole winners and 11 different race winners. Only three of the 11 races have been won from the pole position including the inaugural race in 2010, won by Carl Edwards. And four of the 11 victors are entered this weekend.
Most recently, Austin Cindric won the race in 2020 at the road course and he’ll look to go back-to-back and two in a row after his win last weekend at Pocono Raceway. Cindric’s Road America win last season made him the youngest winner at 21 years, 11 months, six days.
The last race that was won from the pole was in 2013 by AJ Allmendinger, also marking his first career Xfinity Series victory. He will once again take on the track this weekend for Kaulig Racing.
Jeremy Clements is the other active driver who got their first Xfinity win at Road America. His win was in 2017.
JR Motorsport’s Justin Allgaier grabbed the win at Road America back in 2018. The veteran has made nine Xfinity series starts at Road America and leads the series in top-10 finishes in the 4.048-mile track.
In last season’s Road America race, Allmendinger finished second to Cindric followed by Chase Briscoe, Kaz Grala, Andy Lally, Noah Gragson, Ross Chastain, Preston Pardus, Ryan Sieg and Michael Annett. There were seven cautions for 15 laps and 13 lead changes with a Margin of Victory of 1.318 seconds. The average speed was 61.83 mph.
Grala, Lally and Pardus will all be back this weekend competing at Road America along with Allmendinger, Cindric, Gragson, Sieg and Annett who are fulltime in the Xfinity Series.
Of note, Kris Wright will run for Sam Hunt Racing in the No. 26 Toyota and veteran road ace Boris Said will run for Hattori Racing Enterprises.
NASCAR Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick will also compete this weekend – both for the first time at Road America. They will use their experience in the Xfinity Series to help them for the Cup Series race.
Clinch Scenarios: NASCAR Xfinity Series
With 10 races left in the regular season it is time to take a look at the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff clinch scenarios heading into this weekend’s race at Road America, the Henry 180 on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. A win gets you in, but drivers still need to clinch their spot on points by accumulating enough points that even with a win they do not fall out of the top 30 and become ineligible for the Playoffs.
The following two drivers have clinched a spot in the 12-driver Xfinity postseason field: Austin Cindric and AJ Allmendinger.
Can clinch via points at Road America:
Justin Allgaier could clinch with 21 points. Allgaier would clinch on wins if he can clinch a spot in the top 30 and there is a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, he would clinch on wins and clinching a spot in the top 30. With another win, he would clinch a Playoff spot on wins.
Jeb Burton could clinch a top 30 spot with 58 points. With another win, Burton could clinch a Playoff spot on wins if he also clinches a top 30 spot.
Clinching for Regular Season Championship:
Austin Cindric cannot clinch the regular season championship this weekend with his four wins and 680 points because second-place has 579 and can still reach 1,179 points.
Joe Gibbs Racing running fifth entry at Road America
As the entry list came out for this weekend’s racing at Road America, it is noted that Joe Gibbs Racing has added an additional entry to the Xfinity Series race on Saturday and will look to run five cars.
Harrison Burton in the No. 20, Brandon Jones in the No. 19 and Daniel Hemric in the No. 18 will be joined by Kyle Busch who is slated to run the No. 54 Toyota for his final Xfinity Series start of the season. The fifth entry will be the No. 81 Toyota for Ty Gibbs, the grandson of Joe Gibbs. Originally Gibbs was going to run the No. 54 but Busch has never competed at Road America so he will use the opportunity to get more laps and practice at the track before the Cup Series race on Sunday.
Chris Gayle, primary crew chief for the No. 54, will join Gibbs and the No. 81 and Mark McFarland will crew chief for Busch.
Josh Berry holds onto his Sunoco rookie standings lead
After making his 14th start of the season last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Josh Berry held onto the lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie driver standings from Joe Gibbs Racing’s rising star Ty Gibbs. Berry is 26 points ahead of Gibbs after Pocono, where Gibbs finished runner-up and Berry finished ninth.
Gibbs is entered to run this weekend at Road America, but Berry is currently not on tap to run as his half season with JR Motorsports has come to an end and Sam Mayer has taken over the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Mayer made his first start of the season at Pocono, the day after he turn 18 and has officially got his first points in the rookie standings.
|Sunoco Rookie of the Year|
NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.
Harvick in for BJ McLeod Motorsports this weekend – NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick will be back in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend at Road America for BJ McLeod Motorsports. Harvick, who has never made a start at Road America in all his NASCAR national series starts, will pilot the No. 99 Henry Repeating Arms Ford this weekend. Earlier this season at the inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas, Harvick piloted the No. 5 Ford for BJ McLeod. Harvick has made 347 starts in the series, won 47 Xfinity Series races and has 186 top fives and 260 top 10s to his name. At COTA, Harvick started 12th and finished fourth for the team.
Ryan Ellis competing in No. 78 for BJ McLeod – Ryan Ellis will make his fourth start of the season at Road America for BJ McLeod Motorsports. Ellis will be behind the wheel of the No. 78 and will be sponsored by Rich Mar Florist. Ellis made three starts earlier this season and has a best finish of 16th at Darlington Raceway. In five previous starts at Road America, Ellis has a best finish of 17th in 2018, when he was also running for BJ McLeod Motorsports.
Kaz Grala running for Jordan Anderson Racing – Kaz Grala is back this weekend and will run at Road America for Jordan Anderson Racing in the No. 31 Chevrolet. Grala, who has become somewhat of a road course ace in the last few years, will pilot the No. 31 for the first time. He has 12 road course races to his name throughout all three NASCAR national series. He holds an average finish of 12.25 with seven top 10s and four top-five finishes. His best finish of runner-up came earlier this season at Circuit of the Americas in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Grala has made starts in the Cup Series and Truck Series this season, but this will be his first Xfinity start in 2021. The No. 31 Jordan Anderson Racing machine has earned four top-15 finishes in five starts with Tyler Reddick, Josh Berry and Jordan Anderson driving. Grala has 32 Xfinity Series starts with four top fives and nine top 10s. Last season, Grala ran at Road America in the Xfinity Series for Richard Childress Racing and finished fourth.