Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are headed to their first road course race of the season – the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
In their first trip to COTA, last year, Burton and the No. 21 team finished 17th but earned 26 points due to finishes of ninth and seventh in the first two Stages.
This year the rules for road courses will be different, but crew chief Brian Wilson said he’s up to the challenges of calling the race. And he’s confident that he and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team can build on their road-course results of 2022, which included a season-best finish of third on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Last year at COTA we had one of our best points days of 2022 and came away with a top-20 finish,” Wilson said. “Heading into this year’s race the Stage break rules will be different however.
“NASCAR will not throw a caution at the end of the Stage, so scoring Stage points will be a bit more dynamic than it was last year.”
There are other changes to contend with as well.
“We will have a new tire for this event which looks like it will have more lap time fall-off based on the tire test earlier this year,” Wilson said. “Choosing when to pit and getting a timely caution may determine the outcome of the day for many cars in the field.”
Wilson said the changes will give the race a familiar look for long-time fans and participants in the sport.
“Those two aspects give this weekend more of the feel of a road-course race from when my career started,” he said. “Playing the strategy correctly as things happen on the fly will be an interesting storyline for the weekend.
“The No. 21 Ford team will look to get the road-course portion of our season off to a great start this weekend.”
Practice for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix is set for Friday at 1:05 p.m. Central Time (2:05 Eastern), with qualifying scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (11:30 Eastern). FOX Sports 1 will broadcast both events.
The green flag for Sunday’s 68-lap, 231.88-mile race is set to fly just after 2:30 p.m. Central Time (3:30 Eastern) with TV coverage on FOX.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 15 and 30.