Home US SportsNASCAR Elliott searches for 1st win of season in return to Austin

Elliott searches for 1st win of season in return to Austin

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Maybe it’s eventually Chase Elliott’s flip to take a Hendrick Motorsports automobile to victory lane, the place his three teammates have all visited during the last month.

The blazing begin for the Hendrick secure has stretched three wins over 4 races — Kyle Larson received at Fontana, Alex Bowman at Las Vegas and William Byron at Atlanta — and solely Elliott remains to be in search of his first win of the season. He is bought shot Sunday in NASCAR’s second journey to the Circuit of the Americas everlasting highway course, the place Elliott is the defending race winner.

Elliott’s victory final yr got here in torrential rains that shortened the occasion by 14 laps. It was no shock to see the 2020 Cup Sequence champion choose up the highway course win; he leads all energetic drivers with seven profession victories on highway programs.

The problem this yr is knowing NASCAR’s new Subsequent Gen automobile, which debuted in January and has been spectacular in bettering the racing. The season has opened with 5 completely different winners by 5 races as your entire storage — besides perhaps the Hendrick groups — figures out the brand new automobile. Austin is the primary of six highway programs on this yr’s Cup Sequence schedule.

“I think it’s really more questions than answers,” Elliott said. “To me, COTA is going to be that first opportunity for all the drivers to really kind of get in tune with this car on a road course. I didn’t think it really drove a ton different than the old cars on the road course.”

When he did get to turn laps in the Next Gen on the hybrid road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR’s new car reminded him of the IMSA GT cars Elliott has competed against when he dabbles in sports car racing. Elliott, who is the Cup points leader despite being winless so far this year, said the Next Gen should make for a good race.

“It is almost is better suited for road racing than – I shouldn’t say better suited – but more normalized for road racing type vehicles than it is for oval racing cars. So, I think it will be fine,” he mentioned,

Byron, his teammate and winner final Sunday in Atlanta, mentioned the automobile could also be so fitted to a highway course that the groups who’re studying the Subsequent Gen quickest would possibly dominate.

“Maybe the car drives so good that the race isn’t as good?” Byron mentioned. “The races on the ovals are good because the car drives so bad. We used to have all the side-force and the rear end, all the skew, and now you don’t have any of that. I think it will be exciting because you’ll see a lot of commitment from the drivers, but it also might be a spread-out race.”

The 20-turn, 3.41-mile, multi-elevational counterclockwise circuit makes use of the rolling panorama as a part of the course. Final yr’s race in a blinding rain noticed 11 lead modifications by 10 drivers.

Elliott is the race favourite per FanDuel Sportsbook. NASCAR’s cease at COTA is promoted by Speedway Motorsports, which leases the observe in an effort so as to add a wide range of racing circuits to the schedule.

LARSON TO LE MANS

Kyle Larson has already achieved the entire endurance racing factor and his 2015 victory with Chip Ganassi Racing within the Rolex 24 at Daytona fulfilled his want for sports activities automobile racing.

Now he is once more, piqued by final week’s announcement that Hendrick Motorsports is working with IMSA on a particular mission to take the Next Gen to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next season.

It has been presumed that NASCAR will attempt to ship not less than one present Cup star as a part of the three-driver lineup and Larson mentioned he is . Though teammate Elliott is taken into account the highway racing ace, Larson final yr received thrice on highway programs and has three earlier 24-hour races on his resume.

He mentioned workforce proprietor Rick Hendrick tipped him off the day earlier than the announcement and he was floored it was the primary he was listening to the workforce was constructing a automobile for Le Mans.

“I had no clue. They kept that one undercover really good,” Larson mentioned. “If they were taking it to the Rolex in Daytona, I probably would want to do it because I’ve done that before. But I’ve never competed at Le Mans and I would like to do that one. I’ve never been to France.”

ALLMENDINGER RETURNS

AJ Allmendinger, the ringer for first-year Cup workforce Kaulig Racing, returns for his second begin of the season in a Chevrolet that proprietor Matt Kaulig expects to win races.

Allmendinger received on the highway course at Indianapolis final summer season and was fifth within the inaugural race at COTA final season. However with a transparent forecast and heat temperatures slated for Sunday, Allmendinger has no thought what to anticipate.

“Everybody’s so good on the Cup side of it, so I wouldn’t say that this car lends more of an opportunity for myself,” he said. “I do like how aggressive you can be with it. You can kind of toss the car around a bit more, just a little bit more nimble, the steering is quicker, the car reacts quicker.

“It makes it enjoyable to go out there and attack a race car, especially at a place like COTA where there’s so many corners, so many different types of corners that whether it’s high speed or late on the brakes.”

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Extra AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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