The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, the NASCAR Cup Collection’ first race at Circuit of the Americas, was abbreviated Sunday when heavy rain resulted visibility points that prompted NASCAR to throw a warning on lap 54 of the scheduled 68-lap race. Reigning Cup Collection champion Chase Elliott was the race chief when the race went below warning and, finally, the crimson flag to assert his first win of the yr, 14 races into the 2021 season.
“I couldn’t be extra excited,” Elliott mentioned. “I’ve by no means gained a rain race earlier than, so it’s type of cool. And I’m simply tremendous happy with our crew for simply persevering with to battle. We began the day, and we weren’t superb. I simply stored pushing myself, and we stored making some good modifications all through the day and obtained to the place I believed we have been on tempo with these guys, there, on the finish. So I’m actually happy with that. It’s not the best factor, ever, for it to rain and to have a rain race win, if it’s your first one. However I believe it’s okay if it’s down the street, so I’m fairly enthusiastic about that. I’m trying ahead to subsequent week and making an attempt to maintain it rolling.”
Elliott’s win was the 800th Cup Collection win for Chevrolet and th 268th for Chevrolet, matching the document held by the now-defunct Petty Enterprises.
Kyle Larson completed second Sunday, giving Hendrick Motorsports a one-two end.
Joey Logano was third, Ross Chastain was fourth, and A.J. Allmendinger rounded out the top-five.
Kyle Busch was the race chief, with Elliott in second, when the 2 drivers pitted on lap 40, early within the remaining cycle of green-flag pit stops. The cycle lastly accomplished when a 3rd Hendrick driver Alex Bowman pitted on lap 50, turning the lead over to Elliott, with Larson in second and Busch in third.
“I simply stored pushing myself more durable and more durable,” Elliott mentioned. “Some areas on the monitor, although, have been getting, truly, actually treacherous, I felt like. The again straightaway was puddling up and beginning to hydroplane and do some bizarre stuff. My solely choice was to only type of ship it via these spots and simply hope for the most effective.”
Busch pitted, once more, on lap 52. With the additional pit cease, he completed tenth.
“We had tremendous tempo early on, and we have been actually good. As soon as it go to the place it was raining heavier, we misplaced tempo to the 9 [Elliott] and people guys,” Busch mentioned. “We have been going to complete third. A pair tires have been killed with simply how dangerous it was driving and the way moist it was, so we got here in to attempt to get higher tires to carve via the moist and that didn’t do something, so we price ourselves seven spots, however it’s what it’s.”
Early within the race, drivers complained about visibility points brought on by tire spray. Lack of ability to see resulted in two multi-car crashes within the first 25 laps of the race, the primary approaching lap 19, the primary lap after the restart from the warning that adopted the opening 15-lap stage. That crash concerned Kevin Harvick, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney.
“It’s probably the most unsafe factor I’ve ever achieved in a race automotive by lots,” Harvick mentioned. ”You may’t see something down the straightaways. These automobiles weren’t constructed to run within the rain, and when you’ll be able to’t see, my spotter mentioned, ‘Verify up, test up,’ as a result of he thought he noticed two automobiles wrecking. I let off and the man behind me hit me wide-open, as a result of he by no means noticed me. It’s unbelievable that we’re on the market doing what we’re doing, as a result of we’re in race automobiles that aren’t made to do that, and in the event you can’t see taking place the straightaway, it’s completely not protected, not even shut.”
Martin Truex Jr., who led laps early within the race, and Cole Custer crashed on the restart from the warning for the Harvick crash. Truex’s automotive went airborne, and Custer’s automotive caught hearth. That crash prompted NASCAR to throw the crimson flag for some monitor drying.
“I couldn’t see something,” Truex mentioned. “Taking place the backstretch, simply making an attempt to remain on the street and subsequent factor I do know, I noticed a taillight, and it was on my hood in a cut up second. You simply can’t see something on the market. It’s a disgrace for everybody that works so exhausting on these automobiles and Bass Professional Outlets, Tracker and all people. We obtained in a foul spot with oil on our windshield. Couldn’t see, needed to pit and get a tear-off and, then, getting within the again there. I don’t know what occurred up forward — if there was a automotive sitting within the monitor or gradual or what was taking place. You may’t see. Simply huge open in third gear, and subsequent factor, there’s a automotive on my hood; it’s not feeling. I’m making an attempt to remain within the fuel and hold going. I wish to get out of that space and thru the braking zone, as a result of I knew I used to be going to get hit once more, and the following factor I knew, I obtained hit so exhausting that I used to be 10-feet within the air. I don’t know. Simply wild. Hopefully, all people else is okay, that’s crucial factor. Only a mess, you’ll be able to’t see something.”
When the race resumed, NASCAR opted for single-file restarts for the rest of the race.
Earlier than the commotion, Logano gained the opening stage. He nonetheless was the race chief when the yellow-flag waved for the crash that concerned Harvick. However earlier than the yellow flag waved once more for the Truex/Custer wreck, Chastain and Ryan Preece took the highest two positions within the working order, and Preece took the lead from Chastain.
After intermittent sprinkles throughout pre-race ceremonies, most groups elected to start out the race on slick tires, because the monitor was nonetheless principally attempt. Within the first 5 laps, although, these drivers pitted for wet-weather, or rain, tires. Austin Cindric stayed out longer earlier than pitting for the rain tires to steer the opening laps after Tyler Reddick began on the pole. When Cindric lastly pitted on lap 5, Truex, who began the race on the rain tires, inherited the lead.
Truex gave up the result in pit throughout a lap-eight warning for a stalled Daniel Suarez, handing the lead over to Michael McDowell. Logano handed McDowell for the lead on lap 11.
Busch gained the second stage on lap 32 after taking the lead from Preece on the restart from the crimson flag on lap 29.
Different top-10 finishers included Chase Briscoe in sixth, McDowell in seventh, Bowman in eighth and Reddick in ninth.