Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott won the inaugural Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, May 23, after rain caused numerous problems. This win gave him six total at road courses, moving him within reach of one of Jeff Gordon‘s all-time records. Elliott only needs four more road course wins at NASCAR‘s top series to set a new mark.
The Hall of Famer in Gordon currently holds the top spot with nine road course wins. He headed to Victory Lane five times at Sonoma and another four times at Watkins Glen. Elliott, on the other hand, has two wins at Watkins Glen, two at the Charlotte Roval, one at the Daytona Road Course, and one at COTA.
There is one major difference between the two drivers in that Gordon only sparingly raced on road courses during his career. He made 47 combined starts at Sonoma and Watkins Glen during his 25-year stint in the Cup Series. According to Racing Reference, Elliott already has 14 starts.
Elliott Has the Opportunity to Break the Record in 2021
Considering that Elliott is only 25 years old, the expectation is that he will break Gordon’s road course record long before his career comes to an end. The only question remaining is when will he achieve this goal. There is actually a possibility that he will do so before the 2021 season comes to an end.
There are five road course races remaining on the 2021 NASCAR schedule. The drivers will head to Sonoma on Sunday, June 6. They will also make the awaited trip to Road America on Sunday, July 4. The drivers will finish off the schedule with trips to Watkins Glen (Aug. 8), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course (Aug. 15), and the Charlotte Roval (Oct. 10).
Of these remaining races, Road America and IMS will pose the most interesting challenges. The Cup Series has only headed to Wisconsin one time, 1956. Though the Xfinity Series has raced at the track multiple times. Elliott has two standout performances at Road America, fourth-place finishes in 2014 and 2015.
Prior to the 2020 season, NASCAR had never raced on the infield road course at IMS. The Xfinity Series changed that trend with a one-off race on July 4, 2020. Chase Briscoe led 30 laps during the inaugural trip to the road course and held off Justin Haley to secure the win. Now Briscoe will take on one of NASCAR’s best road course drivers, Elliott, at a track unfamiliar to the overwhelming majority of Cup Series stars.
A New Road Course Star Will Enter Cup in 2021
The current Cup Series season will be Elliott’s best opportunity to break the record considering the incoming talent in 2022. Austin Cindric, the defending Xfinity Series champion, will make the leap to Cup with the introduction of the Next Gen cars. Like Elliott, Cindric is a proven talent at road courses.
The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang has multiple standout performances at road courses in his career. He has registered wins at Road America, Watkins Glen, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at Lexington, and the Daytona Road Course. Cindric also finished top-five during the first-ever trip to the IMS road course.
As evidence of his potential continued success at road courses, Cindric put himself in contention for stage wins throughout the first-ever race at Circuit of the Americas. He led the first four laps, outdriving his peers on slicks in the wet conditions. Cindric ultimately finished 25th due to poor timing. He headed to the pits for new tires right before NASCAR brought the race to an early end.