With the top series in NASCAR on a break due to the Olympics, the drivers are finding wildly different ways to pass the time. Kyle Busch is shaking it in the Bahamas while Austin Dillon is golfing with his pit crew. Some drivers — such as Noah Gragson, Erik Jones, and Chandler Smith — are taking on other racing series.
There are multiple NASCAR drivers that have gotten behind the wheels of sprint cars, late models, and other race cars during the off weeks. They have kept their skills fresh for the final playoff pushes after the Olympic break while testing themselves on a different type of track.
Gragson, in particular, headed to Wisconsin on Saturday, July 24. He drove a bright green sprint car at ABC Raceway in Ashland, Wisc., while competing in the Northern Clearing Inc. Racing for a Reason. According to “WI Dirt Racin’,” drivers and fans took part in the special day with the goal of raising money for the American Cancer Society, and The Brick Ministries local food shelf. Gragson initially agreed to sign autographs and spend time with the fans, but he ultimately took on the other sprint car drivers.
Similarly, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell headed to Lake Ozark Speedway on July 25 for the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1. He turned in a dominant performance during the 35-lap Beach Brawl, leading the majority of the race and utilizing different racing lines to retake the lead when necessary. Bell capped off the night with a win and a $10,000 payday.
Josh Berry Locks Up Another Win in Late Model Return
A driver for JR Motorsports, Berry got back behind the wheel of a race car on July 24. He returned to his Late Model roots and represented JRM at Langley Speedway in Virginia. Despite focusing on Xfinity Series in 2021 and staying away from the late model scene, Berry secured yet another victory and walked away with the $10,000 prize.
According to “Racer Magazine,” Berry lined up third for the Hampton Heat 200. He spent the majority of the 200-lap race fighting for second place behind Chad McCumbee, but he took the lead with under 40 laps.
Incidents and spins brought out the caution flag twice and forced the drivers to line up for restarts. Both times, Berry jumped out to the front of the pack, including one final time as the green and white checkered flag waved. He held off Connor Hall and Kaden Honeycutt to secure the win and cap off the weekend.
Jones & Smith Battle at Five Flags Speedway
Smith, who competes for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series, took part in a Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Florida. He drove for Donnie Wilson Motorsports while facing off with regulars and Cup Series driver Erik Jones.
Despite dealing with a string of losses at the Florida track, Smith turned in a strong performance. He led the final 70 laps and held off both Jake Garcia and Casey Roderick to lock up the checkered flag and a $5,000 payday.
Jones, on the other hand, made his second consecutive start at the track for BJ McLeod and Travis Braden. He rebounded from a flat that ruined his night on July 23 and then locked up a fifth-place finish. According to “Short Track Scene,” Jones entered his debut weekend with the belief that he had a fifth-place car. He proved himself correct with the performance on July 24.