SHR Post-Race Report: Inaugural EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas

Date: May 23, 2021
Event: Inaugural EchoPark Texas Grand Prix (Round 14 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas (3.426-mile, 20-turn road course)
Format: 68 laps, broken into three stages (15 laps/17 laps/36 laps)
Note: Race shortened 14 laps from its scheduled 68-lap distance due to heavy rain.

Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 11th, Finished 37th / Accident, completed 19 of 54 laps)
● Cole Custer(Started 14th, Finished 36th / Accident, completed 24 of 54 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 27th, Finished 6th / Running, completed 54 of 54 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 26th, Finished 26th / Running, completed 54 of 54 laps)
SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (8th with 428 points, 169 out of first)
● Cole Custer(27th with 220 points, 337 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (25th with 237 points, 360 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 180 points, 417 out of first)

Harvick Notes:
● This was Harvick’s first DNF (Did Not Finish) since Aug. 17, 2019 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, a span of 61 races.

Custer Notes:
● Custer’s day came to an abrupt end before the restart lap could be completed. He made heavy front-end contact on the backstretch with the rear of the slowed car of Martin Truex Jr., reporting later that his visibility was limited due to weather.

Briscoe Notes:
● Briscoe earned his first top-10 in the NASCAR Cup Series, and it came in his 14th career start.
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie.
● This was Briscoe’s best finish so far this season. His previous best result was 11th place, earned twice – April 25 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and May 9 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Almirola Notes:
● Almirola raced in and around the top-20 before the caution was called again for inclement weather on lap 54.

Race Notes:
● Chase Elliott won the inaugural EchoPark Texas Grand Prix to score his 12th career NASCAR Cup Series victory and his first of the season. The race ended under caution due to heavy rain.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 14 laps.
● Thirty-one of the 40 drivers in the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after COTA with a 98-point advantage over second-place William Byron.

COTA Quotes
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang:
“I’m all good. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it was going to. You just can’t see anything on that backstretch. Somebody was going slower, and by the time you want to slow down, they’re in your front bumper, so there’s no chance of you even missing it. It’s frustrating, but we’ll move on to the next one.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang:
“I always want to do a little better, but running sixth and having a solid day from start to finish, and getting stage points, was what we needed to do. I felt like this was going to be a really good opportunity for our HighPoint.com team, just based off the past when every time we go to a new track it ends up going well for me. I noticed when we’d get some rain that would help, and we just continued to get better throughout the day after starting in the back because of the transmission deal. My background in dirt racing for sure plays a role in that. All the sprint car and dirt car guys always try to figure it out in situations like this when it’s low grip and really slick. We’re so used to having to search around for grip. I don’t think I ran the same line twice, because I was constantly moving around. Tony (Stewart) and Jeff (Gordon) were always good at that, and now you see it with Kyle Larson and those guys that run up front. We fought all day long and had a solid day. We need to do more of that, and hopefully this builds up team confidence heading into Charlotte.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 30, at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The race begins at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.