Can This Former NASCAR Cup Champion End Chase Elliott’s Road Course Dominance in 2021?

Published 01/09/2021, 11:10 AM EST
LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – AUGUST 02: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, exits his car after the NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Two active specialist drivers in road course races in recent time have been Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. The former in particular is on a  four-race win streak in the Cup Series’ most intriguing racetracks segment.

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The majority of NASCAR racing occurs at speedways and oval tracks that often capture the essence of the sport. However, road course races offer the opportunity of something different, with drivers having to navigate their way through turns and apexes to gain strong track positions.

As it stands then, drivers will have to put their best foot forward to better Elliott’s form of road courses. The question that remains then – could Truex Jr do the job of breaking that run in 2021?

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Martin Truex Jr’s stunning record in the last five road course races

NASCAR offered insights into Truex Jr’s numbers stating, “Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver who has finished in the top 10 in each of the last five road-course races, dating back to his win at Sonoma Raceway in 2019.”

It has certainly been some time since the JGR no.19 last won a road course race. Although, the consistent efforts have seen him accumulate top-5 finishes in recent races and that automatically enables him to start as a contender in such events.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – OCTOBER 18: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, races during the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Truex Jr. has registered three of his road-course victories at Sonoma, while another one came in 2017 at Watkins Glen.

In the two road course races of the 2020 season, Truex Jr. finished in third place at Daytona and in seventh place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Beating Chase Elliott on road courses is a tough task

The venues of Elliott’s last four wins are all on offer in the 2021 Cup Series campaign as well. The likes of Daytona Road Course, Charlotte Roval, and Glen Watkins will see both drivers go head-to-head to claim the victors’ spoils.

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands in the garage with crew chief Alan Gustafson during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

It should also be noted that Truex Jr has six top-5 finishes at Watkins Glen. This includes a solitary win from his Cup-winning season in 2017.

Therefore, what awaits us is a feisty battle between two experts on the trickiest of NASCAR racetracks. It will certainly be interesting to see who comes out on top in the race at Daytona Road Course on February 21.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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