Take a bow: Chase Elliott celebrates Truck win in Kyle Busch style


A form of flattery? Something deeper? Or just having fun?

Chase Elliott punctuated his victory over Kyle Busch in Tuesday night’s Truck race at Charlotte Motor Speedway by performing a bow, Busch’s customary celebration.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Elliott said after the win. “I thought we’ve had so much fun with this with Kevin (Harvick) putting up money (for a bounty to beat Busch) and Kyle is a good sport about it, I hope. Just having fun. It’s not a dig at anybody. Just having fun with it. It was about beating him and we did it, so why not have some fun with it?”

Busch’s response?

He didn’t know about Elliott’s bow until being told by a reporter in the Zoom media conference after the race but said: “Imitation is the strongest form of flattery or something, I don’t know what it is. Huh, that’s cute.”

The bow added to the growing saga between Elliott and Busch over the past week. It started when Busch wrecked Elliott late in a Cup race at Darlington while Elliott ran second, costing him a chance at a win. Elliott responded to that accident by giving Busch the middle finger when he drove by. Busch later told Elliott that he made a mistake.

Asked if he got any satisfaction beating Busch, who finished second, and ending Busch’s personal seven-race Truck winning streak, Elliott said: “Yeah I do, for sure. He’s really good in anything he does. I enjoy it just to have a chance to race against him. Like I said there on TV, I was glad that I had a chance to race him for the win instead of him finishing 10th or having a problem or one of us having a messed up night.

“For us to be able to go head-to-head for the win like that was really cool, certainly felt good to come out on top. Doesn’t make up for Sunday by any means (when Elliott lost the Cup lead pitting before overtime), but it was a fun night and I appreciate (GMS Racing) letting me do it.”

Busch said after the race that a broken part impacted his truck’s performance.

“It doesn’t help showing up to the race track with broke parts on your truck,” he said. “That was a problem from the get-go. Didn’t have our right front stopper right, so we were all over the splitter. So we came in and didn’t know that it was broke. We had to fix it with a makeshift piece and it was way too high then we tried to fix it and it just was never right. We were out in left field the whole night, never really had a great feel for the truck, a great driving truck and just salvaged what I could.”

Busch called the problem “self-inflicted.”

“Threw it away,” he said. “Had six months to prepare and screwed it all up.”

Tuesday marked Elliott’s first Truck start since 2017. Asked if he would do more, he said: “It was about beating Kyle and we did that, so I guess I can quit now.”

By beating Busch, Elliott scored the bounty.

Harvick and Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Gander RV and Outdoors, each put up $50,000 to any Cup driver who could beat Busch in a Truck race. They announced before Tuesday’s race that they would earmark the money to the COVID-19 relief program of the winning driver’s choosing.

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Circuit of the Americas


Saturday will be a busy day at Circuit of the Americas, as all three national series are on the track.

Cup will qualify ahead of the Craftsman Truck and Xfinity Series races.

The forecast Saturday calls for sunny conditions and no chance of rain all day. The high is expected to be 69 degrees during Cup qualifying, 76 degrees at the start of the Truck race and 81 degrees for the start of the Xfinity race.

Zane Smith looks to win his second consecutive Truck race at the road course in Austin, Texas. AJ Allmendinger seeks his second consecutive Xfinity win at COTA.

Saturday, March 25

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 10:30 a.m.  — Truck Series
  • 2 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (42 laps, 143 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 5 p.m. — Xfinity race (46 laps, 156 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

COTA Xfinity starting lineup: AJ Allmendinger takes pole


AJ Allmendinger, who won this race a year ago, will start on the pole for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas.

Allmendinger earned the pole with a lap of 92.173 mph Friday on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Xfinity starting lineup

He will be joined on the front row Sammy Smith (91.827 mph).
Ty Gibbs (91.665) will start third. Sheldon Creed (91.652) qualified fourth. Parker Kligerman (91.195) will start fifth.

Cup driver William Byron will start ninth. Byron’s time was disallowed for cutting the esses. Cole Custer, who will start 10th, didn’t make a lap in the final round of qualifying.

Cup driver Aric Almirola (91.269) qualified 13th. Truck Series racer Carson Hocevar (90.669) will start 17th. Alex Labbe (90.476) will start 23rd. He’s filling in for Josh Williams, who is serving a one-race suspension for parking his car at the start/finish line of last weekend’s race at Atlanta.

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.