After long journey, Julia Landauer earns first Xfinity Series start


LOUDON, N.H. — Several years of work were compressed into a little over 31 seconds Friday, and after her slip-sliding thrill ride was finished, Julia Landauer couldn’t contain her excitement in not having given up on her dream.

The 30-year-old from New York City will make her NASCAR national series debut in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network).

“I’m so giddy!” She told NBC Sports after her qualifying attempt. 

MORE: Xfinity Series starting lineup at New Hampshire 

Landauer called it “an incredible sense of relief” to get through qualifying. She’ll start Saturday’s race 32nd after a lap of 31.430 seconds. 

It was quite a journey to get to this moment.

Landauer was the first and youngest female champion in the Skip Barber Racing Series at age 14. She won a Limited Late Model track championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Fairlawn, Virginia, in 2015. Landauer competed in the K&N Pro Series West in 2016-17. She was selected to the 2016 NASCAR Next Class, which included Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson.

Landauer moved to the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, running selects races in 2018-19, but opportunities became scarce after that. She last raced in NASCAR in 2020 in a brief appearance in the Euro Series.

“The past several years in general have been quite an emotional roller coaster,” Landauer said. “I’ve been on track and had hopes of making it to the national series quite a few years ago and just couldn’t get the funding that was needed. 

“I kind of got to a point last year where I had almost decided, ‘Alright, it’s time to hang up the helmet.’”

She found sponsorship and that led to the opportunity this weekend with Alpha Prime Racing.

With only 20 minutes of practice Friday, Landauer had little time to prepare for qualifying, which proved to be an adventure.

“That was so much harder than I thought it was going to be,” Landauer told NBC Sports. “Practice went by so quickly. I was working as hard as I could, and I couldn’t catch anybody. It was so fast in the corner, I was not quite prepared for that. 

“Then in qualifying, I knew I just had to go into the corner. I went way too fast into Turn 1, thought I was going to hit the wall, stayed off the wall and got it going. … I definitely lost quite a bit of time by almost hitting the wall, but great first experience in an Xfinity car.”

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.


Saturday COTA Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Austin Hill, the dominant driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series through the early weeks of the season, will be looking for his first Xfinity road course win Saturday.

Hill has won three of the season’s first five races, scoring victories at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Hill has been close in previous road course runs. He has a second at COTA, a third at Portland, a fourth at Road America and a ninth at Indianapolis.

MORE: Dr. Diandra takes a look at top Cup road course drivers

Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger own wins in the previous Xfinity races at COTA.

Allmendinger and three other Cup Series regulars — Aric Almirola, William Byron and Ty Gibbs — are scheduled to race in the Xfinity event.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 5:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled at 5:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 2 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Jordan Thiessen of Pit Boss Grills at 5 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by recording artist Payton Keller at 5:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 46 laps (156 miles) on the 3.41-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 14. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 5 p.m. … NASCAR RaceDay airs at 4 p.m. on FS1. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard at …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. Temperature of 82 at race time. No chance of rain.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last March’s Xfinity race at COTA. Austin Hill was two seconds behind in second place. Cole Custer finished third.