If NASCAR cars trod the asphalt at Elkhart Lake in 1956 during a catch-all race open to other disciplines, it surprisingly took until 2021 for the event to officially enter the Cup Series calendar. A natural, fast and hilly course of 4.048 miles (6.515 km), it is an old-fashioned track where you have to know how to turn left as well as right. An ideal playground for Chase Elliott who had applied himself to inscribing his name for posterity by winning this inaugural round. Elliott quickly found his feet to take pole position and take control of the race from the start.
The first two segments were ultimately quite poor in lessons, the leading riders preferring to anticipate their pit stops with a view to the end of the race rather than chasing the points allocated to the first 10 in each section. We thus saw two drivers in difficulty in the championship winning with Chase Briscoe in the first segment and Ryan Blaney in the second. The pressure was slowly mounting, and with 20 laps to go Chase Elliott and Tyler Reddick found themselves bumper to bumper after their final pit stop. If Elliott managed to keep the controls for a while, he had to give in after 3 laps to the attacks of Reddick, who was particularly comfortable at the wheel of his Chevrolet Camaro.
Reddick without shaking
Their closest pursuer Kyle Larson pushed back more than 10 seconds, Elliott applied himself, as a great specialist of the road circuits, to spare his tires by keeping his opponent in the sights. He certainly didn’t expect Reddick to master his end of the race so well because the 2018 and 2019 Double Xfinity Series Champion managed to maintain a comfortable gap before unleashing his last strength in the last 5 laps to clinch his opponent. A surprise, it must be admitted, because Reddick is far from being a specialist in road circuits who has never managed to impose himself on this type of layout since his debut in the NASCAR divisions. Watching him evolve on this ultra-technical track, we can guess the room for improvement of the nugget of Childress Racing. Without trembling, he crossed the finish line to become the 13th different winner this season and validate his ticket for the playoffs.
If Chase Elliott failed to deliver another Hendrick Motorsport win, he delivered another mighty race of champions. While Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon had traveled to Le Mans during the 24 Hours to prepare for their commitment in 2023 as part of Garage 56, it is certain that the performance of their foal cannot leave them indifferent…
Ranking of the Kwik Trip 250 at Road America: