Road course racing has been a part of NASCAR for decades, but the upcoming 2021 season, it is more important than ever to be a good road course racer. There a a few drivers who stand out among the rest as the true road course ringers of NASCAR. Here's the Top 5 for Racing Refresh writers Justin Seger and Zachary Bell.
Justin - Clint Bowyer: Bowyer is never a bad pick for a road course event. He has a win at Sonoma and has a solid average finish at both Watkins Glen and Sonoma. He barely misses the cut this time around.
Zach - Chase Briscoe: A guy that ford has significantly invested in, especially with his road racing. Combining that with his natural talent, Briscoe has won two road course racing in the Xfinity Series including the inaugural races at both the Charlotte Roval, and Indy Road Course. Briscoe having not competed in the Cup Series yet is what makes him my honorable mention, but were we to make this list again in a year or two I bet he'd jump to the top 5.
Justin - Denny Hamlin: I must admit a few years ago Hamlin might not have been on my list at all. He doesn’t have as many wins as some on this list or even some off of this list, but Hamlin has proven that he can adapt well to situations. With the new tracks coming in 2021, I think Hamlin could be a favorite on many of the road courses.
Zach - Austin Cindric: Arguably the best road course racer in the Xfinity Series Cindric has dominated in his two years at this level. He has won four road course races in the Xfinity Series at Watkins Glen, Road America, Mid Ohio, and the inaugural Daytona Road Course. He has shown his road course prowess routinely, and whenever he reaches the Cup Series I expect that he will compete with the best every time.
Justin - Austin Cindric: This driver is a little more intriguing and somewhat controversial as Cindric has not proven himself at the highest level of NASCAR, the Cup Series. However, Cindric has proven himself to be a top talent when it comes to road courses in the Xfinity Series. I believe this talent will translate to future Cup success for Cindric and I expect big things from him.
Zach - AJ Allmendinger: The Dinger a road course specialist through and through. Although Allmendinger is not a full time Xfinity Series competitor, but he does run all the road course races. Allmendinger has won Xfinity races at Mid Ohio, Road America, and the Charlotte Roval. What made me rank Allmendinger above Briscoe and Cindric is his Cup Series win at Watkins Glen.
Justin - AJ Allmendinger: The Dinger is always a threat on road courses. He may not be racing full time in any of the NASCAR national series, but his deal with Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series makes sure that he’s a threat for all the road courses. He has a cup series victory at Watkins Glen to back up his Xfinity success as well. If you’re looking for a solid road racer, look no further than AJ Allmendinger.
Zach - Kyle Busch: The younger Busch brother is locked into third place for me. His four Cup Series, and one Xfinity Series win shows how good he is. He has won two cup races at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen. His detractors are his performances at the Charlotte Roval, and the Daytona Road Course races he does not have a single top 10 at either track. I know those tracks have limited stats, but it is alarmingly bad.
Justin - Chase Elliott: Sorry to disappoint the Chase Elliott fans out there, but I feel that currently, Chase is second best when it comes to road course. His performances at the Charlotte Roval in 2019 and Daytona Road Course earlier this year are definitely reasons to pick him. Add 2 back to back wins at the Glen and he is proven to be a road course talent.
Zach - Martin Truex Jr.: This is where the real debate starts. Truex versus the number one guy Chase Elliott. Truex has been dominant at the road courses ever since he joined Furniture Row Racing, and Toyota. He has won four road course races in his career; three at Sonoma, and one at Watkins Glen. We all remember the finish to the 2018 Charlotte Roval, and Truex probably would've won, so he could have five. Truex's recent dominance at Sonoma is the most impressive to me.
Justin - Martin Truex Jr.: In my opinion, just slightly edges out Chase Elliott for this spot. Martin has 4 road course wins of his own, and nearly had the Daytona road course and 2018 Charlotte Roval victories. He and Chase have proven to be a class of their own in recent years, but due to the lengthy tenure of Martin’s road course success, I put him over Chase as the best current Road Course racer.
Zach - Chase Elliott: It's hard to say he's best right now, but it's even harder to say he isn't the best. Chase's meteoric rise in his road course racing performance is impressive. He has won four Cup races on road courses including two at Watkins Glen, one at the Charlotte Roval, and the inaugural race at the Daytona Road Course. Chase's road course performance is silky smooth to watch. He has struggled a bit at Sonoma, but it has largely been mechanical related struggles.
AJ - I had to sneak in on this great debate. Some great drivers come to mind in regards to the 'all-time' greatest on road courses. Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff or Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart, Juan Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, so many great names. In regards to who the best is that is active, look no farther than AJ Allmendinger. I think he belongs significantly higher on these lists. If we made a schedule of 36 points races ALL on road courses, I guarantee you he would be the first drivers teams wanted to sign.