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Who are the Best NASCAR Road Course Racers RIGHT NOW?

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Joshua Lipowski

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In NASCAR, road course racing has gone from a novelty to standard practice for Cup Series drivers and teams. While this new focus on road courses has evened up the skillset somewhat, some drivers still take to road courses better than others in NASCAR. Who are the best road course racers in NASCAR right now?

What’s Happening?

In NASCAR, road course racing has gone from a novelty to standard practice for Cup Series drivers and teams. There are 5 road course races on the 2024 schedule, and many drivers take to road racing more than others. Who are the best road course racers in NASCAR right now?

  • For this list, we will focus on full-time NASCAR Cup Series drivers. While drivers like SVG and A.J. Allmendinger are world-renowned road course racers, they are not guaranteed to compete in every road course race this season.
  • We will take into account the whole body of work for drivers along with how drivers have done recently. Pedigree and recent success are both important.
  • Fans enjoy seeing certain drivers succeed on road courses. It’s often a way for drives who do not compete for wins every week to win races.

Honorable Mentions

William Byron showed significant improvement on road courses in 2023 with 3 top-5s and a win at Watkins Glen. However, 2023 was an exception more than the rule for Byron, who did not have a road course top-5 before the season. He is absolutely knocking on the door of this list, but, one more good year could put him on this list.

Austin Cindric was knocking on the door of this list in 2023, but, he struggled at road courses. He only had 2 top-10s on road courses after 5 straight between 2021 and 2022. He can get it done on road courses, but, he hasn’t done much recently.

5. Kyle Larson (-2)

Since 2021, no driver has more wins on road courses than Kyle Larson with four. However, he was disappointing on road courses in 2023. He did not lead a single lap, and he did not finish better than 8th. He was third on our list one year ago, but, we dropped him to 5 this year as a result.

The past pedigree keeps Larson on the list. However, he needs to start putting up results, or he could fall off of this list very quickly.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (+1)

Martin Truex Jr. is an interesting case on road courses. Five of his six, road course wins have come at one track, Sonoma. His other win came at Watkins Glen in 2017. Before his win at Sonoma, his first since 2019, Truex had seven finishes outside of the top 10 in eight races.

However, his win at Sonoma and two ensuing road course top-10s in 2023 have put him back on the road course map. His prowess at Sonoma puts him on the list, but, he needs to garner some wins at other road courses to earn a higher spot on this list.

3. Michael McDowell (+1)

Since the beginning of 2022, Michael McDowell has finished in the top 10 in 6 of the last 10 road course races. He also put together a masterful performance in Indianapolis in 2023 by beating road course ace, Chase Elliott. Despite being in underfunded equipment for much of his career, McDowell has found a way to succeed on road courses.

While he is good at road courses. Front Row is still not quite at the level of the top teams, which puts him lower on the list. However, his win at Indianapolis in 2023 and recent success makes him an absolute threat to win.

2. Chase Elliott (–)

Even though he has not won a road course race in the Next-Gen era, the pedigree of seven road course wins cannot be ignored. Even then, Elliott’s best performances of 2023 came on road courses. He finished 2nd at Indianapolis, and he was competing for the win late in the Chicago Street Race.

It truly feels like only a matter of time before Elliott breaks through on a road course in these newish cars, and he needs one given his 38-start winless streak. However, the lack of a win since 2021 means that he is not quite at the top spot on this list.

1. Tyler Reddick (–)

Since 2022, Tyler Reddick has 3 road course wins and he has led laps in 8 of those 12 road course races. In 9 of those races, he has finished 8th or better including 4 top-5 finishes. Reddick is constantly in the mix on road courses.

In the Next-Gen era, Reddick has found his groove on road courses. Not to mention he has never qualified worse than 8th on road courses since the introduction of the Next-Gen car. With that recent record, it is hard to argue with him being the best road course racer right now.

Will any of these drivers find a way back to victory lane this season? Maybe they can jump their way up this list with a win this weekend.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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