By Ben White
Many within the NASCAR community have said the Cup Series is going to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. for the first time in 2021. Actually, that isn’t correct. On August 12th, 1956, NASCAR’s premier Grand National Series visited the 4.1-mile road course for a 238-mile race that was won by Tim Flock. His teammate Billy Myers finished second, followed by Fireball Roberts, Paul Goldsmith, Joe Eubanks, Herb Thomas, Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, Fred Lorenzen and Johnny Dodson.
It was a one and done event, technically making the No. 6 the track’s most winning number in the track’s history when it comes to the Cup Series. Flock wheeled a Bill Stroppe-owned Mercury to victory over Myers’ Ford by a 17-second margin and for reasons unknown, the tour didn’t return to the Badger State.
Then on June 19, 2010, the wheels of motion moved returned to Wisconsin, as NASCAR’s Xfinity Series came to the state and back to Elkhart Lake and has remained there. Carl Edwards drove Roush-Fenway Racing into victory lane that day and over the years, 10 other drivers followed suit, namely, Reed Sorenson, Nelson Piquet Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Brendan Gaughan, Paul Menard, Michael McDowell, Jeremy Clements, Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric.
Of those drivers, Allmendinger and Cendric have carried the No. 22 to victory lane twice with Team Penske for team owner Robert Penske in 2013 and 2020, respectively, in the modern era that dates back to the series start in 1982.
According to an Associated Press article from Aug. 8, 2020, Cindric led early on, fell back in the pack after the weather delay, then returned to the front about two-thirds of the way through the race. He stayed ahead through two caution flags in the last six laps and held off Allmendinger, driver of the Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, by 1.318 seconds.
“It’s been incredibly gratifying,” Cindric said. “When I have a team behind me like I do this year (Team Penske), and those guys are so loyal to me and do such a good job with the tools that they have. When it comes to me, that’s my job, to do the best with the tools that I have, and I feel like from the start of this year, I’ve been getting the most out of the cars I’ve been driving. It’s gratifying to see that come with results.”
Cindric is the 11th different driver to win the Xfinity race at Road America in as many years. In the 2020 race, Chase Briscoe finished third, Kaz Grala was fourth, and Andy Lally fifth.
So looking back to the Cup Series and the win column, the No. 6 that Tim Flock took to victory in 1956 has won the most win one victory. The No. 22 gets the nod with Allmendinger and Cindric in the Xfinity Series.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 6 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford, might be in the best position when it comes to facts, luck, what’s in the cards or good ole’ history repeating itself.
"Road America is going to be all new to me, having been there once as a fan but never competed there," Newman said. "I’ve spent some time on the simulator and talked to the guys about what to expect, and will probably watch a few clips about what to do, what not to do and where the passing zones are. The TransAm race will be a good opportunity to get some experience so that we’re ready for the weekend in our Kohler Generators Ford.”