NASCAR at COTA results: Ross Chastain outmuscles AJ Allmendinger, Alex Bowman in OT to earn first Cup win

Ross Chastain led the most laps in Sunday’s Echopark Automotive Grand Prix, but he very nearly lost the lead when it mattered most.

Chastain entered the final lap of the race leading AJ Allmendinger by about three-quarters of a second. The margin seemed comfortable until Allmendinger made up most of the time on the back straightaway on the Circuit of the Americas’ 20-turn course. That set the two up for a duel to the finish, with Alex Bowman also joining the fray.

The three cars bumped and banged one another off track in the final turns of the race. In the end, Allmendinger spun out and knocked Bowman off course, and Chastain rode to victory.

Chastain became the sixth different driver to earn a NASCAR Cup Series victory in as many races this year. It also marked his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory, which allowed him to break out his customary celebration — which involves smashing a watermelon on the track and eating it — for the first time on the big stage.

“It’s never tasted sweeter,” Chastain said of the victory melon in a postrace interview with Fox’s Regan Smith.

Chastain described his first win as “insane.” He also praised Allmendinger — who he conceded would be “upset” with him for bumping him at the end of the final lap — for his race.

“We race hard, both of us,” Chastain said. “But when it comes to a Cup win, I can’t let that go down without a fight.”

Sporting News tracked live updates, highlights and major news from Sunday’s Echopark Automotive Grand Prix. Below is a recap of the action from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

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NASCAR at COTA live updates, highlights from Echopark Automotive Grand Prix

(All times Eastern)

7:15 p.m. — Ross Chastain wins the race. Alex Bowman finishes in second after bumping Allmendinger as the three cars converged upon one another. Allmendinger had overtaken Chastain for a time on the final lap, but will end up finishing outside of the top 10.

  1. Ross Chastain
  2. Alex Bowman
  3. Christopher Bell
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Tyler Reddick
  6. Ryan Blaney
  7. Martin Truex Jr.
  8. Austin Cindric
  9. Erik Jones
  10. Austin Dillon

7:12 p.m. — Chastain has built a lead of about 0.75 seconds, on average. Allmendinger is behind him, but isn’t making up ground on him. One lap left to go.

7:10 p.m. — The race has restarted once again. Ross Chastain has taken the lead back after battling for it with Tyler Reddick (second) and AJ Allmendinger. There are two laps to go.

7:07 p.m. — The last restart was ruled good by NASCAR; there was no foul.

7:05 p.m. — The record for cautions during a NASCAR road course race in 10. We are at nine for this race with a few laps to go. There will likely be a two-lap overtime to finish this race, regardless of when the restart begins.

7:01 p.m. — Caution 9 (Lap 66). The race restarted… briefly. Coming out of Turn 1, Tyler Reddick took the lead. However, the restart is under review and Joey Logano spun out and crashed into the wall along with Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch. The cars are OK, but there is debris on the track again.

6:58 p.m. — The restart will come with three laps to go. Buckle up. This will be a tight finish.

6:54 p.m. — Five laps to go. We’re still under caution. Ross Chastain has the advantage but AJ Allmendinger has been breathing down his neck and will be after him right off the restart.

6:51 p.m. — Caution 8 (Lap 63). Loris Hezemans came to a stop in Turn 3. He may have lost power. We’ll have another restart shortly, once Hezemans is off the track.

6:49 p.m. — With seven laps to go, AJ Allmendinger is pushing Ross Chastain for first place. They are within 0.25 seconds of one another with Tyler Reddick and Chase Elliott lurking not too far behind.

6:45 p.m. — After Cole Custer’s spin-out, Martin Truex now has the freshest tires among top-10 drivers. He is in eighth place with eight laps to go, about 3.25 seconds back of the lead.

6:44 p.m. — Now Denny Hamlin’s car has spun. He’s back on track but has fallen further down the leaderboard.

6:42 p.m. — We have restarted once again with nine laps to go. Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger continue to lead the race, while Cole Custer ran into trouble and was left behind at Turn 1.

6:41 p.m. — Both Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala spun out before the caution. They lost spots in the racing order but both, amazingly, avoided a crash.

6:39 p.m. — Cole Custer is among the drivers in the top 10 with the freshest tires. He has moved up to ninth, so he is a name to watch down the stretch. Chase Elliott also bears watching, as he has moved into fourth place.

6:37 p.m. — Chase Briscoe will not be penalized for going off the track. NASCAR has ruled that he was bumped, so he will remain in eighth place during this caution.

6:36 p.m. — Caution 7 (Lap 58). Corey Lajoie’s car is having an issue and there is fluid on the track. With 11 laps to go, we have another caution.

6:32 p.m. — We have restarted with 12 laps to go. Ross Chastain continues to lead while Tyler Reddick has moved into second place. Chase Briscoe dropped to seventh place after falling off the track.

6:27 p.m. — Bubba Wallace tweeted from the garage, where his car was taken after losing a wheel while he was battling for a spot in the top 10.

6:24 p.m. — Martin Truex, Cole Custer and Kevin Harvick were among the drivers that made a pit stop just before the caution. They will now be able to finish the final 14 laps of the race without pitting again.

6:21 p.m. — Caution 6 (Lap 53). Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lost his drive and rolled to a stop on one of the straightaways. There are 15 laps remains, and several cars were able to get into pit road before the caution was called. That will help them as the race finishes up.

6:19 p.m. — Chase Briscoe has run into some minor trouble, as his car was slipping a bit. AJ Allmendinger has now passed him for second place while Ross Chastain has reopened a 1.7-second lead.

6:17 p.m. — Elliott has moved up into fifth place. Meanwhile, Chase Briscoe is right on Ross Chastain’s bumper at the front of the race with 16 laps left to go.

6:13 p.m. — Keep an eye on Chase Elliott, last year’s winner at COTA. He has moved into sixth place ahead of Tyler Reddick. He’s about eight seconds off the lead with 19 laps to go, but he could make up that margin quickly if there are any issues out front.

6:11 p.m. — After his tire came off, Bubba Wallace took his car to the garage. He will be able to return to the race given that his issue is mechanical.

6:09 p.m. — There are now 20 laps to go in this 68-lap race. Ross Chastain is ahead of Chase Briscoe by about 0.7 seconds. AJ Allmendinger is within about a second while all other cars are five-plus seconds back.

6:05 p.m. — We have restarted, and Chase Briscoe began the restart in first, but Ross Chastain has moved ahead of him while AJ Allmendinger is in third. Kyle Larson went very wide on Turn 1 but got back inside in time to move up to 11th.

6:04 p.m. — Daniel Suarez, who led the first 15 laps of the race and won Stage 1, is having power steering issues. He has fallen well back in the race, though he is still on the lead lap.

5:59 p.m. — Bubba Wallace’s pit crew could be shorthanded for his next four races. As Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass reminds us, there will be a four-race suspension for his crew chief, tire charger and jackman if the wheel that popped off Wallace’s car is deemed to be improperly installed.

5:56 p.m. — Caution 5 (Lap 45). Bubba Wallace has lost a tire after a lug nut fell off. He was alone at the time of the crash, so no other cars were impacted by the wheel.

5:55 p.m. — Chase Briscoe has moved ahead of Ross Chastain, but they are neck and neck. Further back, Joey Logano had another small spin, so he has been passed by more cars.

5:54 p.m. — Nothing crazy happens on the first turn coming out of caution. In previous cautions, Daniel Suarez and Joey Logano had trouble, but no trouble this time.

5:52 p.m. — We’re preparing to come out of caution with 26 laps to go. Ross Chastain is in first, Chase Brisco is second, Tyler Reddick is third, Alex Bowman is fourth and AJ Allmendinger has fallen to fifth. Austin Cindric, after choosing not to take tires on pit road, has moved up to seventh.

5:49 p.m. — Austin Cindric just picked up some serious ground in the race off pit road during the caution. Ross Chastain is leading the field, but it should be a tight finish.

5:43 p.m. — Caution 4 (Lap 42). Erik Jones’ car has stopped on the course, so we are under caution. He appears to have lost power. There was no crash.

5:36 p.m. — AJ Allmendinger is up to second place after starting in 30th. He has been one of the best cars on the track and he seems positioned for a potential win with 30 laps to go.

5:35 p.m. — Christopher Bell is on pit road. He is dealing with steering issues and will fall back in the race after working his way into the top five.

5:32 p.m. — We have restarted with 32 laps to go. Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger and Christopher Bell are out in front after the caution.

5:22 p.m. — Caution 3 (Lap 34). Austin Cindric, who was in first for most of Stage 2, spun out. He narrowly avoided a potentially catastrophic crash while going in reverse off the track. There was some debris on the track, so we have our first non-planned caution of the race.

5:18 p.m. — The caution has been lifted ahead of Lap 33. The final stage, which runs through the end of the race at Lap 68, has begun. Joey Logano began the stage in first place, but he didn’t quite make the first turn, though he saved himself from spinning. Now, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger are out in front.

5:13 p.m. — Denny Hamlin has pitted along with several other drivers following Stage 2. He won the race off pit road, so he will be positioned well among those that had to pit following the race.

5:06 p.m. — Caution 2 (Lap 30). Denny Hamlin gets a much-needed stage win, as he easily wins Stage 2 after opting not to pit with most of the rest of the field. It’s his first stage win of the year, and it will help him greatly to move up from his 25th-place ranking in the NASCAR Cup Series standings. Below is the top-10 finishers from Stage 2.

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Aric Almirola
  6. Austin Dillon
  7. Harrison Burton
  8. Ross Chastain
  9. Austin Cindric
  10. Bubba Wallace

5:03 p.m. — After most of the cars in the field decided to pit, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney lead the race. Hamlin is 11 seconds ahead of Busch, so he is positioned to win Stage 2 with two laps to go.

5:02 p.m. — Chastain overtook Austin Cindric with three laps to go in Stage 2… but they both promptly went into the pit. Denny Hamlin now leads the race.

5:00 p.m. — Christopher Bell was the first driver to pit during Stage 2. About half of the cars in the field have decided to join them, setting them up for Stage 3 success.

4:59 p.m. — It will be a close finish between Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain. Cindric maintains about a half-second lead on Chastain, but Chastain has threatened to pass him a couple of times. Four laps to go.

4:56 p.m. — Austin Cindric maintains a lead with five laps to go in Stage 2. Ross Chastain has been close behind him since the stage began while AJ Allmendinger has climbed all the way up into third.

4:53 p.m. — Kyle Busch has moved back into 11th place after an up-and-down start to his race. He passed Chris Buescher, who was a little late on one of the turns, and came in wide and a bit too fast.

4:50 p.m. — Daniel Suarez led each of the first 15 laps of the race. After his back left tire blew, he has fallen to 38th place.

4:46 p.m. — We’re on the 21st lap, and Austin Cindric is in the lead. There are four cars within five seconds of him: Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger and Denny Hamlin.

4:42 p.m. — AJ Allmendinger began the race in 30th place. He has now moved up to fifth place through 19 laps. He is making a legitimate push for the lead.

4:41 p.m. — Daniel Suarez had to pit for repairs after Corey Lajoie bumped into him at Turn 1. That will drop him to the back of the pack. Austin Cindric maintains the lead he has held since coming out of caution.

4:40 p.m. — And now, Kyler Larson has spun out. He was able to continue on, but he fell back a few places.

4:38 p.m. — Daniel Saurez got bumped on Turn 1. The Stage 1 winner began Stage 2 in 20th, and that knocked him further back in the pack. His car got slightly nicked up; he was able to continue to drive it, but the back left tire on his car needs to be replaced.

4:37 p.m. — We’re coming out of the caution, and we have some new leaders. Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick and Ross Chastain are in front of the group, as they pitted before the end of Stage 1.

4:27 p.m. — Caution 1 (Lap 15). Stage 1 is in the books. Daniel Suarez has the stage win, the second of his career so far. Ryan Blaney finishes second in the stage after beginning in the pole.

  1. Daniel Suarez
  2. Ryan Blaney
  3. Alex Bowman
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Kyle Larson
  6. Justin Haley
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. Chase Briscoe
  9. Harrison Burton
  10. Austin Cindric

4:26 p.m. — We’re on the final lap of Stage 1. Daniel Suarez is still out in front. Can he lead each of the first 15 laps?

4:23 p.m. — What is the fuel window for today’s race? Bob Pockrass reports it’s about 27-30 laps. That means cars will have to pit twice which will play into strategy as drivers look to win each stage of this complex road-course race.

4:22 p.m. — Kyle Busch has elected to pit early with three laps to go in Stage 1. He will look to take advantage of cars fourth ahead of him pitting during Stage 2 while he may not have to. Daniel Suarez continues to maintain just over a one-second lead on Ryan Blaney.

4:18 p.m. — Fox’s broadcast just reported that they are hearing over the radio that some of the Hendrick Motorsports cars may be having trouble with overheating. That would impact Chase Elliott, who is currently in 11th place.

4:16 p.m. — Kyle Busch got into a little trouble on the track going into turn 12. He got nudged slightly from behind and spun on. He managed to get back on the track, but he has dropped to 30th place as a result of the spin-out.

4:14 p.m. — Daniel Suarez continues to lead Ryan Blaney through nine laps. Blaney is about one second back of Suarez while the remainder of the field, led by Tyler Reddick, is 3.9 seconds back of Suarez.

4:12 p.m. — In case you’re wondering just how tight some of these turns are between track space and surrounding cars, this clip from NASCAR should give you a good idea.

4:10 p.m. — AJ Allmendinger, who won the Xfinity Series race at COTA on Saturday, is up to 21st place after starting in 30th. He is a road-course maven, so he is one to watch over the last 60 laps of this race.

4:04 p.m. — Daniel Suarez has led each of the first four laps of the race after overtaking Ryan Blaney a few turns after the race began. Suarez will look to continue to do that at least until the end of Stage 1, which will come at the 15-lap mark.

4:01 p.m. — Chase Briscoe lost control of his car a bit, and it slide out wide on one of the turns. He was able to steady the car, but some cars passed him because of the turn. Fox’s Regan Smith reports that Briscoe said his shifter is getting stuck, which could be something to watch during this race.r

3:56 p.m. — We’re through one lap of 68. Daniel Suarez is out in front, with Ryan Blaney hot on his tail.

3:54 p.m. — Daniel Suarez went way outside on the first turn. He managed to position himself back n the track, but if that turn is any indication, Suarez is going to be aggressive at the front of the pack.

3:53 p.m. — The green flag has been waved. We’re off at COTA Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez out in front at the 20-turn track.

3:49 p.m. — NASCAR’s race at COTA in 2021 was a washout that ended early due to inclement weather. Today, it’s beautiful — at least at the start of the race.

3:45 p.m. — The cars are now out on the track, with pole-sitter Ryan Blaney out in front. They are behind the pace car and we are about four minutes away from the green flag.

3:38 p.m. — The drivers have started their engines after a great call from Michael Waltrip and Rocky Forrester. The Grand Prix will soon begin.

3:33 p.m. — Hannah Dasher just finished her performance of the National Anthem. Now, the drivers will get their cars positioned for the race. The green flag is set to be waved at about 3:49 p.m. ET. 

3:20 p.m. — Plenty of recognizable celebrities are in attendance at COTA. Among them is none other than The Undertaker. He’ll be the grand marshall and will drive the pace car to begin the race.

3:01 p.m. — Before NASCAR at COTA begins, here’s a look at the NASCAR Cup Series standings.

  1. Chase Elliott, 171 points
  2. Joey Logano, 164 points
  3. Chase Briscoe, 156 points
  4. William Byron, 150 points
  5. Kurt Busch, 146 points
  6. Ryan Blaney, 148 points
  7. Aric Almirola, 144 points
  8. Martin Truex Jr., 142 points
  9. Alex Bowman, 140 points
  10. Ross Chastain, 137 points

2:47 p.m. — The race at COTA will begin in about an hour, when the green flag is set to be waved. The road course is a difficult one with 20 turns. And the first turn is among the biggest difference-makers on the track.

NASCAR start time today

  • Race: EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix
  • Date Sunday, March 27
  • Time 3:30 p.m. ET

Coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET. The green flag is expected to be waved at 3:49 p.m. ET at the conclusion of the pre-race ceremonies.

What channel is NASCAR on today?

  • TV channel Fox (U.S.)
  • Live stream Fox Sports Go, fuboTV

Fox will continue to be the primary broadcast for NASCAR racing at this early point in the season. During the latter half of the season, races will shift over to NBC, but for now, Fox will broadcast the races.

Mike Joy will serve as the play-by-play analyst for Sunday’s Texas Grand Prix while Clint Bowyer and Larry McReynolds provide color commentary for the broadcast. Fox has had a guest broadcaster serve as a third color commentator this season, too, with racers like Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick and Jeff Gordon coming into the booth. It’s unclear if they will have a guest for Sunday’s race.

Streamers can also view the race on the Fox Sports Go app or by streaming Fox’s broadcast using fuboTV.

NASCAR starting lineup at COTA

Below is the complete NASCAR starting lineup for the Texas Grand Prix. Qualifying took place on Saturday morning with Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney winning the pole after posting a 92.759 mph speed.

Starting pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
2 Daniel Suarez 99 TrackHouse Racing
3 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
4 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
5 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
6 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
7 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
8 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
9 Justin Haley 31 Kaulig Racing
10 Austin Cindric 2 Team Penske
11 Kurt Busch 45 23XI Racing
12 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
13 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
14 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
15 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
16 Ross Chastain 1 TrackHouse Racing
17 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
18 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
19 Harrison Burton 21 Wood Brothers Racing
20 AJ Allmendinger 16 Kaulig Racing
21 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
22 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing
23 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
24 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
25 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
26 Brad Keselowski 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing
27 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
28 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
29 Todd Gilliland 38 Front Row Motorsports
30 Erik Jones 43 Petty GMS Motorsports
31 Kaz Grala 50 TMT Racing
32 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
33 Ty Dillon 42 Petty GMS Motorsports
34 Josh Bilicki 77 Spire Motorsports
35 Cody Ware 51 Rick Ware Racing
36 Loris Hezemans 27 Team Hezeberg
37 Boris Said 66 Motorsports Business Management
38 Joey Hand 15 Rick Ware Racing
39 Andy Lally 78 Live Fast Motorsports