NASCAR will be making its first-ever visit to the Circuit of the Americas. Drivers will be competing in a 3.41-mile-long course with 20 turns.
The race will be of 68 laps divided into 15, 17 and 36 laps for each stage for the Cup Series. Unlike most of the races, the race prior to COTA will feature practice and qualifying sessions.
Here’s what drives had to say about the upcoming race at COTA:
“They’ve had a little bit of history there with Formula 1, IndyCar and other racing series there, but obviously the first time for NASCAR Cup Series cars there this weekend. There are a lot of flat turns on that circuit and a little bit of elevation change, which could make for some interesting moments. Our big heavy stock cars with not a lot of downforce running around that road course is going to take a lot. We’ll see how it goes. There’s some experience like that with the NASCAR Xfinity Series guys running Road America, with its long road course, as well. Some of the young guys in our series who have run at Road America will have a little bit of an advantage there, and also when we go to Road America in the summer. But I was able to visit a couple of times in April, it was even in the same week. We went there for a Toyota media event and announcement and then I was back there in another type of car just trying to learn the circuit and what it takes to get around there. We’ve also had plenty of simulator time, too, so hopefully we can be on top of things when we arrive there this weekend.”
“It’s a super neat facility – super nice facility, number one. The track’s fun. It has a lot of character to it, I feel like. I’ve never been here, never seen it before in person before (doing the Goodyear tire test) and really haven’t watched a ton of races here, so it’s really been a pretty steep learning curve for me, trying to piece together all the different parts of the track and understand where you need to be good and how to make it flow.”
Martin Truex Jr.
“I feel like there’s a handful of really good passing zones. Obviously, as usual, after the long straightaways and the front straightaway and back straightaway are both really long going into really hard braking zones that are low speed, first gear. Those are definitely good areas. There’s a little short chute on the back, about halfway around the track that should be pretty good. Then I think coming out of the last corner onto the front straightaway is a good one as well. I think there’s going to be plenty of opportunities there with it. Especially the fact that it’s got older pavement and it’s going to have pretty decent tire wear. That’s going to open up a lot of opportunities as well and should be fun.”
“One of the things about this track here in Austin, it’s got a couple of key action spots. Turn 1 is designed as though a fan said, ‘how can I have the most calamity in that corner on the start?’ So, there’s a couple of things – first off, it’s uphill, which helps the car stop, so it encourages the driver to try to out-brake another driver, which is big on a restart or a start because all of the cars are already so close together. Second thing is, it’s really wide on entry, so it’s almost impossible to block because there’s just a lot more racetrack. And then, of course, the third part is it’s a super slow corner meaning you have to use a lot of brakes to get through there. So, like I said, almost like it was intentional – I’m sure it was intentional – to create some epic starts. I think you’ll see that here.”