Five Questions for COTA

COTA? Car Of Tomorrow Again? No, this week COTA stands for Circuit of the Americas, a track in Austin, Texas at which the NASCAR series has never raced before this weekend. COTA was built as an F1 venue, and has hosted many other kinds of motorsports series in the past. Tune in Saturday for the Camping World and Xfinity races, and Sunday for the EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix Cup race at 2pm on FS1.

Why are we racing here, anyway? There are actually two tracks at COTA, and NASCAR chose the 3.41 mile, hilly one with 20 turns. For Sunday’s Cup race, the cars will do 68 laps for a distance of 231 miles; the three stages will be 15 laps, 17 laps and 36 laps. The Xfinity Series race on Saturday is scheduled for 46 laps (or 156 miles), and the Truck race (also on Saturday) will be 41 laps for about 140 miles. NASCAR wanted to add more road races to the schedule this year (for which Chase Elliott is certainly thankful), and this one is definitely unique.

So who's the Cup favorite? It's a road course, so... Chase Elliott leads the betting odds, followed by Martin Truex, Jr, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Christopher Bell. These are the only drivers with wins in the last 10 races of this format. Of course, there are always "road course ringers" such as Michael McDowell to consider.

What's the weather supposed to be like, though? Glad you asked. As of this writing, there is a 50-50 chance of some rain. Fortunately, rain tires are allowed on road courses. Dave Rogers, crew chief for the JGR No. 18 Toyota in the Xfinity Series says, “If it’s raining and it looks like it’s going to rain during the race, then that’s just as unique as a dirt race at Bristol.” Which was tons of fun to watch.

But really, what happens if it rains? For wet weather (the whole track has some moisture): All vehicles must mount rain tires, activate their rear flashing light and have a working windshield wiper installed. Normal starting procedures follow. For a damp weather start (some of the track is wet, some is dry): All vehicles may elect to install rain tires at the crew chief’s discretion. The rear flashing light must be activated, and windshield wipers may be installed. Any team making a pit stop for rain tires on subsequent pace laps will forfeit its starting spot.

Is there anything else to do in Austin? Seriously, if you're asking this question, we can't help you. There is EVERYTHING to do in Austin. Enjoy.

Five Questions for COTA Five Questions for COTA Reviewed by laweez on Saturday, May 22, 2021 Rating: 5