First NASCAR test at COTA prompts prediction of "epic starts"

NASCAR Cup champions Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr gave the Circuit of the Americas glowing reviews after their first test at the track.

First NASCAR test at COTA prompts prediction of "epic starts"

The trio took part in a Goodyear tyre test on Tuesday to shakedown the tyre selection for NASCAR’s debut at the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

All three NASCAR national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks – will compete on the course in Austin, Texas, for the first time on 21-23 May.

Each driver described the course as “fun”, and suggested that the tyre wear was analogous to the patterns seen at the Sonoma Raceway, along with the high-speed straights and hard braking zones of Watkins Glen.

Keselowski felt that the course was made to produce a lot of action and hard racing.

“Turn 1 is designed as though a fan said, ‘How can I have the most calamity in that corner on the start?’” he said.

"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 race track. 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.”

Elliott, the reigning series champion, said the track appeared to have a lot of “character” and he hoped fans who have been used to IndyCar and Formula 1 races at COTA would give NASCAR a chance.

“It’s just a different type of racing. We’re not going near as fast as those cars do, but I feel like the product and the competitiveness on track and us being able to race around each other is much more feasible with the speeds we’re going and how big and heavy these cars are,” he said.

 

“No, it’s not the ‘ooohhhs’ and ‘aaahhhs’ of going through the esses at however fast those guys go, but I do think the racing’s better to watch, and I think that’s what’s made NASCAR popular over the years, and I’m not sure why that would be any different here.”

Truex said his first laps around COTA left him with a good impression and a lot of questions.

“Really all the turns for me this morning were like, ‘OK, this is pretty cool; this is going to take a lot of figuring out.’ Like I said earlier, my learning curve was really steep,” he said.

“I’ve had no practice. I’ve never seen this track before, never watched a race here before.

“I literally watched five minutes of in-car footage last night, I think it was a Porsche going around this place, and I was like, ‘OK, this looks pretty straightforward.’

"Then you get out here and you’ve got the elevation changes. You’ve got the blind corners. Those are the things that take time to learn because you’ve got to go off of instinct more than what you’re seeing.

“It takes over two minutes to get around here, so if you make a mistake, you’ve got to wait two minutes to correct it, and you can’t forget it when you come back around. It was interesting to do that and a lot of fun to do that.”

All drivers will see some track time before the inaugural NASCAR races in May.

The COTA race is one of several this season where drivers in all three series will get on-track practice time and a qualifying session during the race weekend.

shares
comments
NASCAR Homestead: Byron charges through the pack to dominate
Previous article

NASCAR Homestead: Byron charges through the pack to dominate

Next article

Larson secures first NASCAR Cup win since return in Las Vegas

Larson secures first NASCAR Cup win since return in Las Vegas
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Plus

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Plus

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Plus

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his team-mate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Plus

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival Plus

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of its Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

NASCAR
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021