NASCAR Cup Series Holding First Race on Circuit of the Americas Course: What to Know About the Track

by Chris Haney

On Sunday, the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin, Texas will welcome the NASCAR Cup Series for its first race at the track. The course has previously been used by Formula One racing, but it will be the inaugural visit for NASCAR.

The Circuit of the Americas is one of seven road course tracks on the race circuit this year. Considering the Cup Series only utilized three road courses last season, it’s a huge change for the sport. Traditionally most of the races on the NASCAR schedule are on classic oval tracks.

The Austin road course is a 3.41-mile-long track that’s made up of 20 turns in total. It includes nine right turns, which is a rarity for NASCAR drivers used to making nothing but left turns on oval courses. In addition, the Circuit of the Americas has an elevation change of 133 feet.

NASCAR Drivers Take Part in Test Sessions at Austin, TX Road Course

The Circuit of the Americas opened in October 2012, and has been raced on by Formula One and the IndyCar Classic. Now, NASCAR will finally use the track as well, but they had a few drivers test their cars in Austin in early March.

Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski each tested their respective Chevy, Toyota and Ford cars on the track. NASCAR wanted to check to see how each model would handle the road course.

“The track’s fun, you know, it has a lot of character to it,” Elliott shared after the test. “I feel like it’s really been a steep learning curve for me just trying to piece together all the different parts of the track.”

Following their test runs, Keselowski touched on the first turn. The drivers will face a sharp hairpin located at the top of a hill at the end of the pit.

“Turn 1 is designed as though a fan said ‘how can I have the most calamity in that corner at the start,” Keselowski said. “It’s uphill. It encourages a driver to try to out-brake another driver, which is big on a restart or a start because all the cars are already so close together.”

Chase Elliott Favorited By Oddsmakers to Win in Austin

NASCAR driver Chase Elliott is one of the most accomplished road course drivers on the circuit. He has five road course victories under his belt and is the favorite (+250) to win on Sunday, according to Fox Bet. Racers Denny Hamlin (+1,000), Kyle Busch (+1,400), Joey Logano (+1,800), and Kevin Harvick (+1,800) round out the Top 5.

Fans won’t want to miss the first NASCAR race at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, May 23. It begins at 2:30 p.m. EST on FS1. In addition, fans can watch the race online and on smart devices through the FOX Sports app.

Furthermore, The Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series will also compete in Austin the day before. On Saturday, each of those races will also broadcast on FS1 beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.