The 2021 season marked NASCAR drivers’ first-ever flight in the Circuit of the Americas. Unfortunately, the inaugural race took place during torrential rains, and Cup Series drivers were forced to call it a day early. This year’s experience in COTA, however, looked entirely different. The sun was shining, the stands were packed, and the drivers were excited to take on a new challenge on the 20-turn road course.
Ahead of the event, Bobby Epstein, chairman of Circuit of the Americas, predicted “a successful weekend” with “a good crowd.” So good, in fact, that he was certain “they’ll want to come back.”
Then, on Sunday afternoon, the green flag dropped for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, confirming the suspicions of NASCAR officials, fans, and drivers alike. The road course was every bit as thrilling as they thought it would be.
UNBELIEVABLE pic.twitter.com/E8pdMIOSSC— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 27, 2022
“We feel confident enough to take ticket renewals for next year,” Speedway Motorsports chief operating officer Mike Burch told The American-Statesman. “That’s a good sign we want to be here. We feel pretty good we’ll be back.”
“If all goes to plan,” Burch continued, “we’ll look over events on the schedule, what else is going on in Austin, and figure out, ‘Do we come back on this same weekend, the May weekend we had last year or some other weekend that makes sense?’ Last year’s rain didn’t give COTA a fair shot. Texas has been a great market for us with so many important TV markets and population centers. We’ll look at how to keep three races in Texas.”
NASCAR Drivers Weigh in on Circuit of the Americas
NASCAR and COTA officials aren’t the only ones anticipating future races in the Circuit of the Americas. Cup Series drivers are looking forward to a permanent position on the Cup Series schedule for COTA as well.
After Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix, The American-Statesman interviewed a few drivers, each of whom expressed interested in returning to the track next year.
“I drove some sports cars here years ago,” NASCAR veteran Kurt Busch said. “I was intrigued by the place, the aura of it. The track has a lot of personalities, from technical to speed. It has a European feel. You sense you’re in some place special, and it’s not like that every week. COTA deserves a date on our calendar.”
Tyler Reddick took his COTA praise a step further, suggesting that the road course deserves a place in the top tier of NASCAR tracks. “I’d like to see us do everything we can to stay here. This track should be on the A list,” said No. 8 driver Tyler Reddick. “When you consider the Formula One races, MotoGP, all the international sports car races they’ve held here, it’s a prestigious place. COTA should be an annual stop.”