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Texas Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Texas Grand Prix
EchoPark Texas Grand Prix logo.png
Austin circuit.svg
NASCAR Cup Series
VenueCircuit of the Americas
LocationAustin, Texas
Corporate sponsorEchoPark Automotive
First race2021
Laps68
Stage 1: 15
Stage 2: 17
Final stage: 36
Circuit information
SurfaceAsphalt
Length3.426 mi (5.514 km)
Turns20

The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix is a NASCAR Cup Series stock car race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Introduced in 2021, the race is one of seven road course dates on the Cup Series schedule.[1]

The race is supported by the NASCAR Xfinity Series' Pit Boss 250 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' Toyota Tundra 225.

History

Circuit of the Americas, a 3.426-mile (5.514 km) road course in Austin, opened in 2012 with major events being Formula One's United States Grand Prix and MotoGP's Motorcycle Grand Prix of the Americas. For its prestige, the track was subject to calls from fans to be added to the NASCAR calendar, but a primary obstacle was the need for other speedways to give up their races which were protected by sanctioning contracts.[2] Texas Motor Speedway, an oval track located three hours away in Fort Worth that regularly hosted two Cup Series races, was a large opponent as it maintained an agreement with NASCAR that prevented the sanctioning body from adding races in the region. TMS president Eddie Gossage also clashed with COTA and F1 in 2014 and 2018 when the latter scheduled the USGP for the same weekend as NASCAR's November races at Texas, a matter that Gossage said in 2014 was "a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR."[3][4] Gossage had also lowered the sanctioning fee for the IndyCar Series' race at Texas in order for the series to race at COTA.[5]

In 2017, COTA president Bobby Epstein told the Austin American-Statesman he had been in contact with NASCAR officials and that "everyone seems to want to be here, so I see no reason why it couldn't come together."[6] Gossage ridiculed the news, rebutting in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he "just laughed at it" as "anyone can talk to a NASCAR official."[7]

Although NASCAR did not race at the track in the 2010s, demonstrations involving NASCAR drivers took place during the decade. In 2013, to promote the V8 Supercars' Austin 400 at the track, Kurt Busch participated in a seat swap with Supercar champion James Courtney, with Busch driving Courtney's Holden Racing Team Supercar and Courtney in Busch's Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet SS.[8] Six years later, Tony Stewart drove a two-seat version of his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang around the circuit with Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen riding.[9] Stewart compared COTA to NASCAR road course Watkins Glen International due to its "very, very technical" nature, and rebuked skepticism about stock car overtaking opportunities by noting there were "five and potentially six passing zones on that race track for Cup cars." Although he added excluding COTA as a potential NASCAR host track would be an "injustice", Stewart also argued the "worst thing [NASCAR] could ever do is take one of the races from Texas Motor Speedway."[5]

On September 30, 2020, NASCAR revealed the 2021 Cup Series schedule with a COTA race planned for May 23.[10] The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, along with the International Motor Sports Association's Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America sports car series, joined the weekend as support races;[11][12] the Truck race was part of the Triple Truck Challenge.[13] The race replaced the spring event at Texas, which became the NASCAR All-Star Race.[14] Speedway Motorsports, which operates TMS, assumed organizational responsibilities of the COTA race while company liaison Bryan Hammond was named race executive director in November.[15]

Aerial view of COTA
Aerial view of COTA

Although the shortened, 2.2-mile (3.5 km) layout was considered, NASCAR announced on December 11 that the weekend's races would utilize the full, 3.426-mile course. To accommodate stock cars, safety changes to the track included placing tire barriers, extending the pit wall, adding caution lights, and installing curbs and rumble strips.[16]

On February 25, 2021, Speedway Motorsports announced EchoPark Automotive would assume naming rights for the race, branding it the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix.[17]

Past winners

Year Date No. Driver Team Manufacturer Race distance Race time Average speed
(mph)
Report Ref
Laps Miles (km)
2021 May 23 9 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 54* 185 (298) 3:07:11 59.024 Report [10]
  • Note: Race shortened from 68 laps to 54 laps due to heavy rain.

References

  1. ^ Nguyen, Justin (December 8, 2020). "NASCAR's road course love story continues with Daytona RC addition to create Florida tripleheader, Fontana removed". The Checkered Flag. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  2. ^ Fryer, Jenna (March 25, 2019). "Column: NASCAR schedule may not be the overhaul fans sought". Associated Press. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  3. ^ "Texas boss Eddie Gossage calls F1 'arrogant'". Sporting News. AP. February 26, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  4. ^ Crandall, Kelly (August 31, 2018). "Gossage slams F1 for head-to-head Texas schedule conflict". Racer. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Weaver, Matt (November 3, 2019). "Tony Stewart: NASCAR needs to look at COTA but not at the expense of Texas Motor Speedway". Autoweek. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  6. ^ Little, Kevyn (February 25, 2017). "Epstein steers talk to idea of a NASCAR race at COTA". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  7. ^ Davison, Drew (February 27, 2017). "TMS boss Gossage: Austin road track doesn't know NASCAR business". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  8. ^ "Kurt Busch Steers V8 Supercar At COTA". Speed Sport. April 24, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  9. ^ Crandall, Kelly (November 1, 2019). "Stewart lauds NASCAR prospects at COTA after track run". Racer. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Albert, Zack (September 30, 2020). "NASCAR's 2021 schedule boasts six road courses with COTA making its debut". NASCAR. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  11. ^ "NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series added to inaugural 2021 NASCAR weekend at Circuit of the Americas". Circuit of the Americas. October 24, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  12. ^ Beaver, Dan (November 19, 2020). "Lamborghini Super Trofeo will join NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas in 2021". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  13. ^ "Schedules set for Dash 4 Cash, Triple Truck Challenge in 2021". NASCAR. December 17, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  14. ^ Sturbin, John (September 30, 2020). "NASCAR All-Star Race headlines revamped 2021 schedule at Texas Motor Speedway". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "Bryan Hammond named Executive Director For NASCAR at COTA". Speedway Motorsports (Press release). Jayski's Silly Season Site. November 17, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  16. ^ Utter, Jim (December 11, 2020). "NASCAR opts for F1 track layout for Circuit of the Americas round". Racer. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  17. ^ "Speedway Motorsports Announces Entitlement Partners for Inaugural NASCAR at Circuit of The Americas Race Weekend". NASCAR at COTA. February 25, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.

External links


Previous race:
Drydene 400
NASCAR Cup Series
Texas Grand Prix
Next race:
Coca-Cola 600
This page was last edited on 23 May 2021, at 23:32
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