NASCAR speeds into Austin for debut at COTA as pandemic restrictions ease

Local Sports

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the first time in its history, NASCAR is coming to Austin this weekend.

The world’s top stock car drivers will take on a different style track when they hit the road course at Circuit of The Americas, and Scott Cooper with Speedway Motorsports, the company that helped bring the race to Austin, said “there ain’t no party like a NASCAR party.”

“For fans to get to come out an enjoy this weekend, it is going to be fantastic,” Cooper said. “This race is going to be something special.”

The culminating race Sunday, the EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix, will feature NASCAR’s signature Cup Series drivers and caps an entire weekend of racing that includes the Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Series.

It will be a much-needed boost to tourism in Austin as COVID-19 cases are in decline and restrictions have eased. Cooper said people from nearly every state in the country show up for NASCAR events, and camping sales at the track for NASCAR are about double what they typically are for the Formula 1 or MotoGP races.

“Those campers typically come into town early, they tend to stay later and visit the area’s restaurants,” Cooper said. “There’s lots to do from a business standpoint, and it’s a big plus for Austin.”

In 2019, tourism in Austin generated about $9 billion, and while 2020 and 2021 won’t reach that mark due to the pandemic, events like this will help get Austin back on track, so to speak.

Tickets are all mobile and all purchases at the track will be cashless in an effort to minimize interaction with vendors and fans. General admission tickets cost $99 for the entire weekend, and parking at the track is free.

The weekend will be more than racing, however. Amusement park rides, go-kart racing and the chance to watch races from the 260-foot observation deck will be available.

“At the end of the day, it’s all going to be about fun,” Cooper said, “and it starts today.”

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