Cup Teams Take On COTA For The First Time

from a NASCAR Fan’s View

Let’s see… the Cup teams are taking on a road course called Circuit of the Americas (uh, that’s COTA for short) and it is a brand-new notebook for them. At least they get fifty minutes of practice to get a start on it. Another thing that might help is that there will be qualifying on the same day as race day. That may or may not be a help for some that need to have a good day on a road course.

If you’ve been paying attention to all the talk about the Truck and Xfinity races, some of the Cup drivers are taking advantage of the extra track time that will afford. I guess we will see how that works out. I’m guessing it will help some but I’m not so sure it will change the outcome on Sunday afternoon.

As a fan, there are a lot of things about this track that should make for a very interesting race on Sunday afternoon. I know you already know all this stuff, but looking at the track facts, there is an elevation change of one hundred and thirty-three feet. There are 20 turns, eleven of which are left hand turns and nine are right handers. If you’ve been listening to the talking heads over the last several weeks, you’ve heard them describe this track as a very technical track. In my terms, that means there are some things you can do and get away with it and there are some that will burn you if you step over the line.

Taking a quick look back at last weekend at Dover, how about the performance of the Hendrick teams. Alex Bowman becoming the second multi-race winner in this 2021 NASCAR Cup season followed by his teammates, Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and William Byron. That gave the Hendrick teams the top four spots at the end of the day and what an accomplishment that was. Still, Chase Elliott has no win this season even though he has been performing relatively well.

Of course, you’ve heard the chatter about how there is no reason to be concerned for the 2020 Champ to stay winless because the last half of the season is where he has performed better in previous years. That may very well be the case again this season. Since he has shown himself to be the relative master on road courses, this being a road course just might be his time to shine. There are those that say if he doesn’t get it done on COTA, he still has several other road courses to get that elusive win this season and several other tracks he can take a win, and maybe more, before the regular season ends.

Although Chase is very good on road courses, there is no guarantee he will end up as the victor on Sunday. There are several others known to be good road course drivers and any one of them could make it to Victory Lane in this inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas. To name a few, how about the names of veterans like Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Bush, Kurt Bush, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and a number of newer ones able to win on a road course? This being the first visit to this track for most if not all, anybody could win this one.

The other wrinkle that may help decide the race winner would be the weather. Depending on which weather service you check, tomorrow may be a rainy day and it may have lightning included, which could throw an even further wrinkle into the mix. I’m not exactly sure at the time of this writing but, it could be a long and rainy time of racing for the Cup teams.

With NASCAR making the addition of rain tires and running on the rainy and wet track, it could change the whole way the drivers attack the course. Some may struggle because they won’t be able to attack the turns the way they would like to get an advantage in the passing zones. This is where things get shady for me as a fan. Since I don’t understand or know the way NASCAR will make decisions when it comes to rain and lightning, I don’t know just how it can, or will, affect the race. Will there be something that can cause them to cancel and continue on another day? I suppose there might be light or heavy time of rain and there will likely be times of no rain at all.

I do suppose they will do there darndest to have the race and have it be a full race. We can’t discount that there may be a time they call the race official even though they only make it to halfway or further. Yeah, I realize they always do what they can to have a fully completed race but, this is a circumstance they don’t often have to face. Unless there is a definite pattern to follow, it will likely be decisions made lap-by-lap until they either can or can’t continue.

Personally, I hope they get to race and that the track stays relatively dry and racy throughout the afternoon. As fans, we just want to watch an interesting race. If it rains a lot during the race, there just may not be much passing going on. It will likely be a race that will be decided by strategy and, with the weather uncertainty, I still say anybody can win this one…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© May 22, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated