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In Texas, everything is big. So it’s no surprise that NASCAR’s race there this weekend will fit the bill too.
It’s true, as NASCAR will make its first visit to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, with all three national series — Trucks, Xfinity and Cup — competing on the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course.
How big is it?
Well, let’s allow Jim Utter of Motorsports.com to explain.
“The 20-turn course, which features an elevation change of 133 feet, runs counterclockwise. It begins with a steep uphill climb into the iconic Turn 1, nicknamed ‘Big Red,’ which finishes with a hairpin left turn,” Utter wrote. “The field then descends from the Turn 1 hill to navigate a series of fast sweeping esses in Turns 3-6 into a blind corner at Turn 10, taking them to the far end of the circuit and another hairpin at Turn 11.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 18, 2021
After that, it’s a half-mile or so straightaway back toward the pit area — followed by the technical section of the track, “where drivers will weave through a series of corner turns in 12-15,” Utter wrote. “That section is followed by a downhill, multi-apex corner with limited run-off before the final two corners of the circuit, a pair of left-hand bends that return the field to the main straightaway.”
As an aside, five Cup series drivers will also compete in Saturday’s Xfinity race. That list consists of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer.
“I think Turn 1will be aggressive, for sure. I have to qualify into the Xfinity race, so luckily, we’ll have some experience after Saturday to see how that goes,” Dillon told reporters. “But Turn 1 is a tough corner for any type of car to race on and not just our cars in NASCAR. It’s difficult because it kind of falls away from you. You’re going uphill and then it flattens out; just a lot of stuff going on there and it gets tight quick.
“There’s definitely going to be some chaos. If you miss Turn 1 on the bottom, that outside lane is probably really going to check up.”