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Circuit of the Americas: Top 5 Moments That Kept Racing in Austin Weird

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Nick Brand

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After criss-crossing to the left and right coasts of the country for the first six races (including the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in LA) of the season, we’re off to Circuit of the Americas for the first crack at road course racing in 2023.

All three National Touring Series have had some interesting action and “weird” moments in our first two tries at COTA in Austin, TX. Here they are!

Haas F1 Team x Stewart-Haas Racing NASCAR Team

At the 2019 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, the Haas F1 Team hot shoes of that time, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, hopped into the Stewart-Haas Racing 14 ride vacated by the late great “Smoke” and took a few laps around the Grade 1 FIA-Spec 3.426 mile road course. Was this the precursor and push NASCAR needed to put COTA on the NASCAR schedule? You decide!

Holy Windshield Wipers Batman

Our first run at the 20-turn grand prix-style circuit was more like a day at a Wet n’ Wild water park. Ensuing rain-package rules to include mud flaps, rain lights, and FAA-clearance to take off from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Monsoon-like conditions plagued the Gulf of Mexico region but record rainfall wouldn’t stop the on-track action until…

Do It for Dale Danny Ric!

The McLaren Formula 1 team driver (at that time), Daniel Ricciardo, “did it for Dale” during the 2021 United States Grand Prix. In classical Aussie fashion, Danny gave the iconic 1984 Wrangler Chevy (owned by team boss Zak Brown) a go for some heated exhibition laps after a bet that he’d get McLaren back on the podium in exchange for wheeling the blue/yellow beast.

Danny boy put the cards on the table, called the team principals bluff, and got the dub at that same season’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Shoey and all…it’s always great when a bet goes your way!

Three-Wide Truckin’ Takes the Win

The final overtime restart finish during the 2022 xPel 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series saw Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, and Stewart Friesen battling it out for the final two laps in an all-out epic brawl that ended in a 3-wide Friesen sandwich gone wrong.

Fourth place runner at the time, Zane Smith, seized the opportunity, went from P4 (and seemingly out of contention), and stole one. Zane’s “thank you very much” moment, put another win sticker on the cab of his F-150 and gave forward momentum for a championship run. 

Ross “The Boss” Chastain Gets His First Career Win

A battle of epic proportions brewed between former Kaulig Racing teammates, AJ Allmendinger and Ross Chastain, for the win of the 2022 Echopark Texas Grand Prix. Hard racing and back-and-forth contact through the “stadium section” on the final lap, led to a “gloves off” moment in which Ross Chastain took a billiards “pool-ball” move to upset Allmendinger’s car.

The 16 bounced off of Alex Bowman and came to rest in the gravel pit. Chastain held on for one final corner and brought home not only his first win but Trackhouse Racing’s as well. Relive it here:

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Picture of Nick Brand

Nick Brand

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