In a busy sports week, NASCAR returns to Austin for Circuit of the Americas races
This week will be one of the most wide-ranging and immersive sports weeks of the year in Austin.
The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament makes its last stand at Austin Country Club. NASCAR returns for its third run at Circuit of the Americas. Austin FC has a home match. The Texas baseball team kicks off its Big 12 schedule. And on TV men's and women's college basketball heads to the Sweet 16.
Can there be too much of a good thing, splitting the live audience?
Bryan Hammond, executive director for NASCAR at COTA, insists the scheduling for the stock car racing and the PGA Tour work well together. The events overlapped last year as well.
"That combination draws in more people to Austin because you can really attend both," Hammond said. "The golf has the most going on in the middle of the week, and it draws down by the weekend to the last several matches. Our racing is on Saturday and Sunday, so it works out well. There are plenty of fans who like both sports. That's why we've done cross-promotional work with the PGA."
For the third year in a row, NASCAR will bring its full array of top-level racing to Austin, with an Xfinity and Craftsman Truck Series doubleheader Saturday and the main event, the EchoPark Automotive Texas Cup Grand Prix, on Sunday. The Xfinity Pit Boss 250 is presented by USA Today/Gannett.
Early forecasts are for dry weather and temperatures in the low-70s.
Elliott's sub: Hendrick Motorsports star Chase Elliott, who won the first NASCAR Cup race at COTA in 2021, is out for at least six weeks with a broken leg. Veteran sports car driver Jordan Taylor will replace Elliott in the No. 9 Chevrolet at COTA. Taylor competes in the IMSA Series for Corvette Racing and has competed — and won — on the Austin road course.
Concert set: Three-time Grammy Award-winner Darius Rucker will do a pre-race concert Sunday in the frontstretch. Rucker, former lead man for Hootie and the Blowfish, will do a one-hour set from his four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country charts.
NASCAR at COTA
Friday-Sunday, Circuit of the Americas, tickets — weekend general admission passes start at $99, weekend grandstand seats start at $125, individual Friday $25-$45, individual Saturday $75-$90, individual Sunday $90-$185, kids 12-under free Friday and Saturday
Friday — Cup Series practice 1:05 p.m., Craftsman Truck Series practice 3:30 p.m., Truck Series qualifying 4 p.m., Xfinity Series practice 5:30 p.m., Xfinity Series qualifying 6 p.m.
Saturday — Cup Series qualifying 10:30 a.m., XPEL 225 Craftsman Series truck race 12:30 p.m. (FS1), Xfinity Pit Boss 250 4 p.m. (FS1)
Sunday — EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix Cup Series race 2:30 p.m. (Fox 7 Austin)
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: NASCAR will return this week to Austin's Circuit of the Americas