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02/28 2017

Track boss wants NASCAR at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas

Track boss wants NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas

Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, has hosted Formula 1 racing since 2012.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

BOBBY EPSTEIN SAYS COTA ‘WOULD BE SOMETHING DIFFERENT’ FOR NASCAR

BY:  MIKE PRYSON

If NASCAR truly is looking to interject something different, something exciting, the racing series should look at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. That’s the opinion of COTA chairman Bobby Epstein, who says he’s ready to make his pitch to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.“I’ve had contact with NASCAR officials, and we’ve heard from their fans and drivers,” Epstein told the Austin American-Statesman for a published article. “Everyone seems to want to be here, so I see no reason why it couldn’t come together.

“It’s something fans are asking for in droves. We hear it, and I’m assuming (NASCAR) hears it, too. They are continuing to tweak their product, looking for new ideas. This would be something different, a change of pace. I’d be pretty optimistic it could happen, because NASCAR said they want more road courses, more non-ovals. Now that they’ve said that, this is the best one in the country. So if enough fans want them here, I think they’ll be here one day.”

NASCAR currently has just two road courses on its 36-race schedule — Watkins Glen, New York, and Sonoma, California.

Finding a place on the schedule would be one issue. Nobody, it seems, wants to add races to the schedule that already runs from February through November. Then there’s the potential problem of races at Texas Motor Speedway  in Fort Worth not wanting competition for the racing dollars.

Epstein said that Liberty Media’s recent takeover of Formula 1 management might even help a NASCAR deal for COTA — host of the annual U.S. Grand Prix. Circuit of the Americas is a 3.4-mile road course built for Formula 1. It has hosted F1 races since 2012.

“I think the objections might be a little lighter than they used to be,” Epstein said. “I don’t think they would fight it strongly. That might be one of the healthy changes that could happen with Liberty’s ownership.

“NASCAR should be here — I will tell you that,” he said. “I think their fans want them here, and I think it’s good for the sport.”