NASCAR’s Next Gen car faces its first road course test of the season Sunday at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
With dry conditions expected, drivers and teams should finally get a proper read on the serpentine 3.41-mile circuit – something they were denied last year, when steady rains cut short the inaugural Cup race at COTA.
For more key storylines to follow, check out our COTA viewers guide.
Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas
(All times Eastern)
START: Command to start engines given at 3:38 p.m. … Green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:49 p.m.
PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Driver introductions are at 3 p.m. … Invocation to be given at 3:30 p.m. … Country music artist and TikTok star Hannah Dasher will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 68 laps (231.88 miles) on the 3.41-mile, 20-turn road course.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 15. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.
TV/RADIO: FOX will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Pre-race coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and continues on FOX at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network’s radio coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and will also stream at GoPRN.com; SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.
STREAMING: FOX Sports
FORECAST: The Weather Underground forecast calls for sunny skies, a high of 84 degrees and dry conditions at the start of the race.
INSPECTION ISSUES: Five Cup Series crew members were ejected from COTA following failures for their respective cars in pre-qualifying/pre-race inspection.
- The No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford (driver Andy Lally) failed three times. Lally was not allowed to qualify and must serve a pass-through penalty after taking the green flag Sunday. A team engineer was ejected.
- Four other cars failed inspection twice and lost both a crew member and pit stall selection. Among this group is the No. 6 RFK Racing Ford (driver Brad Keselowski), which had its car chief ejected. The No. 6 team suffered major penalties Thursday for a modification to a single-source supplied part discovered after last weekend’s race at Atlanta. RFK has announced it will appeal the penalties.
TO THE REAR: Unapproved adjustments: Loris Hezemans, Joey Hand, Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Boris Said and Josh Bilicki. Three inspection failures: Andy Lally (must also do a pass-through penalty after the start of the race).
STARTING LINEUP: NASCAR Cup Series at COTA
LAST TIME: Chase Elliott won the rain-shortened inaugural Cup race at COTA last May. The race was marred by two major accidents caused by the poor conditions and visibility. One of the drivers involved, Kevin Harvick, later called racing in the rain “the most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car by a lot.”
CATCH UP ON NBC SPORTS COVERAGE:
Dr. Diandra: Who are the best road course racers running COTA?
Ryan Blaney wins Cup pole at Circuit of the Americas
Friday 5: Next Gen car’s durability could lead to more aggressive racing
AJ Allmendinger: Next Gen car makes road racing “more enjoyable”
Dr. Diandra: Are young drivers taking over NASCAR Cup Series?
NASCAR issues severe penalties to RFK Racing; team will appeal