Drivers, Start Your Engines!
The most famous words in NASCAR were said by Austin native Matthew McConaughey at the inaugural COTA Grand Prix NASCAR race in Austin, TX. Road course racing is gaining NASCAR popularity and a lot of firsts happened at the COTA Grand Prix NASCAR road course race. And it reminded me of all the great things to love about NASCAR racing.
For the first time in cup series, drivers raced in the rain. It wasn’t a little rain, but at some times, torrential downpours. All weather tires were put on the cars, and the experience of these drivers was tested. Being at this race in person was an experience, the thing about road courses is you can’t see the whole race, but you can feel the excitement the whole time.
Drivers At Their Best
There were no practice rounds for most of the drivers. Most of the qualifying was done at the last minute, due to the non-stop rain. The Hendricks race team driver Chase Elliot won the race giving Rick Hendrick a win that would tie the all-time winning team of Richard Petty, the King of NASCAR. Every driver has to prove his or her skills each week, and this week really tested their skills.
The NASCAR Experience At COTA
What is COTA? The Circuit Of The Americas, COTA, is a road course like no other. Up until this year, it was home to the Formula One United States Grand Prix, the IndyCar Classic, and the Motorcycle Grand Prix of the Americas, a round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship, as well as a round of the Americas Rallycross Championship. Now, because road courses are gaining NASCAR popularity, it was added to the 2021 racing schedule.
Why You’re Going to Love NASCAR Racing
I know, I know — it’s pretty easy to think that only a certain type of person likes NASCAR, but I promise — there are plenty of reasons why you’re going to fall in love.
1. Road Course Racing Is Gaining NASCAR Popularity
For many years there were only 2 road courses that NASCAR ran. Sonoma, which is in California, and Watkins Glen, in New York State. In 2021 there will be 6 scheduled road courses. The addition of COTA, a 3.426-mile track in Austin, TX. The Indianapolis Motor Speedways newly built Grand Prix layout which is part road course part oval track. The Road America, a 4.048-mile track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, which will become the longest track on the Cup Series schedule. And finally, the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval layout, a 2.28-mile oval-road circuit, which will remain the only road course in the NASCAR Playoffs
2. A NASCAR Fan Always Has A Favorite Driver
Every racing fan has a favorite driver. From the beginning my favorite driver was Bill Elliot, who drove the #9 Dodge Intrepid. Maybe it was because his sponsor was McDonald’s, and I was a kid. I was such a fan of his, I wrote my senior report on him and his life in NASCAR. Over the years I have had many favorite drivers, Dale Earnhardt, Tony Stewart, and now Bill Elliot’s son Chase Elliot, who also drives the #9 for the Hendricks racing team.
3. Women in NASCAR
Danica Patrick was the first successful woman driver in NASCAR. But she wasn’t the first Woman to hit the track and drive in NASCAR race. Sara Christian competed in NASCAR’s first race on June 19, 1949 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Followed by many other women who dipped their foot into the world of NASCAR. Now with team owners like Kelley Earnhardt Miller, drivers like Hailie Deegan, and the number 52 team pit crew tire changer Brehanna Daniels, woman are starting to show they are a permanent part of the NASCAR racing community.
4. The Cars Of NASCAR
The 1955 Hudson Hornet was one of the first cars to run in NASCAR. Hudson was the first manufacture to provide factory support to the racing teams. Earlier races featured pre-World War II models like the 1939 Ford Coupe due to a shortage of vehicles after the war. Ford has always been a huge part of the sport. Next came Dodge where “The King” Richard Petty won his fourth Daytona 500 with a Hemi powered 1967 Charger. In the 1970’s and 1980’s Chevrolet and Buick came on scene with cars like the Chevy Monte Carlo and Buick Regal. Pontiac also appeared with the Grand Prix. The race to make the fastest and safest vehicles for the Cup Series continued into modern days where now the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Toyota Camry run the race.
5. The Future Cars Of NASCAR
From chassis to wheels, the Next-Gen cars will change the way racing teams will spend their sponsorship money. The cars will be less expensive, and safer, while leaving an opening for a possible hybrid vehicle. Bigger wheels will allow for lower profile tires and a bigger brake package. There has been talk about a hybrid car, but not a full electric. As some of the race drivers have said, “all electric vehicles will take away one of the most important senses of racing, the sound of the engine.” We will start to seen the new changes in the 2022 season.
6. The Excitement Of The Race
When the announcer says to remove your hat, you know the excitement is about to begin. The prayer is said, and then the National Anthem is sang. Then the most famous words in motor sports, “Driver’s Start Your Engines”, kicks off an exciting afternoon for all who are watching. Seeing a race in person, for me, was one of the most exciting things I have ever done, or seen. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many tracks around this country. I was gifted the Richard Petty driving experience where you drive a car around a racetrack. And I even got the chance to drive some pretty fast cars around the Texas Motor Speedway. But there is nothing better then hearing 40 + engines racing by you at 200 mph, it really makes your heart race.
Why I love NASCAR
NASCAR is history for me. There’s history with my dad at the dirt tracks watching him work on stock cars for some of the local drivers. It’s history with friends, going to different tracks around the country. And It’s history with how it began, the first drivers of NASCAR were bootleggers running shine through the hills.
Related – https://www.history.com/news/how-prohibition-gave-birth-to-nascar