Elliott, Truex, Keselowski take on COTA in Goodyear tire test

Blending high-speed areas and heavy braking zones, the 20-turn Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas bears lots of obstacles.

However the greatest might come at the start of the lap: A 133-foot uphill climb into the tight, left-hand Turn 1 that’s nicknamed “Big Red” in honor of Texas entrepreneur and track financier Red McCombs.

It’s left impressions on Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr., who signed up with ruling NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott for a Goodyear tire test at COTA on Tuesday.

“Turn 1 is created as though fans stated, ‘How can I have the most calamity in that corner at the start,’” Keselowski said tongue in cheek during a lunch-time press conference.

As for Truex, he foresaw the start of the May 23 Cup race as potentially mimicking the five and six-wide rushes into Turn 1 at Pocono Raceway.

“But then, you’ve got to reverse and return the other method,” he included. “It could be pretty hairy.”

COTA will host all 3 NASCAR nationwide series May 21-23, and stands as the second of 7 roadway courses on this year’s Cup schedule.

Other areas on the modern circuit stood apart to Tuesday’s testers. Keselowski in specific singled out the esses (“such a rhythm section – you feel like you’re doing a tango dance with your feet”) and striking speeds of 185 miles per hour down the back stretch prior to knocking the brakes to get in another area of corners.

“You know it,” Keselowski stated, describing the significant deceleration. “You’re going at that corner really, really fast. You’re pushing it to the limit.”

Truex stated the track struck him as a hybrid of Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International, both purpose-built roadway courses like COTA.

“There’s some fast sections, there’s some slow sections,” he discussed. “It’s got the older asphalt wearing tires out, more like Sonoma. But it’s got the really high-speed straights and really hard braking zone like Watkins Glen down the backstretch. It’s a mix of both.”

The design is currently widely known to Solution One and MotoGP fans. COTA has actually been the conventional house of F1’s United States Grand Prix given that 2012 and MotoGP’s Grand Prix of the Americas given that 2013 (both races did not run in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

NASCAR roadway racing produces a much various item than those series. However Elliott is enthusiastic that the on-track action will be more engaging.

“We’re not going near as fast as those cars do, but I feel the product and the competitiveness on track and us being able to race around each other is much more feasible with the speeds we’re going and how big and heavy these cars are,” Elliott stated.

“I know it’s not the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ of going through the esses and however fast those guys go, but I do think the racing is better to watch. I think that’s what’s made NASCAR popular over the years, so I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be different here.”

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Elliott, Truex, Keselowski handle COTA in Goodyear tire test initially appeared on NBCSports.com

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.