Speedway Motorsports Sets Up NASCAR’s Return to Austin

Getty NASCAR drivers race at Circuit of the Americas.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is unknown, and it will remain that way until much later in 2023. However, Speedway Motorsports has set up a return to one particular track.

Marcus Smith, SMI President and CEO, provided comments on the matter during a media availability on April 7. He helped unveil the All-Star Race format on “NASCAR Race Hub” and then he indicated that NASCAR could return to Circuit of the Americas in 2024.

Smith told NBC Sports and other media members that Austin is a great market for NASCAR. He noted that Circuit of the Americas is a “world-class facility” and that SMI looks forward to working with the facility in the future.

The 2024 season is not a guarantee. It is part of the rental deal between NASCAR and Circuit of the Americas, but it is only an option year. The two sides would have to pick up the option to ensure a return.

NASCAR Added COTA To the Schedule Ahead of the 2021 Season

GettyNASCAR has competed at COTA 3 times.

The Texas road course has not historically been part of the NASCAR schedule. Instead, it has been the home of 10 Formula One and IndyCar Series events. Though the situation changed during the 2020 Cup Series season.

NASCAR announced in September 2020 that it had made some major changes to the schedule for 2021. This list included the addition of a dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway and the return to Nashville Superspeedway.

There were also three road courses that joined the schedule. NASCAR returned to Road America for the first time since 1956, and it joined the Xfinity Series on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Circuit of the Americas was a significant change for the series. It provided NASCAR with an opportunity to build a presence in another part of Texas, and it created questions about whether the drivers could deliver a standout event at a unique venue.

The 3 Events Have Created Conversations

GettyNASCAR Cup Series drivers race at Circuit of the Americas.

The first race weekend at Circuit of the Americas delivered mixed results. The Truck Series and Xfinity Series races had some solid battles, especially with such names as AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Ross Chastain, and Cole Custer in the Xfinity Series field.

The Cup Series race was a different story due to an unexpected reason. There were numerous incidents caused by heavy rainfall, which led to strong criticism from the drivers after they exited the infield care center.

The return in 2022 continued the streak of standout races for the Truck Series and Xfinity Series. It also showed that the Cup Series could succeed at COTA. The race took place under favorable conditions, and it featured some strong battles between Allmendinger, Chastain, Alex Bowman, and several other drivers.

2023 was an interesting affair. The Truck Series and Xfinity Series races delivered again while the Cup Series race had a distinct line of separation. The early portions of the race drew praise for aggressive — yet clean — moves. The later portions veered toward chaos as drivers just dove deep into Turn 1 and knocked each other out of the way.

If NASCAR returns to COTA in 2024 as Smith indicated, there will only be more attention on the Texas track. The expectation is that the Truck Series and Xfinity Series races will be solid once again, but there will be questions about the type of event that the Cup Series drivers will deliver.

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