Was COTA a success?

This weekend NASCAR took to the Formula 1 track, Circuit Of The Americas in Austin Texas. This 20 turn road course race was not at all built for NASCAR at all but the track still put on a show across all 3 series. The long fast straights, hard braking zones, and tight technical areas of the track make it almost the perfect road course that brings everything together perfectly. This was a highly anticipated track for the NASCAR Cup Series and boy did the track live up the hype. 4 wide into turn 1 at a road course is nothing to scoff at, and it was happening all race. Despite the great racing we saw there were also some major problems with the race, but it was nothing about the track, it was all about how NASCAR handled it. 

As we all saw there was some rain in the earlier races of the weekend but it did not get really heavy until the Cup race. At the start of the race the conditions were damp, but not super wet to the point where the racing was super affected. The racing was still good despite imperfect conditions and there was also a clear gap in the racers that are good at road courses and the racers that are not good at road courses. This was also assisted by the return of practice and qualifying and the racers that put down good times went to the front instead of having to battle through the field after the formula sets a good driver to the back. This added more balance to the field and got all the best racers side by side and gave us some amazing races. The only real issue with the race was safety. 

As the sky got darker and the rain got heavier, the racing got more dangerous. The big issue aside from standing water was the same issue that the drivers had during the Bristol Dirt race, the cars going down the long, fast straights were shooting water off the back of their car so much so to the point where the driver behind them could not see more than a foot ahead of them. This caused arguably the most dangerous crash of the race when MTJ got on top of Cole Custer and then Custer hit the wall and caught fire. McDowell slowed down because he could not see the braking zone and Truex hit McDowell from behind and then Custer came up and under Truex. While this was not a high speed crash it could have been avoided if NASCAR acknowledged that there was danger on the track due to low visibility. 

NASCAR made up for it later in the race when the conditions got so bad that Kurt Busch almost took out his brother and Cindric when he hit standing water and could not stop which led to a caution later in the race and eventually led to a red flag. This was a good call by NASCAR as they were close to losing the track and there was not a lot of hope for the track to dry before night would fall on the track. This race should happen again next year as it puts on great racing, as for rain racing, that could need to get more testing before we can make it a regular occurrence.

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