This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.
This weekend the NASCAR Cup Series visits the Circuit of the Americas road course for the first time in its history. This track is a 20-turn, 3.426-mile road course in Austin, Texas. The event is 68 laps, divided into three stages of 15 laps, 17 laps and 36 laps. Top speeds are limited by the highly-technical layout and 20 challenging turns.
The circuit is reminiscent of the many Formula One tracks that dot most of the landscape of Europe. In fact, the facility was created as venue to specifically host F1 events. The track is really unlike any other road course that NASCAR races on with the possible exception of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. IMSA and F1 races regularly at COTA and IndyCar just started racing at the circuit in 2019. NASCAR will now add its name to the list of world-class racing series that compete at Circuit of the Americas.
Since this is a completely new race, at a completely new course, we have no historical loop stats to examine this weekend. That does put us at a bit of a disadvantage. However, we're not completely without some numbers. For much of our analysis this week, we're going to rely on the statistics that our NASCAR Cup Series drivers have accumulated the last two seasons on the various road circuits of the Cup Series. It's the only real measure of which drivers tend to thrive on winding circuits. The data will be over the last two seasons, or five