For the first time ever, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin will host the NASCAR Cup Series from Friday-Sunday this weekend.
COTA will host four races, from Lamborghinis to the famed NASCAR Cup Series, for the first time in the Austin arena.
Here's everything you need to know about the races this weekend:
Matthew McConaughey will be grand marshal
The man "starting the engines" will be none other than Minister of Culture Matthew McConaughey, who will grand marshal the race for the first time since he took the reins for the Daytona 500 in 2005.
Expect cup races, truck races, and... Lamborghinis?
(Lamborghini Squadra Corse/Twitter)
The weekend's four races will warm up with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which features racecar-style truck drivers duking it out, and the NASCAR Xfinity Series, or NASCAR's "minor league" circuit, will take some practice rounds on Friday
Lamborghinis will also make it into the mix as the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Series takes to the track all three days.
Finally, the weekend closes out with the big-ticket NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday.
COTA will also host a first-of-its-kind race in the NXS Pit Boss 250.
A new race—NXS Pit Boss 250
The NXS Pit Boss 250 will take its first turns around the track at COTA. NASCAR's minor leaguers will take to the track once again for the real deal Saturday for the winding course of the Pit Boss 250. Expect rising stars including Ty Gibbs, son of NASCAR driver Coy Gibbs and grandson of NASCAR and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, and Jeffery Earnhardt or Dale Earnhardt fame.
Who's who at the Cup
Bubba Wallace 🤝 Michael Jordan— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 14, 2021
For last year's Daytona 500, Wallace was racing with Richard Petty Motorsports in the No. 43 Chevrolet.
This year, he will pilot the No. 23 Toyota co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin. pic.twitter.com/t87H7r6D3w
Michael Jordan has swapped basketballs for wheels and is paired up with NASCAR Cup winner Denny Hamlin, who has selected Bubba Wallace as his new team's first driver. Wallace is currently the only Black driver competing in the Cup Series.
Meanwhile, Mr. Worldwide, also known as Pitbull, has teamed up with Trackhouse Racing founder Justin Marks, who will see Daniel Suarez as their team driver.
Chase Elliott, the 25-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, was the third-youngest driver in NASCAR history to win a Cup Series Championship last year, and he's back in business for COTA.
Campgrounds open on Thursday at 9 a.m.
Friday will feature practice sessions from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series (12:45 p.m.), the Camping World Truck Series (2:05 p.m.) and the Xfinity Series (3:05 p.m.).
Saturday will see the first real races, with the Truck Series beginning at 12 p.m., the Xfinity Series Pit Boss 250 at 3 p.m. and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Race 1 at 6 p.m.
Sunday brings out the big guns. The Super Trofeo Race 2 will begin at 11:10 a.m., while the grand finale in the NASCAR Cup Series Grand Prix will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Three-day general admission passes start at $99, while reserved seats begin at $125 for the weekend. Three-day tickets are $10 for kids 12 and under.
Tickets can be purchased at NASCARatCOTA.com, by calling the ticket office at (833) 450-2864, or by downloading the NASCAR at COTA app.
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East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
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