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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Enjoy the deep roots of Texas music with weekly live performances at Lone Star Court. Located at The Domain, there’s always a tune for you to tap your foot to at the retro-inspired property. Every Thursday through Saturday, locals and travelers alike can enjoy live performances and specialty cocktails at the Water Trough. This week you can catch Drew Moreland, Julia Hatfield, and Clayton Gardner.
7-9 p.m. Thursday, 8-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday | 📍 Lone Star Court, 10901 Domain Dr.
Austin FC is playing away this weekend at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium but you can still enjoy those Verde vibes at Celis Brewery’s official watch party. Support your local team and grab a brew as they take on Atlanta United FC.
Kickoff at 6 p.m. Saturday | 📍 Celis Brewery, 10001 Metric Blvd.
Cult classic mob drama “The Godfather,” featuring the likes of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, is returning to the big screen for its 50th anniversary. This weekend celebrates the filmography of Francis Ford Coppola as part of The Paramount Theatre’s Summer Classic Film Series. Tickets are $11 each.
4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday | 📍The Paramount Theatre, 10001 Metric Blvd.
Enjoy some of San Gabriel’s “bedroom-pop,” with a drink in-hand on Radio’s airy outdoor patio, complete with food trucks Veracruz All Natural, Dee Dee Thai and Briscuits. Admission is free.
8-11 p.m. Saturday | 📍Radio Coffee & Beer, 4204 Menchaca Rd.
Watch the classic musical surrounding the Von Trapp family live and on stage from Austin performers from the ZACH Theatre. You can see the show through July 24 and tickets start at $25.
Showtimes at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday | 📍The Topfer at ZACH, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.
The Austin Chamber Music Center and Austin Shakespeare are blending music and poetry in their fifth annual collaboration, this time celebrating “The Winter’s Tale.” Tickets start at $30 and tickets for online on-demand access will be available on Monday.
3 p.m. Sunday | 📍Bates Recital Hall, 2406 Robert Dedman Dr.
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The original Z’Tejas location on West 6th Street is closing its doors after more than 30 years on the lot to make way for new development.
Z'Tejas owner Randy Cohen told Austonia the restaurant will be open at least through the end of 2022, possibly through March 2023.
Cohen said the owners—Larry McGuire of McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality—of the land have something new planned, though he’s not exactly sure what. Additionally, Cohen said maintenance costs for the old building were becoming prohibitively expensive.
“I think the people who own the dirt will tear it all down and build condos or some other development,” Cohen said. “I mean, it's a 60-year-old building, Z'Tejas has been here for 33 years and before that, it was something else. So it's just progress, that's all."
The restaurant isn’t going away though—Cohen said Z’Tejas is already looking for a new spot in the downtown area to move into. Z’Tejas also has a location in Avery Ranch, another in the works for Kyle and two in Arizona.
“We have all our ducks in a row right now and the management team is all rowing in the right direction,” Cohen said. “We're just excited, we're excited to build this iconic brand back.”
Once he finds a new place, Cohen plans to bring along its mural, “The Last Zupper,” which features Willie Nelson, Matthew McConaughey and Barbara Jordan. Cohen also plans for the adjoining ghost kitchen, Woo Woo Burgers, to follow to the new downtown location.
“We're still booking events through the end of December,” Cohen said. “Come ‘Z' me at Z’Tejas, we'd love to see you before we’re gone.”
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