"Start your engines!" Minister of Culture Matthew McConaughey started the race in his signature twang as the grand marshal for Austin's first NASCAR race at Circuit of the Americas on Sunday.
The race ended prematurely due to the rain, but the historic event still made an impact on thousands of Austinites and sports fans from around the country.
With low visibility and excess water on the track, drivers had a hard time keeping control in COTA's first NASCAR race. Two crashes marred the first two stages, and a collision between Cole Custer and Martin Truex Jr. had a fiery end as Custer's front end temporarily went up in flames. Both were unhurt, but officials could no longer ignore the rain.
A red flag was flown into the stormy air, and Austin's first race was delayed in the second stage.
A huge and frightening hit for Cole Custer and Martin Truex Jr. at Circuit of The Americas. pic.twitter.com/dGmCoXQPx6
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 23, 2021
As the rain died down, drivers tried to finish the race, but another red flag meant Chase Elliott was the de facto winner of the race.
Even with a less-than-ideal finish, the race was still an unforgettable experience for a range of characters, from locals to travelers from around the country. The sea of cars in the parking lot were dotted with out-of-state license plates. One family that was camping comfortably on the course lawn said they came in from California.
Thomas Revoir and Benjamin Marshall, wearing just overalls and red-white-and-blue bandannas, were coming from North Carolina, but COTA was just a pit stop as they continued a cross-country road trip.
Revoir and Marshall said they were unhappy with the race being called early because "as Americans we don't fear rain."
Meanwhile, locals embraced a new location much closer to home than Dallas' Texas Motor Speedway. The venue has already hosted Formula One races in the past, but Seguin resident Chris Luna said that NASCAR was different.
For Luna and his crew, the race at COTA was more than just a convenience. After his good friend died last month, Luna and his friends decided to go to the race in his honor.
"He used to be the ringleader for us," Luna said. "He had everything for us, tickets and stuff. But we're coming... because he was NASCAR all the way."
Chris Luna (left) and crew came to the race in honor of their friend who recently passed. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Even those working the event were excited to see so many in the stands as businesses begin to recover from COVID.
Four women dressed in flaming denim stood out from the crowd. The COTA Girls, who take pictures with fans and work to hype up the stands, said they were happy to be back at work.
On the team, Holly Wood said that the girls usually hype up Formula One races but came to the NASCAR event to get people back into the groove of racing events.
"We're just looking to... get people excited because nobody was out here for a long time," Wood said.
The COTA Girls, dressed in flames, helpe dkeep the crowd lively at the race. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Food trucks lined the back of the stadium, many of them Austin businesses. Wes Tinsley, co-owner of Quesadillo ATX, said he was grateful to be asked to provide food after a hard year.
"A lot (of businesses) had to shut down but we were fortunate enough to stay afloat, and i hope that this will bring some business for us," Tinsley said. "We're excited to be here and be a part of it for the first time, and hopefully we get a chance to do this again."
The race is part of an explosion of professional sports coming to Austin as it gains recognition and a "boomtown" status. Del and crew sat atop the bleachers of Austin Bold FC, the city's semipro soccer team, to watch the race. Meanwhile, Ray wore a shirt honoring Austin FC, Austin's first professional team of any kind, at the race.
Ray was double-booked for the evening. Directly after catching an adrenaline rush at COTA, he planned on heading to Jack and Ginger's for Austin FC's official watch party.
While the race ended, almost literally, in flames, Austin's enthusiasm at COTA's first NASCAR race proves that there's a hunger for more sports at Austin's premier racing venue.
- F1 United States Grand Prix at COTA canceled - austonia ›
- Travis County to vaccinate 3k at COTA drive-thru event - austonia ›
- Formula 1 is returning to Austin in 2021 - austonia ›
- Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at COTA canceled - austonia ›
- Formula 1 announces Miami Grand Prix, COTA no longer only U.S. ... ›
- NASCAR is making its way to Austin's Circuit of The Americas ... ›
- Circuit of the americas in austin to host nascar race - austonia ›
- Your guide to NASCAR in Austin this weekend - austonia ›
- NASCAR returning to Austin's COTA for second year - austonia ›
- Could the US Grand Prix 'F1 be done with Austin's COTA? - austonia ›
- Formula 1 in Austin: A complete guide to the 'biggest event on the planet' - austonia ›
- COTA added to F1's 2022 schedule, but contract still not secured - austonia ›
- Austin Bold FC to relocate to Fort Worth, citing Austin FC's success - austonia ›
Austin has come a long way from when the Frost Bank Tower was crowned the city's first World Class skyscraper by the Austin Chronicle in the early 2000s.
There's now a whole slew of developers trying to make their mark on the capital city's downtown. With announcements of new towers coming out left and right since the beginning of the year, we rounded up some of the most prominent shaping the skyline.
Block 16, 201 San Jacinto Blvd.
While Block 16 is one of the shorter office towers set for downtown with 43-stories, it's out to impress with designs that prioritize wellness and sustainability. That includes access to light and air on each floor and 10-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. Plus, a fitness facility, meeting areas and dining options. Carr Properties teamed up with local partner Manifold Development for this building expected in spring 2026.
Perennial, 204 E. 4th St
This 46-story office building dubbed the Perennial will have a public paseo, a nearly 30 foot waterfall and a sky garden where future tenants will have access to views 200 feet above downtown. The developers, Cielo Property Group, told Austonia they set out to create an environment that could boost moods and mental health once it's completed in late 2025.
The Republic, 401 W. 4th St.
An extension of Republic Square is coming in the form of a 48-story tower. Workers who arrive by bike will have access to a private elevator leading to storage space for bicycles and a spa-quality locker room with showers. And the developers, Lincoln Property, say future tenants can also anticipate amenities like a lounge, conference rooms and a fitness center.
321 West, 321 W. Sixth St.
Similar to the others going up downtown, 321 West will have space for residents on the upper floors. With 58 stories in total, out-of-town developers Tishman Speyer and Ryan Companies plan to have apartments on floors 22 through 54. The rest of the building, which is slated to be finished in late 2024, will have office and retail space.
Hilton Luxury Conrad hotel, 300 East Second St.
(Williams New York)
Sixty-five stories in all, this building doesn't just have height. There will also be a fitness studio, pool and spa with condos taking up floors 39 and above with a Hilton Conrad Hotel for the rest of the floors. On the ground, guests, residents and passers-by will be able to enjoy the restaurant and retail space. No estimated completion date has been revealed.
Sixth and Guadalupe, 400 W. 6th St.
(Sixth and Guadalupe)
This combination of office, residential, retail and outdoor space involves over "a million square feet of excellence" and Meta plans to occupy a good chunk of it with 33 floors leased. Currently, finishing touches are being put in place with the top-off of the development at level 66 expected for the fall. The extravagant resident side will include studios to three bedrooms, 24 penthouses with exclusive benefits, pools, a dog park and even a podcast studio. Interested tenants can sign up for pre-leasing information with projected move-ins starting in spring 2023. When it is complete, it will be Austin's tallest tower.
Name To Be Announced, 98 Red River St.
(Kohn Pendersen Fox Associates/Lincoln Property Co./WGI)
This 74-story project headed by Lincoln Property Co. and Kairol Residential could eventually become the tallest in Texas. With a price tag that could end up around $520 million, it'll include more than 350 apartments, a 251-room hotel and 686,000 square feet of office space. Trail closure notices set an estimated construction time of 64 months, according to Towers; construction had not started as of last month.
- Drone: New Google tower begins to take shape downtown - austonia ›
- Facebook's Meta takes all office space in Austin's tallest tower, signs ... ›
- Where to find Austin's moon towers, and why we love them - austonia ›
- 5 towers and development coming to Austin in 2022 - austonia ›
- Austin FC stadium, Giga Texas, Waterloo Park and 5 Austin towers ... ›
- McKalla Place, Giga Texas and other Austin towers in 2021 - austonia ›
- Towers - austonia ›
- A new office tower is coming to North Austin's Domain area - austonia ›
- Austin FC stadium, Giga Texas, Waterloo Park and 5 Austin towers ... ›
- 675-foot tower to add apartments, retail to Downtown Austin - austonia ›
The average used car buyer in Austin is coughing up an additional $8,404 when compared to March 2021, according to a new iSeeCars.com report.
With a 32.1% year-over-year jump, Austin has seen the 11th-highest change in average used car prices in the country. The study, which analyzed 1.8 million car sales from March 2021-2022, found that used cars increased just over 30% nationwide due to microchip and semiconductor shortages disrupting the supply chain for new vehicles.
The study found that smaller, semi-affordable cars and alternative fuel vehicles—like Austin-based Teslas—have taken the biggest leap. Austin's used car prices also saw the largest percentage increase among other Texas cities.
Here's where other metros stacked up:
- No. 1 San Francisco—36.8%
- No. 2 Miami—35.9%
- No. 3 New York—35.2%
- No. 11 Austin—32.1%
- No. 37 Houston—28.7%
- No. 49, Dallas-Fort Worth—21.2%
- No. 50 San Antonio, TX—10.9%
- Global chip shortage drives demand for used cars in Austin - austonia ›
- Tesla reports more than $3B in profit in early 2022 - austonia ›
- Austin-Round Rock metro sees record home prices in March ... ›
- Austin rents continue post-COVID rise thanks to homes frenzy ... ›
- Austin tops Texas cities for rent growth in 2021 - austonia ›
- EnergyX grows Austin presence with larger lab and more hires ... ›
- This Austin startup is bringing electric powersports vehicles to town ›
- Travis County EV ownership is greater than the rest of Texas ... ›
- Apple plans for new EV while growing Austin presence - austonia ›
- Take a ride in Ford's new electric vehicles in downtown Austin with ... ›
- Austin ranks in top cities for electric vehicles - austonia ›