AUSTIN, Texas - The first NASCAR race at the Circuit of the Americas is still a few weeks away, but Monday there was the sound of thunder.
There was also a little light racing at the COTA KART track.
The drivers taking the laps were Kyle Busch, Daniel Hemric, and John Hunter Nemechek. The karts were fun but the big track, with all its twists and turns, is what made a big impression.
"Today in these show cars, there’s nothing quite like it, I know I’ve never been anywhere with that much elevation change," said Daniel Hemric.
The NASCAR Drivers are in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas to do a promo shoot with FOX for the upcoming race.
"This is an awesome opportunity to put our show on the podium here and be able to showcase what we’re all about and what we do and put on a good show for the fans," said Kyle Busch.
This is the second group of NASCAR drivers to take a spin around COTA this year. A group tested tires in early March.
"I think it’s going to be fast it’s going to be technical it’s gonna be a mixture of a bunch of different road courses as a driver I like to see that," said John Hunter Nemechek.
The race weekend will be televised on FS1. It begins Friday, May 21 with test runs.
Then racing on Saturday with trucks, Xfinity cars, and Lamborghinis.
It all concludes with the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix NASCAR Cup Series on May 23.
Speedway Motorsports, which is putting on the event, has a one-year deal to bring NASCAR racing to COTA. Organizers agree it’s something like a first date with Austin, that could eventually turn into a long-term relationship.
"The biggest metric that I look at him is people are going to have fun and is it going to be an entertaining event," said Speedway Motorsports President Marcus Smith.
NASCAR typically races at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Officials say all of the racing held there each year, including NASCAR, Has estimated economic impact of about $300 million for the North Texas region.
It’s unclear what the local economic impact for Austin will be, but as of right now, there are no COVID-19 attendance restrictions regarding how many tickets can be sold.
Details on precautions like wearing a mask are still being worked out.
Organizers say they have made ticket prices affordable in order to get people into the stands. 3-day ticket prices start at $99. For kids 12 and under, with an adult, admission is free for the first two days. Kids pay $10 for the Sunday race.