Motorsport News

Stage Cautions, Lack of Restarts Lead to COTA Snoozer

2024 Cup COTA pack racing IV - Shane van Gisbergen, No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet (Credit: NKP)

AUSTIN, Texas — Last year at Circuit of the Americas, the NASCAR Cup Series race had eight total cautions, with no cautions for stage breaks.

This year, the race had no natural cautions — only a pair for the stage breaks.

Cue an “is that good?” from the back row.

The answer is no, it wasn’t.

The race was a 68-lap snooze-fest for the most part and provided little-to-no excitement in the way of hard racing. The start of the stages into turn 1 were the best parts, and that isn’t a marketable product.

Even drivers found themselves looking for more cautions, like Chris Buescher. Despite wheeling his car into the top 10 with an eighth-place finish, Buescher felt like he and his team could have done more with a few restarts.

“I’m not terribly surprised by (the lack of cautions),” Buescher told Frontstretch. “I guess I would have expected a little more. We could have used a little more opportunity after having to drop to the back to make our way up with our Fastenal Ford Mustang.”

Christopher Bell, who put his No. 20 Toyota Camry in second place, could have used one too. He was chasing down the eventual race winner William Byron for the last 15 laps. Bell had fresher tires and was reeling Byron in by an entire second per lap at one point. But with the race staying green through the end, he ran out of time.

“We took the points in stage one and then we didn’t see another yellow,” Bell said. “We talked about it all week, whether we were going to jump the stages or not, and then decided that if we had an opportunity to win the stages we would take the points. Ultimately, I think that’s why we didn’t win, but this (car) was amazing.”

Kamui Kobayashi, a road course ringer for 23XI Racing and former Formula 1 driver, also mentioned the lack of cautions and restarts after the race had concluded.

“I felt comfortable in the car, the pace was really good, but (there was) no yellow,” Kobayashi told Frontstretch. “That’s the second time actually that there were no yellows during my race.”

Kobayashi was also in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course race last year that had no cautions.

“Two shots and no yellows,” Kobayashi said. “It’s a little bit disappointing, but I enjoy[ed it]. The car felt good. The pace was there.”

There’s a common theme at work here: every person in or watching…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at …