NASCAR Cup race at Circuit of the Americas: How to watch, starting lineup and predictions

NASCAR hits Austin, Texas this weekend for its first race at Circuit of the Americas. All three series will run on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile paved road course.

The Cup Series race, the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on FS1. Qualifying on Sunday morning determined the starting lineup for the race. Tyler Reddick won the pole position with a lap of 132.911 seconds (92.363 mph). Kyle Larson will start in the front row for the race, in second.

Denny Hamlin continues to lead the series’ standings by more than 100 points. He has 574 points. Second place points leader William Byron is at 473 points. Martin Truex Jr. has three wins, the most in the series, and is one point behind Byron (472). Alex Bowman earned his second win of the season last Sunday at Dover, but sits at 13th in points.

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Among the drivers in the top-16 in standings without a win are Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick. Defending Cup champion Elliott has the best odds to win, according to BetMGM. He’s listed at +225 with Martin Truex Jr. at +450, Denny Hamlin at +800 and Kyle Larson at +1000.

For more pre-race reading about the track, click here.

Predictions for NASCAR at COTA

Although Christopher Bell has finished out of the top-10 in the last four races, don’t count him out for COTA. His win this year was at the Daytona road course, and although Circuit of the Americas is an entirely different track, Bell demonstrated his ability to maintain position while navigating slow-speed corners.

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Elliott’s recent string of top-10s (three in the last three races) and his five career wins on road courses make him a safe bet for Sunday, but it will ultimately come down to whoever makes the least mistakes, as No. 11 crew chief Chris Gabehart said. Drivers will need to be especially cautious of speeding penalties given the tight Turn 20 entry that leads to pit road.

Other names to watch include Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, both of whom had the advantage of competing in the Xfinity Series race this weekend. During an otherwise quiet season, Harvick is rolling into the weekend with four straight top-10s. Busch has four Cup wins on road courses and won Saturday’s Xfinity race for his 98th career win in the series.

Ultimately, any of the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers seem likely to win to me, but Elliott or Larson could stand in their way and give Hendrick Motorsports another victory to match JGR’s five wins.

How to watch NASCAR race at COTA

Race: EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Qualifying: Sunday 11 a.m. (FS1) Distance: 231 miles on a 3.41-mile road course, 68 laps (stages end on Laps 15, 32 and 68)

When: Sunday 2:30 p.m. TV: FS1 (1 p.m.) Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

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Starting order for NASCAR Cup race at COTA

Order

Driver

Car No.

1

Tyler Reddick

8

2

Kyle Larson

5

3

* Austin Cindric

33

4

Kyle Busch

18

5

William Byron

24

6

Joey Logano

22

7

AJ Allmendinger

16

8

Chase Elliott

9

9

Ryan Blaney

12

10

Christopher Bell

20

11

Kevin Harvick

4

12

Alex Bowman

48

13

Kurt Busch

1

14

Cole Custer

41

15

Daniel Suarez

99

16

Austin Dillon

3

17

Martin Truex Jr.

19

18

Bubba Wallace

23

19

Denny Hamlin

11

20

Ross Chastain

42

21

Matt DiBenedetto

21

22

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

47

23

Michael McDowell

34

24

Brad Keselowski

2

25

Corey LaJoie

7

26

Aric Almirola

10

27

Chase Briscoe

14

28

Chris Buescher

17

29

Erik Jones

42

30

Justin Haley

77

31

Josh Bilicki

52

32

James Davison

15

33

Ty Dillon

96

34

Ryan Newman

6

35

Cody Ware

51

36

Ryan Preece

37

37

Anthony Alfredo

38

38

Garrett Smithley

53

39

Kyle Tilley

78

40

Quin Houff

0