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IndyCar races into Austin for first time ever with high-octane weekend at COTA

IndyCar races into Austin for first time ever with high-octane weekend

Circuit of the Americas
IndyCar makes its Austin debut this weekend. Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

IndyCar is racing into Austin for the first time ever, bringing high-octane races, action-packed entertainment, and the return of a hometown hero to the Circuit of The Americas.

The IndyCar Classic runs March 22-24, promising three days of pedal-to-the-metal races on the COTA track. Unlike Formula One, which hits COTA each fall, IndyCar is an open-wheel racing series that places more emphasis on driver capabilities rather than the car's engineering.

Throughout the weekend, spectators can take in practice races, four qualifying races, and Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, which hits the track on both Saturday and Sunday. The winner of Indy Lights race, sort of like the IndyCar minor leagues, will then go on to the Indianapolis 500, which is sort of like the IndyCar Oscars.

On March 24, festivities begin early and culminate in the drivers' parade, led by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Dancing with the Stars champ Helio Castroneves.

This all leads up to the big one: the IndyCar Classic. Former Longhorn and current Washington quarterback Colt McCoy will serve as grand marshal for the event, a 60-lap race that kicks off at 12:40 pm on Sunday, March 24.

Off the track, attendees will be treated to two stages of performances, including a headlining Saturday night performance from Muse on March 23 at the Austin 360 Amphitheater. 

Appearing on the Lone Star Stage will be Vinyl Ranch (March 22-24), Jonathan Terrell (March 22), Kimberly Dunn (March 22), The Greyhounds (March 22), Dale Watson (March 23), Mayeux & Broussard (March 23), Asleep at the Wheel (March 24), and Todd Phelps (March 24).

Three-day general admission is $95, and includes access to the races and a general admission ticket to Muse's show. Premium Grandstand seats and Turn 12 bleacher seats both run $115 and also include a GA ticket to Muse. VIP options are also available.

IndyCar's inaugural Austin weekend runs pretty much from dawn 'til midnight all three days, so check out the schedule here to plan accordingly.