OFF TO THE RACES

Heading to Austin? Where to eat, where to party, and how to travel in style during Formula 1 weekend 2017

Whether you're going to the race or just looking for the parties, we've got suggestions to make the most of your Formula 1 weekend. Photo by Haley Plotkin

Originally appeared on Culture Map/Austin.

For the fifth year in a row, Formula One rolls into Austin for the United States Grand Prix hosted at Circuit of The Americas. While Austin is no stranger to hosting big-time festivals and world-class events, F1 brings with it a certain kind of international glamour. As a way to welcome out-of-town guests (and give the locals a little love, too), we've prepared a simple guide for getting the most out of your F1 weekend, beginning with Friday's festivities through Sunday's big race

Where to eat
Brunch
Before you head to the racetrack, make a pit stop at Pitchfork Pretty for brunch. Though this relatively new restaurant offers a variety of delicious dishes, we suggest splurging on the fried chicken. On the brunch menu, it appears as part of the Caldo de Pollo Frito, a chicken and cabbage broth with red chile, topped with fried chicken and vegetables. 

Happy hour
Leaving the track in time for happy hour? Grab a seat at the beautiful Grizzelda'sbar and order up a Grizz Mizz, the restaurant's take on a classic margarita. 

Late night 
If you're feeling peckish after a day at the races (or you're entertaining a few European friends in town for the festivities), swing by Justine's Brasserie for a decadent evening. Order a charcuterie board, a bottle or two of Bordeaux, and soak up the sexy atmosphere. Pay close attention and you may see a few F1 drivers sipping bubbles at the table next to you. 

How to get there
Rideshare 
Didn't get a rental car reservation? No big deal. Want to leave the car at home? We're with you. For you out-of-towners, Uber and Lyft have finally returned to Austin after a year-long hiatus. Though, in the spirit of keeping it local, consider downloading the app for Ride Austin, a local nonprofit rideshare. 

Shuttle buses 
If you're staying downtown, the COTA shuttle bus leaves from the Austin Convention Center (Fourth and Trinity streets) and drops passengers off at McAngus Lot, a 15-minute walk from the COTA entrance. Tickets can be purchased from the driver for $20 each way or can be purchased in advance for a discount. Passengers with limited mobility can be dropped off directly at the front entrance for $50 each way. 

Helicopters 
Those wishing to skip the traffic altogether can arrange for a helicopter drop off through HELO Austin. Passengers can take off from HELO's private airport at 10301 FM 969 or arrange for an in-town departure through their hotel concierge. Call 512-350-5102 for more information.

Where to party
The list of Formula 1 parties is considerably smaller than in past years, but luckily Austin has no shortage of places to take a victory lap.

Buxton Bash 
Hosted by veteran NBC Sports reporter Will Buxton, this party promises a slew of special guests and giveaways. One hundred percent of the $10 ticket go directly to Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thursday, October 19 at Clearport (516 E. Sixth St.). Doors open at 7 pm, $10 at the door.

Blu Party ATX 
For the third year in a row, My Yacht Club joins Blu Party ATX for what promises to be a star-studded, Champagne-filled extravaganza. The $150 individual ticket price gets you access to the dance floor and two floors of DJs and the cash bar. Table service, which ranges from $5,000-$8,000 per night, comes complete with bottle service and lounge seating. October 20-22 at Moonfire Lounge/The Vaughn (310 Colorado St.). Doors 9 pm, tickets $150-$8,000.

Go local 
If there is one thing Austinites pride ourselves on, it's knowing where the party is and welcoming pretty much anyone to join in. During past Formula 1 festivities, we've seen celebrities at Jo's Downtown Coffee and chatted with F1 drivers at the White Horse. Oh, and don't forget Pete's Dueling Piano Bar. It's considered a favorite among the Formula 1 set and was where Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team celebrated his Formula One world title in 2015.

Kylebusch.com


This Saturday, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads for Richmond Raceway for the first night race of 2019. This track is a 0.75 D-shaped oval and is the second of back-to-back short track races for the series. The track is one of the more spacious of the short track group as the track has multiple groves to pass on so there should be plenty of side-by-side racing come race-day and don't be surprised if someone uses their bumper to get by someone for the win like we saw back in 2016 with Kyle Busch and his former teammate Carl Edwards.

Last week, Kyle Busch came back from a crash in the early stages to win his third race of the season. This race was one of the most entertaining of the season as both Kyle and his brother Kurt battled all throughout the closing laps but unfortunately The big story of the weekend, was not the great race that we saw. Come Monday all NASCAR fans wanted to talk about was how there were"empty seats" in the grandstands. While I can understand how a lot of fans are scorning the new direction of the sport and some of their complaints are valid but I don't think that this should overshadow what a great race we saw Sunday. Overall, while yes NASCAR is in a slump right now, but it doesn't help matters for some "fans" to continue to talk about how the sport is "dying" and A lot of the times, these people don't even offer any solutions either, they just talk about how bad the sport is doing and relive the glory days and that helps no one. Needless to say, I think we can all agree though that there needs to be serious changes made to help NASCAR get to where it needs to be and there are a whole laundry list of things that can be tweaked. One thing is the schedule could use some changes; there are tracks new to this series that fans might be interested in seeing like Circuit Of The Americas or a short track like Iowa Speedway. There have been grumblings of a massive overhaul come 2021 so I hope that this can drum up some more interest in the sport.

Going into this week, no driver has been on a hotter streak than Kyle Busch. As I stated earlier, last week at Bristol he won his third race of 2019; not only has he been winning races left and right but he has been consistently up front as well. He has finished in the top 10 in all eight races in 2019, something only Terry Labonte has done all the way back in 1992 and unfortunately for the competition, Richmond Raceway is a track he has thrived on ever since he started driving stock cars; in fact he got his first NASCAR Xfinity victory at this track all the way back in 2004. This track just seems to cater to Kyle's driving style and he should have no trouble contending for the victory come Saturday.

The driver that I have winning this week is not Kyle Busch though because I am taking the elder of the two in Kurt Busch to win this week. This year, the driver they call the outlaw has really shined and while he hasn't won a race yet, I think this week is the week. Over the course of his nearly 21 years in racing at this track, he has definitely had his ups downs here but he has found success. He was able to win here back in 2015 and all the way back in 2005 so it's clear that he knows how to run at this track. Not only is he coming to a track that he is good at, but he is riding a wave of momentum as he has finished six of the eight races this year in the top 10 and has easily been the fastest Chevy in the field. I look for Kurt to win his first of many in 2019 as he looks to contend for a championship in what very well could be his final season in NASCAR.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).

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