COTA Hosts Big Race

5 questions with driver Patricio O'Ward leading in to the Austin IndyCar Classic

Today, I got to talk to one of the rising stars of Indycar, Mexico and Texas Native Patricio O'Ward. This young man has been extremely impressive, last season in his debut in Sonoma as he was able to finish in the top ten with a ninth place effort. I was lucky enough to talk to this young phenom about this weekend's race in Austin as well as some of the other tracks on the schedule including the Indy 500.

Q: So it's a new season with a new team at Carlin racing. First and foremost how is everything going?

O'Ward: It's going fairly well so far. We got to test in Alabama at Barbara Motorsports Park last week, so that was the first test day I got to do in the car and everything felt pretty good so we are excited for this weekend. I know the expectations are really high with this being kind of a home Grand Prix for me so it's definitely going to be an eventful one but I am certainly looking forward to it.

Q: Last year at Sonoma we saw you go out have an outstanding qualifying effort and an equally impressive finish, does any bit of your experience from this track kind of translate over to Circuit of the Americas even though they are vastly different race tracks?

O'Ward: I guess the experience is definitely going to help. Every track is different, Austin is very difficult because it has a little bit of everything so it's hard to get everything perfect. It's all a little bit green to me but, I think we will be OK. the team wants to win, I wanna win so that's usually a good formula to start with.

Q: Overall at COTA, is there any part of the racetrack that fans should watch out for? If so which part would that be?

O'Ward: I think Turn 12 is definitely going to be a very big passing zone because that's the hardest breaking zone in the circuit. Maybe up into turn 1 where cars are coming out of the pits and other cars are on track, but I think the heavy breaking zones are definitely the places to watch, that is where you will see the most passing I think.

Q: Is there any race in the future that you would like to race that might not just be indycar?

O'Ward: Being A race-car driver, I would love to experience new things so doing well in the IndyCar and winning the Indy 500, and then try and win some of the other prestigious races like the 24 hours of Le Mans, maybe the Monaco Grand Prix in F1. Just some of the races that not so many people get to do would make it all the much more special.

Q: Speaking of the Indy 500, you will be making your debut in this race; do you have any expectations or goals for this race?

O'ward: I think in that race, it's important to keep everything clean because a lot of the time, it comes down to luck. If you have some pace and there is luck on your side with yellow's you can come out winning the thing, so I think just having a good clean race is going to be the key.

You can hear the whole interview above.

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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