Saturday, May 22, the NASCAR Cup Series drivers headed onto Circuit of the Americas for their first laps around the unique road course. They dealt with less-than-favorable track conditions due to the rainfall but didn’t express displeasure. William Byron and Joey Logano, in particular, raved about the amount of fun they had at COTA.
The Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske drivers met with media members on Saturday, May 22, to discuss their respective laps around the Texas track. Both turned in the fastest times for their respective manufacturers despite an overall lack of visibility. Byron had the fastest time overall while Logano was just behind him.
Final practice results at @NASCARatCOTA. 🏁
— Team Penske (@Team_Penske) May 22, 2021
“I hope it rains tomorrow,” Byron said during the availability that Heavy attended. “I think that it was really weird at first getting used to what the best line was and getting used to the way that you get around there. But I’ve spent some time at the go-kart track in the rain, and you just try to adapt and learn. It was a blast!”
Logano Has Less Rain Experience Than His Fellow Drivers
While Logano is a talented driver with 27 Cup Series wins in his career, he admits to lacking in one area — wet-weather experience. Logano has started multiple races at NASCAR’s various road courses and even won at Watkins Glen. However, he does not have considerable experience racing on road courses in the rain, which makes preparation slightly difficult.
“Yeah, I haven’t really ran many wet races in my career. Didn’t really have much road racing background either,” Logano told media members during the availability that Heavy attended. “It’s just studying different races, watching rain races from here, whether it’s Porsche, Lamborghini, those little sporty-car things. Trying to learn from what we did at Daytona and the Roval.”
Despite the lack of experience in wet-weather races, Logano explained that he had a lot of fun trying to improve his lap times at COTA. He said that the whole process of dealing with the rain, the lines on each turn, and the other factors was a “total head game.”
“At first I was scared. Really, the third or fourth time it scares you, but you catch yourself pretty quickly,” Logano added. “It’s entertaining. Believe me, I could have stayed out there making laps all day and having a good time.”
Logano & Byron Will Now Prepare for Qualifying Sessions
“That’s a big slide right there.”- @JeffGordonWeb
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 22, 2021
While the two Cup Series drivers raved about the rain and expressed hope that it will return on Sunday, they do not know how the day will play out. The track could be wet and require rain tires at the start of the first-ever Cup Series race at COTA, or it could be nice and dry.
Regardless of the track conditions, the two drivers will enter Sunday better prepared for 68 laps around the unique road course. Now they will have to execute and post the best qualifying times in order to lock up spots at the front of the field. Doing so will be crucial if there is heavy rainfall considering that both Logano and Byron mentioned that there was no visibility due to the water flying behind other cars.
The Cup Series race takes place Sunday, May 23, at 2:30 p.m. ET. FS1 will provide coverage with Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer in the booth. Prior to the green flag, the drivers will head onto COTA for two qualifying sessions. FS1 will broadcast these sessions, starting at 11 a.m. ET.
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