NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers share their thoughts about Circuit of The Americas after the practice session on Friday.
The racing action at COTA continued with the Xfinity Series practice. Quite naturally, it was the first real opportunity for the drivers to make some laps around the totally new race track in their cars. Team Penske’s Austin Cindric set the quickest lap of the day. After the session, the reigning champion was happy to have enough time to get adapted to the track.
“It’s obviously a mixed time, we got more practice than the Truck guys did, I kind of feel bad for those guys with as many mechanicals [problems] as that series seems to have,” he said.
Cindric was satisfied with how the session went for the no.22 team.
“Got in a lot of outs and ins for me, so I think we’ve won how many changes can we fit into a 50-minute practice session. So, proud of my guys, we haven’t practiced in a while. So, came with a good plan and tried to execute well. Obviously, we have a lot of speed in our Ford Mustang,” he added.
All in all, one of the favorites for the race win had already paid his attention to Saturday.
“Excited for tomorrow, a lot of unknowns. I think tire wear is going to be more than I expected just kind of looking back at what the tire test looked like from here a couple of months ago. Definitely looking forward to seeing what the limitations are.”
Daniel Hemric went on to set the second quickest lap time in his no.18 Joe Gibbs Racing car. He admitted that the Toyota demo run earlier in the year had helped him get to know the track better.
“I was fortunate to come out here and do the press release with Toyota here at COTA to announce them as the official pace car and the official sponsor of the weekend. So, I had a chance to at least cruise around the track and see some things,” Hemric commented.
At the same time, he had to get used to some changes made by NASCAR.
“But a lot of the markers and braking zones and signage have all changed since I was here that day, a couple of weeks ago.”
“So, when I first rolled on, it was taking notice of that, taking notice that instead of having ‘350, 300, 250’ braking marks, now there are ‘6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.’ That was different, that was something that we didn’t have in sim.”
“It was different, which is good. It kind of brings everybody back to the level plain field, but for sure fenders of guessing. But the initial thoughts were for sure just checking all those markers out, trying to kind of refamiliarize yourself with a new place, and from then on just try to go and make speed.”