Story By: CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS – AUSTIN, TX – Kyle Busch, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric officially got the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) preseason underway with a two-day Goodyear Tire test at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
Reddick and Cindric also got a step on the competition for Texas fashion when they return for the March 26 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix.
The opening day of the Goodyear Tire test Monday was highlighted by the fresh looks of Busch and Reddick, who open this season with new teams, car numbers and engine manufacturers, as well as Cindric looking to build off last season’s rookie-of-the-year campaign with Team Penske.
Busch was behind the wheel of the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) after spending 15 seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing driving the No. 18 Toyota. Ironically, it was the No. 8 RCR entry that Reddick departed after three seasons to settle in the No. 45 Toyota Camry TRD with 23XI Racing.
TEST DAY EXERPTS
Busch (on last year’s race and fan support in the market):
“The fans here have been really great and been able to come out and support the NASCAR ranks. It’s been really, really cool to see that and seeing a lot of people in the suites and in the grandstands. We need that support. We need the fans’ support to be able to come out here and put on a good show. I think last year’s show was one of the best ones we had for much of the year. There was a lot made of that last lap and all the great racing that was going on.”
Reddick (on the first day of the test):
“Here at COTA, it’s always a blast. It’s one of the most fun racetracks from a driver’s perspective just racing the surface itself. It’s a really challenging racetrack but certainly for me this team waited a long time to get to the track. Thankfully this tire test was on the schedule for us, and we were able to come out here thanks to Goodyear and take our first laps in a Toyota Camry TRD. For a first day, it went really well. We learned a good bit about how the differences of the car and excited to see how tomorrow goes and hopefully we can learn some more.”
“Our cars its quite challenging; there is tire wear, the layout is a bit challenging, but you actually don’t run the conventional lines. You use a lot of the runoff. From a bird’s eye view, you kind of have to know the line to take, it’s not very intuitive on where to go. … You can be distracted visually by different lines or paint because you go up the hill and the esses and it’s just massive expanse of asphalt, but you have to do something with it. You have to keep inside the track and inside the curbs and not upset the car. So there’s quite a lot of areas on the racetrack that are that way which I feel like for me makes it fairly unique. In my opinion, fairly European-style circuit compared to some of the other road courses we have state side. I don’t think we get that in too many tracks we go to.”
Following Monday’s first day of the test, Reddick and Cindric were hosted by NASCAR at COTA Executive Director Bryan Hammond at downtown Austin’s Maufrais specialty shop to select and customize their own cowboy hats. Reddick chose a natural-colored Stetson 20x Beaver fur felt with a classic pinch front and a hair-on-hide band with silver pheasant and partridge feathers. Cindric went with a Dunn-colored Stetson 40x Beaver fur felt hat shaped with a pinched front. He customized it with a Western-style hitched horse band with a Reeves pheasant feather and had it torched to give it a worn-in look. Both also got their initials on the underside of their hats.
The trio returned to the track Tuesday to complete the second and final day of the tire test on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile permanent road course. The second-day session is closed to both the public and media.
The tire test was held in preparation for the March 24-26 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix NASCAR tripleheader at COTA. The NCS opens its on-track activity Saturday, March 25 with practice (9:30-10:30 a.m. CT) followed by pole qualifying (10:30-11:30 a.m.). The 68-lap, 231.88-mile EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix will be held Sunday, March 26 beginning at 2:30 p.m.