More than 113,000 Sunday, 250,000 for weekend, in year 2 at COTA

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Circuit of the Americas has, for the second year running, produced a three-day weekend crowd of north of 250,000 spectators for the United States Grand Prix.

Official attendance numbers from the track were released today, with a mark of 113,162 fans in attendance on Sunday to bring the weekend total to 250,324. Friday featured 58,276 fans and Saturday had 78,886 on site.

It’s a slight reduction from last year’s numbers, which were 265,499 overall and 117,429 on Sunday. Some aerial shots showed a handful of grandstands – the one leading onto the backstraight one of them – not filled up.

But what likely occurred was a rise in single-day general admission tickets, which were available this year for the first time. Last year, all attendees needed to buy a three-day weekend pass and this year, single-day tickets could be purchased.

The second year is a crucial year for a racing event, and to see the numbers on par with the inaugural year is a very positive sign for the future of the USGP at COTA.

The U.S. fans now have had their chance to see Sebastian Vettel win in person, as he did Sunday with yet another crushing performance.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.