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United States Grand Prix: Fan events of note beyond on-track activity

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This week, Formula 1 heads to Austin, for the fourth time the United States Grand Prix will be held at Circuit of The Americas.

As ever, beyond the on-track activity – the usual five on-track sessions plus Porsche Supercup and Masters Historic Racing – there will be plenty to do from Austin.

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the events of note to hit either at the track or in the surrounding Austin area (full link outs here from COTA directly, and from Austin Race Events):

FAN FORUM/FAN FEST

The last two years have seen the FOTA Forum at COTA but with FOTA disbanded, that’s no longer on the cards. No worries, though.

The COTA Fan Forum on the Bud Light Stage at the Rainey Street COTA Fan Fest location kicks off the weekend on Thursday evening, at 5 p.m. Manor’s Alexander Rossi highlights the drivers scheduled to attend, along with Felipe Massa (Williams), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India). Haas F1 Team principal Guenther Steiner is also scheduled to attend.

It leads straight into COTA Fan Fest, which will have action at the Bud Light Stage Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. or midnight (11 p.m. Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday) and throughout the day on the weekend. Participating venues in Fan Fest are linked here.

BUXTON’S BIG TIME BASH, 4.0

One of the highlights of the weekend, by far, is the annual Buxton Big Time Bash, presented by The Austin Grand Prix and this year benefiting both Meals on Wheels and the Wilson Children’s Fund. Full details are linked here, via The Austin Grand Prix, and also via a post we did last week when the fourth annual #BBBASH was announced.

Past posts from the last two years on MotorSportsTalk are linked here:

AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS

Get a wristband at the Wristband Booth in the Grand Plaza, and have your chance to get an autograph from a member of the F1 grid. All autograph sessions will take place at the Austin360 Amphitheater, adjacent to the Grand Plaza.

The times:

Friday:
• 12:25 – 12:50 – Sauber F1 Team

Saturday:
• 3:30 – 3:50 – Infiniti Red Bull Racing
• 4:30 – 4:55 – MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 Team
• 4:55 – 5:20 – Scuderia Ferrari
• 5:05 – 5:30 – McLaren Honda
• 5:35 – 6:00 – Scuderia Toro Rosso
• 5:35 – 6:00 – Williams Martini Racing
• 6:00 – 6:25 – Q&A Haas F1 Team

Sunday:
• 10:00 – 10:20 – Lotus F1 Team
• 10:30 – 10:55 – Sahara force India
• 10:50 – 11:15 – Manor F1 Team

*Note schedule is subject to change. Download the COTA App for the most up-to-date info – iPhone App or Android App.

SENNA HALL OF FAME COLLECTION

Vehicles from the late, great Ayrton Senna’s career – from 1983 to 1994 – will be on display at the new Downtown Paddock in Austin throughout the weekend, 304 E. Cesar Chavez St.

FAN TRACK INVASION

This one has the potential to be special, if Lewis Hamilton does in fact capture the World Championship. Fans can access the track via the following gates from 4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.:

Main Grandstand East, Main Grandstand West, Turn 1B, Gate 15, Turn 12, Turn 16 Pedestrian Bridge, Turn 19

ELTON JOHN AND HIS BAND CONCERT

It’s the post-race entertainment this year, and starts at 6 p.m. after the race on Sunday.

Again, full link outs are available here from COTA directly, and from Austin Race Events, for all the things you may want to take in during the United States Grand Prix weekend.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.