Report: COTA chairman casts serious doubt on future of USGP in Austin

AP
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Likely cuts from the state of Texas to Circuit of The Americas to help pay for the United States Grand Prix in Austin may place the race in jeopardy going forward.

A report out late Tuesday night from the Austin American-Statesman indicated that officials from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office will cut the state’s contribution amount from $25 million – which it had been in 2012, 2013 and 2014 – to closer to $19.5 million in 2015.

This news comes on the back of a previous Statesman report where COTA chairman Bobby Epstein called this year’s race “financially devastating.” Miserable weather Friday and Saturday significantly hurt attendance and more crucially, all the other dollars spent besides just tickets – such as concessions and apparel.

Epstein then managed to produce quite possibly the one-liner of the year later in the report, albeit a line you really don’t want to read or hear.

“To use a technical term, I think we’re screwed,” Epstein said, via the Statesman.

COTA – and the funds appropriated to it via the state of Texas – has long been a political football going back even to the track’s first year in 2012.

Either way, stay tuned. It seemingly wouldn’t be a USGP without its future being in question.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.