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Report: COTA’s appraisal value lowered, which would lower taxes


An extensive analysis by the Austin American-Statesman revealed the appraisal value of Circuit of The Americas has been lowered to less than $100 million following a settlement with the Travis Central Appraisal District.

Per the Statesman, the district changed the valuation of the Austin facility from $275.4 million in 2015 to just $91.2 million for the 2015 tax year.

The lower appraisal value would have cut the track’s tax bill by an estimated $13 million over the last three years, the Statesman’s analysis found.

Attorneys for both the track and the appraisal district told the Statesman this was “mutually agreeable.”

COTA’s finances seemingly have always been in the news for the length of the track’s existence, as it heads into its fourth full year of operation and fifth overall, dating to its opening just prior to the 2012 United States Grand Prix.

The biggest change would come from the amount of funding allocated from the state of Texas to the track, which was reportedly reduced from $25 million to $19.5 million last year.

The track’s 2016 professional race season opens this weekend, March 3-6, with the Pirelli World Challenge season opener for all seven of its classes.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at Ground Zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.