In my only trip to Circuit of the Americas, to cover the NTT IndyCar Series race in 2019, I must admit I didn’t come away thinking that place would be perfect for NASCAR.

But I do remember watching a support series that weekend, the Mazda MX-5 Cup, and being amazed how perfect COTA is for a spec series. The racing was door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper and three/four/five-wide at certain places on the track.

Which spawned this thought when NASCAR’s NextGen package was introduced: If those spec Mazdas could create high drama at the spectacular facility in Austin, Texas, could the new NextGen car be a natural at COTA? NASCAR raced last year at the track, but the impact was muffled because rain caused an early end to the race.