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Thread: Question about the COTA race

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    Registered User MadisonIndyFan's Avatar
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    Question about the COTA race

    We'll be in Austin the week of the race on vacation and are considering going to this race (as opposed to Road America). I've never been to Austin, or the track, so it worked out pretty well our vacation and this race aligned the way they did.

    However, i was wondering if anyone could help me figure out the logistics of this.

    1) We wont have a car, is there a shuttle, or some form of transit that takes you from Austin to the track and back? We're travelling with an 8 month old so something like a taxi would need a car seat (not sure if they do?)...and i'd really like to not have to rent a car just to pay for parking.

    2) Are there family rooms or nursing facilities onsite?

    3) Any other piece of advice for us...where to sit, what to do/avoid?

    Much appreciated!
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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by MadisonIndyFan View Post
    We'll be in Austin the week of the race on vacation and are considering going to this race (as opposed to Road America). I've never been to Austin, or the track, so it worked out pretty well our vacation and this race aligned the way they did.

    However, i was wondering if anyone could help me figure out the logistics of this.

    1) We wont have a car, is there a shuttle, or some form of transit that takes you from Austin to the track and back? We're travelling with an 8 month old so something like a taxi would need a car seat (not sure if they do?)...and i'd really like to not have to rent a car just to pay for parking.

    2) Are there family rooms or nursing facilities onsite?

    3) Any other piece of advice for us...where to sit, what to do/avoid?

    Much appreciated!
    If you plan to get to a grocery to get provisions and you have reusable grocery (recycled material) grocery bags, bring them with you. Unless you want to have to buy a reusable bag at a grocery in Austin, there are no plastic bags available anywhere. They have been completely banned to make Austin "greener". Otherwise buying them will cost you around $10.00 or more a piece.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadisonIndyFan View Post
    We'll be in Austin the week of the race on vacation and are considering going to this race (as opposed to Road America). I've never been to Austin, or the track, so it worked out pretty well our vacation and this race aligned the way they did.

    However, i was wondering if anyone could help me figure out the logistics of this.

    1) We wont have a car, is there a shuttle, or some form of transit that takes you from Austin to the track and back? We're travelling with an 8 month old so something like a taxi would need a car seat (not sure if they do?)...and i'd really like to not have to rent a car just to pay for parking.

    2) Are there family rooms or nursing facilities onsite?

    3) Any other piece of advice for us...where to sit, what to do/avoid?

    Much appreciated!
    I went to the F1 race in October. I'm assuming something's will be different but most the same.

    1. There is a shuttle from Austin to the track. I believe it was $20 per person round trip. It was cheaper if you bought multiple days and purchased in advance. It is a little bit of a hike from the shuttle lot but not bad.

    2. Not sure on this one. Possibly in the main grandstand area. There were plenty of restrooms aka porta potties never really long lines.

    3. We stayed pretty much in the turn one area. There are monitors all around the track also. If you are not sitting in the stands bring chairs plenty of room to spread out.

    Have fun I would go back if I didn't live so far away.

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    The track is south of the airport which is well south of downtown Austin. If you want to be near, look at a hotel at the airport. Otherwise its a long haul from town.
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    Outsider Glenn's Avatar
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    I go to several Indycar races each year and I've always rented a car. However, since COTA is so close to the airport, this year I'm going to get around using Lyft. Austin just did approve the use of Uber and Lyft in their town.

  6. #6
    Registered User MadisonIndyFan's Avatar
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    Great stuff. We're flying into Dallas, then taking the train to and from Dallas to Austin so we won't be near the airport really at all and plan on staying downtown where it's closer to the other things we want to hit up.

    [] Bring reusable bags ($10.00 seems crazy expensive...they're $1-2 here)
    [] Use shuttle
    [] Bring nursing blanket.

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    If I were bringing an infant there, I would find out about the restrictions on what can be brought in. I know they don't allow food or drinks, other than a water container. I would think there would be some leeway. However, I did see them take away a 5 year-old's PBJ who's dad said the kid was on a special diet. And it can be a long walk there considering steep elevation coupled with wind and unpredictable weather.

    There was a shuttle service for some races, you might get those tickets when you contact the track. The traffic there can be pretty congested.

    Austin has always gouged visitors with high prices, particularly with lodging. I do find $10 shopping bags hard to believe. I would imagine that most people will have backpacks or shopping bags when they travel just for packing stuff.

    Just contact the track.

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    Registered User MadisonIndyFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowRyter View Post
    If I were bringing an infant there, I would find out about the restrictions on what can be brought in. I know they don't allow food or drinks, other than a water container. I would think there would be some leeway. However, I did see them take away a 5 year-old's PBJ who's dad said the kid was on a special diet. And it can be a long walk there considering steep elevation coupled with wind and unpredictable weather.

    There was a shuttle service for some races, you might get those tickets when you contact the track. The traffic there can be pretty congested.

    Austin has always gouged visitors with high prices, particularly with lodging. I do find $10 shopping bags hard to believe. I would imagine that most people will have backpacks or shopping bags when they travel just for packing stuff.

    Just contact the track.
    Sheesh, that's a bit harsh!

    I'll give them a call sometime this week to verify the shuttle arrangements and cost. I'm used to Road America, so i expect this will be a completely different (more, shall we say corporate feel) experience.

    As for traffic...now you're talking my language! As a traffic engineer our vacations are always filled with plenty of mass transit, pictures of signs/signals/configurations of both good and bad, and of planning successes and failures. I'm excited to try the new redesigned transit system there as we're in the process of developing our first BRT line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaparral4 View Post
    If you plan to get to a grocery to get provisions and you have reusable grocery (recycled material) grocery bags, bring them with you. Unless you want to have to buy a reusable bag at a grocery in Austin, there are no plastic bags available anywhere. They have been completely banned to make Austin "greener". Otherwise buying them will cost you around $10.00 or more a piece.


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    Registered User MadisonIndyFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourCamFord View Post
    How much of that is k-cups alone?

  11. #11
    What's a k cup? By the way I totally get the plastic bag ban. I live in California and they took plastic bags away 5 years ago. It has made a difference in my opinion. You don't see them littered on the freeways anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Grigson View Post
    What's a k cup?
    It is a container supplying coffee grounds to a Keurig coffee maker. One is consumed per cup of coffee made.

    https://www.amazon.com/Variety-Amazi...57103176&psc=1

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaparral4 View Post
    If you plan to get to a grocery to get provisions and you have reusable grocery (recycled material) grocery bags, bring them with you. Unless you want to have to buy a reusable bag at a grocery in Austin, there are no plastic bags available anywhere. They have been completely banned to make Austin "greener". Otherwise buying them will cost you around $10.00 or more a piece.
    Old news, the state passed a law overriding the city ban, so that ban is no longer in effect.
    As to the OP, I'm not why you wouldn't rent a car, what's outside the city proper is more interesting than much of what's inside...but I'm speaking as a former Austinite who has obviously been there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaparral4 View Post
    If you plan to get to a grocery to get provisions and you have reusable grocery (recycled material) grocery bags, bring them with you. Unless you want to have to buy a reusable bag at a grocery in Austin, there are no plastic bags available anywhere. They have been completely banned to make Austin "greener". Otherwise buying them will cost you around $10.00 or more a piece.
    Incorrect. The plastic grocery bag ban ended in July 2018.

    https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07...-court-ruling/

    Uber and Lyft operate in Austin now, so there's one option for a rentcarless weekend.

    Muse plays at the Austin360 Amphitheater Saturday night, admission included with race tickets.

    I tend to agree with the idea of a rental car if you have time to explore. Lots of neat stuff around Austin. Take a trip to Lockhart for BBQ. The lake area offers some excellent views and Zilker park is a nice walkabout. Bats leaving Congress St bridge at dusk (though there may be fewer due to migration).
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    Quote Originally Posted by FourCamFord View Post
    It is a container supplying coffee grounds to a Keurig coffee maker. One is consumed per cup of coffee made.

    https://www.amazon.com/Variety-Amazi...57103176&psc=1
    I understand the convenience, but they have always seemed to be an absolute waste. I know they make reuseable K cups, but our coffee maker has had a single cup insert and I've had it since before I'd ever heard of a Keurig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadisonIndyFan View Post
    Sheesh, that's a bit harsh!

    I'll give them a call sometime this week to verify the shuttle arrangements and cost. I'm used to Road America, so i expect this will be a completely different (more, shall we say corporate feel) experience.

    As for traffic...now you're talking my language! As a traffic engineer our vacations are always filled with plenty of mass transit, pictures of signs/signals/configurations of both good and bad, and of planning successes and failures. I'm excited to try the new redesigned transit system there as we're in the process of developing our first BRT line.
    It ain't nothin like RA or any other road course you've been to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Grigson View Post
    What's a k cup? By the way I totally get the plastic bag ban. I live in California and they took plastic bags away 5 years ago. It has made a difference in my opinion. You don't see them littered on the freeways anymore.
    No, now you see homeless littered with their tents and garbage on the freeways causing major issues for my coworkers trying to keep the highways safe!
    RIP Dan Wheldon :(

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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by SactoIndyFan View Post
    No, now you see homeless littered with their tents and garbage on the freeways causing major issues for my coworkers trying to keep the highways safe!
    I live in the San Fernando Valley and they are everywhere down here too. The beat up non running rv's with their own mountain of trash are an epidemic. I feel for you Caltrans guys. You got your work cut out for you.

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    https://racer.com/2019/01/30/robin-m...da-racing-hpd/

    Q: Recently I purchased tickets to the IndyCar event at COTA and wanted to get paddock passes. They told me they were sold out ($75 each), and I inquired how many they had. The response was 1,000! Are you kidding me? At every IndyCar event that I have been to, whether as a ticket purchaser or a participant in the MRTI in Pro Mazda, access to the IndyCar paddock was a given. That access is one reason why IndyCar is so attractive to the fans. If this is true and only 1,000 fans have passes, this is contrary to the IndyCar mantra.
    Further, it reinforces some things about COTA that I am not particularly fond of, particularly after having attended other events. I was able to get passes via a race team but if true, this is insane. The paddock area is huge, and can accommodate many thousands. They also said that they would think 30,000-35,000 for the first year in attendance would be a good start. I would agree, but doing this with paddock passes on top of a premium ticket price will turn off many prospective fans.
    Emmett, Texas



    RM: When I first read your letter I thought it had to be a mistake, so I called COTA and inquired about buying paddock passes and was told they were “sold out.” I asked how many were sold, and was told “a couple thousand.” I responded that COTA was enormous and could accommodate more paddock people than just about any IndyCar track, and I’d never heard of the paddock being sold out. The ticket rep said between IndyCar and COTA, they had reached their capacity. So then I called IndyCar, and it acknowledged there seems to be a little disconnect, but they were working on it. I suppose after dealing with F1’s limited access this is a whole new world for COTA, but it cannot afford to **** people off who are coming to its first event. I think IndyCar will work something out by March 22-24 so paddock passes would be available to anyone and everyone that wants one. But I thank you for calling this to my attention.
    "If your car was a dog, then you had to figure it out and test your own limits. And we didn't go to a wind tunnel – we did it in the first turn at Indianapolis."

  20. #20
    Insider Jakester's Avatar
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    There are two paddocks at COTA. The main (upper) paddock at COTA is located behind the F1 garages and, while large, is not 'enormous'. I'd guess a bit of the limits are based on what COTA can/will provide for security. And I would assume the upper paddock is where team motorhomes and hospitality areas will be, reducing available space somewhat.
    Certainly they've had some previous experience with paddock access for World Challenge and WEC/IMSA weekends. For F1, forget about getting into the paddock unless you're very special.
    Agree they should work on accommodating more people in the paddocks.

    The lower paddock, where the support series are generally located is partially set aside for RV sites for IndyCar weekend (Town Camping Center)

    Check the maps here
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzlor View Post
    https://racer.com/2019/01/30/robin-m...da-racing-hpd/

    Q: Recently I purchased tickets to the IndyCar event at COTA and wanted to get paddock passes. They told me they were sold out ($75 each), and I inquired how many they had. The response was 1,000! Are you kidding me? At every IndyCar event that I have been to, whether as a ticket purchaser or a participant in the MRTI in Pro Mazda, access to the IndyCar paddock was a given. That access is one reason why IndyCar is so attractive to the fans. If this is true and only 1,000 fans have passes, this is contrary to the IndyCar mantra.
    Further, it reinforces some things about COTA that I am not particularly fond of, particularly after having attended other events. I was able to get passes via a race team but if true, this is insane. The paddock area is huge, and can accommodate many thousands. They also said that they would think 30,000-35,000 for the first year in attendance would be a good start. I would agree, but doing this with paddock passes on top of a premium ticket price will turn off many prospective fans.
    Emmett, Texas



    RM: When I first read your letter I thought it had to be a mistake, so I called COTA and inquired about buying paddock passes and was told they were “sold out.” I asked how many were sold, and was told “a couple thousand.” I responded that COTA was enormous and could accommodate more paddock people than just about any IndyCar track, and I’d never heard of the paddock being sold out. The ticket rep said between IndyCar and COTA, they had reached their capacity. So then I called IndyCar, and it acknowledged there seems to be a little disconnect, but they were working on it. I suppose after dealing with F1’s limited access this is a whole new world for COTA, but it cannot afford to **** people off who are coming to its first event. I think IndyCar will work something out by March 22-24 so paddock passes would be available to anyone and everyone that wants one. But I thank you for calling this to my attention.
    As I've said many, many times here that COTA is the greatest road course in the USA run by a management that is clueless.

    I feel glad to be vindicated by RM.

    You'll only get more pissed when experienced race fans try to bring in a cooler or picnic basket. And then they'll pay the hotel bill. It will be fun to see who ever goes back to Austin. Having contacted COTA management from going to 3 MotoGP races, I can tellya they don't give a *****.

    But the track is outstanding. Bring More Wallet.

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  22. #22
    Registered User Bobcat00's Avatar
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    The thing with paddock passes is that not everyone that bought one is going to be there all the time. So capacity turns out not to be a problem.

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    I haven't seen it myself, but I've been told that some fans with paddock access badger drivers and other luminaries for autographs and selfies. At a low level that may not be too distracting, but enough of it could be hugely intrusive for people trying to do their jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Grigson View Post
    What's a k cup? By the way I totally get the plastic bag ban. I live in California and they took plastic bags away 5 years ago. It has made a difference in my opinion. You don't see them littered on the freeways anymore.
    Can confirm there are fewer Urban Jellyfish in California since the ban.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FourCamFord View Post
    I haven't seen it myself, but I've been told that some fans with paddock access badger drivers and other luminaries for autographs and selfies. At a low level that may not be too distracting, but enough of it could be hugely intrusive for people trying to do their jobs.
    We're talking Indycar here, not F1.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by AGRiculture View Post
    Old news, the state passed a law overriding the city ban, so that ban is no longer in effect.
    As to the OP, I'm not why you wouldn't rent a car, what's outside the city proper is more interesting than much of what's inside...but I'm speaking as a former Austinite who has obviously been there.
    OK, thanks for the update. I would not have figured ban would've ever been lifted. At the time of the ban I think Seattle was the cleanest city in the US and Austin was trying to become number 1.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakester View Post
    Incorrect. The plastic grocery bag ban ended in July 2018.

    https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07...-court-ruling/

    Uber and Lyft operate in Austin now, so there's one option for a rentcarless weekend.

    Muse plays at the Austin360 Amphitheater Saturday night, admission included with race tickets.

    I tend to agree with the idea of a rental car if you have time to explore. Lots of neat stuff around Austin. Take a trip to Lockhart for BBQ. The lake area offers some excellent views and Zilker park is a nice walkabout. Bats leaving Congress St bridge at dusk (though there may be fewer due to migration).

    We're only going to be down there for 3 or 4 days, so we really just wanted to hang out in Austin.BBQ aside (my wifes a vegetarian) all our destinations seem to be either walking distance or within a bus ride from where we might be staying. The only real thing out of reach would be the race.

    Generally we try to avoid driving on vacations as much as possible. Plus, if i'm going to spend time in a city it's going to be walking, biking, or taking public transit. It's my belief that you see more of the city that way, and you don't contribute to congestion. Plus then you don't have to worry about parking it or buying gas. I'm not anti car, I'm just anti I-need-a-car-to-do-everything.

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