Circuit of the Americas http://kut.org en Photos: The X Games, Texas Style http://kut.org/post/photos-x-games-texas-style <p><strong>Update: </strong>Check out our photos from the first ever Austin X Games in the slideshow above. And see more <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/kutxaustintx/sets/72157645102327133/" target="_blank">on the KUTX Flickr page</a>.</p><p><strong>Original Story </strong>(June 6): The <a href="http://kut.org/post/x-games-are-here-austin" target="_blank">X Games are underway</a> for the first time in Austin.</p><p>Most of the extreme sports events are happening at the Circuit of the Americas track.</p><p><a href="http://xgames.espn.go.com/athlete/3014447/morgan-wade" target="_blank">Morgan Wade </a>has competed in the X Games before. But this year will be different… because he’s practically a hometown boy.</p><p>“It’s always nice to have a hometown crowd cheering you on," Wade says. "It’s different than all the other places we’ve been, obviously, because Texas is bigger and better than everywhere else we’ve already been.”</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/153093297&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Laura Rice 10550 at http://kut.org Photos: The X Games, Texas Style Eckhardt Criticizes McCombs for Seeking Tax Breaks, Suing Appraisal District http://kut.org/post/eckhardt-criticizes-mccombs-seeking-tax-breaks-suing-appraisal-district <p><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the</em><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</span><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(12, 76, 162);">Austin Monitor</a></em><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;(formerly&nbsp;</em><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">In Fact Daily</em><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">).</em></p><p>Travis County Judge&nbsp;candidate&nbsp;<a href="http://saraheckhardt.com/">Sarah Eckhardt</a>&nbsp;continued her verbal campaign against billionaire businessman&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_McCombs">Red McCombs</a>&nbsp;<span data-term="goog_406645815" tabindex="0">Thursday</span>, taking him to task for asking taxpayers to contribute millions of dollars to build the&nbsp;Circuit of the Americas&nbsp;race track but going to court to get his property tax bill on the facility lowered.</p><p>Eckhardt, a former Pct. 2 Commissioner who is <a href="http://kut.org/post/update-bruce-todd-replace-travis-co-commissioner-eckhardt">running for the top job</a> in Travis County, issued a statement criticizing McCombs – one of the developers of the Formula 1 race track – for throwing his political and financial weight around to get what he wants.</p><p> Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:42:03 +0000 Mark Richardson 9519 at http://kut.org Eckhardt Criticizes McCombs for Seeking Tax Breaks, Suing Appraisal District iHeartRadio Country Fest Will Head to Frank Erwin Center http://kut.org/post/iheartradio-country-fest-will-head-frank-erwin-center <p class="p1">Austin's got another music festival.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">Today,&nbsp;iHeartRadio&nbsp;announced a one-day country festival, featuring Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Jason&nbsp;Aldean&nbsp;and Lady Antebellum, among others.&nbsp;</p><p class="p1">The Clear Channel-sponsored, Bobby Bones-hosted festival will descend upon the Frank Erwin Center on March&nbsp;29th, making it the second country music fest planned for May 2014, after Jeff&nbsp;Foxworthy's&nbsp;Natty Light-sponsored Red Fest at Circuit of the Americas.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 17:27:35 +0000 Andrew Weber 9502 at http://kut.org iHeartRadio Country Fest Will Head to Frank Erwin Center F1 is Back in Austin – So What's Actually Happening On the Track? http://kut.org/post/f1-back-austin-so-whats-actually-happening-track <p><strong><em>A version of this story first ran Nov. 16, 2012.</em></strong></p><p>Formula One events begin today at the Circuit of the Americas track.</p><p>F1 doesn’t have a huge following in the U.S. – it’s only in its second year in Austin – and a lot of people may not know the first thing about the sport. Here's what we learned about the basics.</p><p>First things first: what is the “formula”?<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/120250606" width="100%"></iframe> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 12:02:00 +0000 Matt Largey 5656 at http://kut.org F1 is Back in Austin – So What's Actually Happening On the Track? What Austin’s Doing – and Isn’t Doing – for F1 After Last Year http://kut.org/post/what-austin-s-doing-and-isn-t-doing-f1-after-last-year <p>This time last year, many local businesses were staffed up and overstocked.</p><p>In the weeks and months prior to its first&nbsp;Formula 1 Grand Prix, Austin&nbsp;prepared&nbsp;to host thousands of fans from around the globe.</p><p>With the sport attracting <a href="http://kut.org/post/10k-tables-and-gold-champagne-how-rich-f1-fans-party-austin">a coterie of high rollers</a>, business expectations were high. The Austin Better Business Bureau even urged local businesses to <a href="http://kut.org/post/10k-tables-and-gold-champagne-how-rich-f1-fans-party-austin">consider accepting foreign currency</a>.</p><p>For some, the event brought an increase in business. But for many vendors and retailers, the <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-race-thrills-traffic-economic-impact-f1-questioned">crowds never seemed to show up</a>.</p><p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 18:24:56 +0000 Carrie Powell 9164 at http://kut.org What Austin’s Doing – and Isn’t Doing – for F1 After Last Year MAP: F1 Fan Fest Road Closures in Downtown Austin http://kut.org/post/map-f1-fan-fest-road-closures-downtown-austin <p><strong>Update</strong>: Austin's second Formula 1 weekend has come and gone. Now comes the exodus of fans and visitors.</p><p>Read more here: <a href="http://kut.org/post/record-airport-travel-expected-austin-f1-ends-downtown-road-closures-persist-map"><strong>Record Airport Travel Expected as Austin F1 Ends; Downtown Road Closures Persist (MAP)</strong></a></p><p><strong>Original story</strong>: It’s Grand Prix weekend in Austin, and that means tens of thousands of visitors coming to Central Texas. It also means a free downtown festival focused on racing activities, vintage vehicles and live music.</p><p><a href="http://austinfanfest.com/">Austin Fan Fest</a> starts today and runs through midnight every day, except Sunday when it ends at 8 p.m.</p><p>Road closures for the festival began Wednesday and will continue through Sunday. Street closures stretch from Congress Avenue to San Antonio Street and between&nbsp;Second and Fifth Streets.</p><p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 17:20:04 +0000 Nathan Bernier 9175 at http://kut.org MAP: F1 Fan Fest Road Closures in Downtown Austin County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update) http://kut.org/post/county-commissioners-approve-some-proposed-roads-near-f1-racetrack-update <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="375" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&amp;msid=201079182274657105434.0004e6a9c8c4df667ade0&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;ll=30.162494,-97.628632&amp;spn=0.055657,0.077248&amp;z=13&amp;output=embed" width="451"></iframe><br><em><small>View <a href="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&amp;msid=201079182274657105434.0004e6a9c8c4df667ade0&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=h&amp;ll=30.162494,-97.628632&amp;spn=0.055657,0.077248&amp;z=13&amp;source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack</a> in a larger map</small></em></p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Update:</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.</span></p><p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 14:56:57 +0000 Phoebe Flanigan & Mark Gwin 8731 at http://kut.org Is Driving on Austin's F1 Track Worth $55,000? http://kut.org/post/driving-austins-f1-track-worth-55000 <p>If you ever wanted to ride an Formula 1 track in your own car, the Circuit of the Americas is now <a href="http://circuitoftheamericas.com/visit/track-rental">selling the opportunity</a>. A full-day private track rental goes for $55,000. Group rates are available at $2,500 per person.</p><p>"Response has been strong with more than 250 people expressing interest within the first few days of offering the experience online,"&nbsp;Circuit Executive Vice President Bruce Knox said in a press release.&nbsp;</p><p>For a sport that caters to people who <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/10k-tables-and-gold-champagne-how-rich-f1-fans-party-austin">commute by helicopter and drop $10,000 on bottle service</a>, it's probably not shocking to see a $55,000 price tag attached to a single day of entertainment. But how does it stack up against the competition? We poked around and found out.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 00:33:35 +0000 Nathan Bernier 8363 at http://kut.org Is Driving on Austin's F1 Track Worth $55,000? How Many 'Austin Bashing' Bills Made It Out of the Lege? (Update) http://kut.org/post/how-many-austin-bashing-bills-made-it-out-lege-update <p><strong>Update</strong>: The legislative session <a href="http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/gtli/sessions/dates.html">adjourns Monday</a> – and Austin City Council members can breathe a collective sigh of relief.</p><p>All of the bills below disappeared into the legislative black hole – that is, they either never made it out of committee, or were never cleared for a vote.</p><p><strong>Update&nbsp;</strong>(March 26): Here’s some additional bills that meet the Austin City Council’s definition of “Austin bashing” – legislation that would&nbsp;defang&nbsp;local policies.</p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/html/HB01858I.htm">HB&nbsp;1858</a>,&nbsp;Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin)</strong></li></ul><p>The bill would ban cities from restricting the removal of trees if a developer or land owner deems the tree to be a fire hazard.&nbsp;Opponents worry the bill provides a work-around the city’s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=134292">Heritage Tree Ordinance</a>, and point to an additional piece of Workman legislation,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/HB03087I.pdf#navpanes">HB&nbsp;3087</a>, as creating additional development loopholes for removing trees.</p><p> Fri, 24 May 2013 18:54:45 +0000 Andrew Weber & Wells Dunbar 7005 at http://kut.org How Many 'Austin Bashing' Bills Made It Out of the Lege? (Update) City Council OK’s COTA Bid to Lure X Games to Austin http://kut.org/post/city-council-ok-s-cota-bid-lure-x-games-austin <p><strong>Update:&nbsp;</strong>Today the&nbsp;Austin City Council&nbsp;gave the go-ahead to the&nbsp;<a href="http://circuitoftheamericas.com/">Circuit of the Americas</a>’s attempt to secure a three-year Summer X Games contract.</p><p>The city approval allows&nbsp;COTA&nbsp;to seek state money and incentives under the Events Trust Fund during the bid process for the games. It also includes $150,000 in fee waivers for police overtime and trash clean-up.</p><p> Thu, 23 May 2013 21:41:48 +0000 Andrew Weber 7818 at http://kut.org City Council OK’s COTA Bid to Lure X Games to Austin The X Games Could Come to Austin Next Summer http://kut.org/post/x-games-could-come-austin-next-summer <p><strong>Update</strong>: It's official: The X Games are coming to Austin. Read <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/austin-host-summer-x-games">more here from KUT News</a>.</p><p><strong>Original</strong> <strong>post</strong>: Austin could be getting extreme in the summer of 2014.</p><p>The <a href="http://circuitoftheamericas.com/media-center">Circuit of the Americas announced yesterday</a> that the 1500 acre racetrack and concert venue is on a list of four finalists to host the 2014 Summer X Games and enter into a three-year contract with ESPN, the event’s sponsor.</p><p> Wed, 01 May 2013 17:34:23 +0000 Andrew Weber 7575 at http://kut.org The X Games Could Come to Austin Next Summer Austin Police on 'Heightened Alert' for MotoGP http://kut.org/post/austin-police-heightened-alert-motogp <p>Austin Police say they will step up security this weekend as the city gets ready to host a major international sporting event.</p><p><a href="http://circuitoftheamericas.com/moto-gp">Moto GP</a> comes to the Circuit of the Americas for three days, and organizers say they expect tens of thousands of people to show up. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says the explosions at the Boston Marathon will lead to more awareness this weekend as the motorcycle racing fans roll in.</p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 22:08:57 +0000 Andrew Weber 7378 at http://kut.org Austin Police on 'Heightened Alert' for MotoGP Get to the Chopper: Suggestions May Smooth Helicopter Service http://kut.org/post/get-chopper-suggestions-may-smooth-helicopter-service <p></p><p>Whirlybirds, eggbeaters, choppers — whatever you want to call them — helicopters brought some kind of ruckus over 2012’s Formula 1 weekend. And now a group is looking at what can make for a less turbulent 2013.</p><p>Over 265,000 attendees descended on the Formula 1 track over race weekend,&nbsp;<a href="http://6bd32fe3d0a84caa1d3b-e077574ebbd2dc508f26c12c8cc8fefb.r63.cf1.rackcdn.com/50aa68b409a1dF1USGPRecap(11.18.12).pdf">according to the Circuit of the America's count</a>. And as F1 attracts its fair share of <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/10k-tables-and-gold-champagne-how-rich-f1-fans-party-austin">uber-wealthy racing fans</a>, many skipped ground transportation altogether in favor of helicopters.</p><p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 21:50:10 +0000 Andrew Weber 6314 at http://kut.org Get to the Chopper: Suggestions May Smooth Helicopter Service Circuit of the Americas Opening Music Venue in Spring http://kut.org/post/circuit-americas-opening-music-venue-spring <p><a href="http://circuitoftheamericas.com/">The Circuit of the Americas</a> announced today that they will debut their shiny new music venue, the Tower Amphitheater, this spring with a concert featuring country music star Kenny Chesney on April 5.</p><p>COTA officials say the festival will bring new opportunities to the complex largely known for motorsports, and that they plan on scheduling 15 to 20 shows a year to keep the&nbsp;circuit occupied between race days.</p> Mon, 21 Jan 2013 18:02:00 +0000 Andrew Weber 6269 at http://kut.org Circuit of the Americas Opening Music Venue in Spring How Austin's F1 Track Stands to Benefit From the 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill (Update) http://kut.org/post/how-austins-f1-track-stands-benefit-fiscal-cliff-bill-update <p><strong>Update</strong>: Here’s more details on the tax break the Circuit of the Americas may be able to capitalize on:&nbsp; It’s called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_depreciation">accelerated depreciation</a>, and gives COTA a fast, seven-year write off on the value of their investment, which may have been as much as $400 million.&nbsp;</p><p>COTA officials says they’re pleased to have the tax break, but say they did not lobby for it. “We did monitor the issue as it moved forward, but were not directly involved in pursuing the extension itself," says spokesperson Ali Putnam.</p><p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 23:18:37 +0000 Mark Dewey & Wells Dunbar 6045 at http://kut.org How Austin's F1 Track Stands to Benefit From the 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill (Update) City Council Preview: Circuit of the Americas’ Big Ask, Affordable Housing & More http://kut.org/post/city-council-preview-circuit-americas-big-ask-affordable-housing-more <p></p><p>The days go by so fast: Today marks the last Austin City Council meeting of the year. And <a href="http://austintexas.gov/council_meetings/action_notes.cfm">at 98 items</a>, it’s going out with a bang. Here ‘s what council has stuffed in their stocking:</p><p><strong>Don’t Start Your Engines?</strong>: An organizing group with the Circuit of the Americas just <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/f1-organizers-get-293-million-state-comptroller">received more than $29 million</a> from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund to help pay for costs associated with putting on November’s Formula 1 event.</p><p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 16:11:24 +0000 Wells Dunbar & Laura Rice 5898 at http://kut.org City Council Preview: Circuit of the Americas’ Big Ask, Affordable Housing & More F1 Organizers Get $29.3 Million From State Comptroller http://kut.org/post/f1-organizers-get-293-million-state-comptroller <p>The Texas Comptroller has paid the organizers of Austin’s Formula 1 race more than $29 million from the state’s <a href="http://www.texasahead.org/tax_programs/event_fund/metf.php" target="_blank">Major Events Trust Fund</a>.</p><p>The trust fund uses tax revenues generated by an event to cover expenses related to the event.</p><p>“We pay them back $29.3 million because we’re saying, basically, that there’s been an incremental tax increase of $29.3 million so we’re going to let you have that money to pay you back for expenses that you had bringing the event here," Lauren Willis, director of communications for the Texas Comptroller, says.</p><p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 19:18:49 +0000 Laura Rice 5890 at http://kut.org F1 Organizers Get $29.3 Million From State Comptroller What Austin Needs to Know About the Actual F1 Race This Weekend http://kut.org/post/what-austin-needs-know-about-actual-f1-race-weekend <p>Ready or not, Formula 1 has arrived.</p><p>As Austin readies for an onslaught of some 100,000 visitors, we’ve heard lots about&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/map-f1-street-closures-begin">traffic plans</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/lead-helicopters-okd-f1-cap-metro-could-strike-sxsw-music-and-more">helicopter permits</a>, and even&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/epa-plane-surveying-downtown-and-f1-track-lookout-dirty-bombs-and-more">counter-terrorism measures</a>. &nbsp;But what about the actual race: the cars, the drivers and the sport itself? Confused?&nbsp;KUT&nbsp;News has assembled a primer on this weekend’s Formula 1 race.</p><ul><li><strong>What Sort of Cars Are These?</strong></li></ul><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.formula1.com/default.html">FIA&nbsp;Formula One World Championship</a>&nbsp;is the highest class of single-seater auto racing that is authorized by the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fia.com/en-GB/Pages/HomePage.aspx">Fédération&nbsp;Internationale&nbsp;de&nbsp;l'Automobile</a>.</p><p>The "formula" in Formula 1 refers to a set of guidelines that each racing car must adhere to. The results are state-of-the-art.</p><p> Wed, 14 Nov 2012 20:42:56 +0000 Tyler Pratt & Wells Dunbar 5639 at http://kut.org What Austin Needs to Know About the Actual F1 Race This Weekend Can You Break a Euro? Group Urges Local Businesses to Accept Foreign Currency During F1 http://kut.org/post/can-you-break-euro-group-urges-local-businesses-accept-foreign-currency-during-f1 <p>Tens of thousands of Formula 1 fans are making their way to Austin for <a href="http://kutnews.org/term/formula-1-0">this weekend’s Grand Prix</a>. Many are from foreign countries.</p><p>The Austin Better Business Bureau says business owners should <a href="http://austin.bbb.org/article/BBB-helps-business-owners-prepare-for-Formula-1-crowd-38045" target="_blank">be prepared to accept foreign currency</a> or else they may lose out on some customers.</p><p>The BBB says business owners should be aware of ever-changing exchange rates and should talk to their banks about whether they’ll charge extra for depositing foreign currency. Wed, 14 Nov 2012 20:15:12 +0000 Laura Rice 5638 at http://kut.org Can You Break a Euro? Group Urges Local Businesses to Accept Foreign Currency During F1 Safety First: City Unveils Public Safety Plans for F1 Weekend http://kut.org/post/safety-first-city-unveils-public-safety-plans-f1-weekend <p>The City of Austin says it’s prepared to handle any and all public safety issues that may arise during the <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-grand-prix" target="_blank">upcoming F1&nbsp;weekend</a>&nbsp;10 days from now.</p><p>“I’m smiling because I’m ready,” said <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/department/police" target="_blank">Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo</a>. “We’ll absolutely have a tremendously positive impact in terms of public safety and in terms of the enjoyment of our residents and our visitors.”</p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 01:29:12 +0000 Tyler Pratt 5575 at http://kut.org Safety First: City Unveils Public Safety Plans for F1 Weekend