Making your way to the F1 track
Told from the perspective of YNN’s Russell Wilde:
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The get to Austin's first Grand Prix, I decided to try to beat the traffic and go out on Highway 71, take SH 130 and come at the Expo Center from the east.
Traffic was about what you would expect for a Friday morning, and thanks to some well-positioned sheriff's deputies, the 20-minute trip went pretty smoothly.
In fact, the first real traffic I hit was pulling in the expo center. It took about 10 minutes to park, and then I was on the shuttle filled with race fans. After that, it took about 20 minutes for the shuttle to arrive at the track.
There is a lot of walking involved in a trip to the Circuit of the Americas, but once in the gate, the track looks amazing.
"It's the best track I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few from all over the United States and Canada," F1 fan Al Aston said.
The first thing that catches your attention is the tower. The amphitheater at its base will host concerts this weekend, but I was there to see the cars.
No matter where you are, you can hear the scream of the engines. Inside the main grandstand, the echo makes the noise so intense ear plugs are a must.
"Awesome," Aston said. "I can't hear a thing. My ears are burned out."
The track itself is 3.4 miles, but it feels much larger when you're walking around it. Concession stands are placed at convenient points around the track, but beware lines can get very long.
"I didn't really know what to expect, but we were in the bleachers and the sight lines were fantastic,” race fan Rich Devaney said. “You could see almost the whole race. It was really a nice track."
As for the first race, everything seemed to go smoothly.
“Sure they ran short of toilet paper, but little things like that they'll cure by the end of the weekend, so it worked out really well,” Aston said.
Catching an early shuttle back meant I didn't experience traffic on the way home.
Friday's crowd was expected to be the smallest of the weekend with fans arriving throughout the day. Saturday and Sunday will have more people so expect longer travel times.
In fact, you should plan on spending twice as much time in traffic if not longer. So consider leaving early and staying late.