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They do things big in Texas – but Formula One stands out

Nov 16, 2013, 12:15 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of USA - Qualifying Getty Images

More and more, we’re seeing Texas play host to the biggest events in sports. But out of all of those major gatherings, the Formula One United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas may be the most unique.

In a land that celebrates its Wild West past at every opportunity, Formula One’s futuristic style of racing is trying to take root and make a permanent home for itself in the United States, once and for all. Enabling its efforts is the city of Austin, which has long been known for Hook ‘Em Horns and good live music but is now creating a more international identity for itself through F1.

“I know there are people around the world who may not have ever heard of Austin who now know it exists,” Austin Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Mike Rollins tells NBCSports.com national columnist Joe Posnanski in the latest edition of “The Big Read.”

“We never could have paid for that kind of media attention.”

But after a terrific inaugural running in 2012, the hard part – sustaining the event over a long period of time – begins this weekend at COTA. As a NASCAR official tells Posnanski regarding last year’s USGP, “Let’s see how they do next year.” Whether or not that official is speaking the truth or subtly trying to rain on Austin’s parade, I’ll let you decide.

However, if F1 does make a long-term stay in America – something like its 20-year run in the ’60s and ’70s at Watkins Glen in New York State – it would appear that Austin is a good match for the series.

As Posnanski writes, there’s a self-assured cool about Austin. The people accept its eclectic nature, and now with F1 in town, they’re liking the fact that the city’s being connected to the international community.

“What is the most famous Formula One race? Monte Carlo, right?,” an unnamed Austin resident tells Posnanski. “It’s arrogant, but we kind of like to think of ourselves as America’s Monte Carlo.”

Arrogance and confidence rolled into one – truly, the essence of F1 itself. The Austinites already have it down cold, it seems.

For more, be sure to check out Posnanski’s interesting piece in the link above.

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