Photo from foxsports.com
In wake of the Detroit debacle, where a pace car crash by a VP typified GM’s weekend, IndyCar heads to a real racetrack, one where the stage is grand, speeds are eye popping and the racing’s never dull. Eddie Gossage’s Texas Motor Speedway hosts one of the yearly joys of existence, and does so magnificently.
For twenty one consecutive seasons and still more races, Texas Motor Speedway has exhibited some of the most exciting side by side racing IndyCar has to offer. Its gargantuan size, dizzying speeds and close quarters racing all make for a uniquely Texas IndyCar experience – and one of the very best. The race also enjoys the best promoter in the business, one TMS President Gossage.
Photo from Getty images
Recent changes to the racing surface, including decreasing banking slightly in the first two turns and widening it by twenty feet, didn’t hurt last year’s racing and may even have improved it over recent years – Scott Dixon’s runaway win in 2015 comes to mind, immortalized in our “Texas Race Review: Dixie Does Dallas.” Like “Big Hoss,” the video board Gossage added a few years ago, the track refurbishment is more evidence Texas Motor Speedway’s leader sincerely believes in keeping his property a true destination for fans of fast.
Saturday will mark the thirtieth IndyCar race held there, illustrating Gossage’s decades long commitment to the series. Previous winners and six gun shooters include Dixon and Will Power (both twice), Graham Rahal, and Ed Carpenter. Heck, even old ‘n in the way TK won at Texas – all the way back in 2004. His semi-retired fellow countryman Helio won there four times for the Cap’n.
Photo from indycar.com
Power’s win last year was Penske’s ninth. It came almost by default, as our “Attrition Edition” testified. That Kanaan finished second after such a reckless performance was a travesty – as was race control’s failure to penalize him – leading, as you may have heard, to our call for his retirement. Chip agreed, once the season was done, wisely cutting him loose only to land at AJ’s outfit. Despite the carnage and unlikable winner however, the ’17 show was still superior to nearly all the rest, not surprisingly putting most road and street course contests to shame.
One other thing to come out of the Detroit GP weekend, besides a totaled cherry Corvette, was a complete reordering of the championship standings. Newgarden dropped to fifth, while Dixon and Hunter-Reay rose markedly into the top five. The ascendant Honda drivers offer no consolation to Chevy after having embarrassingly lost both days in its hometown. Come to think of it, Chevy’s probably thanking God for Eddie Gossage right about now, too.
Photo from twitter.com
Don’t expect another amateur hour to break out this Saturday. Not at Eddie’s place. Expect a race that’ll leave you wanting more, and looking forward to a return next year.