Fans come from far and wide to see IndyCars, side by side, doing 220 mph under the lights at TMS. The term thrilling doesn’t begin to capture the feeling, particularly when you’re there in person. If you’re a true race fan, then deep in your heart you adore Texas Motor Speedway.
Our special prediction for the DXC Technology 600 is reams of real, riveting racing. It’s what IndyCar at Texas is known for – a refreshing change from the road course heavy early season schedule. What a difference a weekend makes! Speeds will be 50 mph greater than on Detroit’s Belle Isle and nearly constant, not merely a few seconds per lap. The edge of your seat action – with passes galore – will be in a class of its own. That’s the open wheel oval racing class, where TMS is highly regarded, and the one nearest to our hearts.
Photo from autosport.com
Pole sitter’ll be Will “sour grapes” Power, unfortunately. He started P1 three consecutive times from 2013-15 and as you may have heard has been on a roll lately. But here’s the good news – the average finishing position of pole sitters at Texas the last three races is 13th. Prior to that in 2014, the Cap’n’s least likable driver dropped a spot finishing second, coming that close. The last driver to win from pole at TMS was Ryan Briscoe in 2010, now retired and also for Penske. A driver with real heart, Dixie, did it too in 2008.
Coming as no surprise to our regular readers, first out Saturday night will be Tony Kanaan – and appropriately so. He single-handedly took out Coyne’s entire team last year, nearly giving him a heart attack and ruining a reliably rousing race. That’s really difficult to do. It’s past time TK moved on to safer pursuits, for the sake of everyone’s cardiac health.
Photo from twitter.com
The most surprising element of the evening will be how well the gorgeous new cars perform on track. Thanks to questionable series leadership, mandated down force levels the last several races there have been veritable crap shoots, as with Phoenix and other ovals, too. Drivers wanted less down force with the new cars and got it, and the racing – if not the winner – at Indy was superlative. Expect more of the same Saturday night, a heartening notion indeed.
Race winner will be our pick for season champ again (why change up a good thing?), Josef Newgarden. Since his win in Alabama, Newkid’s last four results have been 11th, 8th, 9th and 15th, dropping him to fifth in points. But only one of those was on an oval – the highest finish of the four – and he again proved his high speed acumen at Phoenix in early April. He’s due to bounce back this weekend and also owed some luck at Texas after suffering multiple injuries during a horrifying wreck in 2016.
Photo from ap.org
Take heart in the fact that Josef’s back.