How-dy! We’re rip snortin’, bull stompin’ excited to get back to good ol’ fashioned oval track racing Saturday night in Texas. Texas Motor Speedway is undoubtedly one of the absolute best circuits the series visits and incredibly, it’ll host merely the second oval IndyCar race in the last ten months. That’s what we call a serious scheduling screw up.
Saturday night’s race will be IndyCar’s thirty first race held on the giant oval, scene of some of the more memorable races in recent history. Since it opened in 1996, TMS has seen some of the closest finishes, most action packed, side by side racing and entertaining events in all motorsports. We at IRR have been blessed to witness several of them in person. Ahhh, the memories. Ol’ AJ bitch slapping Arie Luyendyk in victory lane, Tomas Scheckter winning for Panther and the late Justin Wilson crossing the finish line first for Dale Coyne all leap to mind. Not to mention some horrifying crashes, such as Davey Hamilton’s and Kenny Brack’s (below), both of which unfortunately shortened their careers.
Photo from motorsportretro.com
Colton “Joaquin” Herta won the last trip to Texas earlier this spring, though that wasn’t at TMS but rather its newish rival down south at COTA. The high banked, high speed oval’s an entirely different experience to F-ing F1‘s road course however, so don’t expect too much out of the nineteen year old rookie phenom in his first of hopefully many visits to Denton. The titanic track – with speeds in excess of 220 mph – is an awful lot to handle, especially during a driver’s first visit.
Fresh off another win in Detroit, Scott Dixon’s always a threat to triumph at TMS, having fired the six shooters three times already including last season. Or, as we once famously wrote, “Dixie Does Dallas.” The Kiwi’s also finished second at Texas four times, plus a bunch more top five’s in his nineteen races there. [Of course that’s not counting CART’s fiasco of a cancelled race in 2001.] Whinin’ Will Power‘s won twice, and both Ragin’ Graham Rahal and Fast Eddy Carpenter have also prevailed over the course of the last five years.
Photo from foxsports.com
The Texas race is always one of the highlights of IndyCar’s calendar and has been for decades now. It’s a centerpiece of the season and, if common sense prevails at 16th and Georgetown, should remain so for many years to come. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – thank God for Eddie Gossage and TMS.