It’s one of our favorite nights of the year – IndyCar Saturday in Texas! The green flag waving over cars with the sun beginning to set over this spectacular race is highly anticipated annual awesomeness. Here’s how we see the festivities unfolding at Texas Motor Speedway – just north of Fort Worth, amidst a vast, rolling sea of grass and scrub brush.
Our special prediction for the race is exquisite, unequaled oval track racing at breathtaking speeds. This is one weekend where the drivers definitely earn their money – or in Max “risk assessment” Chilton’s case, earn a replacement. IndyCar drivers are supposed to perform death defying tasks, at least once in a while. It’s part of what they signed up for. Hell, there’s what, a whopping four oval races outside Indy? Including Texas? We wish the schedule makers at IndyCar would seriously consider green lighting more of the sport’s highest form that is racing on ovals.
Pole sitter is likely to be Josef Newgarden. The guy sat on pole last year but has suffered some rotten luck generally at TMS, including a late race penalty and some jarring crashes. Obviously and as always, we’re hoping for a safe and fast weekend for everyone. Also wanted to at least mention Josef’s old boss Ed Carpenter in the P1 conversation who, by the way, did better in the green car and should consider bringing back that sharp former livery.
First out of the race likely will be Tony Kanaan, who at 44 should be put out to pasture. His 369th start Saturday will tie team owner A.J. Foyt for second most IndyCar starts of all time. Guess who’s got more wins? AJ’s 67 to TK’s 17 (in 23 years). It’d be fitting if Super Tex’s car malfunctioned (gearbox?) and let Tony down during the race in which he’s tying him. Then again, it could well be Felix “Swedish steamroller” Rosenqvist, the Chipster’s latest greenhorn import. Sporting crash damage bills as high as Stockholm’s heating tab, he could soon find himself becoming an export.
The biggest surprise of the race will come at the end, when Team Penske doesn’t win. The Cap’n’s crew have won a gaudy half the races this season, including the biggest prize of them all – for the second year in a row – when Pags prevailed in the 500. According to the entrails we’ve examined however, a Penske win simply isn’t in the offing at Texas. Come to think of it, Whinin’ Will Power should be put out to pasture, too.
Our pick for winner is Ragin’ Graham Rahal. He earned that moniker from us back in 2016, winning in angry, animated fashion at this very track. Rahal Lanigan Letterman Racing’s had speed most of the season and got a brand spankin’ new engineering trailer this week. Real sharp. Plus, Graham needs a win else his teammate Takuma Sato – with a victory at Barber and two podiums out of the last three races – is liable to make him green with envy. On his dad’s team.
Photo from twitter.com