Texas Motor Speedway: Weekend Preview

By: Spencer Neff
May 1, 2021

After starting the 2021 season with a natural terrain road course and a street course, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES runs their first oval event of the new season.

For the third time in less than 10 months, there will be two races contested on an oval in the same weekend. This time, Texas Motor Speedway hosts two races, a 212-lap event on Saturday followed by a 248-lap race on Sunday.

The 2021 doubleheader comes a decade after IndyCar hosted its last doubleheader on a super speedway (track larger than 1.3 miles in length). That time, both races were run in one evening.

It will also be the first time a super speedway race is run before the Indianapolis 500 (May 30) since 2010, when the series ran at Kansas Speedway prior to Indianapolis.

In 2008, Kansas and Homestead-Miami Speedway held events prior to Indianapolis, the most recent time multiple super speedway races had been run ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

Headlines

17 drivers took part in a two-day test on March 30 and 31 at Texas Motor Speedway (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Last weekend, Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta capped off a dominant performance at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a victory.

After starting on the pole, Herta led 97 of 100 laps and earned his first win of 2021, rebounding from the disappointment of crashing out on Lap 1 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Also making up for the previous week’s result, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden finished second, falling one position short of making it three straight wins at the street course.

Despite finishing a lap down in 17th, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou held on to the points lead.

Moving to this week, there will be some old faces in new (or not so new places) for this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Returning to Chip Ganassi Racing for the first time since 2017, Tony Kanaan makes his first appearance of 2021.

The 2004 Series Champion and Texas Race Winner (Spring) will drive the No. 48 entry on ovals.

Saturday and Sunday’s races also mark the season debut for Ed Carpenter Racin’s Owner and namesake, Ed Carpenter.

Carpenter, the 2014 race winner at Texas, will contest the oval portion of the schedule in the No. 20.

Colton Herta earned the fourth win of his career on Sunday (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Carpenter’s oval schedule and Carlin Racing driver Max Chilton opting not to run the ovals has again opened an opportunity for Conor Daly.

Daly will race the No. 59 for Carlin this weekend, as he did at each oval aside from Indianapolis in 2020.

Last season, he tied his previous best from 2019 by starting 19th and earned his career-best finish at the 1.5-mile oval with a sixth-place effort.

Like Kanaan, Daly and Carpenter, Pietro Fittipaldi will be returning to a team he has competed with before.

For the third-generation racer, he makes his first IndyCar appearance since 2018, driving the No. 51 for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.

Fittipaldi will contest the ovals for the team as Romain Grosjean has opted to run only road and street courses.

Three years ago, Fittipaldi raced through broken legs sustained in a sports car crash and ran six races with Coyne.

Now, here’s a look at some key information before this weekend’s races.

Author’s Trivia: Aside from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (104), Texas Motor Speedway has hosted more races than any other oval track currently on the schedule, with 32 races and is third behind IMS and Long Beach (36) in races held among tracks on this year’s schedule.

Genesys 300 and XPEL 375 Fast Facts

During the season opener, Scott Dixon led 157 of 200 laps at Texas in 2020, helping lead the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to a sixth IndyCar Championship. (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Genesys 300 Entry List XPEL 375 Entry List Pit Assignments

Genesys 300 Spotter Guide XPEL 375 Spotter Guide

Race weekend: Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2

Track: Texas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval

Race distances: Genesys 300212 laps / 318 miles | XPEL 375: 248 laps/372 miles

Firestone tire allotment: Thirteen sets primary to be used during practice, qualifying and the doubleheader races.

Twitter: @TXMotorSpeedway @INDYCAR, #Genesys300, #XPEL375, #INDYCAR

Event website: www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com

INDYCAR website: www.indycar.com

Firestone tire allotment:  Thirteen sets primary to be used during practice, qualifying and the doubleheader races.

2020 race winner: Scott Dixon, 1:38:37.7648, 175.201 mph (200 laps/300 miles)

2020 NTT P1 Award winner: Josef Newgarden, 48.0578 seconds, 215.740 mph (two laps)

Qualifying record (based on track distance of 1.44 miles)-One lap: Charlie Kimball, 23.2730, 222.747 mph, June 9, 2017

NBC Sports race telecasts: 

Qualifying, 4 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (live);

Genesys 300, 7 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (live).

XPEL 375, 5 p.m. ET Sunday, NBCSN (live).

Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton and Nick Yeoman. Jake Query is the turn announcer.

The Genesys 300 and XPEL 375 races air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 205, indycar.comindycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

At-track schedule (All times local/Central Time): 

Saturday, May 1

11:30-11:40 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES pit speed limiter practice (two groups/five minutes each)

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium

3 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Single car, two laps (Lap 1/Genesys 300; Lap 2/XPEL 375), Peacock Premium (Live)

Note: Per IndyCar Rule 8.1.10.2- At the first Race of the Racing Season, the Cars shall be ranked using the prior year’s end of season Entrant point standings. INDYCAR shall determine an Entrant’s eligibility.

6 p.m. – NBCSN on air

6:40 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

6:45 p.m. – Genesys 300 (212 laps / 318 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Sunday, May 2

3:30 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES install laps

4 p.m. – NBCSN on air

4:10 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

4:15 p.m. – XPEL 375 (248 laps / 372 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Fast Facts By INDYCAR MEDIAHeader Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Published by Spencer Neff

I am a lifelong auto racing fan. Through IndyCar1909, I look forward to sharing my passion for the series and its illustrious history with you.

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