XPEL 375: Weekend Preview

By: Spencer Neff
March 18, 2022

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns after two weekends off for their second race of the season, the XPEL 375. On Sunday, 27 drivers will contest the first oval event of the season on the 1.44-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Headlines

Following his first career pole and race win, Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin returns to the site of his previous best finish. In his first INDYCAR start on an oval, the New Zealander finished second to countryman Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing.

During the second race of the 2021 doubleheader, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward earned his first career victory. This weekend, six drivers will look for similar success on their first INDYCAR oval.

In addition to the five rookies in this year’s class, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jimmie Johnson makes his oval debut after contesting only road and street courses in 2021. Johnson has won seven times at TMS in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Romain Grosjean (shown during March 2 testing), makes his super speedway debut this weekend. Last year, he started finished 14th at World Wide Technology Raceway in his oval debut. (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Making their 2022 debuts will be JR Hildebrand (A.J. Foyt Racing), who will run the ovals while rookie Tatiana Calderón contests the road and street courses

Owner/Driver Ed Carpenter joins Hildebrand in making his first start of 2022. After Conor Daly took over the No. 20 on a full-time basis the 2014 Texas winner will enter the No. 33 for the oval races, similar to his schedule dating back to 2014.

“I am excited to get back to Texas! It’s always fun going to a track you’ve won at before and a place you’ve been successful, hopefully we can repeat that this year,” Carpenter exclaimed.

One factor that will be on everyone’s mind is how the track’s recent issues with the PJ1 traction compound in the corners will be remedied.

Since 2020, the surface has been rendered nearly undrivable for IndyCar. Recent solutions proposed have ranged from extra practice time with more downforce and tires to a chemical wash.

The upper groves of all four corners (picture taken during March 2 testing with David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) have seen a lack of grip during the last two years at TMS (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

The complexion of Sunday’s race will hinge significantly on how the series resolves this issue. Now, here are some key facts for this weekend’s race.

XPEL 375 Fast Facts

Pit Assignments

Spotter Guide

Race weekend: Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 Track: Texas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval

Race distance: 248 laps/372 miles
Firestone tire allotment: Eleven sets primary to be used during practice, qualifying and the race.

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

Event website: http://www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com

INDYCAR website: http://www.indycar.com

2021 race winners: Race 1: Scott Dixon, 1:45:51.3417, 173.036 mph (212 laps/318 miles); Race 2: Pato O’Ward, 2:06:31.1155, 169.360 mph (248 laps/372 miles)

2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Race 1: Alex Palou (Points); Race 2: Scott Dixon (Points)

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

Two laps: Charlie Kimball, 46.5861, 222.556 mph, June 9, 2017

NBC Sports race telecast: 12:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product. NBC’s XPEL 375 race telecast will be simulcast on the streaming service, while Peacock Premium’s exclusive post-race show – featuring driver interviews, podium ceremonies and post- race analysis – will debut following the race.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton and turn announcer Nick Yeoman. Jake Query and Michael Young are the pit reporters. The XPEL 375 race and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

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

Saturday, March 19

9:45-9:55 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES two-stage pit speed limiter practice

10-11 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium

1 p.m. Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Single car, cumulative time of two laps), Peacock Premium (Live)

4-5 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium

Sunday, March 20

11:30 a.m. NBC on air
11:40 a.m. “Drivers, start your engines”
11:45 a.m. XPEL 375 (248 laps / 372 miles), NBC (Live)

Header Image By Joe Skibinski

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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