GMR Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

By: Spencer Neff
May 14, 2021

This weekend, the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins. As has become tradition since 2014, the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Speedway, Indiana will host the GMR Grand Prix on Saturday.

After a week off, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES takes to the road course at the famed speedway for the ninth time, including a doubleheader in October. Last year, the event was postponed from its scheduled May 9 date to July 4 in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Headlines

Two weeks ago, the series ran its first oval track of the season in Texas Motor Speedway, with two races on the 1.5-mile oval.

On Saturday afternoon, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon led 206 of 212 laps en route to his first win of the season. The next day, Dixon led 163 laps but faded late, allowing Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward to score his first victory.

O’Ward celebrated his first career win on May 2 (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Despite falling short of the sweep, Dixon holds a 22-point lead over O’Ward in the standings after four races. The six-time series champion heads into this weekend as the defending event winner.

This weekend, two popular veteran drivers make their return to the series. Charlie Kimball will drive for A.J. Foyt Racing with Juan Pablo Montoya joining Arrow McLaren SP. Both drivers will drive for the respective organizations as they attempt to make the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Now, here is some info to get you prepared for this weekend’s action.

Author’s Trivia: Despite Dixon’s win, Team Penske has dominated at the IMS Road Course, winning all but one race (2014-Schmidt Peterson Hamilton with Simon Pagenaud). Until Dixon and Josef Newgarden won in 2020, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power had won every race at the track.

GMR Grand Prix Fast Facts

Pit Assignments Spotter Guide Entry List

Race weekend: Friday, May 14 – Saturday, May 15

The start of the 2020 GMR Grand Prix (Image by Walt Kuhn/INDYCAR)

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course (clockwise)

Race distance: 85 laps / 207.3 miles

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time, with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate (Note: An seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #ThisIsMay, #IndyCar

Event website: www.ims.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2020 race winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda)

2020 NTT P1 Award winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 1:10.1779, 125.116 mph.

Qualifying lap record: Will Power, 1:07.7044, 129.687 mph, May 12, 2017 (Set in Round 3 of knockout qualifying)

NBC Sports race telecasts: 

Qualifying, 6 p.m. ET Friday, NBCSN (Same-day delay);

GMR Grand Prix, 2 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC (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.

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.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman and Jake Query are the turn announcers. The GMR Grand Prix will 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):

Friday, May 14 (All times are local)

9:30-10:15 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium

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

4:30 p.m. Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of NTT INDYCAR SERIES knockout qualifications), Peacock Premium (Live)

Saturday, May 15

10:45-11:15 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium

2 p.m.  NBC on air

2:39 p.m. “Drivers, start your engines”

2:45 p.m. GMR Grand Prix (85 laps/207.3 miles), NBC (Live)

Header Image By James Black/INDYCAR

Betting Preview: GMR Grand Prix

By: Joe Branch
May 14, 2021

Back home again, in the month of May!  The NTT Indycar Series is set to race in Indianapolis, in the month of May! This Saturday will be the 10th race on the road course at IMS since its inception in 2014, including the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader held in the fall of 2020.

Team Penske has absolutely dominated this track. They have won 7 of the 9 races held at the world’s greatest race course.

With the only two outliers being Scott Dixon in the July race of 2020 and the inaugural event which saw Simon Pagenaud take the checkered flag when he was driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

The road course at Indianapolis tends to be a race that is fairly pure, meaning there aren’t usually many cautions and overall pace usually wins out.

Favorites

Given Penske’s success here it is no surprise to see Josef Newgarden come into this weekend as the odds on favorite at +500 (5 to 1).

In July 2020, Dixon earned his first win at the IMS Road Course following three consecutive runner-up finishes (Image by Walt Kuhn/INDYCAR)

5 to 1 is pretty good odds for a favorite in any weekend but I especially like these odds because of how “straightforward” the GP of Indy has been in the past. The championship leader, Scott Dixon comes in at +550 (5.5 to 1).

Good value for a favorite can be found in Will Power this weekend. I expected Will to be the favorite this weekend so his 6.5 to 1 odds are a pleasant surprise. Will has a long history of dominating this race course. Power has four wins in the GP including the last fall race in 2020.

He has also won the pole at Indy in 5 of the 9 races, so if you’re going to bet Power, do it before qualifying as he is sure to be a sharp end of the grid.

Value Picks

As stated above this race is usually straightforward and rarely gets turned upside down by a random caution.

This can make the value picks and long shots less appealing. That being said, there are a few that at least are intriguing.

Graham Rahal has finished second on the IMS Road Course twice, including last year (Walt Kuhn/INDYCAR)

Graham Rahal is at +1800 (18 to 1), Graham has always raced well here, though he has often struggled with the qualifying pace which leaves him with an uphill battle on race day.

In the three races held at the Indy Road Course in 2020, the veteran finished 2nd, 7th, and 7th. He seems to always be there and with a little lady luck, we could definitely see the #15 car riding the lift up to victory circle.

Value can also be found in +2000 (20 to 1) for Alexander Rossi. Rossi hasn’t been as high as 20 to 1 going into a race weekend in a long time.

Rossi’s recent misfortunes in not finishing races so far this season is definitely the reason for the longer odds. However, he finished on the podium in both of the fall races last year at Indy and has proven to have pace this year so this could be a breakout race for him.

Alex Palou can also be worth a look here at +1600 (16 to 1).  Given his pace on old tires at Barber, this race could have a similar feel as it is 85 laps on the 2.439 mile course. 

Long Shots

Harvey earned a career-best start at IMS’ Road Course in 2020 (Second) and his career-best finish (Third) a year earlier (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

I’ve liked this guy as a long shot in several road course races of late, hopefully it pays off eventually, but Jack Harvey is +3500 (35 to 1) this weekend.  This track was Harvey’s breakout race in 2019 with a podium finish.  He has been near the front a few times here and continues to knock on the door of his first win.

        A hail mary of a long shot could be found in Conor Daly +12500 (125 to 1).  Daly has led some laps here in the past however has struggled on pace so far this season. 

Joe’s Picks

Favorites: Will Power 6.5 to 1

Value: Graham Rahal 18 to 1 and Alexander Rossi 20 to 1

Long Shots: Jack Harvey 35 to 1

Odds are from DraftKings as of 5/13 Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Rewind: 2016 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis

By: Spencer Neff
May 13, 2021

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. On Saturday, the GMR Grand Prix on the road course begins the month of May.

As we begin the eighth pre-Indianapolis 500 race on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, IndyCar1909 takes a look back at the 2016 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which became a defining race for one of the series’ biggest stars.

Pagenaud dominates for third straight victory

Domination in the VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES had become more than familiar to Roger Penske and the Team Penske outfit. By 2016, it would come from their newest driver though.

After going winless during his first season with the team in 2015, Simon Pagenaud came into the month of May with two straight wins.

Coupled with Juan Pablo Montoya’s season-opening win at St.Petersburg, the team won three of the first four races. With the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, keeping that string of success going would be pivotal for the team.

Race Recap

Pagenaud continued his hot streak by claiming the pole for the third race at the IMS Road Course, with a best lap of 127.832 miles per hour. The 2014 race winner earned his first pole at the track and third of the season.

Simon Pagenaud and Team Penske celebrate after winning the pole for the Angie’s List Grand Prix (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

For the third straight year, the opening of the 82-lap race was marred by a multi-car accident. On the front straightaway, Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan made contact, sending Kanaan into KV Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais.

With Kanaan and Bourdais unable to continue on their own, the caution flag was thrown. Although Kanaan was unable to continue, Bourdais fell several laps behind but was able muster 20 circuits from his Dallara-Chevrolet before ultimately falling out of the race in 24th.

Pagenaud continued to lead up front through the race’s first stint, with outside pole sitter Charlie Kimball of Chip Ganassi Racing and Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing took turns at the front during the initial sequence of pit stops.

After the cycle end, Pagenaud continued to lead. On Lap 38, Bourdais stalled outside of Turn 2, prompting the second caution of the afternoon. During the yellow flag, Ed Carpenter Racing’s JR Hildebrand stalled on the back straightaway as well.

The field races by as Bourdais and Kanaan collide on Lap 1 (Doug Mathews/INDYCAR)

Pagenaud’s teammate Helio Castroneves was among the drivers to use the yellow to his advantage, as the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner took hold of the race lead on Lap 41 after stopping while the race was under green.

On the Lap 46 restart, Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly took over the lead of the race from Castroneves and remained up front for 14 laps, the longest stretch of anyone outside of Pagenaud.

During the las pit stop sequence, Castroneves jumped back in front for two more laps. Ultimately, Pagenaud retook the lead on Lap 62 and went unchallenged from there.

In finishing 4.475 seconds ahead of his teammate, Pagenaud earned the widest margin of victory in the race’s brief history. Team Penske earned their fourth win of the season, second 1-2 finish of 2016 and Pagenaud scored three consecutive victories. After starting third, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe claimed the last step on the podium.

Analysis

Simon Pagenaud crosses the Yard of Bricks to win the 2016 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

In winning the race, Pagenaud extended his points lead over Dixon to 76. Following a runner-up finish to Montoya in the season opener, he led the points standings the rest of the season. At the season finale in Sonoma, he won from the pole, securing a 127-point championship margin over WIll Power.

To date, the Penske teammates have won all but two races on the IMS Road Course. A week following his third-place finish, Hinchcliffe thrilled the IndyCar community by winning the pole for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, just over a year after a near-fatal practice crash at the speedway.

During the Grand Prix, Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Rookie Alexander Rossi set fastest lap of the race (1m09.5535-126.240 mph). It would be a precursor for a career-changing month. Using precise fuel strategy with Car Co-Owner Bryan Herta, Rossi won the 100th Indianapolis 500.

Header Image By Mike Harding/INDYCAR

Stefan Wilson joins Andretti Autosport for Indianapolis 500

By: Spencer Neff
May 4, 2021

On Tuesday, the entry list for the 105th Indianapolis 500 grew. Andretti Autosport made the announcement this morning of a new partnership with golf apparel provider LOHLA SPORT and the newly-formed Cusick Motorsports, entering Stefan Wilson to attempt his third Indianapolis 500.

“We’re excited to not only welcome Stefan back to the team, but also to have a new partner in LOHLA SPORT come on board to experience their first Indy 500,” Michael Andretti, Chairman and CEO, Andretti Autosport noted in today’s press release.

“We have a great history with the Wilson family and we’re hopeful we can build on successes we’ve had in the past this May.”

Wilson’s Indianapolis 500 livery (Andretti Autosport/Twitter)

Wilson previously entered the “500” with Andretti in 2018, starting 23rd and finishing 15th. In that race, he led three laps before pitting with five to go.

In his career, the Sheffield, England native has made two other starts including 2013 at Baltimore with Dale Coyne Racing (started 21st, finished 16th).

In 2016, he made his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, starting 30th and completing 119 laps before electrical issues dropped him out of the race.

“After leading laps with Andretti Autosport at the Indianapolis 500 in 2018, I’m hungry to return and finish the job,” Wilson noted.

“I’ve worked tirelessly to make this return happen and I am so thankful that LOHLA SPORT has believed in me to represent them. It’s a dream come true to rejoin Andretti and also partner with Honda once more in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. 

Stefan Wilson at the Indianapolis 500 in 2018 (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

The enthusiasm for their new venture is matched by new partner Cusick Motorsports.

“As a lifelong INDYCAR fan I have always wanted to attend the Indianapolis 500 live, but never found my way there until now,” said Don Cusick, who started the “business incubator” in racing with his wife Carolyn.

“Thankfully the stars aligned this year, meeting Stefan Wilson and creating this amazing partnership. From casually asking Stefan if he had any contacts for great seats at Indy and half-jokingly telling him the best seat would have him driving in it.”

As was the case in his previous two entries, Wilson carries the No. 25 his brother Justin drove in his last race in 2015, when he was fatally injured during a crash at Pocono Raceway.

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

In Memoriam: Bobby Unser

By: Spencer Neff
May 3, 2021

On Sunday night, the racing world lost one of its greatest competitors and biggest personalities. Bobby Unser passed away from natural causes in his Albuquerque, New Mexico home at the age of 87.

The second son of a family that had already begun its racing legacy, Unser was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado but his family moved to Albuquerque less than two years later. The second-generation racer showcased the talent his Uncle Louis Unser Jr. had possessed, winning the Southwest Modified Stock Car Series title in 1950.

Following a brief stint in the U.S. Air Force, Unser joined his brothers Jerry jr. and Al on the USAC Champ Car circuit.

In 1955, the brothers debuted at Colorado Springs’ famed Pikes Peak Hill Climb, where Louis had won a record nine times. Bobby would earn a fifth-place finish, behind his brothers. A year later, he won the event for the first time. By 1958, he began a six-year winning streak in the event, which brother Al stopped with two consecutive wins in 1964 and 1965.

1963 would also prove significant for Bobby Unser as he made his Indianapolis 500 debut, the first USAC race he qualified for on pavement. After starting 16th, he would finish 33rd after a Lap 4 crash.

Unser during his 1963 Indianapolis 500 debut in his Kurtis/Novi entry (IMS/INDYCAR)

The next year, Unser broke through for his first win on pavement, scoring two consecutive victories at the Mosport Park road course (now known as Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) in Canada.

By 1968, Unser had begun to solidify his place among racing’s best. Capping off a stretch of four victories, he earned his first Indianapolis 500 win the Leader Card team of Bob Wilke. After a season that included another win at Pikes Peak, Unser claimed his first USAC championship.

During qualifying for the 1972 Indianapolis 500, he was one of four drivers to break the track record, ultimately setting a new one- and four-lap record (196.678 and 195.940 mph). Unser became the first driver to eclipse the 190 miles per hour mark at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After winning his second USAC Championship in 1974 with Oscar Olson’s Olsonite team, Unser moved on to Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers Team.

Gurney had finished second to Unser at Indianapolis in 1968. At the 1975 Indianapolis 500, Unser was able to get past Johnny Rutherford and clinched his second “500” win as the race was called early when rain hit with 174 of 200 laps completed.

Over the next six years, Unser won 15 more times across USAC and CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams), the latter of which was formed in 1979.

The Victory Lane celebration begins for Unser after his second Indianapolis 500 win in 1975 (IMS/INDYCAR)

In 1981, he started on the pole for the second time at the Indianapolis 500. After the race, months of controversy over allegations of improper passing under the caution between he and Patrick Racing’s Mario Andretti.

By October, Unser’s third victory in the race was upheld as he previously earned with Roger Penske. Unser is the only driver to win three Indianapolis 500s with three different car owners. The victory was the 35th and final of his career. Unser’s 49 career IndyCar pole positions ranks him fifth all-time, the last of his 49 came in his final start at Phoenix Raceway.

Although he dabbled in racing (mostly as a test driver) in the years following the unofficial end to his career, Unser began to focus on the next chapter of his life.

Along with his decorated IndyCar career, Unser holds the record with 10 championships and 13 overall wins at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, as well as the 1975 International Race of Champions (IROC) title.

During the 1980s, Unser began working at NBC and ABC as a color analyst for the networks’ motorsports coverage. In 1987, he worked his first Indianapolis 500 for ABC as brother Al won his record-tying fourth race in what became an emotional moment for the brothers.

Unser’s 19th and last “500” ended with him winning from the pole, the only driver to do so in their final Indianapolis 500 (IMS/INDYCAR)

Along with his broadcasting career, he drove the pace car for the race in 1989 and 1992. During the 1992 race, nephew Al Jr. became the first second-generation winner of the race. While Unser stepped away from the broadcast booth in 1997, the Unser name continued to make history at IMS.

In 1998, his son Robby qualified for his first Indianapolis 500. After starting 21st, the third-generation driver worked his way to fifth and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Robby was joined in his two starts (1998 and 1999) by cousin Johnny, whose father Jerry Jr. was fatally injured during practice for the 1959 Indianapolis 500.

Bobby Unser remained a popular figure around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he’d make appearances.

Competitors, fans and others throughout the racing community admired not only his on-track legacy but his outgoing, no-nonsense attitude off of it. IndyCar1909 thanks Bobby Unser for his contributions to the racing world and we offer condolences to the Unser family.

Header Image By Ron McQueeney/INDYCAR

Texas Motor Speedway: Sunday Recap

By: Spencer Neff
May 2, 2021

After a record-setting Saturday race, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned to the Texas Motor Speedway for the XPEL 375. Unlike previous oval doubleheaders, Sunday’s race would be 36 laps longer than Saturday’s Genesys 300.

Here’s the rundown from the 248-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.

O’Ward takes first career victory

XPEL 375 Results

Following a number of close calls, Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward won his first career IndyCar race. In his 26th start, the Monterey, Mexico native won the XPEL 375 by 1.2443 seconds over Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.

This is the fourth different winner in four races to start 2021 and second first-time winner. After three consecutive wins for drivers with Honda engines, Chevrolet scored a 1-2 finish. Three different Honda teams occupied the next three spots.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing (the points leader and Saturday winner who led 163 of 248 laps) and Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta completed the top five.

O’Ward celebrates in Victory Lane (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

O’Ward joins Billy Boat (June 1998), Mark Dismore (October 1999) and Jeff Ward (June 2002) as drivers to score their first IndyCar win at Texas. He is the fifth driver from Mexico to win an IndyCar race as well. The last time one of his countrymen won was Adrian Fernandez, who scored his 11th and final victory at Fontana in 2004.

Arrow McLaren SP also earns their first victory since making the switch to Chevrolet engines for 2020.

The last time they won was at Iowa Speedway in 2018 (James Hinchcliffe). It is also the first time since 2016 that Chevrolet has won with a team other than Team Penske, when Josef Newgarden won at Iowa Speedway with Ed Carpenter Racing.

Race Recap

Like Saturday, the lineup for Sunday’s race was decided via entrant points, meaning teammates Dixon and Alex Palou led the field to the green flag.

Further back in the pack, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi collided with A.J. Foyt;’s Sebastien Bourdais, triggering a multi-car collision. Seven drivers were involved, with Carlin Racing’s Conor Daly flipping twice down the front straightaway.

The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing team and Scott Dixon were awarded the NTT P1 Award after qualifying was canceled (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Ed Jones, Alexander Rossi and Dalton Kellett were also involved. Fittipaldi told the NBCSN broadcast he sprained a finger but luckily no other injuries were reported.

Only Hinchcliffe and Kanaan continued but Hinchcliffe only made it to Lap 116, as the Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport driver fell out of the race with mechanical issues.

Once thew race went back to green on Lap 20 following the initial yellow, Dixon was able to hold a comfortable lead over Palou.

Through the first pit stops, the Ganassi drivers remained 1-2. On Lap 117, Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey fell out of the race, prompting the second yellow flag of the day. Following the pit stops under caution, teams began to strategize for making it to the end of the race on a single additional pit stop.

In doing so, the lead changed hands twice. On Lap 141, Rahal took the lead. 12 laps later, Dixon went back ton the front as the fuel-saving continued.

The collision on the opening lap (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

With 58 to go, another wrinkle got thrown into the mix as Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist lost a wheel coming out of the pits. Fortunately, the wheel stopped in Turn 3 without making contact with anyone else. The caution was displayed for the third time on the day.

During the Lap 199 restart, RLLR’s Takuma Sato held the lead. Four laps later, Newgarden was able to use his fresher tires as he and O’Ward got passed him. After laying back during the opening of the final stint, O’Ward took the lead from Newgarden with 23 to go.

From there, O’Ward hung on and earned the victory, lifting him up to second in the points, 22 behind Dixon.

O’Ward celebrated with a post-race burnout before heading to Victory Lane (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Up Next

After a weekend off, the month of May begins in earnest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On May 14 and 15, the series heads to the 2.438-mile, 14-turn road course in Speedway, Indiana. First practice for the GMR Grand Prix is set for 9:30 a.m. Eastern on May 14.

For the latest on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and more, stay with IndyCar1909.com. All social media platforms available will be listed at the bottom of the webpage.

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Texas Motor Speedway: Saturday Recap

By: Spencer Neff
May 1, 2021

For the first of two doubleheaders scheduled for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2021, the field visited their first oval for the season. Here’s a recap of how the first day of the weekend played out.

Dixon grabs points lead with dominant win

Genesys 300 Results

In what felt like a repeat of 2020 at Texas, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon won the Genesys 300 on Saturday night. After leading 206 of 212 laps, the six-time champion finished .2646 of a second in front of Team Penske rookie Scott McLaughlin, who earned his first career podium finish.

Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward finished third, with Dixon’s teammate Alex Palou finishing fourth and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal rounding out the Top 5.

For Dixon, it is his 51st career win, a record-setting fifth at the 1.5-mile oval and breaks a tie with A.J. Foyt as he has now won in 19 seasons during his 21-year career.

Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Race Recap

After starting on the pole by virtue of entrant points, Palou led the way for the first two laps of Saturday evening’s race. By. Lap 3, teammate Dixon took control of the race. During the end of the first stint as drivers began pitting, Newgarden made contact with A.J. Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais.

After spinning and making contact with the Turn 2 wall, the caution flag flew for the first time on the day. Before the field went back to green on Lap 72, Newgarden was given a penalty for avoidable contact and sent to the back of the field.

Dixon continued to lead over Palou throughout the following stints but a challenge emerged in former teammate Rosenqvist. On Lap 160, Rosenqvist battled with Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe drifted up into the high groove of the track and spun into the Turn 2 wall. Despite a hard crash, he walked away from the incident.

The second caution of the day provided an opportunity for the leaders to pit. During his stop, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson lost the outside rear tire exiting pit road. In avoiding Ericsson, Rosenqvist was slowed as he drifted toward the infield grass.

With 23 to go, Colton Herta’s rocky start to 2021 continued as the Andretti Autosport driver was forced out of the race due to a brake fire.

As those issues continued, Dixon held on to his dominant race victory.

Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Kanaan tops lone Practice

Practice 1 Results

In his first on-track session of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, Tony Kanaan was fastest during the 90-minute practice at Texas Motor Speedway. The 2004 Texas 1 Races Winner and Series Champion began his 24th season of IndyCar competition by turning a best lap of 220.173 miles per hour (23.5451 seconds).

Kanaan finished .0256 of a second ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, the fastest Chevrolet entry. Following a lengthy delay to dry the track amid inclement weather.

With qualifying canceled, an extra premium was placed on the only pre-race session on track. The lack of qualifying enabled points leader Alex Palou to start up front for the first time in his 17th career start.

Palou and the No. 10 celebrate after being awarded the pole position (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Up Next

Here is the schedule for tomorrow’s event. Stay with IndyCar1909.com for the latest on the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader. All times listed below are track local-(Central Time)

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)

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

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

Betting Preview: Texas 2…. Step

By: Joe Branch
April 30, 2021

What’s better than two races in two weeks? How about two races in two nights!?!?  The NTT Indycar Series hit the high speed oval of Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Genesys 300 and the XPEL 375. 

Texas was once a very unpredictable, anything can happen, type of race.  However, a few years back, track officials rebanked and repaved turns 1 and 2. This created a one lane, track position track in which it is all but impossible to pass for position.  The race will be won and lost during pit sequences and tire wear.  

This weekend is a two day show with the first and only practice starting at 12:30 PM ET on Saturday.  Qualifying begins at 4 and then the race itself goes green at 7 PM.  This means you will want to get your bets in for the first race before practice on Saturday. 

The betting sites often pull down the odds as the first practice begins, with the short turn around in between qualifying and the race, it’s possible that there won’t be another chance to bet or the window might be small.  

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

Qualifying for the two races this weekend will take place in one session.  Drivers’ first lap will qualify them for race one and their second lap will qualify for race two.  We will preview race one below. 

When the oddsmakers post the odds for the 2nd race, it will be based off of the end result of race one.  When looking for value look for the driver that had a really fast car but maybe had some bad luck in race one.

The Favorites

Six time series champion and four time Texas winner Scott Dixon comes into Texas as the favorite at +400 (4 to 1).  Dixon is also the defending winner of this race.  Here is the wild card, Chip Ganassi Racing didn’t test at Texas when 17 other drivers did at the end of March. Will that put them behind the eight ball when they only have one practice on Saturday?

The Penske duo of Will Power and Josef Newgarden come in at +500 (5 to 1).  Both are former winners here. 

Will Power has won twice at Texas Motor Speedway (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Newgarden finished 3rd last year after qualifying on the pole.  Power struggled during the race and finished 13th.  Patricio O’Ward also comes in +850 (8.5 to 1).  Pato was fastest in the March test.

Value

Colton Herta shows some good value at +1200 (12 to 1).  Coming off of last week’s win Colton is 4th in points which means he will be one of the last to go out in qualifying, this is a huge advantage.  Herta finished 7th last year after starting 14th and has proved to be one of the few that could get passes done in the past few years at Texas.  

Colton Herta looks to follow up on a dominant win at St. Petersburg (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Another potential value pick is Alex Palou +2000 (20 to 1.)  Chip Ganassi was really strong at Texas last year and that’s probably why they decided to skip the March test. 

If the pace is still there, the 10 car was very quick last year before Rosenqvist made contact with the safer-barrier.  Palou will also have the advantage of going out last in qualifying as the points leader.

Long Shots

At first glance, I didn’t think this race was a race for long shots, and then the odds posted and Tony Kanaan is listed at +4000 (40 to 1) in a Ganassi Car.  Ed Carpenter who is a former winner at Texas and finished 4th last year is +4500 (45 to 1.)

Other options if you like the longshots include Jack Harvey and Conor Daly (with Carlin) both at +5000 (50 to 1).  

My Picks

Ed Carpenter is one of three drivers making their 2021 debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Favorite: Scott Dixon 4 to 1

Value: Colton Herta 12 to 1 and Alex Palou 20 to 1

Long Shots: Tony Kanaan 40 to 1 and Ed Carpenter 45 to 1

Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

Rewind: 2011 Firestone Twin 275s

By: Spencer Neff
April 29, 2021

This weekend, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Genesys 300 and Sunday’s XPEL 375.

It will be the third doubleheader on an oval since the beginning of 2020.

For the latest installment of Rewind, IndyCar1909 will look back at the last doubleheader on the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, the 2011 Firestone Twin 275s.

Franchitti and Power’s Championship Battle continues

After a thrilling Indianapolis 500, IndyCar’s next two races, at Texas Motor Speedway, were even more anticipated.

In a stunning turn of events, Panther Racing rookie JR Hildebrand crashed in Turn 4 on the final lap, allowing Dan Wheldon to win in a one-off with Bryan Herta Autosport.

Alex Tagliani and the No. 77 team earned their second consecutive pole position (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Thirteen days later, Hildebrand returned seeking redemption while Wheldon joined the Versus television broadcast.

Two days before the race, Hildebrand tore his ACL in a promotional event but was able to continue with a knee brace.

Despite engineer Allen McDonald rejoining Andretti Autosport, Sam Schmidt Motorsports Alex Tagliani won the pole for Race 1 on Saturday evening.

The starting grid for Race 2 would be determined by a random draw. The points for each race would be split in half.

Race 1 Recap

For the first time since 1981 (Atlanta Motor Speedway), IndyCar schedule a doubleheader at the same track. After starting second, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti took the lead on the first lap, leading 49 of the first 50 laps.

After the cycle of green flag pit stops, the three-time champion regained the top spot on Lap 54. Despite a crash involving Charlie Kimball and Wade Cunningham on Lap 94, the racing was tame during the opening event.

In the final 11 laps, Franchitti held on and beat out teammate Scott Dixon by .054 a second to win for the second time in 2011 and the 28th time in his career.

Franchitti cut his deficit in the standings to Will Power from 16 to seven. In the first 114-lap race, the Team Penske driver and points leader finished third.

Franchitti earned his first win at Texas Motor Speedway in Race 1 (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Grid Draw

Between the two races, all 30 drivers took turns drawing for a starting spot in Race 2.

On stage at the start-finish line, event sponsor and tire provider Firestone set up 30 tires numbered 1-30. KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan drew the pole position, with Power drawing third, as he looked to extend his points lead.

After a dominant victory in Race 1, Franchitti would start 28th in his attempt to sweep the evening.

Race 2 Recap

Kanaan took full advantage of the pole position and led the first 38 laps of the 114-lap event. By then, Power was able to usurp the lead from him as the Australian would remain in front for 60 of the next 66 laps.

As the race went on caution-free, fuel mileage became the name of the game. During the waning laps, 2008 Texas winner Scott Dixon and 2010 winner Ryan Briscoe also took their turn at the front.

With six laps to go, Power made his way back to the front and stayed there. In the end, he won the second 114-lap race by .981 of a second over Dixon, who started 18th.

The race’s 206.693 mph average speed was the second-fastest in series history and the first caution-free race at Texas.

Known early in his career as a road and street course ace, Will Power earned his first win on an oval in Race 2 (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Power’s teammates Briscoe and Helio Castroneves finished third and fourth. Kanaan stayed toward the front and rounded out the Top Five. After starting 28th in the 30-car field, Franchitti ended the evening in seventh.

It was the 12th win of Power’s career but the first of his on an oval.

Analysis

Following the doubleheader, Power left Texas with a 21-point advantageover Franchitti. Unfortunately, the late-season collapse that saw Franchitti take the 2010 title repeated itself in 2011.

Franchitti clinched the title with an 18-point advantage following a runner-up finish at Kentucky. The final round of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was called off following a Lap 10 crash that claimed the life of Wheldon.

The winners of the Firestone Twin 275s would be the main contenders for the title. (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

After some concerns over the “pack” nature of racing on super speedways like Texas in the wake of Wheldon’s passing, IndyCar returned to Texas in 2012.

This time, the race returned to its single race, 228-lap format that had been used from 2007 to 2010.

This weekend’s doubleheader at TMS will be the first on a super speedway (track greater than 1.3-miles in distance) since the 2011 running.

Header Image By Dana Garrett/INDYCAR

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