IndyCars - Texas: We own the night

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It’s time once again for the IndyCars to take to the big banked oval just north of Fort Worth - the Texas Motor Speedway - for the nighttime Super Speedway race on the calendar - the DXC Technology 600!

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This one is short and sweet. For IndyCar fans there are only three races featuring IndyCar drivers - the Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks will race both before and after the IndyCars on Saturday night and the IndyCar will go for 600 kilometers on the 1.5 mile Super Speedway also on Saturday night.
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Let’s look at those Super Trucks:

IndyCar alum Robby Gordon created an off-road truck racing series that utilizes man-made dirt tracks set up inside of stadiums, but later discovered that the 600 horsepower trucks were just as popular - if not more so - when set loose on street and road courses, using metal ramps instead of dirt mounds. For Texas a track is made that utilizes BOTH dirt track and a portion of the big oval, as well. There is also a cross-over incorporated, where trucks are driving underneath other trucks jumping over them.
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Here is the SST track lay-out, at pit-out for the oval

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This weekend the SSTs will feature IndyCar drivers Gordon, series points-leader Matthew Brabham and Indy Lights alum Arie Luyendyk, Jr. among the rest of the regular SST contingent.

Stadium Super Trucks catching air at TMS

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Friday will be a day of practice for the Trucks and for the IndyCars. The IndyCars will practice first, in the morning, then qualify for the race and then hold a nighttime practice to prep for the race on Saturday. The SSTs will then practice late in the night. Let’s get this thing going!

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Friday at Texas - The IndyCars hold their first practice…

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The P-1 session was held at 11:00 am this morning in the heat of the day, and hot it was.

Here was the order of speed for the IndyCar P-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises - time of 00:23.5621s for a speed of 220.014mph

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1 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 00:23.5621s for a speed of 220.014mph

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3 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan - time of 00:23.6045s for a speed of 219.619mph

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4 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:23.6329s for a speed of 219.355mph

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5 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing - time of 00:23.6643s for a speed of 219.064mph

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6 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
7 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
8 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta
9 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
10 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing

11 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
12 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
13 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
14 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport
15 - Will Power, Team Penske
16 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
17 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
18 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
19 - Zachary Claman DeMelo [R], Dale Coyne Racing
20 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

21 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
22 - Max Chilton, Carlin

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Notable:

  • This is supposed to be a Chevy track, as the bow-tie mill has a better top end speed while the Honda has a faster power curve - good for road and street courses - but this is a good mix of Chevy and Honda in the TOP TEN - Four Chevys and six Hondas.

  • Tony Kanaan with a Chevy and Robert Wickens with a Honda were DEAD EVEN on times down to the thousandth of a second. While Kanaan has always been good on ovals, Wickens should not be NEARLY this good, as an oval rookie this year, but this is an exceptional rookie.

  • Gabby Chaves finished this race in P5 last year so his speed is expected. NOT expected is the struggle of Graham Rahal - a previous race WINNER here.

Left to right, speed boys Tony Kanaan & Robert Wickens and Graham Rahal

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The IndyCars will qualify this afternoon.

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Friday afternoon at Texas - The IndyCars are qualified!..

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Qualifying at the big TMS oval is dirt simple: One at a time, the cars go out and do one warm-up lap and then two hot laps. The speeds for those two laps are averaged and the fastest speed is on pole, with everyone lining up in order of speed, accordingly. The track was still very HOT at the time of qualifying.

Here is the way the IndyCars will grid for the DXC Technolgy 600, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; the time is for two laps while the speed is the average of those two laps

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Row 1

Pole - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 00:46.9964s for a speed of 220.613mph

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P2 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske - time of 00:47.0607s for a speed of 220.311mph

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Row 2

P3 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 00:47.0857s for a speed of 220.194mph

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P4 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 00:47.2214s for a speed of 219.561mph

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Row 3

P5 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan - time of 00:47.2772s for a speed of 219.302mph

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P6 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises - time of 00:47.3085s for a speed of 219.157mph

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Row 4

P7 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
P8 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Row 5

P9 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P10 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport

Row 6

P11 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta
P12 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin

Row 7

P13 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing
P14 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 8

P15 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
P16 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport

Row 9

P17 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
P18 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 10

P19 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P20 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Row 11

P21 - Zachary Claman DeMelo [R], Dale Coyne Racing
P22 - Max Chilton, Carlin

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Notable:

  • Team Penske dominated qualifying in their Chevrolets. They were the only guys to break 220 miles per hour. This is the best effort by Simon Pagenaud in a while, as the Frenchman has been in a minor slump. Will Power is a former WINNER at TMS - twice before.

  • Sebastien Bourdais and Robert Wickens hold up the Honda contingent. Bourdais is always very fast at TMS.

  • Don’t be surprised if Charlie Kimball also exerts himself in the race. The Carlin duo had a great race at Detroit and Kimball has always been speedy at Texas.

  • Falling a bit on their faces are Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal - both former WINNERS at Texas - and Gabby Chaves and James Hinchcliffe - both TOP FIVE runners in previous races.

Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe - where is the speed?

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The IndyCars will hold a final practice in the evening, though the sun will not be fully down.

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Friday early evening at TMS - the IndyCars hold final practice…

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…and while the temperature was cooler than mid-day qualifying it was still not NEARLY as cool as the race on Saturday evening will be in the dark, when the track will be some 30 degrees cooler yet. A lot of drivers expressed their annoyance at not having a true night practice, as teams will still be doing a lot of guessing, come race time.

Here was the order of speed for the final practice session for the IndyCars, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:23.5076s for a speed of 220.524mph

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2 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises - time of 00:23.5189s for a speed of 220.418mph

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3 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan - time of 00:23.5460s for a speed of 220.165mph

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4 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - 00:23.5858s for a speed of 219.793mph

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5 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 00:23.6112s for a speed of 219.557mph

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6 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
7 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
8 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
9 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing
10 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport

11 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
12 - Will Power, Team Penske
13 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
14 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta
15 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
16 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
17 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
18 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
19 - Max Chilton, Carlin
20 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

21 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
22 - Zachary Claman DeMelo [R], Dale Coyne Racing

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Notable:

  • Tony Kanaan has been in the TOP SIX all day long, as has Sebastien Bourdais. Scott Dixon - a two-time WINNER at TMS - has been TOP SEVEN all day. The Hondas are once again dominating TOP TEN with only Kanaan and Josef Newgarden in Chevrolets.

  • Finally making an appearance in the TOP FIVE is Graham Rahal, where we expected him to be when the day started. That teammate Takuma Sato is also there bodes well for Rahal Letterman Lanigan.

  • Still struggling is James Hinchcliffe, who obviously is getting nothing out of the good set-up for teammate Robert Wickens.

  • Rookie Zach Veach finally cracks the TOP TEN with teammate Alexander Rossi.

Zach Veach

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The race us scheduled to be broadcast on NBC-SN starting at 8:00pm EASTERN time n Saturday night.

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Friday evening at TMS - the Stadium Super Trucks are qualified…

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Following the evening IndyCar practice the SSTs came out for a practice and qualifying run for their two races on Saturday night. As is the case always with the trucks, the grid will be the reverse order of qualifying - that is, the fastest qualifier starts last and so on. The fastest qualifier on Friday night was IndyCar driver Matthew Brabham, which is often the case. Here is the way they will grid for Race 1 on Saturday: (IndyCar guys are bolded)

#3 – Aaron Bambach
#57 – Bill Hynes
#73 – EJ Chiba
#60 – Cole Potts
#1 – Paul Morris
#68 – Blade Hildebrand
#7 – Robby Gordon
#55 – Gavin Harlien
#25 – Arie Luyendyk Jr
#47 – Jeff Hoffman
#83 – Matt Brabham
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SSTs doing the cross-over at TMS

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The SSTs will run a race before the DXC 600 IndyCar race and once again after the DXC 600.
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Friday at Texas - Racer’s Marshall Pruett speaks to Sebastien Bourdais about practice & qualifying…

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Dale Coyne engineer Craig Hampson details the aero at Texas…

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In this very nice piece provided by Racer magazine, Craig, who engineer Sebastien Bourdais’ car, explains the limitations that IndyCar places on all the teams to control the downforce of the cars at Texas Motor Speedway. These limitations change with every track:

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Thanks, Craig!

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Spotter’s guide - Changes in livery since Detroit…

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This week only a handful of cars are in new livery or with a new driver on board. Let’s see who they are:

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Josef Newgarden was in the black and white Hitachi car at Detroit but returns to the same Verizon car he drove at Indy for Texas - mostly silver:

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Graham Rahal was in the United Rental car at Detroit but takes on a new sponsor - Fleet Cost & Care - for Texas. The colors are similar, however:

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Zachary Claman DeMelo returns to drive the # 19 Paysafe Honda for Dale Coyne, after fellow rookie Santino Ferrucci got to drive in Detroit. The livery has not changed since the Indy 500:

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Ed Carpenter gets to drive his own Ed Carpenter Racing # 20 Chevy instead of Jordan King, who drove in Detroit. The colors are the familiar Fuzzy’s Vodka black and white:

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continued…

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Spotter’s guide - Changes in livery since Detroit…(part 2)…

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Alexander Rossi was in the blue Ruoff Home Mortgages car in Detroit but returns to the familiar NAPA car of blue and yellow for Texas:

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Takuma Sato was in the 5/3 Bank car at Detroit but features a new sponsor - ABeam Consulting - for Texas. The colors are essentially the same, however:

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Saturday evening at TMS - Scott Dixon takes the WIN and a new position on the all-time list…

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…as the Kiwi who has driven for Chip Ganassi for 42 of his now 43 WINS in IndyCar, becomes the sole possessor of 3rd on the all-time WIN list, behind only AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti, and he dd it with authority, controlling the race perfectly once he took over the lead with a great pit stop on lap 130. P2 was Simon Pagenaud for Team Penske in his best finish of the season while P3 went to Alexander Rossi for Andretti Autosport.
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An early leader for the first 60 laps was Josef Newgarden for Team Penske from pole, but he would eventually suffer from a penalty. Out early was Matheus Leist for AJ Foyt whose car caught on fire on lap 7. Matheus was barely able to get out before the # 4 Chevy went fully up in flames. Soon after, the Foyt curse for the night continued as Tony Kanaan brushed the wall in Turn 3, breaking his rear suspension and putting him out, as well.

By lap 60 it was Simon Pagenaud in the lead. He would hold it for a while, then Robert Wickens for Schmidt Peterson got his chance to lead for many laps. Wickens would eventually have a crash-out while trying to regain the lead and contesting for a piece of the track with Ed Carpenter for Ed Carpenter Racing, who was a lap down at the time. Carpenter would later admit fault.

Also crashing out was Will Power who was unaware that Zachary Claman DeMelo for Dale Coyne was in the high groove above him as the Penske driver slid up into him and took out both cars. Up to that point Claman DeMelo was having a great night and had advanced into the TOP TEN from a P21 start. Power would admit fault in the shunt.

Once the race settled into the final stint Dixon was able to slowly get away after every stop or slowing for a caution. The real battle was between Pagenaud and Rossi, who was obviously being held up by Simon. Rossi made many laps hounding Pagenaud but could not find a way past him and settled for P3 and the points.

A great oval race with lots of action and one that was not expected to be nearly as great as it was!

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Notable:

  • On a night that was supposed to be all about the top end power of Chevrolets the dominant engine was clearly the Honda, which held most of the TOP FIVE all night and was the WINNING engine and the P3 through P9 engine.

  • Andretti’s rookie, Zach Veach was having a great night advancing from a P16 start all the way to P3 at one point, but he eventually made a mistake and - like Kanaan - barely brushed the wall in Turn 3, but it was enough to sideline him for 8 laps for repairs. He would finish where he started in P16 - the last running car at the end.

On the podium, with Scott - Simon Pagenaud (left) and Alexander Rossi

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…and a possible podium lost, Zach Veach


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With this result, Dixon takes a firm command of the points, leaving Texas. Here are the TOP FIVE:

1 - Scott Dixon 357
2 - Alexander Rossi 334
3 - Will Power 321
4 - Ryan Hunter-Reay 308
5 - Josef Newgarden 289

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The next stop for the IndyCars is Road America for the Kohler Grand Prix, June 22-24, where they will get full support from all three Mazda Road to Indy series.

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IndyCar has released a Race Re-Mix of the DXC 600…

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Marshall Pruett and Robin Miller speak with Sebastien Bourdais after the race…

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Saturday at Texas - The Stadium Super Trucks hold two races…

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…and as usual, they had the fans on their feet cheering. No video is yet available but we can give you the results:

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Race # 1 was WON by Gavin Harlien. P2 was Paul “the Dude” Morris and P3 was Jeff Hoffman.

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Race # 2 was WON by Matty Brabham while Gavin Harlien was P2 and Robby Gordon was P3

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When video becomes available we will present it in the Off-Season thread, along with updated series points. The Super Trucks next head to Road America, but NOT on the up-coming IndyCar weekend. They will instead be there in late August.

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