Texas Motor Speedway expects thousands of people this weekend for NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and IZOD IndyCar Series races.
"I'm looking forward to Texas this weekend. I'm ready for the pack racing and we usually run well there. Last year we finished third and we're looking to do better Saturday,” Marco Andretti said.
Andretti’s No. 26 car is one in the field of 30 for the Firestone Twin 275s at TMS this Saturday. The race boasts the most entries of an IndyCar race (excluding the Indy 500) since 1997.
But the amount of cars isn’t as intriguing as the format we’ll see in Fort Worth. For the first time in 30 years, IndyCar will feature twin races. That’s a double-header with two races, two winners, two trophies, two checkered flags and twice the excitement for fans.
“Hopefully we can roll off with a good car. We should be there for both races, even if the field inverts. What’s great about Texas is you can pass there and that means a good car can go to the front ... it’ll be great for fans,” Andretti said.
Andretti’s teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, said the format will be a new challenge for teams. Traditional qualifying sets the grid for the first race. The second race field will be set by a blind draw for position, which takes place after the first race is complete. The pit boxes won’t move on pit road, but teams have only one hour to get their car ready for the second race.
“It’ll be unique to finish a race and in an hour do it all again. It’s going to be interesting. As soon as you start a race … you think I should’ve done this and that to the car. But now you’ll have the opportunity,” Andretti said.
Andretti said the track conditions will change from race to race so fans can expect to truly see a double-header.
"With double-file restarts we are closer together, which for us, takes a lot of precision. Our cars are going so fast ... when our wheels interlock our wings that normally create down-force, now act like an airplane. We can get airborne and it can get ugly. It takes a certain amount of respect when you go out at places like Texas, it is super fast," Andretti added.
According to TMS, each team will have one additional engine that can be used in the second race. Another difference in the races, the points and bonus prizes for first place is divided between the night’s two winners. Each race is 114 laps around the mile and a half quad oval track.
May's Indy 500 winner, Dan Wheldon, will not be racing this weekend. Wheldon, who is a part-time driver, will instead be in the booth for the VERSUS network broadcast.
Friday night is the NASCAR CWTS WinStar World Casino 400. For ticket information for the races, visit: www.texasmotorspeedway.com.