While Ryan Hunter-Reay is picking up his firesuit from the dry cleaners, the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series will be en route to the Lone Star State today for this weekend’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Last Sunday, the veteran Andretti Autosport driver capped the doubleheader weekend with his first win since a triumph at Pocono Raceway in 2015. The win by Hunter-Reay also signaled a sweep for Honda in the Motor City, placing Scott Dixon as P1 for Saturday’s race while the hometown Chevrolet entries lagged behind for much of the weekend.
With eight of the 17 rounds complete in this year’s IndyCar championship, the hellacious 10-week stretch of action finally comes to a close this weekend. When the checkered flag flies Saturday night in Texas, teams will get two weeks off before the summer stretch of Road America, Iowa, Toronto and Mid-Ohio commences.
Following his month of May sweep, Team Penske driver Will Power remained hot in Detroit with a 7th place finish on Saturday and a runner-up effort on Sunday. Power leads the IndyCar championship by a scant five points over Detroit winner Scott Dixon, while threats Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden are all within 39 points of the lead.
Additionally, Power is the defending winner of this race. In 2017, the Australia native picked up two victories on ovals by dominating at Texas last June and edging out teammate Josef Newgarden at Pocono back in August.
Thus far in 2018, Power and Newgarden are the only drivers in IndyCar to have won twice, with Sebastien Bourdais, Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon winning once.
A topic of discussion moving forward this season will be the Dallara IR-18’s performance on speedways. While the Indianapolis 500 featured 30 lead changes and was still an exciting affair that would rank higher than a vast majority of the other 101 runnings, high track temperatures and low downforce levels created difficult driving conditions for the IndyCar pilots.
INDYCAR announced this week that they will alter the allowed maximum wing angle to reach negative 3 degrees, a change from the negative 6 degree standard that was released with the rule book in February.
Additionally, teams will not be allowed to run sidewall strakes on the diffuser – an options teams will most likely miss as it is a cheap way of generating downforce on the underside of the car.
Fans had been somewhat spoiled with the incessant lead changes provided by the Indianapolis 500 in recent years and many voiced their opinion during the last two weeks since the 102nd running.
It is important that we caution ourselves to not become attached to artificial competition – similar to another racing series in North America – and become slaves to the “perfect finish” every race. There should be an element of competition and a separation of talent in our country’s premier open wheel racing series.
The best will always rise to the top and put on a show regardless of the rules specifications (see Alexander Rossi, Indianapolis 2018) and to be quite frank, this aero kit has performed wonderfully at all other venues the series has visited this year.
Who will be able to tame the beast Saturday night in 90-degree temperatures? Tune into NBCSN at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for live television coverage of the DXC Technology 600. IndyCar Radio will also be on the call and welcomes in a new pit reporter, Dillon Welch, for his first career broadcast with the historic network.
DXC Technology 600 Fast Facts
Race Weekend: Friday, June 8 – Saturday, June 9
Track: Texas Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval
Race Distance: 248 laps / 357.12 miles
Entry List: DXC Technology 600 (PDF)
Spotter Guide: DXC Technology 600 (PDF)
Past Driver Performance: Texas Motor Speedway (PDF)
Firestone Tire Allotment: Thirteen sets for use through the weekend
Twitter: @TXMotorSpeedway, @IndyCar, #DXC600, #IndyCar
Event Website: www.TexasMotorSpeedway.com
INDYCAR Website: www.IndyCar.com
2017 Race Winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)
2017 Verizon P1 Award Winner: Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Tresiba Honda), 46.5861 seconds, 222.556 mph (two laps)
Qualifying Records (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 seconds, 222.556 mph, June 9, 2017
NBCSN Television Telecasts: Qualifying, 4 p.m. ET Friday, June 8 (live); Race, 8 p.m. ET Saturday, June 9 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN telecasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network Broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query is the turn announcer with Nick Yeoman, Dillon Welch and Michael Young reporting from pit road.
All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.
At-track schedule (all times Central):
Friday, June 8
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
3 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (single car/cumulative time of two laps), NBCSN (3 p.m.)
6:15 – 7:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
Saturday, June 10
7:01 p.m. – Driver introductions
7:40 p.m. – Command to start engines
7:45 p.m. – DXC Technology 600 (248 laps/357.12 miles), NBCSN (Live)