IndyCar »

Texas to be doubleheader twin race event

This year's Texas Firestone 550K is being cut down to size - to form the first doubleheader twin race event in the series for thirty years.
The 2011 IndyCar outing at Texas Motor Speedway is being revamped, with the Firestone 550K being replaced by a new Firestone Twin 275s doubleheader event in June.

Instead of the traditional single long race, the event will consist of two separate races each of half-distance, each of which will pay out half the usual points (25pts for the winner) and bonus prize money ($17,500 for first place).

The twin race format is one that was used by IndyCar around the end of the 1960s and briefly revived by CART a decade later but has not been seen in the competition since 1981.

The first race will run fairly normally with pit boxes set by performances in the preceding oval race (the Indy 500) and the starting grid being decided by regular qualifying sessions the day before, but the second race will have a starting order determined by a blind draw conducted immediately after race 1, which means there will be no pole position bonus point awarded for race 2.

Teams will have an hour between the races to carry out adjustments and any running repairs necessary.

"With the starting field for the second race set by random draw, you could see the winner from the first race starting from the back of the field, creating quite a bit of drama," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for IndyCar. "If a car suffers damage and fails to finish the first race, there will be an opportunity for the driver to rejoin in the second race as we will have extra engines available for use in their back-up chassis.

"We want to make sure we're ensuring a strong field for Race 2 to keep the excitement and momentum going throughout the entire event."

The shake-up of the long-standing June Texas event is an attempt to counter complaints that the long-distance event can flag in the middle as drivers simply "put in the laps" before things get competitive toward the end. A similar discussion has been taking place in NASCAR with some top drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. saying that race distances have to be reduced to improve the spectacle for fans.

"You have to love the open-mindedness of the IndyCar officials for randomly selecting the starting lineup of the second Firestone Twin 275," said Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage. "It guarantees a real jumble, an incredible shootout in the second race. Different strategies are going to be employed for each race. What a night of racing this will be."

The dusk/night time races will take place on the evening of June 11 starting at 6pm local time.

The 1.5-mile banked oval Texas Motor Speedway at Fort Worth has been one of IndyCar's most visited circuits, having been used twice a season seven times since it opened in 1997 for a total of 21 appearances on the IndyCar calendar.

The circuit did not exist last time IndyCar staged any twin race double-header events. There were four such twin races held in 1968 and three in 1969, a total of 13 between 1967 and 1974 before they fell into disuse. The CART series revived the format with three races in 1979 and one further, final twin race at Atlanta in June 1981 which saw Rick Mears score a clean sweep.

In all 17 races, the running order for the second race was determined by the finishing order of the first, so the 'blind draw' will be a wholly new element in the proceedings.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Texas Motor Speedway   [pic credit:]
Will Power Texas
Detroit IndyCar race start
Esteban Gutierrez IndyCar Detroit
Graham Rahal Detroit IndyCar 2017
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Sebastien Bourdais Indy 500 practice
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Max Chilton Indy 500 2017
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
Sebastien Bourdais headshot
Sebastien Bourdais Indy 500 practice 2017
Ed Carpenter Indy 500 practice 2
Ed Carpenter Indy 500 practice
Max Chilton IndyCar 2017
Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing 2017
Johnny Rutherford, McLaren-Honda-Andretti [Credit: McLaren Racing]
JR Hildebrand, IndyCar, Ed Carpenter Racing

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.