While the Toyota Indy 400 at the California Speedway is the main initial focus of all the leading IRL IndyCar Series teams, three of the squad's involved in this year's thrilling title chase are already looking further ahead, to the venue that will host this season's Championship showdown.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Andretti Green Racing and Panther Racing will all visit the ultra-fast 1.5-mile Texas tri-oval that will host the season-ending Chevy 500 on October 12th during the upcoming month.

Although a bad result for any of the five remaining Championship contenders in Fontana could well scupper their hopes before they even travel to the 'Lone Star State,' the unpredictable nature of this year's points battle makes a final round showdown almost a certainty.

Making the prospects even more delicious is the fact that the only title contending outfit without a test set at the Texas Motor Speedway is Marlboro Team Penske, whose drivers Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran sit first and fourth in the standings. The Brazilian duo will enter the final weekend of the season with the data they gathered in June's Bombardier 500, where Castroneves finished seventh and de Ferran eighth.

Kick-starting the testing trend on Monday September 15th will be Target Chip Ganassi Racing with drivers Scott Dixon, who is second in points, 12 behind Castroneves, and Tomas Scheckter, who won the pole for this year's June Texas event.

At the end of the following week, Andretti-Green Racing and driver Bryan Herta will pass through the TMS gates as Herta gathers data for mid-season Championship leader Tony Kanaan, who currently sits third in the points table, two behind Dixon.

As race week nears, Panther Racing, currently the hottest property in the IRL thanks to two wins out of the last three races for Sam Hornish Jr, will spend two days at TMS as they look to complete one of the most unlikely come-from-behind Championship victories in recent memories.

The departing Hornish Jr, who won last year's Chevy 500 to clinch his second straight IRL driver's crown, will be joined on both days by his Infiniti Pro Series teammate Mark Taylor, who could find himself strapped into the #4 Pennzoil sponsored Dallara-Chevrolet and not his usual IRL mount as John Barnes' outfit search for every last thousandth of a second.

 

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