After a few weeks away from the track, the NTT IndyCar Series returns to action this weekend on the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway. There are 27 drivers entered in the event, with a host of former winners looking for their next win. After a morning practice session, starting positions were determined with single-car qualifying. Felix Rosenqvist earned pole position for tomorrow's race with a blistering average speed of 219.865 mph.

Unfortunately, starting on pole is not necessarily a recipe for success at Texas. Only six of the 34 races have been won by the pole sitter. Ryan Briscoe was the last driver to accomplish that feat, back in 2010. Joining Rosenqvist on the front row will be St Petersburg race winner Scott McLaughlin.

This is the second career pole for Rosenqvist, and his first on an oval. Takuma Sato led the way for Honda, and will start 3rd tomorrow alongside Will Power. The two most successful veterans here will start from Row 3 tomorrow in Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves.

Dixon should be considered the favorite on Sunday, as he has won three of the last five races here. In fact, the six-time series champion has led 678 of 1,156 (59 percent) of the laps here over the last five races. “This race is much earlier in the schedule, which is interesting for weather as it will be much cooler,” Dixon said of the 248-lap race. “The goal is to shoot those guns off in Victory Lane and win another cowboy hat.”

Josef Newgarden will start 7th, putting a bow on a fantastic qualifying effort by Team Penske. Rinus VeeKay led the way for the three-car team at Ed Carpenter Racing. Colton Herta, who is still searching for his first win on an oval, starts 9th tomorrow alongside his friend and rival Pato O'Ward.

Just missing out on the top ten during qualifying were Alex Palou, Alexander Rossi, and Romain Grosjean. Marcus Ericsson and Simon Pagenaud round out the top 15 starting spots for tomorrow. Pagenaud was fastest during the morning practice session in his No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda, just ahead of Rosenqvist.

Jimmie Johnson, will be making his IndyCar oval debut in his No. 48 Honda. The Ganassi driver is no stranger to Texas Motor Speedway though. During his NASCAR Cup career, Johnson earned seven wins, two poles, and 16 top-five finishes with a total of 1,152 laps led. The 46-year old will start 18th tomorrow.

“I did find that the line is a little different in the IndyCar,” Johnson said. “Just the potential of the car’s cornering ability allows you to run a little narrower entry and exit. Speed was up tremendously. Also, a slight adjustment in my line.”

“I was really excited to see how many similarities there were from my NASCAR driving experience and car setup to what we had going on with the IndyCar. I want to run every lap of the race. Every lap is going to be a marked amount of experience gained as we’re trying to build up for the Indy 500.”

Johnson is not the only driver making his IndyCar oval debut at Texas. Callum Ilott, Christian Lundgaard, Devlin DeFrancesco, Kyle Kirkwood, and David Malukas are all getting their first taste of oval action this weekend. A couple of familiar faces are making their first starts this weekend. Ed Carpenter will be in a car with a different number, as the team owner fields a third Chevrolet entry in the event. The former Texas race winner will start 21st in his No. 33 car.

JR Hildebrand will be making his first start at Texas since 2017, starting 26th. The veteran is driving the No. 11 Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing at all of the oval races this season. Sato will be making his 200th career IndyCar start tomorrow, and it will be the 50th start for Herta. Both drivers will be aiming for their 7th career win.

It was a rough qualifying session for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, as they occupied three of the final four spots. Jack Harvey starts 24th tomorrow, with Christian Lundgaard in 25th and Graham Rahal 27th. They have their work cut out for them here at Texas after a successful start to the season in St Petersburg.

Seven drivers are taking part in a special on-track session tonight in an effort to put down rubber on a second lane. Carpenter, Castroneves, O’Ward, Power, Rosenqvist, Sato, and Rahal will utilize ten sets of new Firestone tires as they try to lay down rubber on top of the PJ1 in the turns.

Power and Rahal will each get two sets of tires to use. “I was kind of disappointed more people didn’t take advantage of it,” Power stated. “Like, there’s 10 sets of new tires and only six or seven people are taking them. Why wouldn’t you take a set and get some practice on the second line? I’m going to do it. We’ll see what seven cars can do. Not ideal, but better than nothing.”

Drivers will be allowed to increase the downforce on their cars during the 30-minute session, but must return their cars to race specifications for the 60-minute practice.

Coverage for tomorrow’s XPEL 375 at Texas begins at 12:30 PM ET on NBC.