Track Talk: Texas is 'Second Home of IndyCar Racing'

Updated: 

Event dates: June 5-6, 2020.

Tickets: Tickets went on sale Wednesday morning at texasmotorspeedway.com/tickets/. There's not a bad seat in the house, but consider sitting either toward at the exit of Turn 4 or the entrance to Turn 1. In each case, the visual is of the cars coming straight toward you. It's fabulous.

The circuit: The 1.5-mile oval, knows as the “Second Home of IndyCar Racing,” joined the series schedule in 1997 with Arie Luyendyk’s victory coming a week after winning his second Indianapolis 500. That Texas race is remembered for a victory lane scuffle when Billy Boat’s team owner, A.J. Foyt, roughed up Luyendyk for the driver contesting USAC’s decision to honor Boat as the winner. Hours later, USAC’s timing and scoring system confirmed Luyendyk was the rightful winner.

Close finishes: Three of the closest nine finishes in Indy car history have occurred at Texas Motor Speedway, including fifth on the list (0.0080 seconds in 2016), sixth on the list (0.0096 in October 2002) and ninth on the list (0.0111 seconds in June 2002). The sport’s season finale in 2002 was particularly noteworthy as Sam Hornish Jr. held off Helio Castroneves not only for the race win but also the series championship. Texas has had seven finishes where the separation between first and second was less than 0.060 seconds.

Texas Motor SpeedwayOther notable wins: Several drivers call their Texas race wins the key moment in their careers. That’s where Billy Boat, Mark Dismore and Jeff Ward got their only Indy car victories. Al Unser Jr. earned the last of his 34 race wins there. Sam Hornish Jr.’s third win at Texas was his last Indy car victory. Officially, Will Power scored the first of his nine oval victories there, although he considers the 2013 win at Auto Club Speedway in California a more proper victory since the 2011 race at Texas was divided in half (a pair of 275s). Justin Wilson won the 2012 race when Graham Rahal crashed two laps from the finish; Rahal made amends four years later with a wild couple of laps and the record-setting last-lap pass of James Hinchcliffe.

Only the last lap counts: Ward and Rahal won their Texas races by leading only the final laps of the races in ’02 and ’16, respectively.

Four wins: Helio Castroneves leads Indy car drivers with four Texas wins (2004, ’06, ’09 and ’13). The ’04 win came from the pole (his only pole at the track). Scott Dixon has won three times there and is the career leader in Indy car laps led at the track (517).

Bigger in Texas: These days, many sporting venues have large video screens for fans to view the action. But Texas was among the first, placing a Guinness World Record screen along the backstretch. It features 20,633 square feet of HD LED display that consists of 4.8 million pixels and 281 trillion colors. The state-of-the-art video board is the largest ever built by Panasonic and is 79 percent larger than the video board at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, which stands at 11,520 square feet. Texas Motor Speedway uses Big Hoss TV for drive-in movies, too.

Racing diversity: In addition to the NTT IndyCar Series race, the 2020 weekend action includes the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and USAC .25 Midgets.

PAST WINNERS:

1997 (IRL): Arie Luyendyk

1998 (IRL): Billy Boat

1998 (IRL): John Paul Jr.

1999 (IRL): Scott Goodyear

1999 (IRL): Mark Dismore

2000 (IRL): Scott Sharp

2000 (IRL): Scott Goodyear

2001 (IRL): Scott Sharp

2001 (IRL): Sam Hornish Jr.

2002 (IRL): Jeff Ward

2002 (IRL): Sam Hornish Jr.

2003 (IRL): Al Unser Jr.

2003 (IRL): Gil de Ferran

2004 (IRL): Tony Kanaan

2004 (IRL): Helio Castroneves

2005 (IRL): Tomas Scheckter

2006 (IRL): Helio Castroneves

2007 (IRL): Sam Hornish Jr.

2008 (IRL): Scott Dixon

2009 (IRL): Helio Castroneves

2010 (IRL) Ryan Briscoe

2011 (INDYCAR): Will Power

2011 (INDYCAR): Dario Franchitti

2012 (INDYCAR): Justin Wilson

2013 (INDYCAR): Helio Castroneves

2014 (INDYCAR): Ed Carpenter

2015 (INDYCAR): Scott Dixon

2016 (INDYCAR): Graham Rahal

2017 (INDYCAR): Will Power

2018 (INDYCAR): Scott Dixon

2019 (INDYCAR): Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden winning the race at Texas Motor Speedway

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