After staging a race on a permanent road course and another on a temporary street circuit, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is ready to ramp up the speed with its first oval event of the season this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Call it a Texas two-step as the Genesys 300 opens the show at 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday followed by the XPEL 375 at 5 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The first race is 212 laps, the second 248 on the 1.5-mile oval. Both races will air live on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Here are the Fast Facts heading to Texas…
The Genesys 300 and XPEL 375 will be the first doubleheader held at Texas since 2011 and the 33rd and 34th races overall, dating to Arie Luyendyk winning the inaugural event in 1997.
The Texas INDYCAR SERIES race will be held in May for the first time. The previous 32 races have been run in June since 1997.
No driver has competed in every Texas race, but Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan have started 21 races. Both are entered in the Genesys 300 and XPEL 375.
Helio Castroneves and Dixon have won four times at Texas Motor Speedway, tied for the most wins by an INDYCAR SERIES driver at the track. Castroneves won in 2004 Race 2, 2006, 2009 and 2013, while Dixon won in 2008, 2015, 2018 and 2020. Six past TMS winners are entered in this year’s race: Kanaan (2004 Race 1), Dixon, Will Power (2011 Race 2 and 2017), Ed Carpenter (2014), Graham Rahal (2016) and Josef Newgarden (2019).
Power has won the pole for three of the past eight Texas Motor Speedway races (2013, 2014 and 2015). Other past pole winners entered this year are Dixon (2008), Newgarden (2018 and 2020) and Takuma Sato (2019). Kanaan won a draw to start first for the second of the 2011 doubleheader races but has never won the pole at Texas.
Six drivers have won the Texas race from the pole: Sam Hornish Jr. (2001 Race 2), Gil de Ferran (2003 Race 2), Castroneves (2004 Race 2), Tomas Scheckter (2005), Dixon (2008) and Ryan Briscoe (2010).
Drivers who have won at Texas have gone on to win the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship nine times, including the last three seasons with Scott Dixon in 2018 and 2020 and Josef Newgarden in 2019. Dixon also won at Texas and the title in 2008 and 2015. Others are: Sam Hornish Jr. (2001 Race 2 and 2002 Race 2), Tony Kanaan (2004 Race 1) and Dario Franchitti (2011 Race 1).
Twenty-one drivers entered this weekend have competed in past NTT INDYCAR SERIES events at Texas Motor Speedway. Twelve drivers have led laps at the track: Dixon 674, Power 432, Kanaan 372, James Hinchcliffe 196, Newgarden 162, Ryan Hunter-Reay 136, Carpenter 92, Simon Pagenaud 85, Sato 60, , Rahal 36, Alexander Rossi 10 and Marcus Ericsson 2.
One rookie – Scott McLaughlin – is entered. He will make his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start on an oval this weekend at Texas. Carpenter, Kanaan and Pietro Fittipaldi will make their 2021 season debut this weekend.
There have been two winners in two races in 2020 – Alex Palou (Barber) and Colton Herta (St. Petersburg). Since 2012, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has averaged just under nine different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were seven different winners in the 14 races of 2020 with an equally tight competition projected for this season.