DIXON LOOKING TO FOLLOW UP TEXAS VICTORY WITH SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THIRD TIME IN CAREER

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 11, 2018) – Scott Dixon’s victory in Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway was historic as the Chip Ganassi Racing driver broke a tie with Michael Andretti to gain sole possession of third place for career wins in the Indy-car annals.

With 43 victories, only legends A.J. Foyt (67 wins) and Mario Andretti (52) stand in front of 37-year-old native of New Zealand.

“It’s really cool,” Dixon said. “Obviously, I have massive respect for a lot of these drivers, but when you look at those names – A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, the Unsers – to me it still seems very strange that ‘Dixon’ is on that list, too.”

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600
Scott Dixon wins Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 43rd career victory. He moves into sole possession of third place for career wins in Indy-car history. Photo credit: Getty Images

If history repeats itself, Saturday’s win also could serve as an indicator to another significant accomplishment by the close of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Dixon won at Texas in 2008 and again in ’15, and both times he went on to a Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Is it in the cards again?

It very well could be as Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 win moved Dixon into the series championship lead. He now holds a 23-point advantage over second-place Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport and 36 over third-place Will Power of Team Penske with eight races remaining. The series is idle this week before resuming Sunday, June 24, at Road America (11:30 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network).

Dixon owns four Indy-car championships, along with Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Sebastien Bourdais. A fifth would give him sole possession of second place for most series titles, trailing only the seven of Foyt.

After a slow start to the season with just one top-five finish in the first four races, Dixon has reeled off five consecutive top-four finishes. The run includes a pair of wins and just one finish off the podium.

“We won two races and led a bunch of laps (in the past week). That’s a positive,” said Dixon, whose first win of the season came June 2 in the first of two races at The Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit. “I think we had great speed at the start of the year. I was disappointed with how it went down at St. Pete, how it went down at Long Beach.

“The speed has been there. Unfortunately, we’ve either made mistakes as a team, I made a mistake, we just didn’t really hit our stride. It’s nice to finally show the speed the car has, the performance that the team has.”

The victory moved him into a tie with Sam Hornish Jr. for second on the career wins list at Texas Motor Speedway. Helio Castroneves is the all-time leader with four.

Dixon, who led a race-high 119 of the 248 laps, also moved from fifth to second in career laps led at Texas Motor Speedway. He now has led 446 laps, trailing only Castroneves at 506.

 

CARPENTER TAKES THE BLAME

Coming off a second-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, Ed Carpenter came to Texas Motor Speedway with a ton of confidence. The 2014 winner of “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race,” Carpenter qualified 14th for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 — and it never got any better from there.

In fact, it got worse.

Running three laps behind the leaders, Carpenter tried to cut to the inside of Turn 3 but ran into Robert Wickens, who was running third at the time. The two got locked up and went spinning into the wall, ending the night for both drivers.

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600
Robert Wickens (right) and Ed Carpenter are involved in an on-track incident during the DXC Technology 600.

“It was a mistake. I knew Robbie was coming. I thought I could close the door, but it was a big mistake on my part. He was a lead lap car. We were having a bad day; we just didn’t have it this weekend,” Carpenter said. “My apologies to him. I know it doesn’t mean much now. I feel bad for those guys. I feel bad for my guys. The night certainly didn’t need to end like (that).”

For Wickens, it was yet another frustrating finish in a race that the rookie had a chance to win.

“I mean, it sucks. We were so strong the whole night. Things were going so smoothly we were getting the fuel mileage. I don’t know, I’m just frustrated,” said Wickens, who led 31 laps on Saturday night. “I mean when you’re driving around slower cars, they’re getting blue flags every time at start-finish — they’re getting blue flags and they ignore every single one of them. We shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place, but it just sucks. We had such a good car.” 

INSPIRING DELIVERY

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600
A DXC Technology Inspire 2 Drone delivers the green flag to the starter’s stand prior to the Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

DXC Technology had an Inspire 2 Drone deliver the green flag to Honorary Starter Dan Hushon, senior vice president, chief technology officer for DXC Technology, during Saturday night’s pre-race activities for the DXC Technology 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

With an ability to accelerate from zero to 50 miles per hour in just five seconds, the Inspire 2 drone took off in Turn 3 and flew through Turns 2 and 1 before heading down the frontstretch for the flag delivery on the DXC Technology 600 ballfield logo.

“That was pretty cool to see. I had the chance to fly it at DXC (in Plano) earlier this week and the technology is just amazing,” said Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud, who finished runner-up on Saturday night. “To have DXC as the race sponsor and on the car this weekend, it’s just great. We would have liked to get into victory circle, of course, but this is a great step in the right direction for this team.”

NO BOBBLE ON TRACK

James Hinchcliffe drove his No. 5 Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports from 15th to a fourth-place finish in Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600. In addition to the finish, another weekend highlight was that Hinchcliffe was the featured bobblehead that sponsored by A.O. Smith Water Products Company and given out to the first 20,000 fans.

There may be some bobblehead mojo going on as Graham Rahal, the featured bobblehead for “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race” last year, also drove to a fourth-place finish last June.

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600

Here’s a look at how each driver has fared during the corresponding race in which they were the featured bobblehead:

June 2017 — James Hinchcliffe, 4th, VICS
April 2018 — Jimmie Johnson, 35th, MENCS
November 2017 —  Kevin Harvick, 1st, MENCS
June 2017 — Graham Rahal, 4th, VICS
April 2017 — Danica Patrick, 24th, MENCS
November 2016 — Tony Stewart, 31st, MENCS

Kurt Busch will be the featured bobblehead for the AAA Texas 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, Nov. 4.

NOTHING NEW FOR JOSEF

Josef Newgarden’s struggles at Texas Motor Speedway continued in Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600. The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion qualified on the pole for the first time in seven starts, Newgarden eventually faded and finished 13th.

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600
Polesitter Josef Newgarden leads Simon Pagenaud at the start of the DXC Technology 600 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

You know, pretty much anything bad that could have happen happened tonight for the No. 1 Verizon team,” said Newgarden, who has just one top-10 in seven starts at TMS. “Everyone did everything they could tonight. It was a great effort from my team. Pretty much, anything that could have went wrong went wrong tonight.  That is all there is to it.”

Newgarden led the first 59 laps, but was never a factor again thanks to some issues on pit road and a struggle to get the car where it needed to be as the track began to cool during the night.

It wasn’t a completely lost weekend for Newgarden, however. The native of Henderson, Tenn., spent Friday morning with nearly 300 young racers – ranging in age from five to 16 – taking part in the third round of the USAC Quarter Midget championship, which ran Thursday through Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.

“When you see these kids and see how passionate they are about racing, it brings me back to when I was driving go-karts and how much fun that was,” Newgarden said. “This (age) was the most pure time of racing to me, so it’s awesome to see these kids racing and be a part of it.”

POWER OUTAGE

Will Power’s attempt at repeating at Texas Motor Speedway ended on Lap 205 of Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 when his No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet clipped Zachary Claman de Melo, who was trying to pass a row of cars on the outside.

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600
Will Power hits the wall hard after an incident with Zachary Claman de Melo during the DXC Technology 600.

Like other lead-lap cars around him, Power was trying to save fuel but Claman de Melo was given the green light to push as hard as he wanted. To compound the issue, at the moment of Claman de Melo’s attempted pass, Power was getting information through his radio from the timing stand, which kept his spotter from communicating that Claman de Melo was making a charge.

“The guys in front of me were saving a lot of fuel and completely lifting to try and make it and someone went around on the outside. … I couldn’t hear my spotter call, ‘Outside,’ and there was someone outside at that point,” said Power, who finished 18th. “It was not (Claman de Melo’s) fault. I didn’t know he was out there at that point. We were lifting so much trying to save fuel and he went outside me. It was just a bad deal.”

The 18th-place finish was a career worst for Power at Texas Motor Speedway. The reigning Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time TMS race winner also lost his lead in the championship standings, dropping to third behind Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi, respectively.

FIVE SPOT

Johnny Sauter collected the win at Texas Motor Speedway in Friday night’s PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The 2016 Truck Series champion has been simply dominant this year, winning half of the eight races run so far in the 23-race season.

The trip to Sunoco Victory Lane was the fifth of Sauter’s career at the 1.5-mile oval, moving him into sole possession of second place on the truck series’ all-time wins list at TMS. He now sits one win shy of tying Todd Bodine for the top spot.

“This has been a dream start and proud to get this win,” Sauter said. “I’m speechless. Don’t know what to say anymore. Five wins at Texas, it’s awesome.”

While Sauter will look to tie the record for wins at Texas in November’s JAG Metals 350 playoff race, Todd Gilliland will be looking to repeat his Lone Star State debut.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400
Todd Gilliland leads the way with eventual race winner Johnny Sauter closing in at Texas Motor Speedway in Friday night’s PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

Gilliland made his first career TMS start on Friday and just his second ever on a 1.5-mile superspeedway. After qualifying second and leading a race-high 63 laps, Gilliland eventually faded to a sixth-place finish. But it was a more than respectable showing for the 18-year-old, who received his high school diploma from TMS President Eddie Gossage prior to driver introductions.

Gilliland balanced high school and a rigorous racing schedule by completing all of his necessary high school requirements online.

“It’s a very special event to be out in front of all these people and honestly, just doing what I love – racing,” Gilliland said moments before the green flag fell on the PPG 400. “I was wearing the cap and gown up on the stage, so a very special moment for me and my family because we missed out on a lot of other high school experiences.”

ROLLING TO A WIN

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Matt Brabham celebrates in Sunoco Victory Lane following his victory in the SST Off-Road Rumble late Saturday night.

Matt Brabham came to Texas with the points lead in the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Truck standings. He left Texas with the lead, too. Of course, what seems like a simple fact on paper was hardly the case on the track.

An ugly crash in the opening qualifying race saw the Aussie hit a ramp on two wheels. After rolling down the frontstretch, it looked as though Brabham’s chances to win at Texas Motor Speedway had officially gone out the window.

“Race one was really good, we were able to come through the field and battle for the lead, but the hood came up and I couldn’t really see,” said Brabham of his wreck in the first race. “I tried to follow the truck in front of me and I thought if I go over a jump the hood might go down. But unfortunately I misjudged the jump and ended up rolling. The truck had a little bit of damage, so it was a great job by the guys to get us out for race two.”

The SST Off-Road Rumble 18-lap finale saw Brabham quickly jump from fifth to first, which he’d never relinquish en route to the victory. It was the second win of the season for Brabham.

SATURDAY’S NEWS & NOTES FROM THE DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 TRIPLEHEADER

DIXON GETS THIRD CAREER TMS VICTORY, MOVES INTO THIRD ON ALL-TIME INDY CAR WINS LIST

Another Saturday, another victory for Scott Dixon.

One week after winning Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix last weekend, Dixon rolled to his third career Verizon IndyCar Series victory on Texas Motor Speedway’s high-banked/1.5-mile oval in the DXC Technology 600.

Verizon IndyCar Series - DXC Technology 600

“Car setup was obviously phenomenal,” said Dixon, driver of the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. “Strategy was perfect. So it’s nice to have one of those nights. It’s not too often you get sort of a runaway, especially in the series at the moment. It was kind of cool to see for us.”

The result moved Dixon — a four-time series champion — past Team Penske’s Will Power into the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead by 23 points over Rossi after nine of 17 events. Power, winner of this event last June, began the race with a five-point lead over Dixon but exited Texas in third with 321 points. The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion, Power was relegated to an 18th-place finish after a crash involving rookie Zachary Claman De Melo on Lap 205.

Dixon’s 43rd career Indy car victory broke him out of a tie with Michael Andretti for third on the all-time list. The 37-year-old New Zealander now trails only open-wheel icons Mario Andretti and all-time leader A.J. Foyt Jr. of Houston.

“It’s really cool,” said Dixon, wearing a white cowboy hat during his post-race presser. “Obviously I have massive respect for a lot of these drivers. But when you look at those names — A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, the Unsers — to me it still seems very strange that ‘Dixon’ is on that list, too.

“I feel very privileged and lucky to do what I get to do. I love racing. I love the Verizon IndyCar Series. I think it’s the best racing on the planet, one of the most difficult with all the disciplines. For me, man, I just hope it continues. I hope we can keep a winning style, pick up wins. It’s so difficult right now it’s so competitive.”

Forty-two of his wins, Dixon noted, have come while driving for Ganassi.

Dixon previously won “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race” in 2008 and 2015. His third win at TMS moved him into a tie with Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske, and one behind all-time leader Helio Castroneves, also of Roger Penske’s juggernaut.

Dixon’s 119 laps-led moved him from fifth to second among open-wheel competitors here with 484, dating to his first start in Cowtown in 2003.

The race was the first here run with sanctioning body INDYCAR’s new-for-2018 universal chassis built by Dallara. The sleek chassis produces approximately 100 fewer pounds of downforce in a bid to make the cars more difficult to handle, place more emphasis on driver skill and eliminate the pack racing previously associated with TMS.

The new chassis, North Texas’ triple-digit heat and a softer tire compound provided by Firestone Racing combined to raise concerns among some drivers about the quality of show during the 372-mile event.

“I think we had a few marks on some tires, but nothing that was performance for us,” Dixon said. “Definitely wasn’t a safety issue from Firestone. They knew it wasn’t going to be. They sent out a bulletin last night saying they were 100 percent behind the tire, it was going to be no problem.We didn’t see any issues out there. There were some marks on tires, but sometimes with these tracks — the G-loads, the loading that we get — you’re going to have that.”

Dixon added some of the concern was voiced because the weekend’s first 90-minute practice was conducted during the heat of Friday afternoon, while the race started at 7:45 p.m. (CT) Saturday.

“The track changes significantly once we get to the nighttime,” said Dixon, who paced the final one-hour practice Friday evening. “Once the track temp goes down, the grip really comes up. I had that sensation at the end of the last practice last night. Once the track temp started to come down, the grip level really came up. I knew it was going to be a pretty good situation for the race.

“I think some may have wanted it to be a little bit more closer, but it looked like in the mid-pack, at least from my view when I was having to pass people, the racing was pretty tough. Definitely some side-by-side stuff, some action. It wasn’t just follow-the-leader. It was pretty cool to race out there.”

Pagenaud said the pre-race concerns about blistering did not affect his strategy.”I’ll tell you what,” Pagenaud said. “The biggest thing before the race I asked my racing engineer (Ben Bretzman) and I asked Cara Adams (chief engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports), ‘Is it safe?’ She said, ‘Absolutely.’ When the tire manufacturer tells you you’re going to have blisters but it’s safe, you feel more confident going into the race. It’s amazing a tire manufacturer can have that kind of confidence.”

Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet, started and finished second to score his first top-five of 2018. Rossi, driver of the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda, earned his fourth top-five in the last five races.

Only nine of 22 starters finished on the lead lap in an event that produced just three cautions. The third and final caution — for the incident involving Power and Claman De Melo — bunched race-leader Dixon with Pagenaud, Rossi, James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport. Dixon nailed the restart on Lap 215 and his advantage grew to a massive 6.4484-seconds on Lap 244.

“Yeah, the race was smooth,” Dixon said. “Got a little tricky there towards the end. I wasn’t sure, we were kind of right in the zone to try and do that last stint without a pit stop. We had to get a pretty big fuel number. That’s what I was worried about. Simon and I kind of checked-out. I just automatically thought the others were trying to get to the end of the race without having to do that last pit stop.

“Again, pleasantly surprised once everybody pitted on the lead lap in that last pit sequence.”

Dixon’s next race will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France — the world’s most prestigious endurance event — next Saturday and Sunday as a member of Ganassi’s Ford GT program. But before packing his bags for Paris and Du Mans, ‘Dixie’ reiterated how much he enjoys competing in the Dallas-Fort Worth market and working with TMS President Eddie Gossage.

“It’s always been a special place,” Dixon said of TMS. “I think Eddie and his whole team just do a fantastic job. The track has changed throughout the years, the style of racing has changed throughout the years. That changes from year-to-year. But the way that he does it, you know, when you get to fire guns, wear cowboy hats — ’15 since my last win, nice to get a new hat, the other one was getting a little worn out. So that was definitely a positive

“I love coming here. This event is really cool.”

‘WHAT THEY’RE SAYING’ FROM THE DXC TECHNOLOGY 600

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “You know, pretty much anything bad that could have happen happened tonight for the No. 1 Verizon team.  Everyone worked real hard and the guys gave me a great car.  Everyone did everything they could tonight. It was a great effort from my team.  Pretty much, anything that could have went wrong went wrong tonight.  That is all there is to it. We will move on to Road America.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We were having a solid start, I think, and then I just lost power in Turn 1. I told the team, “No power. No power,” and then suddenly, I just saw flames coming up from the engine cover. We don’t know what happened. The only thing is that it is a pity for the team. I feel for the team not just for myself. I think we had a great car here and we could have done a great race here. It is what it is. It happens sometimes. Looking forward to the next one now.”

CN5C8939a (2)JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda):
“We were making progress on that first stint – we were one of the last cars to pit. We made up a good chunk of time, and then we had a problem with the fuel hose that first stop, lost a lot of track position. The No. 5 Arrow Electronics car was really good tonight. We didn’t have the speed we wanted in qualifying, but we’ve always said here that it is probably the least-qualifying sensitive track… We made some great passes on track and managed to make those tires last. That’s what it was about today: making those Firestone tires last. The SPM guys did a great job with that. Happy to rebound from P15. I hope Robbie (Wickens) is all right – sucks to see a team car go out, especially when he was running well like that. Good result for the No. 5 car.”

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “I think (some cars were) being really desperate, trying to do whatever they can, I guess, to be racing. (Zach Claman) De Melo in front of me was being so dangerous and that’s how (Ed) Carpenter got by me. Ed made a mistake. I went to his inside. I don’t know if his spotter didn’t tell him I was there, but he just turned in and we had contact and went up into the wall. I mean, it sucks. We were so strong the whole night. Things were going so smoothly we were getting the fuel mileage. I don’t know, I’m just frustrated. I mean when you’re driving around slower cars, they’re getting blue flags every time at start-finish – they’re getting blue flags and they ignore every single one of them. We shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place, but it just sucks. We had such a good car.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I love winning at Texas. This place is awesome. Always a big thank you to Eddie Gossage (Texas Motor Speedway president) and his team. They do a fabulous job. The PNC Bank car is back in victory lane. It’s fantastic. The car was just stuck. Whatever we did, the car was just nailed. It was a bit loose at times, but I can’t thank the team enough. The pit stops were fantastic.” (About being patient early): “I think we bided our time a little bit. We wanted to make sure the Firestone tires were looked after as much as possible. They did a really good job. We went all the way to the end of the fuel stint and we haven’t done that in a long time. We conserved a little bit at the start, then put the hammer down.” (About being third on the all-time wins list): “It means a lot, but more so for the team. We celebrate together and we win and lose together. Forty-two of those wins have come with this team. I can’t thank them enough. Chip (Ganassi), Mike (Hull), (Scott) Harner, Barry (Wanser) and all the No. 9 car crew.” (About leading the championship): “It’s not bad. But it’s going to be hard to hold onto. We’ll see how the next races go. The car has had good speed all season and we’ll try to keep it going.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The guys in front of me were saving a lot of fuel and completely lifting to try and make it and someone went around on the outside. Unfortunately, the timing stand was talking to me at that exact moment and I couldn’t hear my spotter call, “Outside,” and there was someone outside at that point. It’s just a bad situation, but something that happens at a track like this. It was not the guy on the outside’s fault. I didn’t know he was out there at that point. We were lifting so much trying to save fuel and he went outside me. It was just a bad deal, but we will move on to Road America.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“I don’t know what happened. We definitely had a little issue with the rear of the car and it cost us the race. But it was a great weekend up until now, we qualified sixth. You know when you’re 12 laps down, it’s not worth it to put yourself out there. We’re not going to gain anything so we decided to stop. We’ll bounce back.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Honda):
“Overall, I can’t complain too much about finishing sixth. The Fleet Cost & Care team did a good job with strategy, we did a good job in the pits and the car was pretty good. We were able to make some moves, but as everybody could see, it was hard out there today to get a whole lot done. We’ve got to work on the aero package this week and move forward to allow us to follow a little bit easier, but overall, I can’t be too unhappy with that.  We salvaged another really good result out of a really tough start. We’ll keep our heads down and move on.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “Obviously, it was a disappointing result for a pretty solid race. The SealMaster Honda No. 18 was as good as anything else out there. I just didn’t gauge the tire degradation well enough on the first stint. We ended up pitting early and that settled the issue because there wasn’t a yellow until much later in the race. When one did finally come out, it went against us because we had just come in the pits. The guys did a great job, the car was competitive, it was fast, like it was all weekend. In the end, we just took what we could. It’s a real shame. The car and the team deserved better than eighth.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet):
“It was a mistake. I knew Robbie (Robert Wickens) was coming. I thought I could close the door, but it was a big mistake on my part. He was a lead lap car. We were having a bad day, we just didn’t have it this weekend. We just could never get the balance right where it needed to be. I made it worse by making a mistake like that so, my apologies to him. I know it doesn’t mean much now. I feel bad for those guys. I feel bad for my guys. The night certainly didn’t need to end like this. It’s a mistake on me, and I’ll have to come back and get ’em in Iowa.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good night. We started really strong, really loved the car to start in the heat. As the temperature dropped, it got a little bit more difficult for us. We adjusted the car the wrong way as the temperature dropped, it got pretty loose for us midway through. It was a pretty fast-paced race, as well, quite physical. I was just trying to manage the balance. It was quite fun, actually. We had to keep up with the tires, keep up with the balance of the car throughout the stints and also relay to the pit what you needed for the next one. It was fun. I mean, I had a lot of good battles, especially with Alexander (Rossi) at the end. He gave me some gray hair, the last 30 laps, but we managed to hold him off. That was really cool. Just to get a good result like this for us – I think the No. 22 team needed a break. I think we got one tonight. For DXC, it’s pretty awesome. We had about 3000 employees from DXC tonight, so it was good to have a good showing.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “Simon (Pagenaud) did a good job defending. We tried to go up high, and I would have taken it if it was an easy one, but I couldn’t force the issue.  We came home third. The NAPA AUTO PARTS car was awesome from the get-go. We were able to pass some cars and go long on fuel. The tire life was great, so all-in-all a great effort from the No. 27 team.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda):
“The day was solid, but that’s kind of all it was. We just really couldn’t get the car up in the mix at the end – just too much understeer. I couldn’t get close to those guys to join the party. It looked like they were having fun, I just couldn’t get in there. We’ll take the top five for the DHL team. We gained a little in points and that’s what we’re really keeping our eyes on.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda): “It was a tough day. Obviously, the key today was managing the tires. Unfortunately, halfway through my first stint we had a huge problem on the rear, so I had to come in to change the tires and that put us two laps down. After that, I think the team did a great job to work through it and we got two laps back in the end and fought for position. Finishing seventh is a solid finish, but starting where we did, we wanted to be a little higher. But I think it was a solid day. Thank you to ABeam Consulting for being the primary sponsor for this race. It was great to see the guests, and of course, I think the car was one of the best looking. It was a great team effort overall.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda): “We were running a legitimate fourth and the clutch failed during our stop. From them on, we had no clutch the whole race. I had the clutch in, grabbed first and then it just stalled and wouldn’t restart for five laps. We had just gotten by Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and the car was coming into its own. The U.S. Concrete car had the pace to win the race and we just had to cruise the rest of the way.”

BRABHAM FLIPS IN QUALIFYING SESSION, WINS STADIUM SUPER TRUCKS OFFROAD RUMBLE FEATURE

DIXON CRUISES TO DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 VICTORY, THIRD INDYCAR SERIES WIN AT TMS

10:10 p.m. — Another Saturday, another victory for Scott Dixon.

One week after winning Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix last weekend, Dixon rolled to his third career victory on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval in the DXC Technology 600.

GettyImages-970635618.jpgDixon led the race’s final 119 of 248 laps en route to a margin of victory of 4.2943-seconds over Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet. Alexander Rossi finished third in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport.

The result moved Dixon past Penske’s Will Power into the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead by 23 points after nine of 17 events.

“I love running at Texas, this place is awesome,” said Dixon, driver of the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. “The car was stout, it was on rails. Super-proud of the whole effort on the team. I love driving for Chip and hope we can get a few more.”

Dixon’s 43rd career Indy car series victory broke him out of a tie with Michael Andretti for third all-time. The New Zealander now trails only open-wheel icons Mario Andretti and all-time leader A.J. Foyt Jr. of Houston.

“It means a lot more for the team,” Dixon said of his latest accomplishment. “Forty-two of those wins have been with this team.”

Dixon previously won “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race” in 2008 and 2015. His third win moved him into a tie with Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske, and one behind all-time leader Helio Castroneves, also of Team Penske.

Dixon’s 119 laps-led moved him from fifth to second among open-wheel competitors here with 484 dating to 1997.

ROOKIE WICKENS ELIMINATED IN CRASH WITH CARPENTER

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Robert Wickens’ impressive run in the DXC Technology 600 ended with an expensive thud on Lap 173 Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Wickens, of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, was eliminated along with owner/driver Ed Carpenter after contact heading into Turn 3 of the high-banked/1.5-mile oval. Wickens was attempting to overtake Carpenter on the inside of the turn when Carpenter’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet moved down. Both cars slid up the 24-degree banking and into the outside SAFER Barrier.

Both drivers were examined and released from the infield care center.

“It was a big mistake on my part,” Carpenter said. “He was a lead-lap car and we just didn’t have it this weekend . Didn’t have the balance where it needed to be. I made it worse by making a mistake like that.”

Wickens said Carpenter apologized to him during their mandatory visit to the care center. “Just sucks,” said Wickens, driver of the No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda. “Such a good car and you’re racing people not in position (to win)…just disappointed. He apologized to me but it doesn’t mean anything.”

INDYCAR officials announced Carpenter will be penalized for avoidable contact, an issue that will be addressed post-race.

The yellow flag sent race-leader Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing into the pits, along with Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport and James Hinchcliffe, Wickens’ teammate. Dixon exited the pits with the lead, while Rossi’s crew struggled with its re-fueling hose. The 2016 Indy 500 champion fell to fifth, but still on the lead lap.

ROOKIE ROBERT WICKENS LEADS AT HALFWAY

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Robert Wickens was setting the pace as the DXC Technology 600 reached halfway Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

Wickens, of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, took the lead on Lap 95 of the scheduled 248-lapper in his No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda and held it until pitting for fuel and tires under green on Lap 126. That move handed the lead to Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport.

At Lap 124, Honda-powered cars occupied the top seven spots _ Wickens, Rossi, James Hinchcliffe of SPM, Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay, both of Andretti Autosport.

The top-running Chevrolet-powered entry was wheeled by pole-sitter Josef Newgarden of Team Penske in eighth.

HINCHCLIFFE HANDS OUT … HIMSELF

8:33 p.m. —

DXC TECHNOLOGY DRONE DELIVERS GREEN FLAG

8:18 p.m. — 

ROOKIE MATT LEIST’S RACE GOES UP IN FLAMES

8:13 p.m. — An already triple-digit-hot Texas June evening got even hotter for Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Matheus “Matt” Leist on Lap 7 of the DXC Technology 600.

Leist’s No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet burst into flames as it lost power down the back stretch and rolled to a halt on the apron in Turns 3 of the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval. Leist, a 19-year-old native of Brazil, quickly freed himself from the cockpit as flames began to engulf the rear end and cockpit area of the Dallara-built chassis.

“We lost power in Turn 1 and I parked the car,” said Leist, who started 19th in the 22-car field. “I feel for the team. I think we had a great car for the race.”

NBC Sports Network reported the fire destroyed the car’s data system, meaning cause of the fire may never be known. Leist’s car is owned by native Texan and open-wheel legend A.J. Foyt Jr.

Track temperature at the start of the 248-lap/372-mile event was reported at 110 degrees.

5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN TONIGHT’S DXC TECHNOLOGY 600

6:14 p.m. —

PACK RACE OR SINGLE-FILE? — That seemingly annual debate resurfaced after Friday night’s final Verizon IndyCar Series practice, when Tony Kanaan of A.J. Foyt Racing said he couldn’t pass anyone … the racing would be single-file … and degradation of Firestone’s latest Firehawk tire would be an issue. Those arguments largely were downplayed by Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing, although the four-time series champ agreed with his former teammate that “tire deg” will be a concern up-and-down pit road.

CHEVROLET OR HONDA? — All teams are competing with Dallara’s IR-12 universal aero chassis with either Chevrolet or Honda 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. Team Chevy, represented by Team Penske, won the first two oval-track events this season at ISM Raceway outside Phoenix (Josef Newgarden) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Will Power). The Honda camp rebounded by sweeping last weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park with Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport. Which OEM has the ponies to conquer TMS?

CARPENTER BACK IN THE SADDLE — Ed Carpenter, the only owner/driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, is competing tonight for the first time since his second-place finish to Will Power in the 102nd edition of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. An oval-track specialist, Carpenter will make only six starts this season in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, so he’s not counting championship points. He’s looking to add trophies to his team’s facility in Indianapolis. Ed led 90 laps en route to his victory here in 2014.

DIXIE ADDING TO HIS OPEN-WHEEL LEGACY — Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon posted his 42nd career victory last Saturday in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. That win tied the New Zealander with Michael Andretti for third on the all-time list, trailing only open-wheel legends Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt Jr. At age 37, the humble and gracious Dixon continues to prove he is one of domestic open-wheel racing’s all-time talents. Dixon’s resume includes wins at TMS in 2008 and 2015.

ROOKIE WICKENS IS WICKED FAST — Robert Wickens’ European racing background didn’t prepare him for the oval-track portion of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. But the 29-year-old Canadian has adapted quickly, beginning with a second-place finish in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda to Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden at ISM Raceway’s 1-mile oval near Phoenix. Wickens’ ninth-place result in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 earned Rookie of the Year honors. He qualified fourth — first-in-class among the Honda camp — and figures to race up-front.

DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 PRE-RACE INFORMATION

Updated 2:56 p.m. — 

6:45 p.m. — Grid Cars
7:01 p.m. — Driver Introductions
7:31 p.m. — Invocation/National Anthem
7:33 p.m. — Flyover
7:34 p.m. — DXC Drone Delivery
7:40 p.m. — “Drivers, Start Your Engines!”
7:45 p.m. — Green Flag

Re/Max Skydiver Team will descend into Texas Motor Speedway, where they will deliver the American Flag prior to the singing of the national anthem. Captain Al Saylor says the adrenalin rush sparked by seeing thousands of spectators watching their landing is palpable.

O'Reilly Auto Parts ChallengePresentation of Colors will be presented by the Grapevine-Southlake Police Department combined with the National Guard.

Invocation will be delivered by Bret Shisler of the Texas Alliance of Raceway Ministries (TXARM).

The Flyover will be conducted by three F-16s out of the 457th FS Air Force Reserve, the only such unit in the state of Texas. The 457th Fighter Squadron is assigned to the 301st Operations Group, which has supported a number of missions related to Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Noble Eagles Homeland Defense and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The DXC Technology Inspire 2 Drone will be used for the delivery of the green flag to Honorary Starter Dan Hushon, senior vice president, chief technology officer for DXC Technology. The Inspire 2 model has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 50 mph in just five seconds and has a maximum speed of 58 miles per hour. The drone, which will take off in Turn 3 at approximately 7:34 p.m., will fly through Turn 2 and then Turn 1 before heading down the frontstretch for the flag delivery on the DXC Technology 600 ballfield logo.

“Drivers, Start Your Engines” command will be delivered by Candi Lamarr, the director of global operations and sponsorship marketing and communications for DXC Technology.

The National Anthem will be sung by Dr. Kat Strus, a Retired United States Air Force Lt. Colonel.

Jessica Graf, who rose to fame on Big Brother and then won Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly’s season for “The Amazing Race”, will be in the Fastest Seat in Sports tonight at 7:45 p.m.

Ed “Too Tall” Jones will be a guest of Ed “Too Fast” Jones, NTT Data and Chip Ganassi Racing for the DXC Technology 600. On top of taking part in pre-race driver introductions, “Too Tall” will watch “Too Fast” take the green flag for the DXC Technology 600 from atop the team’s No. 10 pit box. The Joneses met for the first time on Thursday at a luncheon in The Speedway Club and found out despite diverse backgrounds they have some common interests.

Class champions from the third round of this weekend’s United States Auto Club Quarter Midget (USAC .25) event at Texas Motor Speedway will be honored prior to driver introductions.

9:00 a.m. — Saturday’s Schedule

8 a.m. – 6 p.m. USAC Racing
11 a.m. Gates at Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway Open
12 p.m. Speedway Children’s Charities Auction Closes
12–7:30 p.m. Texas Motor Speedway Credential Office Open
12–8 p.m. Outdoor Powersports Offroad Ruckus Open (South Infield)
1:30 p.m. Legends Racing at Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway
2 p.m. VICS Garage Open
2–7 p.m. VICS Credentials Open
3:30 p.m. Gates 3, 4, 5, Victory Lane Club and Luxury Suites Open
Gates 2 & 6 Open for Victory Lane Club and Luxury Suites Only
3:30–5 p.m. Pits Open
5:10–5:45 p.m. Barr Tunnel at Section 121 Closed
5:15–5:45 p.m. Stadium SUPER Trucks Race #1
7:45 p.m. Verizon IndyCar Series
DXC Technology 600 (248 Laps, 372 Miles)
25 min post Checkered Flag Barr Tunnel at Section 121 Closes
30 min post Checkered Flag Stadium SUPER Trucks
No Limits Off Road Rumble
Post SST Race Barr Tunnel Opens

FRIDAY NEWS & NOTES FROM THE DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 TRIPLEHEADER

SAUTER WINS NCWTS PPG 400

10:41 p.m. —

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400Johnny Sauter continued his uncanny mastery of Texas Motor Speedway Friday night, holding off Stewart Friesen on a three-lap shootout to win the 22nd annual PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

Sauter, the series points leader, posted his fifth career win on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval and fourth in eight events this season. But he and crew chief Joe Shear Jr. had to gamble on fuel as the laps wound down and then keep pole-sitter Friesen at bay following a restart on Lap 165 of the scheduled 167.

Sauter finished 0.092 of a second ahead of Friesen, who was aiming for his first career truck series victory. Sauter took the lead for the first time on Lap 117 passing teammate Justin Haley between Turns 1 and 2.

“I complained about it all night long, just no balance, no grip,” said Sauter, driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado. “We made great adjustments and played the track position game. That’s where the speed is at, getting in clean air. This has been a dream start and proud to get this win. I’m speechless…don’t know what to say anymore. Five wins at Texas, it’s awesome.”

Sauter has won six of the last 11 series races, and posted top threes in 10 of the last 12 events. The Wisconsin native now has 21 career victories.

“I knew he’d be aggressive,” Sauter said of Friesen on the final restart. “He was hungry for his first win. I got a good launch and that’s all it took. Justin Haley helped push me along. Going into Turn 3 on last lap I ran out of fuel _ but then if fired up.”

ENFINGER WINS STAGE 2 OF PPG 400

9:55 p.m. —

Grant Enfinger held off Stewart Friesen during a one-lap shootout to win Stage 2 of the 22nd annual PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

The restart was set up after the race’s fifth caution on Lap 75, brought out when Bo LeMastus crashed along the backstretch after contact with the truck driven by Norm Benning cut the right front tire of LeMastus’ No. 17 Crosley Brands Toyota Tundra.

During the caution, race leader Todd Gilliland pitted for four tires and fuel _ a move crew chief Marcus Richmond explained was about securing track position in the final stage of the 167-lap/250.5-miler.

Enfinger, driver of the No. 98 Protect the Harvest Ford F-150, surrendered the lead back to Gilliland when he pitted at the end of the stage. Enfinger was followed to the end of Stage 2 by Friesen, Justin Haley, Austin Hill, Gilliland, Noah Gragson, Tyler Young, Myatt Snider, point leader Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton.

Earlier, polesitter Friesen scored his second stage win after 40 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. Friesen, who won his second career pole earlier Friday afternoon in the No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet Silverado, finished 0.326 of a second ahead of Crafton and his No. 88 Matador Beef Jerky/Menards Ford. Crafton is a two-time series champion and two-time winner at TMS.

The top 10 earning Stage 1 points included Snider, Sauter, Cody Coughlin, Austin Wayne Self, Spencer Davis, Haley, Gilliland and LeMastus. Gilliland, who qualified second in the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra, began his night by receiving his high school diploma during ceremonies conducted by TMS President Eddie Gossage, aka the “Dean of Motorsports.”

Stage 1 produced three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.

GILLILAND LATEST DRIVER TO PARTAKE IN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, NCWTS RACE IN SAME NIGHT

9:29 p.m. —

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 8, 2018) – For Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, the “The Double” always referred to running the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same day.

For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers, “The Double” has become partaking in their high school graduation ceremony and a race at Texas Motor Speedway in the same evening.

Eighteen-year-old Todd Gilliland became the fourth NCWTS driver in the last five years to have his high school graduation commencement exercise during the pre-race ceremonies and then trade in the cap and gown for a firesuit and compete in the PPG 400 race.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400Gilliland, home schooled in Sherrills Ford, N.C., came on stage in a cap and gown, along with his mother Michelle, father and fellow NASCAR driver David, and sister Taylor.

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, wearing professor’s regalia, presided over the ceremony that included Gilliland’s on-line diploma being presented by “The Great American Sweethearts,” Libby and Alyssa. Gilliland culminated the ceremony with the tradition of moving his tassel from the right to the left and then tossing his mortarboard into the air.

“It’s a very special event to be out here in front of all these people and honestly, just doing what I love – racing,” the teenager said. “It’s cool that we could bring it together and hopefully we have a great night tonight. I was wearing the cap and gown up on the stage, so a very special moment for me and my family because we missed out on a lot of other high school experiences.”

Gilliland follows Erik Jones (2014), Cole Custer (2016) and Noah Gragson (2017) in the high school graduation line at Texas Motor Speedway. The tradition has quickly become a favorite for the parents and family members in particular.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400

“It’s awesome,” his father David said. “All his life he’s loved race tracks, racing and race cars, so it’s super special to be here. We missed a lot along the way with my career, so to see him walk across that stage and get his picture taken on the frontstretch at Texas Motor Speedway is super special. He’s closing one chapter with high school and I think he’s got a bright future in NASCAR racing. He couldn’t race without school and he knew that all along and did a really good job with balancing all the racing we’ve done over the years with focusing on his education along the way, too.”

Gilliland, driving the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, nearly celebrated his high school graduation with the pole position in the PPG 400, which is exactly what Gragson did last year. Gilliland qualified second in his Texas Motor Speedway debut, his third top-10 start of the season. He finished ninth in Stage 1 of the PPG 400 and took the race lead early in Stage 2 of the 167-lap, 250.5-mile race.

STEWART FRIESEN WINS FIRST STAGE OF PPG 400

Pole-sitter Stewart Friesen scored his second stage win of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season Friday night after 40 laps of the 22nd annual PPG 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

GettyImages-970014918.jpgFriesen, who won his second career pole earlier Friday afternoon in the No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet Silverado, finished 0.326-seconds ahead of Matt Crafton and his No. 88 Matador Beef Jerky/Menards Ford F-150. Crafton is a two-time series champion and two-time winner on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval.

The top-10 earning points included Myatt Snider, point-leader Johnny Sauter, Cody Coughlin, Austin Wayne Self, Spencer Davis, Justin Haley, Todd Gilliland and Bo Le Mastus. Gilliland, who qualified second in the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra, began his night by receiving his high school diploma during ceremonies conducted by TMS President Eddie Gossage, aka the “Dean of Motorsports.”

Stage 1 produced three caution periods for a total of 13 laps.

FIVE THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN TONIGHT’S NCWTS PPG 400

By John Sturbin

7:03 p.m. —

Sauter Chasing More History — Point-leader Johnny Sauter has become the sixth different driver in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history to post three or more wins (Daytona, Dover and Charlotte) in the season’s first seven races. The driver of the No. 21 ISM Connect Chevrolet Silverado has joined Kyle Busch (four wins: 2014, 2011), Matt Crafton (three wins: 2015), Mike Skinner (three wins: 2007, 1996, 1995), Ron Hornaday Jr. (three wins: 1995) and Ted Musgrave (three wins: 2001). If the GMS Racing ace wins tonight, he will be the third driver in series history to post four or more wins in the first eight races of the season. Busch and Skinner are the only other drivers to do so.

Gragson Needs To Keep The Heat On Sauter — Here’s what you need to “Noah” about the driver of the No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra: he’s 59 points behind leader Johnny Sauter and can’t afford to let the veteran Wisconsin driver disappear in the standings. To that end, Gragson has earned 10 playoff points in the first seven races of 2018, including the seven he earned by sweeping all three stages en route to victory at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in May. The 19-year-old has led at least one lap in six of seven races this season and ranks second to Sauter with 244 laps-led.

Crafton Counting On Experience — No NCWTS driver has more starts at Texas Motor Speedway than Matt Crafton. The two-time series champion will make his 35th start tonight in search of his third victory in Fort Worth. Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Matador Beef Jerky/Menards Ford F-150 fielded by ThorSport Racing, has led 429 laps around TMS dating to his Cowtown debut in 2001. Crafton is an intermediate (1.5-mile) ace, having scored nine wins, eight poles and led 1,210 laps in 147 such starts.

How Do You Top Graduation Day? — Third-generation NASCAR driver Todd Gilliland would “cap” a momentous debut at TMS if he can win tonight’s PPG 400. Prior to the race, Gilliland will walk across the stage during driver introductions and receive his high school diploma from TMS President Eddie Gossage, aka the “Dean of Motorsports.” Gilliland, 18, momentarily was on-pole during qualifying Friday afternoon before being pipped by 34-year-old Stewart Friesen. Gilliland will start second in the No. 4 Mobil 1Toyota Tundra fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports and might be thinking … who needs prom?

TMS Welcomes Long List Of First-Timers — Fans definitely will need a program for tonight’s race, as 10 of the 32 drivers in the field are making their TMS debuts. They are Todd Gilliland, Camden Murphy, Brett Moffitt, Bo LeMastus, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Fontaine, Spencer Davis, Chris Eggleston, Kyle Donahue and Bayley Currey. Of them, Moffitt is the only driver with a win on his resume this season. Driver of the No. 16 Northland Foundations, Inc., Toyota Tundra fielded by Hattori Racing Enterprises, Moffitt sits third in the point standings behind Noah Gragson in second and leader Johnny Sauter.

STEWART FRIESEN CLAIMS POLE FOR FRIDAY NIGHT’S PPG 400 DURING U.S. CONCRETE QUALIFYING DAY

6:09 p.m. — Canadian Stewart Friesen earned his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole Friday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, where he will lead a field of 32 competitors during U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day to the green flag for tonight’s 22nd annual PPG 400.

GettyImages-969997676.jpg
Stewart Friesen (above) is on the pole for Friday night’s PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. On the outside of Row 1 will be Todd Gilliland, who will take part in a graduation ceremony prior to driver introductions at 7:30 p.m.

Friesen toured TMS’ 1.5-mile oval at 185.103 mph in his No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet Silverado. The 34-year-old native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is driving for Halmar Friesen Racing.

Friesen will be joined in the front row by teenager Todd Gilliland, a third-generation racer who qualified the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports second at 184.951 mph. But before the start of the 167-lap/250.5-mile race, Gilliland will receive his high school diploma during graduation ceremonies conducted by TMS President Eddie Gossage.

Point-leader Johnny Sauter, the 2016 NCWTS champion, will start fifth after lapping at 184.074 mph in his No. 21 ISM Connect Chevy fielded by GMS Racing.

‘What They’re Saying’ From U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day For The DXC Technology 600

5:57 p.m. —

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I think (starting from pole here) helps a lot. It’s very warm. I don’t think I saw a person not sweating outside. We’re dealing with the heat. I think this is a big boost for us particularly coming off of Detroit. It was a tough weekend for us on the No. 1 car side. I don’t think it was the best weekend as a whole for Team Penske. We fought all weekend. To come here and have speed in all the race cars is really nice. I think it comes down to a lot of things – the team, the personnel we have. We have some of the best people in the paddock. You can see that. When you have cars go 1-2-3, it shows the competitiveness of all the cars. That’s the thing that impresses me most about the team, is how competitive they make each car they have. They’re really, really good at that. It’s a big credit to Team Penske and Team Chevy as well, if you look at the speed we’ve had during the month of May, the 500. It helped us secure the pole today. That’s a big part of it. Now that we have good speed, we have to figure out how to make the car last on tires. That is definitely the big deal tomorrow night. If we can do that, we’re going to be just fine, find ourselves back in victory lane.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “It’s a pretty difficult track, to be honest, not that easy. Really just trying to go step by step. I think we have a great car here and I look forward to the race tomorrow. I know it’s going to be a long race and it’s been a tough one the past few years, so hopefully, we will have a good one.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda): “We don’t run in track conditions like this any other time of the weekend, so the only time you’re running with 130 plus degree temps is when you’ve peeled all the downforce off and you’re going for broke in qualifying. That’s the toughest part – the unknowns. I don’t think we did the best job in the Arrow Electronics car today, unfortunately. We’ll do what we can in the race tomorrow, and like it’s been said, you can win from anywhere here. With this new aero kit, passing seems to be a little bit trickier than it has in years past. We’ve driven up through up the field here before, and hopefully, we can do it again tomorrow.”

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “Every day in INDYCAR is a new adventure, but we keep coming to each weekend with great cars. I think today is the perfect example. I’m definitely not comfortable on a superspeedway yet, but everyone on the Lucas Oil car are doing a good job. We were quick in practice, and now we’re starting fourth – can’t complain about that.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “The PNC Bank car was great earlier today and wasn’t bad in the afternoon, we just missed a little bit on the balance. But I’m not worried too much, as it really doesn’t matter where you qualify here because you can win about from any starting position. The car just had a bit of understeer so we had to lift. Not a bit deal and we’ll be ready to race tomorrow night for sure.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda): “The race this year will be a bit different with the change in the amount of downforce we have on the car. So that will be interesting. The conditions here today are a little difficult, but I’m happy with our NTT DATA car. We just missed the balance a little in qualifying, but we should be in the top half of the field and in a good place to go racing for the win here tomorrow night in Texas.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “A good run. I didn’t think we were going to have it for the pole anyway, so I think if we’re in the top six, it’s a good spot to start and a great way to start the weekend. I think we have a good car for the race. I think we’re improving as a team every weekend, so hopefully this will be a turnaround. Our best finish was last weekend, so we’ll try to do a lot better than seventh.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Honda): “We’re not as good as we should be on these superspeedways right now. It’s kind of been our weakness over the last handful of years. This team has been good everywhere else, but we struggle on this type of track. The out lap was super loose. I had a lot of understeer on the first lap and the second lap was better. It was just an inconsistent balance, which is the same as I had this morning. Takuma (Sato) is doing a good job, but I am just unhappy with the car. We didn’t have a great practice and it just carried over to qualifying. We’ll see what practice brings tonight and try to bounce back Saturday night.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “Overall, it was a pretty good day. The SealMaster Honda No. 18 was good this morning in practice and it was good in qualifying. It’s very hot, so the car wasn’t as stuck as it was in practice. We lost a lot of grip because the track was so much hotter, close to 140 (degrees), but it’s the same for everyone. The guys gave me a good car. I was pretty comfortable with the balance. I had a little understeer, but I knew what I was going to get before the qualifying run. A good run, so pretty happy.

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “The first half of practice earlier, I felt like we were really good. Then as people starting doing (qualifying simulations), we kind of fell behind. We took a little bit of a swing at it there in qualifying and just missed the balance. Ultimately, I think the speed is there. I wasn’t flat, I was lifting in (Turn) 1 and 2 for understeer. However, I thought the car was really good on long runs. I’ve struggled here in qualifying and gotten to the front before, that’s what we will do tomorrow.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It’s definitely a lot harder to drive here today in these conditions than it was in the tests. We had a little bit too much understeer in (Turns) 1 and 2 that made me have to get out of the throttle. We’re going to have our work cut out for us tomorrow night, but hopefully, we’ll make good progress in tonight’s final practice.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “We (Team Penske) seem to qualify (on the) front row pretty much every oval. We missed the pole on three ovals so far by a little bit. It was a fantastic effort from the whole No. 22 team. We had a bit of a tough practice this morning. We managed to make the right changes for this afternoon qualifying. I held my breath for those two laps – managed to keep the pedal to the floor the whole time. The handling was really good. Thanks to my engineer for sorting that out. Obviously, it’s super important for us to do well this weekend for DXC. It’s an incredible partner we have…they do all the data and analytics for the race team, basically get all the information from the cars, the other teammates for us as soon as possible to be successful on the racetrack. They’re obviously a leader in their industry, just like Team Penske. Having these two together is a dream team. We couldn’t be happier to have them onboard and be here as the title sponsor, as well.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet): “I’m pretty confident and happy with that qualifying run from the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet. We had a couple of issues on our qualifying sims this morning in practice, just with traffic and things like that, but overall, I’m just really proud of the Carlin guys. We unloaded here at Texas with a very stable car, and I’ve got to say that with how intimidating this place can be for both drivers and teams alike, that’s pretty impressive. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow night – it’s going to be hot and slippery. I honestly think that whoever takes care of their tires the longest during the race will end up the best.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda): “We just missed the tools the first lap. Obviously, you don’t know what you’re getting until you get out there. This being my first time here, I was a little conservative on the first lap and that hurt us. You should be flat through (Turn) 1, I tried to keep it flat as long as I could, but the front end took off on me. I’m kind of kicking myself because the second lap is what the first lap should have also been.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “I don’t think we had enough for the front row, but maybe a Row 2. We just had quite a bit of understeer that built pretty dramatically on the first lap. That’s the way it goes. I think it’s more important to have a car that’s strong. We were pretty happy with the NAPA car this morning and have another practice session tonight. It’s going to be a long night tomorrow night, and it will be about staying out of trouble.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We just have to keep the momentum going – last weekend was a huge weekend for us, but we’ve got to keep it rolling. The points are going to be so valuable, the competition is so close, the competition is so tight that you can’t really afford to give up much as the season rolls along. Hopefully, we can put it together here in tonight’s practice – tonight’s practice is going to be so important. We’re starting 10th, and we can absolutely do it from there with a strong car.”

TAKUMA SATO
(No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda): “It was a little sketchy in Turns 1 and 2 and I had to lift a little bit because the car was sliding over the bumps; it was a little bit too neutral. But in Turns 3 and 4, I was happy certainly after today’s practice session, I am happy with the speed I achieved. I’m happy that qualifying went extremely well with the No. 30 car under the circumstances. For the race, we are way over 400 pounds down on downforce from last year, so obviously, you can expect that the pack will be a little bit stretched out and it will be very difficult to follow as you observed in the Indy 500. With the banking here, typically Texas is a good two-wide race. Once the sun sets, I think you will be able to use the second lane and it will still be an exciting race.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “We had a problem with the throttle body this morning, so we were only able to do about 10 laps of pushing. We’ve had no testing here as a new team and going into a qualifying session in this heat is just extremely difficult for any team, but especially a new team. We just did the job we needed to do with the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet. At the end of the day, at a track like Texas Motor Speedway, you can qualify last and still come back and win the race.”

GABBY CHAVES
(No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “The car felt fantastic today. The guys have been full throttle for so long and I’m happy with the car they gave me, so I know we’ll be able to get it to the front during the race tomorrow. Texas is one of my favorite tracks because I’ve had some of my best results here, so we’ll see how everything pans out.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda): “I don’t think we had enough for pole, but fortunately, it’s 248 laps – a long night tomorrow night. This is a big home race for U.S. Concrete, and we’re proud to carry their colors and look forward to, hopefully, getting them into victory circle tomorrow.”

NEWGARDEN LEADS PENSKE SWEEP IN INDYCAR QUALIFYING AT TMS

Josef Newgarden led a 1-2-3 sweep for Team Penske during pole qualifications Friday afternoon for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Newgarden toured TMS’ 1.5-mile oval in a combined two-lap total of 46.9964-seconds/220.613 mph in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion, will start second after posting a two-lap average of 47.0607-seconds/220.311 mph in his No. 22 DXC Technology Chevy.

Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 - Qualifying
Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden captures his first Texas Motor Speedway pole during Friday’s U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day.

 

The last driver with a shot at Newgarden was teammate Will Power, the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion and winner of last year’s race here. But Power’s combined run of 47.0857-seconds/220.194 mph slotted the Australian’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevy into third.

“I think this is a big boost for us, especially coming off Detroit,” said Newgarden, referring to Honda’s domination of qualifying and both races of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park last weekend. “To come here and have speed again is really nice. Comes down to the team, the personnel we have, and you see that when we go 1-2-3. That impresses me the most. Team Chevy, when you look at the speed in Month of May and the (Indianapolis) 500, that’s a big part of it. Now that we have speed we need to figure out a way to make the (Firestone Firehawk) tires last.”

Saturday night’s 248-lap/372-mile event will be the first contested at TMS with sanctioning body INDYCAR’s new-for-2018 universal aero kit chassis built by Dallara. The chassis reportedly produces 100 fewer pounds of downforce, making the cars more difficult to handle and putting more emphasis on driver skill. The new chassis was designed, in part, to eliminate pack racing synonymous with TMS.

“This car is more sensitive to track temperature,” Newgarden said on a 94-degree afternoon that sent track temps around 135 degrees. “Looking after tires will be more of the equation this year. For a show, we’re trying to optimize what drivers want and what fans want. It’s a car that you can race and get close with. Guys will have to work to maintain the balance and maintain the tire life for the full stint. But I do think we’ll have a great race.”

Newgarden scored his fourth career pole, second this season, first at TMS and first on a superspeedway. Team Penske now has eight poles in Fort Worth, most of any organization. The pole also was the 259th in the history of the open-wheel juggernaut founded by Roger Penske.

“I held my breath for those two laps,” said Pagenaud, 10th in series points and without a top-five finish in the season’s first eight races. The Frenchman was seventh after Friday’s 90-minute opening practice.

“We made some changes on the car,” Pagenaud said, “because I wasn’t comfortable this morning and never went flat-out in Turn 1 before. This morning was the worst situation you’re going to see. The track was dusty, low-grip and the tires were sliding around. I thought this morning it was down to the driver, you had to lift in Turns 1 and 2. INDYCAR has decided not to have pack racing here, so we decided to go with this universal aero kit…and you have to adapt to it. You have to find ways to be the best. It’s definitely not easy…but you want to deserve your seat as a race car driver. It was tough but I welcome the challenge.”

Series rookie Robert Wickens led the Honda contingent in fourth at 47.2214-seconds/219.561 mph in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry. Rounding out the top five was Sebastien Bourdais, a four-time Indy car champion, at 47.2772-seconds/219.302 mph in the No. 18 Team SealMater Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing.

A one-hour practice at 6:15 p.m. (CDT) remains for teams to fine-tune their race day setups. “We’re going to get a preview of the start of the race,” Newgarden said, “and an idea of what it’s like to run in two-car packs or 10-car packs.”

A field of 22 cars will compete in Saturday’s edition of “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Series Race.” Round No. 9 of the schedule will be televised on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).

PAGENAUD SETS EARLY INDYCAR SERIES QUALIFYING PACE

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud moved to the top of the speed chart halfway through qualifications Friday afternoon for the DXC Technology 600.

Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 - Practice
Halfway through qualifying and Simon Pagenaud sits in the P1 position.

Pagenaud, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, posted a two-lap average of 47.0607-seconds/220.311 mph in his No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet. The Frenchman’s lap ousted Tony Kanaan off the provisional pole. The popular Brazilian had toured TMS’ 1.5-mile oval in a combined 47.3085-seconds/219.157 mph in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet fielded by native Texan and open-wheel icon A.J. Foyt Jr.

Kanaan knocked Charlie Kimball and the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet fielded by Trevor Carlin off pole. Kimball, then of Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified on-pole last June 9 with a two-lap average of 46.5861-seconds/222.556 mph. Kimball also set the one-lap track record of 23.2730-seconds/222.747 mph.

Kanaan and rookie Robert Wickens each recorded a hot lap of 220.014 mph during Friday morning’s 90-minute practice session. Wickens, a native of Toronto, Canada, logged 58 laps in his first stint around TMS as driver of the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. Kanaan, the 2004 series champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner, ran 59 laps.

A field of 22 cars is qualifying for Saturday’s edition of “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Series Race.” Round No. 9 of the schedule is set for 248 laps/372 miles and will be televised on NBC Sports Network beginning at 8 p.m. (EDT).

GRAHAM RAHAL LANDS MULTI-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION

2:44 p.m. — Graham Rahal has found a home in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and he’s not about to change zip codes.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced a five-year contract extension with Rahal during a news conference Friday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600.

“Hell, I didn’t even read the contract last week,” said Rahal, who has driven for the team fronted by father Bobby full-time since 2013. Graham has earned six wins, 27 podiums and 48 top-fives during his open-wheel career. Over the past three seasons, he has finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the point standings. In two of those seasons, Graham was the highest-ranked Honda-powered driver.

“It’s been a lot of fun for me to be here,” said Graham, a 29-year-old native of New Albany, Ohio. “We’ve come a long way over the last handful of years. As a driver, you’re always…when you get in a contract year you always are testing the waters, that’s natural. But RLL has done a tremendous job and proven ourselves to be one of the premier teams in the series.

“A lot of this is thanks to our sponsors. Most of them are long-term contracts, so I was kind of the outlier in the deal. I’d like to think the next five years, and maybe after that, are the prime of my career. I’m excited to continue on here and build. The next five years should be awesome.”

Based in Brownsburg, Ind., RLL is co-owned by the elder Rahal — the 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion — former CBS “Late Show” host David Letterman and Mi-Jack co-owner Mike Lanigan.

Bobby noted there are plusses and minuses to having a son drive as a team employee. “The plusses are you’ve got a guy who can stand on the gas and he’s proven that again and again,” said the elder Rahal, 65, citing Graham’s victory in the 2016 night race on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval. “I give Graham all the credit in the world.

“For our sponsors, it’s a plus having he and I together. It’s a lot of responsibility for me as a team-owner when your son, your blood, is in that car and you want him to achieve his goals. To me, it’s worth the pressure of that. I look forward to the next five years.

“You can say I’m biased, but I admire and respect Graham’s work ethic on and off the track for our team and sponsors.”

Graham, driver of the No. 15 Fleet Cost & Care Honda this weekend, is seventh in the 2018 point standings heading into Saturday night’s 248-lap/372-mile event (8 p.m., CDT, NBC Sports Network). He has scored three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in the season’s first eight events.

The 2018 season is the 12th in domestic open wheel racing’s premier series for Graham, who became the youngest winner in major auto racing history when he drove to victory in the 2008 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.) at the age of 19. Since 2015, he has won five Verizon IndyCar Series races.

WICKENS, KANAAN TOP OPENING INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE

1:39 p.m. — Rookie Robert Wickens and veteran Tony Kanaan emerged in a tie atop the speed chart following Friday’s opening Verizon IndyCar Series practice for the DXC Technology 600.

Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 - Practice
Rookie Robert Wickens (above) and 2014 Texas Motor Speedway winner Tony Kanaan were the two fastest in opening practice for the DXC Technology 600 on Friday.

Wickens and Kanaan each recorded a hot lap of 220.014 mph around Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval during the 90-minute session. Wickens, a native of Toronto, Canada, logged 58 laps in his first stint around TMS as driver of the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

Kanaan, the 2004 series champion and 2013 Indy 500 winner, ran 59 laps in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet fielded by native Texan and open-wheel legend A.J. Foyt Jr.

Sebastien Bourdais, a four-time Indy car champion, was third-fast at 219.619 mph in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing. Bourdais did not compete at TMS last June while recovering from injuries suffered in a crash during qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 champion from Andretti Autosport, was fourth overall at 219.355 mph in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda. Rossi was followed by Gabby Chaves at 219.064 mph in the No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet.

Scott Dixon, a four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion, was the last driver over 219 mph at 219.005 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon won the first half of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix last Saturday on The Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

The session began with an INDYCAR-mandated 30-minute session to scuff-in tires. Teams were instructed to scuff-in four sets of Firestone Firehawk rubber before being cleared to run all-out for the final hour. Firestone Racing has brought more than 1,300 race tires to Fort Worth for the 22 entered teams. Each entry will receive 13 sets of Firehawk tires.

U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day for the open-wheel series is set for 3 p.m. (CT). Saturday’s edition of “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Series Race” — set for 248 laps/372 miles — will be televised on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7 p.m. (CT).

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: COWBOYS GREAT “TOO TALL” MEETS INDYCAR NAMESAKE “TOO FAST”

Having grown up in Dubai, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ed Jones wasn’t familiar with American football.

It wasn’t until he moved to Indianapolis to compete in the series and his fellow competitors were jokingly calling him “Too Tall” that he began familiarizing himself with the National Football League … and his namesake that starred for the Dallas Cowboys.

Texas Motor Speedway - Media LuncheonOn Thursday at The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway, “Too Fast” Jones of Chip Ganassi Racing met Super Bowl champion and three-time All-Pro defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones for a media luncheon and learn a little bit more about the other Ed Jones. Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, Jones’ teammate, also took part in the luncheon as well.

Texas Motor Speedway had the Joneses participate in an entertaining, rapid-fire word association game featuring terms in football, racing and ones that crossed over to both.

“Too Tall” will return to Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday evening as a guest of “Too Fast,” NTT Data and Chip Ganassi Racing for the DXC Technology 600. The Joneses will partake in a press conference in the infield media center deadline room at 6:15 p.m. CT and then pre-race introductions beginning at 7:01 p.m.

“Too Tall” will watch “Too Fast” take the green flag in his No. 10 NTT Data Honda for the DXC Technology 600 at 7:45 p.m. from atop the team’s pit box.

Tickets for the DXC Technology 600, as well as Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400 and U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day, are available by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 817.215.8500.

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE GOES GREEN

12:18 p.m. — Friday’s lone Verizon IndyCar Series practice scheduled before qualifying for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway began with an INDYCAR-mandated 30-minute session to scuff-in tires.

Teams were instructed to scuff-in four sets of Firestone Firehawk rubber around the 1.5-mile oval before being cleared to run all-out for the final hour. Firestone Racing has brought more than 1,300 race tires to Fort Worth for the 22 entered teams. Each entry will receive 13 sets of Firehawk racing tires.

“The Firestone Race Engineering team will bring new, softer left and right side compounds to the 2018 DXC Technology 600,” said Cara Adams, chief engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “Based on learnings from 2017, along with the results from our tire test in March, the new, softer tires are more heat-resistant and will provide increased grip and greater drop-off over a stint.”

US Concrete Qualifying Day for the open-wheel series is set for 3 p.m. (CT).

8:00 a.m. — Friday’s Schedule

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. VICS Credentials Open
8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. USAC Racing
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Texas Motor Speedway Credential Office Open
8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. VICS Garage Open
11 a.m. Gates at Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway Open
11:30 a.m. Gate 4 Open
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. VICS 1st Practice
12 p.m. NCWTS Garage Open
12 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. NASCAR Credentials Open
12–8 p.m. Outdoor Powersports Offroad Ruckus Open (South Infield)
1:30 p.m. Legends Racing at Lil Texas Motor Speedway
2:30 p.m. Gates 3, 5, Victory Lane Club and Luxury Suites Open
Gates 2 & 6 Open for Victory Lane Club and Luxury Suites only
3–4 p.m. U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day for VICS
3:30–4:15 p.m. NCWTS Autograph Session (Location TBA)
4:45 p.m. U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day for NCWTS
5–5:45 p.m. VICS Autograph Session at IndyCar Fan Village Between Gates 3-4
6:15–7:15 p.m. VICS Final Practice
8 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400 (167 Laps, 250.5 Miles)
25 min post Checkered Flag Barr Tunnel at Section 121 Closes
30 min post Checkered Flag SST Practice
Post SST Practice Barr Tunnel Opens

8:00 a.m. — Friday’s Schedule

THURSDAY’S NEWS & NOTES FROM THE DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 TRIPLEHEADER

Washed Out: Truck Series Final Practice Canceled

5:50 p.m. — Final practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was cancelled after strong rains fell on much of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Drivers from the Truck Series will take part in an autograph session from 3:30-4:15 p.m. Friday at the Texas Motor Speedway Display just outside of Turn 4. U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day for the PPG 400 follows the autograph session at 4:45 p.m.

The PPG 400 will drop the green flag Friday night at 8 o’clock CT and can be seen live on FS1.

Eggleston Fastest In First Practice For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series PPG 400 - Practice4:25 p.m. — Chris Eggleston laid down a speed of 180.886 mph (29.853 seconds) on his 17th trip around Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval on Thursday afternoon. It was the fastest lap in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first of two practice sessions — the second of which is scheduled for 5:50 p.m. CT.

Noah Gragson, Johnny Sauter and Stewart Friesen also laid down sub-30 second laps, while Grant Enfinger rounded out the top-five quickest with a lap of 30.065 seconds.

The final practice session will run for 50 minutes. The lineup for Saturday night’s PPG 400 will be determined during U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day on Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

Four Questions With Stadium SUPER Trucks Driver Matt Brabham

11:30 a.m. — SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks points leader Matt Brabham spent Thursday morning giving rides to members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway. Following the two-seater rides, Brabham took the time to answer some questions about how he got started in SST, what’s it’s like to be behind the wheel of a SST, his family’s history in racing, and a touching tribute behind his sponsor this weekend.

The SST will hold a practice session on Friday night and race twice on Saturday — once at 5:45 p.m. and then 30 minutes after the checkered flag flies on the DXC Technology 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race.

8:00 a.m. — Thursday’s schedule:

8 a.m. VICS Haulers Enter
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. USAC Racing
9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Texas Motor Speedway Credential Office Open
10 a.m. Reserved Infield Camping Open
Burnout Alley Load In Open
Speedway Children’s Charities Auction Opens Text SCC18 to 24700 for items
10:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. VICS Credentials Open
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. VICS Garage Open
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. NCWTS Haulers Enter
12:30 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Credentials Open
1-7 p.m. NCWTS Garage Open
3 p.m. Gate 4 Open
3:05 – 3:55 p.m. NCWTS 1st Practice
5 p.m. Gates at Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway Open
5:05 – 5:55 p.m. NCWTS Final Practice
7:30 p.m. Legends Racing at Lil Texas Motor Speedway

DXC TECHNOLOGY 600 VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES ADVANCE PACKAGE

A look ahead to Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The DXC Technology 600 will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT and also on SiriusXM Radio (Channel 209), INDYCAR Radio Network and locally on 95.9 FM The Ranch.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 Champion Will Power To Visit With Dallas Cowboys

NORTH TEXAS HAS BECOME SECOND HOME TO NATIVE AUSSIE POWER

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2018) — The Verizon IndyCar Series has one of the most diverse driver lineups in all of auto racing. Maybe all of sports.

At 8,372 miles, no IndyCar pilot will be further away from his hometown this weekend than Will Power. That said, when the reigning race champion steps on the throttle for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600,  he’s still going to feel right at home.

“It was an exciting win for me last year simply because I was trying to win it for so long. My wife (Elizabeth) and her family are from here (Plano, Texas),” said Power, a native of Toowoomba, Australia. “I remember her cousin said ‘Just win this race, would ya?’ And he was actually there when I finally did. It’s kind of a second home for me. (It’s an) epic place.”

Power is coming off a very memorable month of May. After winning the Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 12, Power followed that up by becoming the first driver in history to sweep Indy via his victory in the 102nd annual Indianapolis 500. It was the 2014 IndyCar Series champion’s first Indy 500 win in 11 tries.

“That was the one, you know? The one I wanted to win so badly. I started to wonder if it was ever going to happen,” Power said. “I had so many years of thinking about ‘I have to win the 500’ and there was kind of a bit of frustration building there. I still have that thought because it was so strong in my mind that I’m like ‘Hang on. No, I won the 500.’ That’s going to be there forever.”

Now Power shifts his focus to Texas Motor Speedway, where he looks to become just the third driver in history to win back-to-back races at the speedy 1.5-mile oval. Power survived a caution-filled, dramatic and intense 2017 race that saw eight cars battling it out for the win over the final 19 laps.

It will be Power’s second visit to the Lone Star State in the last two weeks. On May 30, Power made pit stops across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including The Star in Frisco, home of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility. With his wife and his brother-in-law, Billy Cannon, in tow, Power met with many of the Cowboys taking part in offseason OTA’s.

“I’ve been to like four Super Bowls and didn’t really know the players or the teams,” said Power, who was a special guest of his sponsor Verizon at those games. “My brother-in-law is just an absolute football nut. Dallas Cow

boys fan. So is my wife. So it’s pretty cool to bring them along to do this.”

Power has certainly made Texas a second home over the last decade. In 10 starts, Power has three poles, two wins and has only finished outside the top 10 three times, his worst finish being a 14th back in 2010.

“I love it here,” Power said. “It’s a great track with a lot of speed and a lot of close, tight racing. I always look forward to coming back here.”

Indy Hometowns.png

  • TECH TALK 

DXC Technology signed an agreement with Texas Motor Speedway in February to become the entitlement sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series race held annually in June at the world-renowned motorsports facility. “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race,” a staple event since the venue opened in 1997, is set for Saturday night and has been re-branded the DXC Technology 600.

So what is DXC Technology?

DXC.technology600DXC Technology (DXC: NYSE) is the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company, serving nearly 6,000 private and public-sector clients from a diverse array of industries across 70 countries.

The company was formed on April 1, 2017 by the merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. With some 150,000 employees worldwide, DXC Technology, a Fortune 500 company and represented in the S&P 500 Index, has established more than 250 industry-leading global Partner Network relationships, including 15 strategic partners: Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Dell EMC, HCL, Hitachi, HPE, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Micro Focus, Microsoft, Oracle, PwC, SAP and ServiceNow.

DXC Technology, with headquarters in Tysons, Va., has a significant local presence in Dallas/Fort Worth with a branch office in Plano that has more than 2,500 employees.

DXC Technology already had a notable presence in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Team Penske. In its first season as a motorsports sponsor in 2017, DXC Technology became a partner with Team Penske and driver Simon Pagenaud. DXC Technology extended its partnership for 2018 with the company serving as the primary sponsor on Pagenaud’s car for six races, including the DXC Technology 600, and as an associate sponsor on the remaining races for the No. 22 team. The company also provides Team Penske with technology support.

Pagenaud will be visiting with hundreds of employees at the Plano office (7000 Parkwood) on Wednesday as well as participating in a special drone exhibition during a special event to celebrate the company’s partnership with Texas Motor Speedway. He will be available to the media at the event from 2:20-2:40 p.m. CT.

DID YOU KNOW?

87102861.87102862
Scott Sharp celebrates his 2001 Casino Magic 500 win.

Only one Verizon IndyCar Series driver has repeated as the champion of Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 in the 22-year history of Texas Motor Speedway.

That driver?

Scott Sharp of Kelley Racing.

Sharp won the 2000 Casino Magic 500k over Robby McGehee by 0.059 of a second and had some good fortune to repeat in 2001.

A three-car accident involving race leader Greg Ray allowed Sharp to inherit the lead on Lap 196 and he held it under caution through the final five laps for the win.

It was the sixth of his nine career victories over the course of his 16-year Indy-car career that began in 1993.

  • TAKING IT TO THE BANK

Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will look to take sole possession of third place for most career wins in Indy-car history when the Chip Ganassi Racing driver competes in Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, Dixon won the first race of the doubleheader weekend at The Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit for his 42nd career victory. The win moved him into a tie for third all-time with Michael Andretti and extended his streak to 14 consecutive seasons of at least one victory.

_16C1942-1
Scott Dixon (center, red hat) celebrates his 42nd career Indy-car victory with his team along with team owner Chip Ganassi (left) and team managing director Mike Hull (2nd from left) on Saturday at The Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo credit: INDYCAR)

Two motorsports legends own the top two positions with A.J. Foyt first with 67 wins and Mario Andretti second at 52.

“I think we’re also very lucky, too, to still have A.J. and Mario and Michael still involved to a very high level in the sport, and the legends and what they’ve done for all of us is really gratifying to see,” Dixon said after the win. “For me, I love racing. I feel very lucky to do it, and while I’m here, I want to do the best that I can. You know, winning is why we’re in this business…”

Added Michael Andretti, who competed against Dixon until his retirement in 2007: “Scott Dixon is one of the best Indy car drivers of all-time, so it was only just a matter of time before he was going to get there (third on the all-time win list). Well deserved. He’s a great ambassador for the sport.”

Saturday’s win, coupled with a fourth-place finish on Sunday at Belle Isle, vaulted Dixon into second place in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, just five points behind Team Penske’s Will Power.

Power is the defending champion of the DXC Technology 600, but Dixon has fared quite well at Texas Motor Speedway over the years. He is a two-time winner, with victories in 2008 and again in ’15. He also ranks third all-time at Texas for top-five finishes (9) as well as top-10 finishes (12) in 18 career starts.

  • FOUR QUESTIONS WITH JOSEF NEWGARDEN (VIDEO)

Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden, the defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion, talks about winning the title, the DXC Technology 600 and Texas food (2 minutes, 22 seconds).

  • KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES 

Ed Jones meet Ed Jones. Same name, but vastly different backgrounds.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ed “Too Fast” Jones will meet his namesake Dallas Cowboys great Ed “Too Tall” Jones during this weekend’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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Ed “Too Fast” Jones drives the No. 10 NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Too Tall” will be a guest of “Too Fast” and Chip Ganassi Racing for Saturday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race, including taking part in the pre-race activities and watching the start of the race from the No. 10 NTT Data pit box.

The Joneses also will conduct a brief press conference at 6:15 p.m. Saturday in the deadline room of the infield media center prior to pre-race activities for the DXC Technology 600.

“Too Fast” is a 24-year-old native of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and stands 5-foot-7. He is in his second season with the Verizon IndyCar Series and first with Chip Ganassi Racing. He competed in 2017 with Dale Coyne Racing.

“Too Tall,” a 67-year-old Tennessee native, was a 6-foot-9 defensive end that played 15 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (1974-78, ’80-89). In 1979, he briefly left football to attempt a career in professional boxing.

He was a three-time All-Pro defensive end and a member of the Super Bowl XII champions.

Classic NFL
Ed “Too Tall” Jones played 15 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive end, earning All-Pro honors three times and a Super Bowl ring. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
  • BY THE NUMBERS

222.556 – Two-lap average in miles per hour of Charlie Kimball‘s qualifying effort last year that earned him the pole and set the speedway qualifying record for a two-lap run.

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Charlie Kimball celebrates with the Pole Award helmet in 2017. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

23 – Lead changes among seven drivers in last year’s DXC Technology 600.

5.16 – Average finishing position of A.J. Foyt Racing driver Tony Kanaan, which ranks first all-time at TMS among drivers with a minimum of eight starts.

3 – Consecutive poles won by Team Penke driver Will Power at Texas Motor Speedway (2013-15).

 

Check out the second episode of the TMS Bobblehead Family parody video featuring the life-sized bobbleheads of James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick. Hinch provides his own voice for the episode.

  • MOTOWN MOJO

It was quite a weekend in the Motor City for Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay as he ended a nearly three-year winless drought and made a big jump in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings.

Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion, won Sunday’s race at The Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit to snap a 42-race winless streak that dated to Pocono in August of 2015. The victory, the 17th of his career, was his first on a temporary street course since winning at Baltimore in 2012.

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Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay enjoys some champagne and a dip in the fountain after winning Sunday’s race at The Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit to snap a 42-race winless streak. (Photo credit: INDYCAR)

The winless streak did make him think at times if he would finally be able to convert a number of near misses he had at victory since 2015.

“It went through my head a lot,” Hunter-Reay admitted. “But I know I have the team behind me to do it. I know I can do it with the right car. I know I have the talent to win the races and just have to think positive.

“I’ve got the best job on earth, so I come and show up in the morning and there’s a yellow car there with my name on the side of it, and I go to work as an INDYCAR car driver. I absolutely knew we could get back in victory lane, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

It was a stellar weekend for Hunter-Reay in the Detroit doubleheader as he finished runner-up Saturday to Scott Dixon.The strong finishes moved him from fifth to fourth in the championship standings, but, more importantly, trimmed the deficit on the championship leader.

Hunter-Reay came into the weekend trailing by 57 points and now finds himself just 31 behind Team Penske’s Will Power heading into Saturday night’s DXC Technology at Texas Motor Speedway. He has struggled of late at Texas, with no finish better than 13th in his last four visits.

  • TEXAS TRADITION

Saturday night’s DXC Technology will mark the 30th Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The series has been a staple at Texas Motor Speedway since it opened in 1997 and the venue has hosted more Verizon IndyCar Series races than any other track in league history, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In addition to the annual June race, which also included a doubleheader event in 2011, Texas Motor Speedway also hosted a fall Verizon IndyCar Series race from 1998 through 2004.

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  • HINCHTOWN ON THE RISE 

The population of Hinchtown is about to explode prior to Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

There will be 20,000 Mayor of Hinchtown bobbleheads invading Texas Motor Speedway as fans attending the Verizon IndyCar Series race will receive one of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe.

MEDIA NOTE/PHOTO OPP: Hinchcliffe will be handing out his bobblehead to unsuspecting fans from 3:30-3:45 p.m. at the Gate 4 entrance.

June2018_HinchBobble_800x600Hinch is the second of the three-driver bobblehead series for the 2018 Texas Motor Speedway season.

Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was featured in April’s NASCAR race weekend and 2004 Cup champ Kurt Busch will be the bobblehead for November’s AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Playoff tripleheader.

  • KID (RACING) GLOVES

Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will serve as the Honorary Grand Marshal for the USAC .25 quarter-midget event scheduled for Thursday through Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.

The event already has attracted more than 279 parIMG_5507ticipants between the ages of five and 16 for the inaugural USAC.25 series race that is being held in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series, NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and Stadium SUPER Trucks.

The track will be set up in the parking lot outside of Gate 7 and racing will be daily from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. No ticket to the speedway events is needed for admission to the USAC.25 racing action, which is free.

Newgarden is scheduled to visit with the racers from 10-10:30 a.m. Friday.

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Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will serve as the Honorary Grand Marshal for the USAC.25 quarter-midget event that will be held Thursday-Saturday outside of Gates 7-8 at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo credit: INDYCAR)

“I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the USAC.25 Series racers,” said Newgarden, the Team Penske driver who began his motorsports career at age 13 and won numerous karting titles as a youth. “Racing at Texas Motor Speedway will be an amazing experience for these kids, and I’m excited to be able to share some of that thrill with these young drivers with big dreams. It wasn’t that long ago that I had the same aspirations, so it’s very cool to be able to give back and spend some time with these racers. I’m sure it will be a blast and I can’t wait to be the Grand Marshal for their event.”

This is the third of eight races that make up the 2018 USAC.25 series national schedule. The season kicked off at Daytona International Speedway in Feb., where more than 340 kids from across the country came to compete.

Some notable graduates of quarter midget racing include Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano of NASCAR, and Ed Carpenter and Sarah Fisher of INDYCAR.

  • BACK IN THE SADDLE

For Ed Carpenter, the runner-up finish in the May 27 Indianapolis 500 was bittersweet.

Sure, the driver/owner was happy about leading a race-high 65 laps from the pole position in the 102nd running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” but it also left the oval specialist wondering what might have been.

“It was disappointing, especially when I know we had a car to win the race,” said Carpenter, who will be in the field for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600. “All you can do is take what you learned and apply it for next time. We’ll come back and try it again next year.”

Carpenter spent last weekend in Detroit on the sidelines. The owner of the self-named Ed Carpenter Racing, he watched his team struggle a bit on the road course in Motown. But Texas Motor Speedway provides an opportunity for the 37-year-old to get back behind the wheel at a track where he’s felt the thrill of victory.

“Texas never disappoints with the IndyCar race,” said Carpenter, winner of the 2014 IndyCar race at TMS. “It’s always a great show.”

Last year’s race certainly was a memorable one with a record nine cautions and intense side-by-side racing. The big wreck took out nine cars, including Carpenter. Tony Kanaan was blamed for the wreck and was handed a penalty, yet still went on to finish second in a race that saw only six of the starting 22 cars finish on the lead lap.

“I think we need exciting racing like that race was (last year), where it gets a little out of control sometimes. It doesn’t make me afraid to race with Tony , he’s a pro,” Carpenter said. “We’re all out there fighting as hard as we can for wins and to be successful for our teams and sponsors. We can race close and hard like that, but at the end of the day we’ve got to respect each other out on track a little more than we did last year.”

 

NCWTS PPG 400, STADIUM SUPER TRUCKS ADVANCE PACKAGE

A look ahead to Friday night’s PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and Saturday night’s SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Truck Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. The PPG 400 will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 8 p.m. CT and also on SiriusXM Radio (Channel 90), the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and locally on 95.9 FM The Ranch. The SST races will be televised at a later date.

FORT WORTH, Texas (June 5, 2018) – Having only recently graduated to racing on mile-and-a-half tracks, it’s fitting that NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Todd Gilliland will be donning a cap and gown Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

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Todd Gilliland takes a look inside his truck during a test session at Texas Motor Speedway on May 23.

The 18-year-old, third-generation NASCAR driver will walk across the PPG 400 pre-race stage, where Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage will conduct the commencement ceremony and present Gilliland with his diploma for completing all of his required high school credits.

“People always ask how it is to balance school and racing. Just to be able to finish it off and go full-time racing that’s what I can’t wait for,” said Gilliland, who is driving the No. 4 entry for Kyle Busch Motorsports. “Just to have it here, at Texas … it’s going to be fun weekend for us. We have a lot of family coming out for it; my mom is pretty pumped.”

Gilliland recently completed his online courses in order to receive his degree this Friday. He will become the fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver in the last five years to “graduate” and then race at Texas Motor Speedway on the same day. The other drivers include Erik Jones (2014), Cole Custer (’16) and Noah Gragson (’17).

“My mom is definitely way more excited than I am. I’m just happy to be done,” Gilliland said. “My dad and I are just excited to come out here and have another shot at a mile-and-a-half track.”

Speeding To Read - Day 2
Todd Gilliland takes part in a donut eating contest with elementary school students during TMS’ Speeding To Read event on May 23.

Todd is the son of David Gilliland, a NASCAR journeyman who now competes part-time in the Cup and Truck series. David also is the part owner of DGR-Crosley, which competes in NASCAR’s truck series, K&N Pro Series East and ARCA Racing Series. Todd is also the grandson of Butch Gilliland, who raced in NASCAR during the 1990s.

“The last two years, (my dad) has been my spotter in the K&N Series, but this year has been a little bit different of a dynamic with him having his own truck team and us competing against him,” Todd said. “But he’s always still there to help me out. He has a lot of experience on these (1.5-mile) tracks. That’s what it’s all about is utilizing anyone you can to be the best that you can.”

The PPG 400 will be Todd’s first career start at Texas. He was forced to miss four of the first six races of the season because of a NASCAR rule that restricts drivers under the age of 18 to only compete on oval tracks that are 1.25 miles or less in length.

Todd turned 18 on May 15, allowing him to compete on the 1.5-mile oval three days later at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he finished a respectable 10th. But he’ll need to flip his tassel the other side of his mortarboard before he can show off his skills at Texas Motor Speedway.

“When my mom graduated high school, she was really sad and going to miss all her friends and stuff,” Todd said. “My dad was the same as me, I just want to go racing.”

  • FOUR QUESTIONS WITH NCWTS DRIVER TODD GILLILAND (VIDEO)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Todd Gilliland of Kyle Busch Motorsports talks about his first car (yes, it was a Barbie car), high school graduation at Texas Motor Speedway and being a third-generation NASCAR driver (2 minutes).

  • PPG SECURES NCWTS RACE ENTITLEMENT 

PPG has signed an agreement to serve as the race entitlement sponsor of Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The race (167 laps, 250.5 miles) will be re-branded the PPG 400 and opens the diverse tripleheader weekend that features races in the Verizon IndyCar Series and SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks in addition to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the world-renowned motorsports facility in Fort Worth.

PPG400PPG, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., has been a global supplier and leader of paints, coatings, optical products and specialty materials for more than 130 years. Founded in 1883 as Pittsburgh Plate Glass by Captain John B. Ford and John Pitcairn in Pittsburgh, PPG now boasts 156 manufacturing facilities worldwide, including 45 across 19 states in the U.S.

Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than any other company.

  • HISTORY LESSON

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its debut nearly a quarter-century ago in 1995. Coming into the 2018 season, only five drivers had ever won three of the first seven races. Johnny Sauter became the sixth with his win in Charlotte on May 18.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200
Johnny Sauter celebrates his third win of the season on May 18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The other drivers to accomplish the feat are Kyle Busch (2011, ’14), Matt Crafton (’15), Mike Skinner (1995, ’96, ’07), Ron Hornaday Jr. (’95) and Ted Musgrave (’01).

He will join even more elite company if he’s able to find Sunoco Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway in Friday night’s PPG 400. The four-time Texas winner, including two of the last three races, will join Busch and Skinner as the only three drivers in series history to win half of the season’s schedule through the first eight races.

Sauter is off to a terrific start to the season. Including his three wins (Daytona, Dover and Charlotte), Sauter has finished inside the top five in all but one race and has yet to start a race outside the top 10.

With a win in Friday night’s PPG 400, Sauter will equal his win total from a year ago, which was his career high for a single season.

“Texas is becoming one of my favorite places on earth,” Sauter said after his win last November. “I haven’t been this pumped up in a long, long time.”

  • DID YOU KNOW?

A NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver has not won a race from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway since June of 2007. Todd Bodine was the last to accomplish the feat while becoming the fifth overall to do so at Texas.

  • JOHNNY’S SPOT WITH NO WELCOME ‘MATT’

While there’s been an influx of youth in the Camping World Truck Series over the last few years, don’t expect a pair of wily veterans to simply pull off to the side for the youngsters. Johnny Sauter, 40, and Matt Crafton, 41, remain two of the series’ most consistent talents, combining to win three of the last five championships.

Sauter, who won last November’s truck series race at Texas Motor Speedway, was the only driver in the top five that was old enough to rent a vehicle. It was the second consecutive fall race win and fourth of his career in Fort Worth for Sauter, who sits atop the point standings heading into Friday night’s PPG 400.

Crafton, who has gotten off to an uncharacteristically slow start this season, has more Texas starts (34) than any other driver in the series and is a two-time race winner in the Lone Star State. He has finished inside the top 10 for 13 consecutive races, nine of those being top fives.

  • MOFFITT FINDS A HOME … FINALLY

For some, winning rookie of the year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has proved to be the first chapter in a long story of success. For Brett Moffitt, it was the first and only chapter of a book that never had a chance to be written.

Until now.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Active Pest Control 200 benefiting Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Brett Moffitt is making the most of his opportunity in the Camping World Truck Series this season.

Three years after winning 2015 rookies honors in the MENCS, the native of Grimes, Iowa, has found a home in the Camping World Truck Series. Through seven races, Moffitt already has visited Victory Lane once, has a pair of third-place finishes, and a fourth  driving the No. 16 Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises. He currently is third in the NCWTS standings, 65 points behind the leader Johnny Sauter.

Moffitt ran 34 of 35 races – finishing all but one – in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2015, driving the No. 55 Toyota for the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing and the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. He was replaced by 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Chris Buescher in the No. 34 for 2016, leaving Moffitt without a full-time ride for the last two years.

Moffitt’s crew chief this season is Scott Zipadelli, the brother of Greg Zipadelli, who guided Tony Stewart to the NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2002 and ‘05.

  • JOE KNOWS TEXAS

While his son John Hunter Nemechek will be racing in the Xfinity Series in Michigan this weekend, 54-year-old Joe Nemechek will be up on the wheel at Texas Motor Speedway in Friday night’s PPG 400.

WinStar World Casino & Resort 400
Joe Nemechek will make his fifth career truck series start in Friday night’s PPG 400.

A full-time owner and part-time driver in the NCWTS and NXS, “Front Row Joe” has seen it all at Texas Motor Speedway. In his TMS debut back in 1997, Nemechek narrowly avoided a first-lap wreck and went on to finish 29th; in 2003 he got his only win while running an Xfinity Series race; and he started fourth in the track’s first fall Cup race in 2005.

Though his Camping World Truck Series resume is a bit shorter at Texas, he’s run well here, finishing in the top 10 in three of four starts.

All told, Nemechek has started 46 races at TMS across NASCAR’s three national series with nine top 10s and a win.

  • TEXAS TRENDS

The last four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions all won at Texas Motor Speedway in the respective year in which they took home the title.

Year          Driver                          TMS Win
2017           Christopher Bell         June
2016           Johnny Sauter             November
2015           Erik Jones                    November
2014           Matt Crafton                June

Prior to Crafton in 2014, this feat had only been achieved four times by three drivers: Todd Bodine (2006 , ’10), Jack Sprague (’01) and Greg Biffle (’00).

  • AWESOME AUSSIE

If it wasn’t for Matt Brabham’s curiosity and a schedule conflict for former Indy-car star Paul Tracy, the young Australian may have never known how successful he could be in the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks Series.

While chasing his dream of being a full-time driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the third-generation, open-wheel driver stumbled across the series in 2015 while at the INDYCAR race week in Toronto.

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Matt Brabham enters this weekend’s SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks event at TMS atop the standings.

While chasing his dream of being a full-time driver in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the third-generation open-wheel pilot stumbled across the series in 2015 while at the INDYCAR race week in Toronto.

“Well, I first saw the Stadium Super Trucks while driver coaching in Toronto for the INDYCAR street race,” recalled Brabham, the son of former Indy-car driver Geoff and grandson of three-time Formula One champion Sir Jack. “I was completely blown away by how crazy and fun they looked to race. I approached the main guys with the series and asked a lot of questions about how I could become involved. Later on I got a call – Paul Tracy was supposed to drive a truck but unfortunately had TV commitments and couldn’t make it so they asked if I could be there in the next 15 minutes to jump in.

“I’ve been racing in the series ever since.”

Brabham ran just seven races in 2015 and opted to go full-time in the series a year later while still pursuing a full-time ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He got a break that year where he competed in the Indy 500 as well as the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for PIRTEK Team Murray, but those were the only two races scheduled for the team.

The 24-year-old Aussie continued to learn and develop in the series and quickly found himself in championship contention. In 2016, he finished runner-up in the championship to his teammate Sheldon Creed. Last year, he recorded five wins and finished runner-up in the championship by one point to Paul Morris.

With unfinished business of winning a Stadium SUPER Trucks championship, he has his No. 83 DeVilbiss entry in championship contention once again, leading the championship standings by 59 points.

Brabham and the SPEED Energy SUPER Truck Series drivers will hit the track for an opening practice 30 minutes following the checkered flag of the PPG 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday evening, June 8.

The series will have two races Saturday, one prior to the DXC Technology 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race beginning at 5:15 p.m. and the finale beginning 30 minutes following the checkered flag for the INDYCAR event.

Brabham will give media a little taste of his talents when he serves as the special driver during Thursday morning’s Stadium SUPER Truck media ride-alongs from 7-9 a.m.

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  • RAISING A RUCKUS

For the second consecutive year, Texas Motor Speedway will feature an expo and interactive area for off-road enthusiasts during the DXC Technology 600 tripleheader weekend.

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The Outdoor Powersports Off-Road Ruckus returns to TMS for the second consecutive year.

The Outdoor Powersports Off-Road Ruckus will be situated in the infield area adjacent to Turn 2 for enthusiasts of jeeps, trucks, utility terrain vehicles and buggies, among others.

The Ruckus will feature a public obstacle course to run your own off-road vehicles, Monster Truck exhibitions, Monster Truck tug of war competition, various exhibitors and displays, and tons of promotional giveaways throughout the weekend.

The Texas Off-Road Ruckus will be held Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. Admission to the area is free with a race ticket purchase for that coinciding day.

DOES HE HAVE THE POWER TO BECOME THE FIRST REPEAT RACE CHAMP AT TEXAS SINCE 2002?

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FORT WORTH, Texas (May 16, 2018) – Team Penske driver Will Power made quick work of winning the INDYCAR Grand Prix for the second consecutive year – and third time overall – this past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but repeating at Texas Motor Speedway will prove to be a much more difficult task.

When Power returns to defend his title in the DXC Technology 600 on Saturday, June 9, the Australian will be looking to become just the third driver in the 22-year history of Texas Motor Speedway to repeat as champion in an INDYCAR event.

The last driver to do so was Panther Racing’s Sam Hornish Jr. in 2001 and ’02, and that came in the fall race that Texas Motor Speedway hosted from 1998-2004.

The only driver to win the annual June event in consecutive seasons was Kelley Racing’s Scott Sharp in 2000 and ’01.

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Scott Sharp raises the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the 2001 Casino Magic 500k.

If there is a driver that can challenge history, it would be Power considering, ironically, his own history at the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval.

He is a two-time winner at Texas and ranks third all-time with an averaging finishing position of 7.0. He also is tied for the most career poles with three and ranks third all-time for laps led at 432.

Heading into the DXC Technology 600, he has finished eighth or better in seven of his last eight visits and never started worse than ninth in 10 career starts. That starting position came last year, but it didn’t deter him from leading 180 laps en route to the win.

The DXC Technology 600 (248 laps, 372 miles) begins at 7:45 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network.

  • POWER-PLAY GOAL

Will Power’s victory in Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the 200th career Indy-car win for Team Penske.

While Team Penske has an astounding 20 wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including a record 16 Indy 500 crowns, Roger Penske also holds the team record at Texas Motor Speedway.

Team Penske has recorded nine victories at Texas Motor Speedway, with the first coming in the 2003 Chevy 500k with Gil de Ferran.

The Team Penske leader at Texas is Helio Castroneves with a track record four victories (2004-fall, ’06, ’09, ’13). The other wins came from Power (2011, ’17), Ryan Briscoe (2010), Sam Hornish Jr. (2007), and de Ferran.

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Helio Castroneves celebrates his record-fourth victory at Texas Motor Speedway for Team Penske in the 2013 Firestone 550.
  • IT’S ELEMENTARY

Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and 2015 series rookie of the year Gabby Chaves will join 6,000 students from 11 Dallas/Fort Worth elementary schools at Tuesday’s Speeding To Read Championship Assembly to recognize the champion readers in the year-long competition.

It will be the first of two assemblies held over consecutive days to accommodate the program-record 12,061 students from 21 schools that participated in Texas Motor Speedway’s annual community educational program. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Todd Gilliland will serve as the special guest on the second day.

This will be the second appearance for Dixon at a Speeding To Read Championship Assembly – he attended in 2015 with Justin Wilson – while it will be the first for Chaves and Gilliland.

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Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon (R) and Justin Wilson take a selfie with the more than 3,000 elementary school students in attendance during the 2015 Speeding to Read championship assembly at Texas Motor Speedway.

The schools represent seven of the 25 largest ISDs in the Metroplex, including three (Dallas, Fort Worth, Lewisville) among the top 10.

The schools that participated this year are B.B. Owen, Homestead, McAuliffe, Peters Colony, Stewart’s Creek and Vickery of the Lewisville ISD; Black, Cannaday, Henrie and Shands of the Mesquite ISD; Hughes, Lakeview and Seven Hills of the Northwest ISD; Carter Park, Diamond Hill and Manuel Jara of the Fort Worth ISD; Gooch and Marsalis of the Dallas ISD; E.P. Rayzor of the Denton ISD; Hargrave of the Crowley ISD; and Brent of the Little Elm ISD.

The event will be held each day from 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. CT in the frontstretch grandstands and will feature trophy presentations by the drivers to the top students, classrooms and schools; Q&A session and interactive games with the drivers; and a six-lap simulated stock car race by Team Texas, among other activities.

The drivers will be available immediately following the assembly for interview sessions in the deadline room of the infield media center.

Dixon and Chaves will be flying in for the day from Indianapolis, where they will be preparing for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27. Dixon won the Indy 500 in 2008.

In addition to taking part in the assembly, Gilliland will be spending Tuesday and Wednesday taking his first laps around Texas Motor Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He will be making his Texas Motor Speedway debut in the Rattlesnake 400 on Friday, June 8.

Dixon and Chaves will return for the DXC Technology 600 on Saturday, June 9.

  • BY THE NUMBERS

3 – Drivers who have won both the Indianapolis 500 and the June INDYCAR race at Texas in the same season. Arie Luyendyk was the first in 1997 while Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves did it in back-to-back years in 2008 and ’09, respectively.

5.16 – Average career finishing position of A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan at Texas Motor Speedway, which ranks first all-time among INDYCAR drivers.

9.5 – Average starting position of the race winner in the last six INDYCAR races at Texas Motor Speedway. The highest starting position of a race winner during that stretch was fifth (Ed Carpenter, 2014).

  • DIXON TALKS TEXAS

    Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, a two-time winner at Texas Motor Speedway, discusses what to expect when the series returns to Fort Worth for the DXC Technology 600 on Saturday, June 9. Click below for his interview.

  • CONCRETE ANSWER

U.S. Concrete will serve as the qualifying day sponsor for both the Verizon IndyCar Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series during the June race weekend.

USConcreteQualifying_2018U.S. Concrete Qualifying Day will be Friday, June 8, with pole qualifying for the Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 beginning at 3 p.m. CT and then for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rattlesnake 400 at 4:45 p.m.

U.S. Concrete serves major construction markets in the United States in two business segments: ready-mixed concrete and aggregate products. The Company provides its products and services from its operating companies in Texas, Northern California, Oklahoma, New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and British Columbia.

The operating company that services the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, Houston, Austin and San Antonio markets is Euless-based Custom-Crete.

  • WICKENS OFF TO WICKED GOOD START

Will Power has been simply dominant on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Grand Prix course. Over the last four races, he’s combined to lead 182 laps, winning three of those races in convincing fashion – all from the pole position.

So when Power qualified just .0870 of a second ahead of Canadian rookie Robert Wickens for this past Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix, it certainly drew the attention and respect of the 33-time race winner and 2014 series champion.

“I tell you, (Wickens) has been racing at a high level for a long time,” Power said of Wickens, who has raced in a variety of series on both sides of the Atlantic. “He’s definitely a guy that will be a champion in INDYCAR. I have no doubt in my mind, at some point and in the right situation – and that could be this year.”

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Canadian rookie Robert Wickens finishes third in last week’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Through his first five races, Wickens has two podium finishes –second at Phoenix and third at Indy on the road course – and a fourth-place effort in Birmingham, Ala. He took the pole in the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., where he led 69 of 110 laps and was less than two circuits away from victory before Alexander Rossi’s aggressive move sent the rookie spinning. He went on to finish 18th.

His strong start may have caught some off-guard, but Wickens’ Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate and childhood best friend, James Hinchcliffe, isn’t one of them.

“He’s going to surprise some people with how good he is and how fast he learns; I can guarantee you,” Hinchcliffe said. “I didn’t push for him to be on the team because he was my friend. I mean, that certainly doesn’t hurt, but I know what he can do. He will fit right in.”

While the Indianapolis 500 might be next on the docket, don’t expect one of racing’s most prestigious races to unsettle the rookie.

Despite gearbox issues during rookie testing requirements, Wickens used Hinchcliffe’s car to set the quickest lap at Indianapolis, recording an average speed of 220.111 mph that remained the fastest of the day even after the afternoon’s veteran refresher session.

  • FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

Six races into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and veteran Johnny Sauter is showing no signs of slowing down in a sport that’s being besieged by youth.

The 40-year-old Sauter, who won his first NASCAR championship of any kind two years ago in the truck series, is the early favorite to finish on top this season. He already has recorded five top-five finishes, including a pair of wins, through the first half-dozen races.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series JAG Metals 350 Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief
Johnny Sauter celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series JAG Metals 350 this past November at Texas Motor Speedway.

Prior to joining team owner Maury Gallagher’s GMS Racing for the 2016 season, Sauter had never finished better than second in the truck series. He was coming off three consecutive seasons (2013-15) of finishing fourth in the series standings.

But Gallagher’s conviction that Sauter could bring a championship to his program invigorated the veteran driver, who wasted little time in bringing his team owner’s words to fruition by winning the season-opening race at Daytona. He’d go on to win two more times in 2016, including at Texas Motor Speedway that November. He set career-highs for top 10s (19), which included 12 among the top five,  and average finishing position (8.0). Most importantly, he capped it off with his first Camping World Truck Series championship.

Sauter followed that up with an even better 2017. His win in this past November’s JAG Metals 350 not only gave him back-to-back fall wins here, but it gave him a new career high for wins in a season with four. He also established career highs in AFP (6.3) and laps led (455) while his 19 top-10s (13 of those were top fives) equaled his 2016 output, giving him 38 in 46 starts with GMS Racing.

“Once you win a championship you have that taste, and it’s a taste you want to keep,” Sauter said after coming up one spot short of a second consecutive series title. “We’re doing a lot of good things here, but at the end of the day it’s about that championship. That’s what we work hard all year for and that’s what we’ll continue to focus on.”

  • RIDE OF PASSAGE

Learning the two-step is a rite of passage in Texas. Consider going for a spin in a two-seater as a “ride of passage” at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater will be available for media rides on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5, while the Stadium SUPER Trucks will offer media a chance to ride shotgun on Thursday, June 7.

Whether it is getting picked up in your neighborhood to get a ride to the office, run errands or pick up lunch at a drive-thru, the INDYCAR two-seater will be one of the more entertaining experiences as a passenger in a vehicle. For those media that are interested, please contact the TMS Media Relations Department (pr@texasmotorspeedway.com) with your plans. Please be sure to touch base in advance so we can secure a spot in the lineup.

For the more conventional, Texas Motor Speedway also will have a limited amount of media rides in another INDYCAR two-seater that will takes laps on the speedway’s 1.5-mile oval. The rides, which will travel at speeds in excess of 160 miles per hour, will be available from 4-5 p.m. CT prior to the DXC Technology 600 on Saturday, June 9. The driver is traditionally a former INDYCAR driver, which has included the legendary Mario Andretti in the past.

Texas Motor Speedway - Day 0
Media members hit the dirt ramp and go airborne during the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks ride-alongs with former NASCAR/INDYCAR star Robby Gordon behind the wheel last June at Texas Motor Speedway.

For members of the media looking for a more off-road experience, Robby Gordon will pilot a Stadium SUPER Truck around the course at Texas Motor Speedway. From 7-9 a.m. on Thursday of race week, media will have the opportunity to experience the thrill of what it’s like to get airborne and even drive on two wheels. The course features a massive dirt jump that will get the vehicle 20-30 feet in the air and a smaller one that sails you over the pit wall onto pit road and the frontstretch. The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department will be reserving time slots for media to experience the thrill of Stadium SUPER Trucks.

  • WHAT’S ALL THE RUCKUS?

In conjunction with the DXC Technology triple-header weekend, the Outdoor Powersports Off-Road Ruckus returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the second consecutive year June 8-9 from Noon-8 p.m. CT each day. The expo will provide off-road enthusiasts of all ages with an opportunity to not only spectate, but also take their personal vehicles onto a public obstacle course.

OutdoorPowersports_OffroadRuckus2018The two-day event will be held in the infield area next to Turn 2 and will feature Monster Truck exhibitions, a Monster Truck tug-of-war competition, Monster Truck ride-a-longs, an open activity area, a show-n-shine, live bands, and promotional giveaways throughout the course of the weekend.

Admission to the Outdoor Powersports Off-Road Ruckus is free with a race ticket purchase for that coinciding day.

Texas Motor Speedway
A fan takes his Jeep on the obstacle course during last year’s Off-Road Ruckus at Texas Motor Speedway. 

-TMS-