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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
U.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.”
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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.
The 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.