After two wet and wild Chevrolet Indy Dual races in Detroit, round 9 of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season heads to Fort Worth, Texas at the 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600. It will mark the 27th Verizon IndyCar Series race held at the speedway since it was first held there in 1997.

The Oval

Opened February 29 1996, the Texas Motor Speedway is a speedway located in the most northern portion of the US city of Fort Worth, Texas- the portion located in Denton County, Texas.

The track layout is similar to Atlanta Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway (formerly Lowe’s Motor Speedway). The track is owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., the same company that owns Atlanta and Charlotte Motor Speedways, as well as the short-track Bristol Motor Speedway.

Length: 1.5 miles (2.4km)Turns: 4

Turns: 4

Banking: Turns 24°Race Distance: 372 miles (595.2km)

Race Distance: 372 miles (595.2km)

Laps: 248Lap Record: 0:22.542. Paul Tracy, Team Green (Andretti Autosport) 2001.

Lap Record: 0:22.542. Paul Tracy, Team Green (Andretti Autosport) 2001.

Last 5 Winners

2014: Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing. 2013: Helio Castroneves, Team Penske. 2012: Justin Wilson, Dayle Coyne Racing. 2011: Race 1: Dario Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Racing; Race 2: Will Power, Team Penske.

Facts and Stats

Construction of Texas Motor Speedway began in 1995. This 1.5-mile racetrack has 24 degrees of banking in all four turns and 5 degrees of banking on both the front and back straightaways. The length of the front straight is 2,250 feet, and the back straight measures 1,330 feet.

Since 1997, there have been 26 IndyCar races held at Texas. The series competed twice there each season from 1998-2004. In 2011, the event at Texas was split into two races (each one was 114 laps/171 miles in length).

Helio Castroneves holds the record for most IndyCar wins at this track with four (October 2004, June 2006, June 2009 and June 2013).

Tomas Scheckter’s three poles at this track is more than any other driver in IndyCar.

Team Penske has the most team victories at Texas with eight.

The October 2001 race featured a track record for most lead changes with 32. Sam Hornish Jr. was the winner of that event.

The furthest back a driver has started and won an IndyCar race at Texas is 17th, accomplished by Justin Wilson in June 2012.

Hornish holds the record for most laps led by an IndyCar race winner at this track. He won there in June 2007 after leading a total of 159 laps.

The closest margin of victory in an IndyCar race at Texas occurred on Sept. 15, 2002 when Hornish beat Castroneves to the finish line by only 0.0096 seconds.

The next IndyCar race is the June 14 Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto. It was a doubleheader weekend there last year, with Sebastien Bourdais winning the first event and Mike Conway the second.

The Situation

After a crazy weekend in Detroit and heading into this weekend’s Firestone 600, Team Penske’s recently-crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya takes the championship lead to Texas with a 21 point lead over team mate and reigning series champion Will Power (315-294) at the halfway point of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon is third and 42 points behind the Aussie on 252 points, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Rahal six behind the Kiwi on 246 points in fourth, one point behind him is Team Penske’s Castroneves rounding out the top five with 245.

Ryan Briscoe, Tristan Vautier and Pippa Mann have all been added to the entry list for this weekend’s IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway.Briscoe will return as the substitute for the injured James Hinchcliffe in the number 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry; a role he first filled at last month’s Indianapolis 500, where he finished 12th.

Briscoe will return as the substitute for the injured James Hinchcliffe in the number 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry; a role he first filled at last month’s Indianapolis 500, where he finished 12th.

Conor Daly subbed for the Canadian at last weekend’s Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit while Briscoe was participating in testing at Le Mans.

Vautier will continue driving the Dale Coyne Racing number 19 entry following his career-best fourth place finish in Sunday’s race at Detroit, while Mann will replace Rodolfo Gonzalez as his team-mate in the number 18 entry.

The Brit drove a third Coyne car at Indianapolis, and also appeared at Texas for the team in 2013, when she retired with a mechanical failure.IndyCar has announced that it has implemented the use of closure panels to the rear wheel guards of both Chevrolet and Honda superspeedway aero kits beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The panels were developed by both manufacturers respectively and will also be used at Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway during the 2015 season.

IndyCar has announced that it has implemented the use of closure panels to the rear wheel guards of both Chevrolet and Honda superspeedway aero kits beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The panels were developed by both manufacturers respectively and will also be used at Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway during the 2015 season.

“This has been a collaborative effort with both manufacturers and they have been working on these since the Indianapolis 500 qualifications,” said Will Phillips, IndyCar Vice President of Technology. “These closure panels serve as a blocker so air cannot flow through the rear wheel guards. This will ultimately raise the point at which cars would experience lift when travelling backwards.”

IndyCar officials also confirmed that the rear wing angle for all entries this weekend must be set between (-6) and (-10.5) degrees, which will still result in an increase in overall downforce compared to the 2014 event at TMS.Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has release a statement as well.

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has released a statement as well.

“I think they have found an effective way to reduce and eliminate the lift that they had problems with in practice at Indianapolis,” Gossage said. “This is a logical approach to attacking this problem and hopefully we won’t see that here at Texas at all. I think this is a step in the right direction.”

Gossage also liked the decision to adjust the rear-wing pitch.

“That will probably cause the cars to slow down just a little and I think that is a good move as well,” Gossage said. “That will also make the cars more drivable. We are pleased IndyCar is working on this. We don’t know what these changes will bring until the green flag drops, but IndyCar is trying and we appreciate that.”

IndyCar president of competition and operations Derrick Walker said during the qualifying change press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that IndyCar, in partnership with Chevrolet and Honda, would seek to make changes before the race at Texas.

“Well, we’ve already started and it will go as long as it takes to get the answers we need,” Walker said on May 17. “Both our manufacturers are working very closely with us. That’s one of the reassuring things of this whole exercise is how they’ve rallied around and put all their resources behind looking at how to understand it more, so I would see that continuing.”

Can Montoya grab his third win of the season and extend his points lead in Texas? Can Power bounce back after a miserable end in Detroit and claim his second win of the season and win the Firestone 600? Or will Scott Dixon win his second of the season? Can Graham Rahal finally grab that first win? Or will Carlos Munoz and Bourdais continue their winning form?

The Firestone 600 begins Friday June 5 with Practice 1 and Qualifying for the 248 lap race. Practice 2 will be June 6 with the Race Sunday June 7.

Image via XPB Images

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8
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