The dust has only just settled on the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on Belle Isle and already the focus of the Verizon IndyCar Series is on this weekend’s Firestone 600 night race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Reigning series champion Scott Dixon heads to Texas as defending race winner and following a mixed weekend in Detroit. In the opening race of the dual he was forced to retire from the race while in Sunday’s race he recovered well to finish the event in fifth place just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Conor Daly.
Speaking ahead of the race this weekend, Dixon commented by saying:
Texas is another iconic event on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. This is the only track anywhere that I know of where you get to shoot guns in Victory Lane after a win. We were fortunate enough to do that last year as part of a one-two finish with (Tony) Kanaan and myself, which was very special.
Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud who ended the Dual in Detroit race 2 in second place behind race winner and team mate Will Power heads to Texas with a commanding 50 point lead in the championship as the season reaches its half way point and speaking ahead of the race the Frenchman commented by saying:
I’m really excited for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. It will be great to back on an oval after some great street racing in Detroit. We led some laps last year at Texas and want to take the next step this year and get a strong result. We’ll have the Hewlett Packard Enterprise colors back on board our Chevy this week and we’ll work hard to get them in Victory Lane. I think this race will be very exciting after the test there last month. We are halfway in the season and we have a strong points lead, but this team is built to win races. Everything takes care of itself if you win races, so that will continue to be our focus.
KVSH Racing head to what is effectively a home race for the team following an extremely strong race 1 in Detroit last weekend which saw Sebastien Bourdais take victory and speaking ahead of this weekend’s action he commented by saying:
Our team owner (James ‘Sulli’ Sullivan) is local and the Texas race means a lot to the team. We’ve had two good races in Detroit and we had a pretty good race car last year at Texas. Hopefully, we can keep making little gains and not get a penalty that will take us out of the race. If we do that, we may actually be looking pretty good in the Hydroxycut car. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going.
Verizon Team Penske’s Will Power who took his first victory in over a year in Detroit on Sunday commented on the race in Texas by saying:
I like the Texas track a lot. It’s actually one of my favorite races. We’ll have the same boost settings as Indianapolis, which will be a lot of fun. The Verizon Chevy has qualified very well there and getting that early track position is important. It has been a few years since we got a win there, but we’ll try and build on the momentum from last week. The win in Detroit gives the whole team confidence and hopefully we can build on that with another good result. After starting in a bit of a hole, we’re climbing back into the championship race and we need to keep logging solid finishes.
Power’s team mate Helio Castroneves who will drive the No.3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet this weekend commented on the upcoming race by saying:
We’ve been so close – so close. We’re just missing out on some wins. A couple things different here and there and we could have a couple of victories, but that’s racing and you need some luck. At some point we’ll be on the right side of some of these things. Texas has been good to us over the years, so we hope to keep that going. I’m sure the AAA Insurance Chevy is going to be fast. We had a great test there last month, so maybe this will be the one. Simon (Pagenaud) is doing a great job in points, but we’re right there in the hunt.
Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Verizon Chevrolet will be aiming to bounce back from his retirement in race 2 on Sunday with a strong result in Texas this weekend. Speaking about the race he commented by saying:
The roller coaster continues. It is getting a little frustrating, but we have to keep an even keel. If we start pushing, then that puts us in bad situations. That’s what happened on Sunday in Detroit. We had the front wing damage and I was pushing too hard to catch back up and we ended up in a crash. We’ve only been to Texas a couple of times in the Verizon Chevrolet, but we’ve gotten good finishes. That’s what we need to do. We need to start building positive momentum and get off this up-and-down thing we’ve been doing.
Charlie Kimball commented ahead of Saturday’s race saying:
I’m excited to get back to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 on Saturday. It’s going to be a totally different challenge than this past weekend in Detroit; still very physical, but in a different way with the high banking and, of course, the high temperatures. We had a solid car at TMS last year, with a top-10 finish, so we’ll be looking to improve on that. Props to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew for the quick turnaround this week. It’s been a long stretch for the Verizon IndyCar Series but I know I have a great team behind me.
Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi who finished race 1 in Detroit in 10th and race 2 in 12th commented by saying:
I am more than excited that we get to go racing again this weekend. We are now in a tight championship battle, so we all really need to focus and make sure to maximize our potential in Texas. I believe we will have a good car there and it is very important that we carry the momentum of the past couple weeks forward.
Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Chevrolet heads to the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend following two top ten finishes in Detroit and looking ahead to the Firestone 600 he commented by saying:
Texas Motor Speedway is another one of my favorite tracks on the INDYCAR schedule. I’ve raced there so many times and have been able to put up some pretty solid results over the years. Last year the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet was very strong on the oval and our setup worked well with the added downforce and new aero kit, so we’re hoping to build on that second-place finish we got in 2015 and turn that into my second win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Max Chilton in the No.8 Gallagher Chevrolet will be looking to recover from a miserable weekend in Detroit which saw him retire from both races and speaking ahead of the event in Texas he commented by saying:
I am excited to put last weekend in Detroit behind us and move onto an oval, which I enjoyed in testing and seems to create great racing. I have raced in the state of Texas before and the fans are great. Having a lot of guests from Armin Strom and Gallagher, I hope to put on a good show.
James Hinchcliffe heads to Texas hoping to bounce back from a disappointing weekend in Detroit with a strong performance at TMS and speaking ahead of the race he commented by saying:
Now that we are past Indy, we are headed to all the tracks I missed last year. That said, I’m incredibly excited for the rest of the calendar. Texas Motor Speedway is no exception. Since the DW12 came out, the racing there has been super intense from inside the car. It’s one of the biggest setup challenges of the year, so we are hoping that the Arrow Electronics car can be solid rolling off the truck and can fight up front.
Mikhail Aleshin commented by saying:
I’m very happy to be going back to Texas Motor Speedway. Last time we did really good there (in 2014) and it was my first top-10 finish in INDYCAR. We didn’t have a great weekend in Detroit so I’m looking forward to be back on track in the No. 7 SMP Racing and DOOM car so we can get some good points for the championship standings.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay who in the past has been on the podium in Texas commented by saying:
Getting a win at Texas Motor Speedway for the DHL Honda is at the top of my list. This track can be very tricky to get the setup just right, so as a four-car team, we’ll all be working together to prepare the best setup we can for race day.
Carlos Munoz commented by saying:
We’re headed to Texas, back on an oval. This is a hard oval, one of the hardest ones. Last year we had a good result and when we tested earlier this year there, we tested good. It is going to be a really long race – but we are sixth in championship points, so we will fight for the win.
Marco Andretti in the No.27 Snapple Honda commented by saying:
We’re coming to Texas for a win – we need it more than ever to turn our season around and race for the championship. The Snapple car was good at the test here in April and if we build on that foundation we will be the ones to beat on Saturday.
The Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway takes place on a 1.445 mile oval over a distance of 248 laps which equates to 360.84 miles.
Firestone the primary sponsor of the race have allocated 11 sets of tyres for the weekend. The race will be broadcast LIVE on NBCSN at 7:50pm ET. In the eight races of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season so far there have been six different winners, (Juan Pablo Montoya – St Petersburg), (Scott Dixon – Phoenix), Simon Pagenaud, (Long Beach, Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Barber Motorsports Park), Alexander Rossi, (Indianapolis 500), Sebastien Bourdais, (Detroit Race 1) and Will Power, (Detroit Race 2).