Saturday, June 6, 2009

Texas Motor Speedway Race Preview

The IndyCar Series moves on to Texas Motor Speedway for 6th race of its 17 race schedule. Coming off the Milwaukee race, the IndyCar Series will compete in their third consecutive weekend of racing. IndyCar Garage breaks down the top five things to watch for in Saturday night’s race.

1. Monopoly, Yeah it’s called Penske and Ganassi

Name a driver that has won a race in the 2009 IndyCar Series outside of Penske and Ganassi, still thinking? A Penske or Ganassi driver has won the first five races of the 2009 season and if qualification for Texas holds true, we could be looking at another victory for either Penske or Ganassi. Both teams have complete drivers, great technology, and great budgets to give themselves every advantage possible. Roger Penske just bought the auto manufacturer Saturn, what else could he want? It would be hard to believe that someone outside this foursome of drivers is at the top of the podium late Saturday night.

2. Car Count 20 = 24

Yes, IndyCar Garage commented on this subject in their race review of Milwaukee. The good news out of the IndyCar series for this race is that the car count has improved by four cars. Texas Motor Speedway offers some of the competive racing on the entire IndyCar Series schedule, so the more drivers for this race, the better. Sarah Fisher is back for her third race, as is Milka Duno. Jacques Lazier replaces Stanton Barrett on a temporary basis, Alex Taglani returns after a one race absence and A.J. Foyt IV returns to his granddads teams for this race. All of these changes are good things for the series and make for a more competive race. It would be great to see the series level off at about 28 – 30 cars on a full-time basis, but in all reality that is three to four years away.

3. The Danica watch is in full-effect

Danica Patrick currently sits fourth in the point’s championship and will start fifth for Saturday night’s race. Another win for Danica would do wonder for her championship hopes and the IndyCar series as well. The good news for Danica is that she is probably has the best chance out of any of the AGR cars. The bad news is that she has four drivers that represent Penske and Ganassi that will pose a problem to her. Anything can happen in a competive race track, which is exactly what kind of track Texas Motor Speedway is. There wouldn’t be much bigger than Danica winning her second career race.

4. Two Young Americans = Graham and Marco

Let’s be honest with ourselves, if the IndyCar series wants to take off in the United States Marco and Graham need to start winning races. It wouldn’t help if they developed a rivalry against each other as well. Marco is driving for one of the power teams in Andretti-Green Racing, while Graham is close behind with Newman-Haas Racing. Both of these drivers have won in the series, and Marco nearly stole the 2006 Indy 500. To generate fan interest and increase their market ability, these drivers need to win and maybe wreck each other on the last lap of the straightway and then argue in the garage about who’s fault it was, I know that sounds NASCAR, but it would help with the ratings. Both drivers and teams are capable, now they just need to finish a race and win.

5. Versus and Sarah Fisher return

Two good things return for the IndyCar series, Versus and Sarah Fisher Racing. Sarah Fisher marks the ten year anniversary of her debut in the IndyCar series at the age of 19. Ten years later she is a team owner and has been through a grind to get there. She continues to be a fan favorite and is running a partial schedule for this year. Fisher’s goal is to race a full time effort next year, along with possibly of expanding to two cars next season. IndyCar Garage would like to wish Sarah the best of luck with her team. The second part about this weekend’s race is the return of Versus T.V. coverage. We all wish Versus was right next to NBC,ABC, and CBS, but their coverage has been great considering this circumstances as a first year program covering the IndyCar Series. We can only hope that ratings improve, coverage is generated, and interest continues in the IndyCar series as progress through the rest of the 2009 season and beyond.

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