The NTT IndyCar Series can see the finish line. After a grueling stretch that has seen them be on track for the INDYCAR Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 Time Trials, the Indianapolis 500 itself and a doubleheader last weekend in Belle Isle, it’s time to race the final leg of that stretch before a much needed week off next weekend.
Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 (8 p.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network) at the Texas Motor Speedway is always one of the more hyped events of the season behind the ‘500. Texas, does a great job of promoting the annual event. With that being said, here are the top five storylines for Saturday night’s primetime race.
The start of last year’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas – INDYCAR Media Site
Starting Position Won’t Matter
With this new package recently at Texas, you would assume that starting position would matter more. See, clean air is the big key to success on the 1.5-mile track. But, for whatever reason, starting position hasn’t mattered.
We’ve had seven straight years where the winner has come from fifth on back in the starting lineup. In fact, the last four have seen the winners come from 7th, 13th, 9th and 7th respectively.
Before that, we saw 11 straight years with the race winning coming from the first 2 Rows. That was when the racing at Texas was a pack race which meant anyone could come from where.
This trend is here to stay though.
Will Power at the Texas Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site
Don’t Expect Many Cautions
Texas luckily hasn’t produced many crashes lately. In fact, we’ve seen five or fewer cautions in 10 of the last 11 years. With so few cautions this season, I don’t expect this trend to change on Saturday night either.
Passing For the Lead Will Be Difficult
We only saw nine lead changes in last year’s race at Texas. That was the worst since 2013 when we saw four. Unfortunately, last year’s racing package was a lot like the ones we saw in 2012 and 2013 to where it was such a spread out race. Prior to 2012, Texas was always that edge of your seat thrilling race. Then, Indy Car wanted to spread them out more which has successfully worked with the exception of a few years.
In 2017, we saw 23 lead changes. In 2018, it dipped by 14.
If you go back to Indy a couple of weeks ago, we only saw 29 lead changes, the worst since the DW12 came around in 2012. A majority of those 29 came via pit sequences.
Will we see anything different on Saturday?
Simon Pagenaud in a Chevy leads the Honda being driven by Alexander Rossi in the 2018 INDYCAR Race at Texas – INDYCAR Media Site
Chevrolet vs. Honda
Chevrolet had the preferred package for last year’s race at Texas. Or so we though. In the first superspeedway race of the new unified race car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chevy drivers combined to lead nearly the entire race and take the top two finishing positions. But, the next race at Texas, Honda led 66-percent of the laps (162 of 248) and took eight of the top nine finishing positions.
Now, heading into this weekend, Chevy has just dominated at Indy for a second straight year. But, can they sustain that this weekend in Texas or will it be Honda dominating once again?
Will Power leads Scott Dixon at the exit of Turn 2 during last year’s race at the Texas Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site
Power/Dixon The Favorites?
Between them, Scott Dixon and Will Power have won four of the last eight races at the Texas Motor Speedway including in each of the last two years. Power won this race in 2017 and has seven top eight finishes in his last nine Texas starts overall. Dixon, won last year for the third trip to victory lane (2008, 2015, 2018) at Texas which coincidentally enough, he’s gone on to win the title in each of those three years too. Dixon, also has four runner-up finishes (2003, 2006, 2011, 2011 – Duels) on the 1.5-mile track as well. While he does have four DNF’s in his last seven Texas starts, he does have three top five finishes in the last five years too.