Wow! We just never know what to expect when we watch the Texas race. We’ve seen scary pack racing, we’ve seen parade racing, Scott Dixon dominate, unexpected winners, crazy rain delays, snoozers and edge of your seat racing. When Texas was announced as being in March and during the day my wheels started going because my son is stationed at Shepherd Air Force Base so maybe this could be the year we attend the Texas race. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us this year. Now I’m concerned IndyCar may not return to Texas and we lost our chance. That would be a shame if IndyCars no longer raced there.
Qualifying on Saturday was enjoyable. I always like watching the cars go out and see what kind of time they can put down. Felix Rosenqvist won the pole. Then that afternoon there was a special practice period for a few “lucky” drivers to try and lay some rubber down to make a second lane for racing. For whatever reason NASCAR can not be content with regular racing and consistently finds new gimmicks and ways to make the racing “better”. In my opinion they ruin it and I can’t follow all the crazy ideas that go on over there. To each their own but in this case it messes with IndyCar. The JP1 compound that they put on the track for NASCAR makes it incredibly slippery for IndyCar. I honestly don’t understand why NASCAR or Texas Motor Speedway sees the need to do this. If you can’t race on asphalt get off the track. If the compound will ruin the track for all other types of racing then it is even more ridiculous. Will Power has been pushing an idea though for several cars to run as many laps as possible and rubber in a second race line to help with passing. IndyCar approved having seven cars run laps with last years tires to try and put some rubber down. I saw enough passing to say that it must have helped a bit. We also saw enough crashes to say it still was a hazard.
The race itself was very entertaining, many had feared it would be very dull with little chance for passing. That was not the case. Let’s look at some highlights.
Jack Harvey took a hard hit on the wall and was not cleared to drive in Sunday’s race. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver was determined to be suffering from a concussion and Santino Ferruci was asked to sub for him. RLLR might be reconsidering not keeping Ferruci as a driver. He jumped right in with very little practice and drove the car from the back of the field to a 9th place finish. I hope this reminds the paddock what a talent he is.
Jimmie Johnson made his oval track debut at Texas Motor Speedway. He was all anyone could talk about but until race day I wasn’t too impressed. He qualified in 18th position and I honestly didn’t think he would advance much. I could not have been more wrong. Jimmie had his best race in his IndyCar career and I’m guessing he wishes he had done the ovals last year. He finished in 6th position and was fun to watch. Hopefully, this will boost his confidence and skills for the road and street courses where I think he still struggles more than he should.
Kyle Kirkwood started 23rd and finished 25th. The middle part of that saw him running around the 10th spot and I was hopeful he would finish with a top ten. Unfortunately, he hit the wall on lap 114 after getting fresh tires. However, he must be the real deal because we don’t see much from the Foyt team and yet this rookie is often in the mix these last two races.
While Felix Rosenqvist won the pole, Scott McLaughlin quickly passed him and led a majority of the race. It really seemed that he would win his second race in a row. Unfortunately, Scott ran into lapped traffic at the wrong time and on the last turn of the last lap Josef Newgarden made it passed McLaughlin for the win. It was the 600th win for Team Penske and Roger Penske presented Josef six Hundred dollar bills in victory lane. Scott was crushed to lose after dominating all race. Penske is looking as strong as ever.
I love the coverage Peacock provides. There are some commercials but during some commercial breaks we just get to watch and listen to the cars. I love that. Having a post race show is important to grow fans so I’m thankful for the option. I know some don’t want to pay for the channel. I am a Comcast customer so I don’t have to pay but gladly would. It is well worth it.
The race also had some problems
Honestly, what in the world is up with this guy? He can’t catch a break. He jumped the start so looked to maybe be penalized. It was decided he just needed to give the spots back however, he had car problems and was out of the race after only a few laps. Even if Andretti Autosport wanted to resign Rossi, I think he needs a fresh start. He has been struggling way too long.
Poor race attendance was named as everything from bad promotion to church attendance. I saw several posts on Twitter and Facebook stating that the facility itself was run down and not family friendly. It sounds like very little promoting was done. The early start time could have been a problem. Church attendance was even listed as a reason people stayed away. I attend church faithfully but I make an exception if I’m attending a race. I can always stop in and see the IndyCar Misistries devotion they offer on Sundays at the track. TMS is a huge facility but even I could tell attendance was down from previous years. Changing both the date and time and then not promoting it properly surely hurt the attendance. Texas is almost always entertaining and we really can’t afford to miss any more ovals on the schedule. I hope Texas returns next year.
Well, two races in and I’m loving the 2022 IndyCar season. I also have some fun news to share. This year I will be in attendance for all three weekends at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and most of the practice days. This is something I have wanted to do for as long as I have been attending activities at the track. I look forward to spending my afternoons watching and listening to the cars, then blog about my experience at the end of the day. It’s a dream come true. Is it May yet?