IndyCar’s relationship with Texas Motor Speedway has been a long one. The track will host the 35th race of the series, which has always supported open-wheel racing.

Texas has been hosting IndyCar since 1997, but the existing contract, which was signed by Eddie Gossage last year as general manager, will expire after Sunday’s race. Now, the future of this oval fixture is at risk on the IndyCar schedule.

For years, attendance has declined and there were only a few spectators at Saturday’s qualifying and practice sessions. IndyCar was in direct competition with the NCAA Tournament, which was played just 30 minutes from Fort Worth’s track. However, there was also a noticeable lack in promotion and activation in the fifth largest market in the country.

The bigger problem is that Texas was unable to fit IndyCar due to track reconfigurations and accommodations made for NASCAR. Texas used a traction compound to create a second pass lane for NASCAR in the turns. However, the PJ1 compound isn’t compatible with the Firestone tires in IndyCar.

It creates a high line that is too dangerous for IndyCar drivers. Will Power stated that the track was “like ice” in the second groove, after leading six drivers in special practice sessions to create a second lane.

Power was the one who invent the 30-minute practice, but Team Penske’s driver stated that it would not have been as effective if all 27 cars participated. However, few teams were willing to risk damaging a car on Saturday afternoon while a race on Sunday morning was looming.

Alexander Rossi stated, “I looked at the thing and almost crashed.”

However, seven drivers were able to complete 294 laps in the second lane which doesn’t exist.

Jay Frye (IndyCar president and competition) stated, “That’s 294 laps that we haven’t run up there before.” We’ll see how it goes.

Power wasn’t optimistic. He crashed during testing last week while trying to run the top lanes. He said that he would not be driving to try and create another lane on Sunday. He might try it out if others prove it works.

“It’s great that we’re trying, it’s important we put on the best show we can. Power stated that it was worthwhile to test whether we can ride two-wide. Power said, “I think the problem with that is you are afraid to get in that stuff and then you just jump into the fence.” I went to the special session for two-lane racing. However, I am a bit nervous in the race situation right now.

After a disappointing debut season with Arrow McLaren SP Felix Rosenqvist earned a pole in Saturday qualifying. He ran a lap of 221.110 mph with his Chevrolet. As 16 drivers attempted to knock him off the pole, Scott McLaughlin won the season-opening St. Petersburg race and just managed to bump the Swede out of the last driver spot.

McLaughlin was 221.096 for Team Penske, just missing the pole but giving Chevrolet a lockout on the front row. Takuma Sato, a Honda driver for Dale Coyne Racing, qualified third. Power took the other three spots.

Scott Dixon, six-time Texas winner, won the first race of a doubleheader in Texas last year. He was followed by Helio Castroneves, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Meyer Shank Racing.

Jimmie Johnson, who is the winner at Texas with seven wins, qualified 18th on his IndyCar oval debut. This was his best qualifying effort in 14 IndyCar race.

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Colton Herta signed a contract last week to test McLaren’s Formula One cars this season. This was the same job that his former teammate Pato O’Ward had also been desperately trying to get.

O’Ward did test in Abu Dhabi for McLaren in December. He can sign a contract for the 2022 testing program, but has decided to look at the free agent market. McLaren chief Zak Brown repeatedly stressed that there is still room for Herta as well as O’Ward, as well as other young drivers. However, O’Ward has been supporting Herta since last Saturday’s announcement.

Herta stated that they have not spoken since Herta signed at McLaren in Texas. They were co-drivers on the class-winning car they raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January.

Herta stated, “He shouldn’t be mad at us.” I don’t know if they offered him the car or what or if they are still looking for a deal. They asked me to do so, though I don’t know the answer.

Herta stated that his McLaren contract is separate from his current contract at Andretti Autosport. Michael Andretti also said that he would take Herta to F1 if he could land a team. McLaren will be testing the Californian driver, a contract he didn’t expect to get when he finished his European pursuit in 2016.

Herta stated that it is not tied to Andretti. It’s exciting because it’ll be my first time driving an F1 car, after years of waiting to try one. This year, I will finally be able do it. It was something I had never imagined would happen.

“It seems like there wasn’t any correlation between IndyCar and F1 until Pato and I came in, and McLaren.”

What about his chances?

“I know that I am quick. Herta stated, “I know I can drive fast in a racecar.”


Romain Grosjean was at Formula One qualifying in Bahrain, rooting for Kevin Magnussen (his former teammate), who was fired last week by Haas F1 when they needed a replacement driver for Nikita Mazepin.

After 2020, Magnussen and Grosjean were both dropped by Haas. The team moved with rookies Mick Schumacher (a Russian who was forced to resign in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion and invasion of Ukraine). Magnussen and Grosjean had previously said that they would never return to F1, but Magnussen is not only back in his old seat but also very fast.

Despite being the worst F1 team last year, Magnussen qualified seventh in Bahrain in the season-opening race. He and Schumacher both advanced to the second round of qualifying, the first time this has happened since 2019.

Grosjean said, “I’m happy to him, I’m glad for Ferrari as well and it’s a complete shakeup,” and then congratulated McLaren’s IndyCar team on winning the pole in Texas. “They are definitely not in Bahrain.”

McLaren drivers Lando and Daniel Norris were 13th and 18th respectively ahead of Sunday’s F1 season-opening race.