To win both Twin 275s in Texas you must be fast, and stay fast
It's always a good race strategy to go fast. But Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, it will be a good idea to go fast -- and do it fast.
The track is hosting two 114-lap races when the Izod IndyCar Series visits for the Firestone Twin 275s, an open-wheel racing doubleheader of the kind that hasn't been run in the United States in 30 years.
It's two races, each worth half points and half money, with a TMS-record 30 entries on the 1.5 mile tri-oval. Each race is half the distance of the normal distance run by IndyCar at the Fort Worth track, so that's half the time as normal to get to the front and stay there.
"Honestly, you just go fast and get to the front as quick as you can," said Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon, who is scheduled to be an analyst for the race on Versus' television coverage. "If you're not at the front, those races are going to go pretty quick. Because of that, you can't afford to play the race here. You can't afford to give up space."
It's been 30 years since Rick Mears swept the last doubleheader, a CART event in 1981 in Atlanta. He became the sixth driver to sweep a doubleheader, and it was the 10th sweep in 17 doubleheaders staged by USAC and CART from 1967 to '81.
A.J. Foyt, who twice won the opener of a USAC doubleheader (in 1973 and '74 at Trenton, N.J.), said the format will test the ability of the drivers and their teams to make adjustments in the hour between races, which is something they normally don't get a chance to do.
"If you're not right, you'll be able to change your car for the next race," said Foyt, whose car will be driven by Vitor Meira. "That's going to be interesting. I like that it's racing at night, too. It's a little cooler and everything else. The cars are a little bit easier to drive today than they used to be. That'll make it better for the drivers."
The rules allow teams an extra engine for the second race. They can use it in a backup car if their first car crashes in the first race. But that's an extra engine for a team, not necessarily a single car or driver.
"We want to make sure we're ensuring a strong field for Race 2 to keep the excitement and momentum going throughout the entire event," IndyCar competition chief Brian Barnhart said.
Those extra engines are pretty sure to be used. Wheldon expects aggressive driving.
"The intensity level of each race is going to be probably more than normal," he said. "You're not going to be able to let the race come to you. You're going to see drivers giving each other a little less room. I think people understand the necessity of respect, but you're going to have to be pretty set on trying to be at the front and staying there as opposed to just kind of hanging around the front and then moving up to the point late in the race." Star Telegram