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Mastering new venue vital in IndyCar championship race
With three races to go in the IZOD IndyCar Series season, a doubleheader at Houston's Reliant Park - the series' newest venue - may seem like a curveball for the 10 drivers eligible for the title.

But new venues late in the season aren't a rare occurrence. The series' first stop at Baltimore in 2011 and the return of Auto Club Speedway to the schedule in 2012 are among the recent races that have played a role as the series decided its champion.

To some drivers, racing at a new venue isn't that much of a disadvantage after the first practice session.

"We've done (new races) a couple of times recently," four-time series champion Dario Franchitti said. "It requires a different mindset to go in there, particularly when you are racing guys that have experience there."

Only six drivers expected to compete at Reliant Park have previous Indy car experience at the 1.7-mile temporary street circuit, and of the 10 drivers still mathematically eligible, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Justin Wilson have started there in Indy cars.

"There's not much to take out of 2007; it's completely different," said Pagenaud, who the year before earned the Champ Car Atlantic Series championship. "What we think is going to work needs to be the thing that is going to work. The rest will come down to the driver."

NEW VENUES 2010-2012

Year Venue Type Winner
2013 Pocono Raceway Superspeedway Scott Dixon
2012 Auto Club Speedway Superspeedway Ed Carpenter
2011 Twin Ring Motegi Road Course Scott Dixon
2011 Streets of Baltimore Street Circuit Will Power
2011 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Short Oval Ryan Hunter-Reay
2011 Edmonton City Centre Airport Temporary Circuit Scott Dixon
2010 Streets of Sao Paulo Street Circuit Will Power
2010 Barber Motorsports Park Road Course Will Power

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