TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5 mile, oval with a dogleg), DISTANCE: 212 Laps (318 Miles) for Race 1, 248 Laps (372 Miles) for Race 2
Other than Indy or Long Beach, this is the next longest venue on the circuit. INDYCAR has been coming to Texas every year since 1996. This weekend will mark the 33rd and 34th races held on the 1.5-mile track. This will be the first time ever though that the race weekend was first held outside of the month of June. The only exception was the 2016 race weekend which was started in June but due to so much rain, wasn’t completed until August.
- 9 of the last 10 winners have come from a starting spot off the front row. Scott Dixon’s win last year was the only exception since 2011. In fact, he’s the only race winner to have a top five starting spot since 2015.
- From 2003 though Race 1 of 2011, there were 11 straight races to where the race winner came from the top five of the starting lineup. It’s only happened three times in the last 10.
- 11 of the last 12 series races have seen the winner come from a top 3 starting spot including 13 of the last 18.
- 34 of the last 35 races saw the eventual race winner come from a top 10 starting spot. Simon Pagenaud (23rd) last July in Iowa is the only exception since the 2018 season finale.
- 30 of the last 39 races have been won by a driver coming from the Fast 6.
- Few cautions may occur too. We’ve had 4 of fewer in 11 of the last 13 Texas races run.
- There’s been double digit lead changes in 5 of the last 7 years.
- Since the new car came out in 2018, the “Big 3” have won 42 of the 50 races run (84-percent). Penske has won 22 times with Ganassi (11) and Andretti (9). But, RLL is next best with four victories while no one else has more than three.
- Throw in RLL and you get 46 of 50 races won by these teams.
- If you go back to 2016 though, that number stays the same. The “Big 3” have won 68 of 86 races run in that time frame. Throw in RLL and you get 75 of 86.
TRACK COMPARISONS/WHO’S BEEN GOOD ON THEM
The only comparison to Texas now would be Indianapolis since both run the superspeedway package, but you really can’t compare those 2 since Texas is a full 1 mile shorter in length. Texas is a track that really just stands on it’s own.
The top teams at Texas are the top teams in the series. Penske and Ganassi have alternated wins in each of the last four years and 5 of the last 6 overall. RLL is the only exception with Graham Rahal’s win in 2016. RLL also won last year’s Indy 500 too.
Honda won last year and 3 of the last 5 overall but those are also their only wins at Texas since 2013 too. Despite that, they’ve been the tops on the superspeedway package in general too.
They put 8 cars in the Fast 9 at Indy last year, swept the top 4 finishing spots and led 180 of 200 laps. At Texas, they had two cars in the top four and combined to lead 159 of 200 laps that night too.
In 2019, Josef Newgarden won at Texas in a Chevrolet powered car, but Honda drivers accounted for leading 194 of the 248 completed laps though and took four of the top five finishing positions including six of the top eight even. Newgarden, was the only Chevy driver to lead and he did so all at the end. He was also the only Chevy driver to lead in 2020 too as no other Chevy driver has led a lap at Texas since 2018. In 2018 in fact, Honda led 66-percent of the laps (162 of 248) too and took eight of the top nine finishing positions then as well. That’s Honda leading 74-percent (515 out of 696) of the Texas laps over the last three years.
That’s why Honda teams are the favorites.