Friday, June 10, 2011

Firestone Twin 275s Preview

Post-500 doldrums? Don't worry, twin races at Texas Motor Speedway will take care of that. Here's our guide of some of the stories to watch for this weekend:

A Full Field: We’re looking at 30 entries for this race, including part-timers such as Davey Hamilton, Wade Cunningham, and Ed Carpenter. Texas is already a crazy track; we’ll have to watch to see who can stay out of trouble out there.

The Format: With the “twin” races, the second race starting positions will be determined by a random draw. With this full, full field, it’ll be exciting to see who can charge through the ranks in a shorter-format race.

Danica’s Chance: With Motegi’s oval off the schedule, this might be Danica Patrick’s best chance to nab a win this year. She’s had two Top 5s and two more Top 10s here in the past 4 years, and this is one of the track she seems to be best on. She had a good fight with eventual Texas winner Ryan Briscoe in 2010; let’s see how this format does for her.

Andretti’s Ovals: Andretti Autosport was dismal in Indy qualifying, but Marco and Danica picked it up when it came to the actual race. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond to an oval where the team has been pretty good in recent years.

Can Conway and Andretti get back on track?
(Image Courtesy of IndyCar Media)

Howard Rides Again: Jay Howard’s getting at least one more shot in the IZOD IndyCar Series this week, after a lost wheel doomed his day at the 500. We’ll see what he’s got this week, and if Texas holds more luck for him than Indy.

Rookies, Continued: Despite being very close in qualifying, JR Hildebrand jump out to a larger lead (33 points) over James Hinchcliffe in the Rookie of the Year standings. Hinch needs a good result to stay close until the schedule swings back to the road/oval courses. By merit of his 13th-place finish, Charlie Kimball is only two points behind Hinch in the standings. Of course, everything might hinge (no pun intended) on Hildebrand’s injured knee, though I think he’ll be fine for this race.

Will The Real Sato Please Stand Up?: Is Takuma Sato the driver who probably should have won in Brazil, or is the guy crashing out early in Indy? Every time we think Sato might be getting over the case of the “crashies” he had last year, something happens to make us doubt that. Texas is going to be a busy track; which Sato shows up will be the key to whether his vehicle survives into the second feature.

Can Penske Prevail?: It’s been a rough season for Penske thus far, outside of Will Power’s road and street course dominance. If they’re going to get back on course, the track where Briscoe won last year is a pretty good starting point.

The Vengeance of Chip: Don’t think Chip Ganassi’s Target team is pleased—AT ALL—with a 5th and 12th at Indy. Expect them to come out strong at Texas, and I would say they’ll have to be a favorite for at least one of the two races.

New Blood: With 30 drivers, a random draw in the second race, and probably some chaos in the middle of everything, this might be one of the best chances on the schedule for one of the smaller teams to grab victory. Will someone new find their way to the front, or, if put there, can they hang on? Time will tell!

Pole (1st race): Dixon.

Winner (1st race): Franchitti.

Winner (2nd race): It all depends on the draw. Hopefully, we see a fresh face take the checkered!

Enjoy what should be a very different sort of race weekend! We'll be back here Monday with a recap!


  1. You forgot two drivers in your preview... The guys who are 3rd & 4th in the standings. Think that both Oriol Servia and Tony Kanaan will be on the Podium some time this weekend!

  2. Sadly, Servia didn't quite do what I was hoping. TK's night was a bit mixed. I don't see either of them staying around the Top 3-4 positions past the next couples of races. I think Dixon solidifies P3, and Briscoe jumps up.