FORT WORTH, Texas. — The NTT IndyCar Series will return after nearly a month off to open the season this weekend when drivers will take on the first oval race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway.
Scott Dixon, who has won five times at the mile-and-a-half tri-oval, is one of 28 drivers looking to claim victory in the PPG 375, which is the largest field in this particular race since 2011.
“This kicks off a pretty heavy stretch of a lot of weekends on the road, which is extremely tough, especially with the change over from ovals to road courses and back,” Dixon said.
This race will be the first race that drivers will be able to get a handle on the new aero requirements they will have to install on their cars. The goal of these tweaks implemented by IndyCar is to tighten up the field to allow for closer (and more entertaining) pack racing like what we used to see at Texas in the season before.
The trouble in recent races at Texas has been the application of what is called “PJ1”, a traction compound that allows NASCAR Cup Series cars to be able to run a higher line when they race. However, the compound has the opposite effect on Indy cars.
IndyCar has added a specific “high line practice” where a handful of drivers will be running only the high line of the track to try and enable the cars to run higher than the lower line which is uncovered by the PJ1.
“With the addition of that high line practice, that will give everyone an idea of what that grip level is like,” said Dixon. “This time of year I think it will be pretty cold too, which I think it will help. Certainly may tighten up the pack and make it a little more racy.”
Dixon finished fifth in this race a year ago when Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin finished 1-2. A month ago Dixon started the season strong with a 3rd place finish and podium in St. Petersburg. His Ganassi teammate, Marcus Ericsson, ground out the win in that race.
“It’s still a race I’ve never won,” Dixon said about St. Pete. “But, it was still a fantastic start for us. Would’ve preferred having a 1-2-3-4, but having 1-3-8-11, I’d say that was a good result, especially with attrition.”
Only one race into the season, Ericsson is the points leader ahead of Pato O’Ward and Dixon. O’Ward is a former winner at Texas as well.
The green flag drops at 12:00 pm EDT on Sunday after qualifying sessions on Saturday, sandwiched among them will be the NASCAR Truck Series which will race on Saturday.
The post Dixon Optimistic For More Competitive Race At Texas This Weekend appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM — Indy’s Mobile News.
Dixon Optimistic For More Competitive Race At Texas This Weekend was originally published on wibc.com
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