INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time in nearly nine months, IndyCar drivers will compete against each other on a race track Saturday, when the Genesys 300 revs up at Texas Motor Speedway.
The 2020 season opener starts at 8 p.m. ET under the lights on the 1.5 mile oval track.
2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan expressed his eagerness to return with media Monday.
“We should be happy to be back,” Kanaan said. “We should be happy that life is becoming whatever that normal is going to be.”
The race will run without fans, which is a first for Kanaan, whose raced 20 times at Texas since 2003.
“I haven’t witnessed a race track with no fans to be honest,” he said. “I don’t recall in my career ever that I show up to a race that there was not a single person to ask you for an autograph.”
But, Kanaan says he believes running the race without fans is the safest solution.
“That is the safest thing to do for our first race,” he said. “It will be no sport if we keep doing this, which thank God I know it’s not going to happen. But, no sport will survive without fans.”
For Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, adjusting to this season’s delayed start may take time.
“It’s going to take a few laps for everybody to get used to it at Texas,” Dixon said. “I think it’s more just the down time we’ve all had. We’ll take a few laps to get up to speed.”
With this year’s schedule changes, Kanaan’s record of starting consecutive races increases to 318. He is retiring from full-time racing following this season. He expects to miss the energy the crowds have brought over the years.
“We will actually value the fans a lot more once we get out of Texas than we had to race with an empty stands.”