Texas Motor Speedway, IndyCar drivers set to take green on season

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(Courtesy: IndyCar Series/Chris Owens)

INDIANAPOLIS – The IndyCar Series will fire up its engines Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway’s mile-and-a-half oval for the first time since off-season testing.

It’s race one of an updated 14-event schedule.

America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see,” said Eddie Gossage, president and general manager of TMS in a series news release. “One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems.”

There will be no fans in the stands with limited personnel at the speedway. Those allowed in will have to undergo a health screening and wear personal protective equipment.

TMS officials have studied NASCAR’s return-to-racing plan as a guide. Part of the safety plan is a condensed schedule: practice, qualifying and the race all in one day.

“The biggest thing is like that short, short schedule at a track that’s really tough to sort the car out on,” Team Penske driver Will Power said. “People who roll off the truck good are certainly going to have an advantage.”

“You want to score big points right away to establish yourself as a big contender, so my goal is to go into Texas with a pretty aggressive approach,” added Simon Pagenaud, Power’s teammate.

Regardless of the challenge, drivers couldn’t be happier to be back.

“I’m just happy to go racing, quite frankly. I miss it. I miss the competition,” Pagenaud said. “It’s crazy to say, but I do miss seeing my competition’s faces. June 6th is going to be a liberation day for sure. It’s going to be awesome to just get it out of our system.”

The field will take the green flag at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday.

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