Texas Saturday Wrap-Up

After a full day, the IndyCar portion of the track activity at Texas Motor Speedway is over for the day. There is still a NASCAR Truck race to run, but after two practice sessions, a “rubbering in” session and qualifying – we are done.

It has been an absolutely gorgeous day here at the track. As the final practice was winding down, I checked the local temperature on my phone. It was a perfect 72°, with not too much wind. After seeing many races here with triple-digit temperatures, I felt lucky.

The day was not so perfect for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) cars. The three cars of Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard were the three slowest cars of Practice One in that order. In qualifying, Harvey qualified twenty-eighth in a twenty-eight car field, while Lundgaard will start next to him in twenty-seventh. Rahal will start twenty-fourth. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good team so out to lunch.

Unlike the RLLR cars, Arrow McLaren had an unbelievable day. Felix Rosenqvist won the pole, Alexander Rossi qualified third and Pato O”Ward qualified fifth. Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing and Josef Newgarden of Team Penske were the only ones to break up the McLaren party and spread them out to the Top-Five.


Last year’s runner-up, Scott McLaughlin, had a poor qualifying run and will start fifteenth on the grid.

Aside from the Rahal cars, the tow fulltime drivers from Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) also seeme dlost. Rinus VeeKay qualified twenty-sixth and Conor Daly will sgtart twenty-fifth. Daly also supplied the excitement of the day, when he spun down the main straightaway four or five times  without hitting anything or anybody. Their boss, Ed Carpenter, qualified a more respectable eighteenth – even though he had not raced since Gateway last August.

Rookie Augustin Canapino qualified a respectable nineteenth for his first career oval. while his Juncos Hollinger teammate, Callum Ilott will start seventeenth.

The Meyer Shank Racing cars of Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud also seem lost this weekend. They will roll off twenty-first and twenty-second respectively.

On a positive note, after a disastrous weekend at St. Petersburg, the cars of AJ Foyt Enterprises had a decent day, Santino Ferrucci will start fourteenth, while Benjamin Pederson starts thirteenth.

I’ve been very impressed with Takuma Sato of Chip Ganassi Racing. He will start sixth and was the fastest Ganassi car in the morning practice. Considering he is only guaranteed two races for Ganassi, Texas and Indianapolis, he is making the most of what opportunities are in front of him.

One thing that has made an impression on me in my first visit to Texas Motor Speedway is the overall layout of the facility. There is lots of room everywhere and everything seems real close. There is not a ton of walking like there is at large area road courses, or even IMS. Plus there is a new and clean feel for this facility, even though it is now over twenty-five years old.

Please check back here tomorrow morning before the race. I will close with some photos from today. All photos were taken by me except for those noted from my friend Paul Dalbey of Fieldof33.com. I would also recommend you check out his site as well throughout the weekend. Please check back tomorrow.

George Phillips




IMG_6705Photo by Paul Dalbey


IMG_7017Photo by Paul Dalbey

IMG_7050Photo by Paul Dalbey

IMG_7055Photo by Paul Dalbey

IMG_7056Photo by Paul Dalbey

IMG_7239Photo by Paul Dalbey

IMG_7200Photo by Paul Dalbey


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