Texas Race Wrap-Up

All I can say is…what a race!

For someone like me making my first trip to Texas Motor Speedway, I could not have asked for a better race to see in person. There have been a few duds here in Texas, but today was not one of them. Outside of any Indianapolis 500 I’ve been to – I would say this was the best race I’ve ever attended in person.

I could feel my heart pumping at the start, even over the thunder of twenty-eight machines thundering past the green flag. Everyone around me seemed to hold their breath for the first fifteen laps or so. The first five laps saw four lead changes between Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon. Then Newgarden got past and suddenly checked out.

The first caution came out when Takuma Sato lost it coming out of Turn Two on Lap 48. I was standing in the infield as the track headed into Turn One (behind the pit of Romain Grosjean). That afforded me a view of the field coming from the start/finish line, Turn One, Turn Two and exiting Turn Two about halfway down the backstretch before they disappeared behind the infield structures. I could tell that they were running three-wide and I was afraid it would not have a good outcome. It didn’t.

Sato slapped the outside wall exiting Turn Two, then skated across the track and hit the inside wall. When the race re-started, Grosjean started passing on the outside on just about every lap. I told a friend of mine that the way he was driving – he was going to win or crash. But he continued to have success going high in Turn Two. At this point, the race hit a bit of a lull like they all do. The race went about 120 laps with no caution and Newgarden had lost the lead to Pato O’Ward.

But from Lap 179 to the end, there were four cautions. Pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist crashed in Turn Four on Lap 179. Then Sting Ray Robb crashed along the backstretch on Lap 210. On Lap 223, Graham Rahal and Devlin DeFrancesco got together for the second year in a row at Texas. It brought Rahal’s day and weekend to a merciful early close.

When the race finally restarted, it looked like we were in for a thirteen-lap shootout. Grosjean had pitted for fresh tires and came out in seventh-place. Since I was behind his pit, I was paying particular attention to him on the restart. But when the green flag came out, Grosjean did not move up. Instead he moved backwards. It wasn’t until about Lap 244 that he started moving forward as all of those right around him kept jockeying for position. It looked like we were headed to a wild finish, when Turn Two finally bit Grosjean on Lap 248 – two laps from the finish.

Pato O’Ward and Josef Newgarden had been battling back and forth for the lead, for the last several laps. When the yellow came out, it was Newgarden out front, and took the checkered flag under the yellow.

Social media can be exhausting at times. During the last caution, I saw a fan complaining that this racing was too close and this race was as frightening as Fontana in 2015. Then after the race, someone was complaining that they didn’t red flag the race with two laps to go. Apparently they don’t understand that it would take about three to five laps to get the race going again. Both takes were absurd.

When fans complain about pack racing at Texas, we get processional duds. When Newgarden was in the media center for the post-race press-conference – he said that IndyCar had struck the perfect balance and the track was a lot better than it had been for the past few years. He said the racing this year was perfect.


Newgarden would certainly be a much better judge than me, but for what it’s worth – I concur. This was an outstanding race, and it’s what I drove nine hours for. I was hoping for a decent race, and we got a fantastic race.

This is an excellent facility. Yesterday afternoon, Paul and I went into the stands and saw some of the truck race. I can now say from personal experience – the sightlines at this track are amazing. It’s an overused cliché, but it applies in this case. There are no bad seats at this track. If you’ve never been here for an IndyCar race at Texas, I would highly recommend it. Take it from someone who just attended my first race here. You won’t be disappointed.

Assuming this race is on the schedule next season, I will definitely be back. Susan was kind of bummed to be left at home this weekend, since she is feeling much better these days. I talked to her this morning, just before the race. She was already planted on the couch to watch it. Assuming her health is still good next year, she will be coming with me. There is not a ton of walking involved here, so she would’ve done fine this weekend. Our next in-person race is Barber, and she will definitely be there.

I will be here tomorrow with my Random Thoughts post. Thanks for following along this weekend. We are now under a tornado watch and we just had a short power failure in the Media Center, so I had better load this up while we still have wi-fi.

George Phillips

6 Responses to “Texas Race Wrap-Up”

  1. Thanks for blogging. Drive safely.

  2. For those that complain that the racing is too close and it’s frightening…. Why are you watching racing?
    I too would have loved to see the race finish under green, but there’s nothing that could be done with only two laps to go at the end. I felt bad for Pato O’Ward and I don’t know if he would have won, but I’m sure he would have loved to finish at full bore… win or not. At lease it would have been between him and Joseph, and not something beyond his control.
    All in all a very entertaining race that left me feeling “what, it’s over all ready” instead of “glad that’s over with”.
    Great write-up as usual! See everyone at the 500!

  3. James T Suel Says:

    This was what a true Indycar race is supposed to be. Great race. If you did not likewise race go find a stick & ball game.

  4. OliverW Says:

    Wow. That was great. Joseph and Pato take full credit some serious wheel to wheel not forgetting Palou, Malukas, Dixon and Herta. At least Pato is leading the championship I guess. Shank and RLL seem to be sinking further into the mire.
    Ovals can be heaven or hell.

  5. Bruce B Says:

    Great Reporting George! I hope Texas survives and keeps this race. Unfortunately the crowd looked weak.

  6. Dante’ Says:

    A great race and maybe more fans can make it to the metroplex in years to come.

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