Genesys 300-Quick Thoughts

Photo of Scott Dixon by Chris Jones, Indycar

Scott Dixon’s masterful drive last night has us on the cusp of history. Dixon now has won 51 Indycar races, one shy of Mario Andretti’s 52 victory total. If he doesn’t win tonight, he should tie Andretti later this season, and will probably pass Andretti as well.

Dixon shot to the front from his third starting spot and led all but four laps the rest of the night. I loved the way he toyed with Scott McLaughlin at the end, keeping Mclauglin at arm’s length while avoiding getting mixed up with lapped traffic. Dixon is the best of this era by far.

The other Scott from new Zealand, McLaughlin drove a great race and got himself into second with a great pit call on the last stop. Staring 15th, McLaughlin was steady and let the race come to him. I didn’t expect this type of performance from a rookie on an oval, but I knew he would get a couple of podiums this year.

Scott McLaughlin heading to his first career podium. Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

I guess if you are a driver from new Zealand and your name is Scott, you need to be looking at Indycar.


Today’s starting grid is again by entrant points as they stand following last night’s race. Dixon is on the pole and Alex Palou starts second. All four Team Penske cars will start in the top 10. I will have more on today’s race later.

Indycar dropped the ball keeping fans informed about what was happening schedule wise. I don’t know why Peacock did not come one when pr4actice was scheduled to begin. The announcers could have discussed the situation and reviewed possible scenarios for the race.

Tony Kanaan can still drive. Kanaan started 23rd and finished 11th.

Alex Palou is the only driver to have l4ed a lap in all three races. Palou and Dixon are the only drivers to have finished in the top 10 in every race this season.

Andretti Autosport continues to struggle. Colton Herta had a solid top five in hand before his brake issue. Alexander rosi finished a quiet eighth. Jack Harvey, whose Meyer-Shank team has a technical alliance with Andretti, was seventh. Harvey is now fifth in points. Herta dropped to 10th after winning at St. Pete.

The race itself was only good dafter the final pit stop, that was a result of the restart with 39 laps to go. Texas has become an unraceable track because of the JP1 compound taking away the second groove. Maybe it’s time to say goodbye to this track. It’s become another track NASCAR has ruined just so their cars can put on a staged show once a year.

Pato O’Ward and Arrow McLaren SP finally hit on a strategy that worked and reached the podium. Yje team struggled last week folowing their pole at Barber. O’Ward told me last week good strategy was the missing element in their program. O’Ward moved to fourth in points and may be ready to get his first Indycar win today.

I liked The pit stop clock NBCSN had at the bottom of the scoring pylon. I loved comparing the pit stop times when several drivers stopped at the same time. I hope this feature stays. It definitely helped capture the competition between drivers battling for a position.

Thank you all for following yesterday. Today seems less uncertain. I will have a preview of today’s race aroun mid Day. The race begins at 5:15 Eastern on NBCSN.

Kanaan Leads Practice

Indycar photo by Chris Owens

Green Flag at 7:10 pm Eastern. Watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC then immediately switch to NBCSN.

Just like getting on a bike again, Tony Kanaan got into a car for the first time this season today and led the only track time before tonight’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The session was clean although there were a few close calls when cars got a little too high on the traction patch were grip is sketchy.

Tire degradation may play a big role in tonight’s race. There is still a chance of rain. The race is official after 107 laps.

The top 12:

The starting lineup. I’m hearing that this will also be the starting grid for tomorrow’s race.

Happy May! Race Day 1 at Texas

Many of us old timers remember when May 1 meant opening day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and 30 days of activity at the track. This May begins at Texas Motor Speedway with the first of two races this weekend. Today is packed with practice, qualifying, and Race 1, the Genesys 300 ,212 laps around the 1.44 mile tri oval. Rain is still a threat today.

All times listed are Central Time. The race conveniently follows the Kentucky Derby.

I will have brief practice and qualifying reports and a race wrap up in the morning.

Texas Preview- Caution or Chaos?

Indycar ends its four races in three weekends opening stint at Texas Motor Speedway with the running of the Genesys 300 (212 laps) Saturday and the XPEL 375 (248 laps) Sunday. The races make up the first of two scheduled double headers in 2021. Detroit is slated to host a double header June 12-13. Should the Toronto race need to cancel again, look for as third twin race weekend at either Mid Ohio or Portland.

Texas Motor Speedway has stood by Indycar since the split in 1996, hosting at least one race annually. There was a double header in 2011, two races ran on the same night. The staring grid for Race was determined by each driver spinning a tire. The number on the other side of the tire was where that driver started. Tony Kanaan and Will Power won the two races that night. Both are competing this weekend.

This is a crucial weekend for teams and drivers on several fronts. First, drivers want to be in a good points position heading to IMS for the GMR Grand Prix and 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. Second, teams hope to escape two oval races with little to no car damage before going to Indianapolis. TMS has seen a lot of equipment torn up over the years.

We will see either two cautious races or we could see the usual Texas chaos. here are some things to look for this weekend.

Season Debuts

Three veterans will participate in their first events of 2021 this weekend. Ed Carpenter, who only drives in the oval races, will pilot the number 20 car for his team. Conor Daly, the road/street driver of the 20, will move to Carlin in place of Max Chilton.

Popular veteran Tony Kanaan steps into the 48 for rookie Jimmie Johnson at Chip Ganassi Racing. Johnson decided before the season began that he would not run the ovals in 2021.

Pietro Fittipaldi, who drove eight Indycar races in 2019 for Dale Coyne Racing, returns to the team and will be in the 51 car normally driven by Romain Grosjean, another rookie sitting out oval events to begin the season.

Limited Track Time

With just one 75 minute practice Saturday morning, smaller teams and newer drivers may at a disadvanage. TMS is not an easy track to learn. Qualifying is just two hours after practice. Any damage to a car in practice could likely result in a starting position at the rear of the field.

Different Racing

Races at Texas are normally held at night. The racing changes as the track cools and the cars react to the temperature change. Both races will be held in late afternoon. Saturday’s race begins at 6:45 local time, with sunset at 8:11. The race will finish at twilight. Saturday’s high is predicted to be 70 degrees, much cooler than it is for the traditional early June date. there is also the possibility of rain.

Sunday’s race begins at 4:15 Central time and should be complete well before dusk. A high 82 degrees is forecast with a much smaller chance of precipitation than the previous evening.

No Go Zone

Teams that tested at Texas were disappointed to find that the traction compound put down to help the NASCAR race still was on the track. TMS president Eddie Gossage tried to remove it, but it still is dangerous territory for an indycar. The 2020 season opener was essentially a one groove race. This year it looks like we will see more of that type of racing. Pit strategy and when the yellow flag comes out sould determine the winner.

Veterans Return to the Top

Ovals are usually a veterans’ game. In the fist two races, second year drivers Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou won the pole and race respectively at Barber. Last weekend at St. Pete third year driver Colton Herta won both the pole and the race. This weekend we get to to watch drivers older than 25 win all the honors.

I think Team Penske wins both poles and one race. The other race winner will come from either Ganassi or Andretti.

Here is the schedule with broadcast times and channels:

Quick Thoughts- Genesys 300

Nice that NBC acknowledged what is going on in the country at the start of the broadcast.

It was a race. It was a nice distraction from everything else happening in the world. We got through it. Not the best race ever, but drama was beginning to build near the end. Rosenqvist made a poor decision to pass when he did.

Scott Dixon now has a chance to get his 50th career win this season. I hope it comes at a race where fans are allowed.

I was surprised there weren’t more cautions. VeeKay and Palou’s accident I thought would be the first of rookie accidents all night.

This was probably not the best race to showcase on NBC.

Passing seemed to improve as the night wore on. I hope that high part of the track can be improved for next year.

A 5-7 lap window to require tire changes might have put more strategy into the race. There was mor strategy than i expected with the yellows and teams deciding to pit early. Thanks to NBC for keeping track of tire laps on screen.

Solid runs for Veach, Carpenter, Daly, Askew, and Kanaan.

Kimball lost what would have been a terrific debut for A. J. Foyt Racing. It was nice to see the Foyt cars competitive.

Ryan Hunter-Reay had an amazing run recovering from the issues at the start to finish eighth and on the lead lap.

Conor Daly is the best thing that has happened to Carlin racing since they entered Indycar.

Oliver Askew is exactly what I thought- patient and steady. It was a great job for a rookie at Texas to move up 11 places.

I can’t remember seeing so many cars have issues on the grid before engines fired.

Pit crews were rusty from the layoff, but they will get back into form next month.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more detailed thoughts. I’m just glad that there was a live race to watch, it was a safe night, and that we all had a taste of the normal for a few hours today.

Thanks for following along today.



Newgarden On Pole for Genesys 300

Josef Newgarden nipped Scott Dixon for the pole for tonight’s Genesys 300. Newgarden, the final qualifier, averaged 215.740 to beat Dixon by 0.03 seconds.

Takuma Sato crashed during his qualifying run. He will likely start in his backup car.Rinus VeeKay, who had crash in practice, did make an attempt. Neither did Santino Ferrucci. A statement from Dale Coyne Racing said the car didn’t feel right.

Starting grid will be up in a few months minutes.

Dixon Leads Practice; Tough Day for ECR

Scott Dixon moved to the top of the speed chart with two minutes left in the two hour practice session for tonight’s Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The session in very warm temperatures was interrupted three times for incidents. Two of the stoppages were caused by cars from Ed Carpenter Racing.

About 15 minutes into practice rookie Rinus Veekay drove too far below the white line in turn 2 and crashed hard into the outside wall. The car suffered heavy left side damage, including the gearbox. The crew is trying to get the car ready for qualifying at 5 pm Eastern time. they may use some parts with Air force branding from Conor Daly’s road course car.

With about an hour left, Ed Carpenter spun on the exit of turn 4. He made very light contact with the wall and punctured a rear tire. Carpenter complained of understeer just before the spin.

Two minutes after practice resumed, Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed in turn 2. There was some damage to the car, but it should be ready for qualifying.

Hondas dominated the session, at one time holding the first six spots. Three Andretti Autosport drivers, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach, and Colton Herta, swapped the lead for about 15 minutes. With two minutes left in the session, Scott Dixon  moved to the top with a lap of 215.995 and held on until the checkered flag.

The top 12:



A big concern for tonight’s race is the dark sections of the track where a traction compound was put down for the NASCAR race. There is no grip in that area and drivers had a difficult time holding on if they got too much of their car in it. I hope this doesn’t cause the race to be a single groove processional show.

Tony Kanaan’s 7-11 car looks amazing.

Pato O’Ward had the quickest Chevrolet and third fastest in the session.

Five teams had drivers in the top 10.

It was nice to see Charlie Kimball in a Foyt entry finish 11th.

Three Andretti drivers were in the top 10. Alexander Rossi and Hunter-Reay were not two of the three.

The six newest drivers in the field have an average age of 21 years, 4 months. All are in their first or second year in the series. The full field average is just over thirty years,  Kanaan and Takuma Sato raise it to that level.

Race preview from yesterday: