I Hope This Wasn’t IndyCar’s Last Race At Texas Motor Speedway

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Photograph, Elizabeth Blackstock

Over the Over the weekend, IndyCar took on its first oval race of the yr at Texas Motor Speedway — and it was one which noticed a number of passes for the lead in addition to a last-turn cross for the win, I simply hope it isn’t the final occasion on the oval observe.

Hear. I get it. TMS… it leaves loads to be desired. NASCAR’s dedication to laying down PJ1, a traction compound that sarcastically causes the Indy automobiles to lose traction and narrows the racing all the way down to a single lane, has tarnished the observe floor. Even working an additional follow session with ultra-high downforce to work in a second groove did not actually assist cut back the impression of the PJ1.

However the racing itself turned out to be nice. Crew Penske seemed unstoppable whereas Arrow McLaren struggled. The Andretti crew misplaced most of its drivers to mechanical gremlins or crashes, however Chip Ganassi and Ed Carpenter Racing saved issues fascinating. It was, all in all, a particularly pleasant occasion — probably the greatest races I’ve watched in individual. It wasn’t as hectic because the occasion in 2017, however it was nonetheless fairly rattling good.

That being stated, although, I seen a large shift within the observe’s priorities this yr in comparison with earlier IndyCar occasions at TMS that I’ve attended. Firstly, IndyCar was the one collection racing final weekend, the place the collection has usually been joined by the NASCAR Truck Sequence.

Due to that, the turnout was low all weekend however particularly so on Saturday, when the IndyCar Sequence certified for the race. there was a single open concession stands that informed two meals gadgets: nachos and sizzling canine — and so they ran out of sizzling canine. A lot of the grandstand bogs had been locked up, the infield Torchy’s Tacos was closed, and a lot of the merch tents hadn’t even arrange but.

As a longtime attendee of the occasion, it was, to place it mildly, extraordinarily miserable — and sort of felt like the top of an period. Issues had been extra “regular” on race day, however even then, there have been truly extra concessions and merch tents open on the earlier night’s American Flat Monitor occasion at TMS’s grime oval. The group turnout, too, seemed to be roughly the identical.

I’ve a sense a part of that additionally comes all the way down to timing. The Texas occasion is generally run in June, simply after the Indy 500 and Detroit Grand Prix, and to counter the warmth, it is usually a Saturday evening race underneath the lights. This yr, the inexperienced flag flew at 11:45 a.m. native time, which is both throughout or instantly after church service — and that inherently cuts down any Texas crowd, particularly within the extra rural Fort Price space. The pre-race crowd at Bucc-ee’s was fairly evenly cut up between racegoers and churchgoers.

Proper now, TMS is in its ultimate contract yr with IndyCar, and there is not any signal that the collection intends to resume. As somebody who enjoys the observe, the entire state of affairs sucks. As somebody who enjoys the oval contingent of the IndyCar schedule, which has been shrinking for years, it sucks. (And from an excellent private perspective, this may be the fourth IndyCar venue that my husband and I’ve attended collectively to cease internet hosting a race — and I actually do not need to be unhealthy luck for the collection.)

If TMS places within the effort to revamp its observe and stops letting NASCAR lay down PJ1, we may have an entire new observe.

I am unable to say I would blame the collection for nixing Texas, however I’d be extraordinarily upset. Here is to hoping this yr’s race wasn’t the final.

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