Despite Big Crash, Saturday Night Was the Racing We Missed at Texas

Fort Worth, TX – For the first 23 Verizon IndyCar Series races at the Texas Motor Speedway, it was must see TV. Thrilling side-by-side action throughout the field for the duration of the race at the 1.5-mile track was the norm.

Until 2012. 

When the DW12 was introduced for the 2012 season, gone was the pack racing. In was tire degradation and spread out racing like we saw in the 90s. Forgive me for saying the racing at Texas was a snoozer.

If I wasn’t covering the sport, I would have found something else to do instead of watch the yawnfest the series put on at Texas. I don’t blame fans for not tuning in or attending that debacle they had with the DW12.

The drivers’ spouses loved it citing a gentlemens agreement to end “pack racing.” Well, that was the wrong move.

From 2012 to 2013, there were 13 combined lead changes. In 2014 and 2015, the only real passing for the lead occurred during pit sequences.

Last year, the racing was better, but the thrilling finish overshadowed a ho-hum middle of the race. Tonight, the racing was back the way it should be.

Credit a newly paved track and a Firestone Tire that had minimal drop off. Night race, new pavement and no tire drop off equals what we’ve all been searching for over the last five years here, exhilarating racing.

This is what the series needs. This is what Texas needs. A race that I think most would have been okay trading a new track for, one like COTA or something of that nature, a race like tonight, well this is one that we annually need.

This was Fontana 2.0. From the drop of the green flag, there was constant action throughout the pack. This was a newer form of pack racing with edge of your seat madness.

Again, this is what the series and Texas needs. Once upon a time, this was the second highest rated and attended race. But, since 2012, this race slipped to among annually the worst.

Saturday night’s Rainguard 600 was IndyCar’s version of Daytona and Talladega. It’s back to the way it should be.

The last four years, we had five total cars on the lead lap. The margins of victory were 0.008-seconds, 7.800-seconds, 0.525-seconds (late race caution packing it up) and 4.692-seconds.

2012 had six cars on the lead lap with a margin of victory of 3.920-seconds.

Tonight, yes we had an eight car crash that only left 11 cars running for the last 94 laps. But, the racing up to that point and even after was breath taking. Even with nine total cars running at the end, competition cautions every 30 laps over the end of the race, this was racing at its finest.

This was a race where everyone was on the lead lap vying for a win. Hopefully the series finds a way to keep it this way and not revert to what we saw from 2012-2016.

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