FORT WORTH (Sports Network) – Two weeks after running its biggest race of the season, the Indianapolis 500, the IZOD IndyCar Series will double your racing pleasure with the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway.
Friday night’s twin 275-kilometer (171-mile) event at Texas is the first doubleheader for the series in its 16-year history. There were 17 doubleheaders — nine of them on ovals — under USAC and CART sanction from 1967-81, with a driver sweeping both races 10 times. Atlanta Motor Speedway held the most recent doubleheader on June 28 1981. Rick Mears won both USAC events there.
Each race at Texas will pay half the points and bonus prizes. The driver leading the most laps will receive two bonus points, and the pole sitter for the first race will earn one bonus point.
Traditional qualifying will be done to set the field for the initial race. The starting lineup for the final event will be set by a blind draw immediately following the first race.
“The twin 275s should be really exciting; I can’t wait for it,” said Ryan Briscoe, who won last year’s 550-kilometer race at Texas. “I’ve never done a twin race before. I think at a track like Texas it’s the perfect place. It’s already a fast and exciting race. Now, it’s going to be faster and more exciting for the fans.”
Last year at Texas, Briscoe made a late-race pass on Danica Patrick for the lead. Briscoe then held off Patrick by 1.5 seconds for his first win of the season and the sixth of his IndyCar career. He also gave Team Penske its fourth victory in the last five races at Texas.
Helio Castroneves from Penske leads all active drivers with three wins at this track (2004, ’06 and ’09). Sam Hornish Jr. also won here three times. Hornish is now a NASCAR competitor.
Patrick’s second-place finish in the 2010 Texas race was her best finish in IndyCar since she won in April 2008 in Motegi, Japan. Patrick has four consecutive top-10 finishes at Texas.
“I think the duals are going to be a great thing for the fans,” Patrick said. “I think it’s going to be really hard racing, because you don’t have as much time. It’s not like you can start from the back of the pack and make your way up. If you have a bad pit stop, it’s going to be really hard to win the race. It’s going to be shootout-style.”
Thirty teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Firestone Twin 275s. The last IndyCar race outside the Indianapolis 500 that featured 30 or more teams came in the 1997 season-finale at Las Vegas.
Reigning Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon is not entered in this race. Wheldon will be at Texas, serving as driver analyst for VERSUS’ coverage of qualifying and the race.
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