Sorry it’s taken until Wednesday to put up a few new thoughts on Saturday night’s race. The trip to Texas was actually part of a six-day, nine-state, 2,500-mile swing that went like this: South Elgin->Fort Worth->Atlanta->South Elgin. It was a fun time, but wow, that 785-mile drive home from my brother’s house in Roswell, Ga., was a killer.
Anyway, I’m back home and ready to go. I love numbers, and after combing through the box score several times, here are three numbers that caught my eye.
135. That was the lap where we saw our first caution of the night, when Zach Veach spun out in Turn 2. IndyCar measures Texas Motor Speedway at 1.44 miles, so that is right around 192 miles and about 53 minutes of straight racing. Long green runs are a thing in the NTT IndyCar Series, but when you throw in 90-degree temps and the g-force loads being pulled on 21-degree banking, that is a physical test.
“I was very surprised that first run,” a very tired-looking Graham Rahal, who finished third, said in the media center afterwards. “I mean, at the start is when the track is at its toughest. I was very surprised almost 150 laps or thereabouts without a yellow. It was a physical race tonight. I don’t know who has been through here before me, but that was a freakin’ physical race. The first 150 was a long 150.”
14. That was the race-best number of positions Santino Ferrucci gained as he raced to a career-best fourth-place finish. The Dale Coyne Racing driver, who celebrated his 21st birthday two weeks ago, picked up half of those spots by on-track passes when passing cars was at a premium. The Connecticut native was part of a contingent of five Americans in the Top 5, and has now completed all but two laps on the season, which leads the series. It was also his fourth Top 10 finish dating back to the Indy GP.
One. Race winner Josef Newgarden is a former series champion (2017), and Saturday night was his 13th career win, but, surprisingly enough, it’s his first “superspeedway” win. While Newgarden has won on ovals at Iowa, Gateway and Phoenix, this was the first time he’d won on one of the larger ovals on the circuit. The win was also Newgarden’s 10th for Team Penske, coming in his 43rd race since joining the organization prior to the 2017 season.
Pit Lane Parley
Gave you had a chance to catch last week’s episode. Host Mike, Jess and Matt recapped Detroit, previewed Texas and talked about some other IndyCar news. You can listen to it here.
Photo credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar Media