By: Tony Donohue
The Indy Car Series heads to Texas for this weekends Bombardier Lear Jet 550k. One of the most exciting races of the season, the 550 kilometers, 342 miles, pave the way for side by side action, and some of the closest finishes in Indy Car Series history.
Texas has been dominated by Team Penske and Panther Racing since the Indy Car Series first sent to the high banks of Texas back in 1997. Panther has scored five wins at the track, two of those wins by Scott Goodyear, two by Sam Hornish Jr. and their last Indy Car win in 2005 with Tomas Scheckter. Panther has veteran driver Dan Wheldon behind the wheel, who has a best finish at Texas of third on three occasions. Penske has four wins at Texas, one by Sam Hornish Jr. and Gil de Ferran, and two by Helio Castroneves. Helio, fresh off his 3rd Indianapolis 500 victory, can go for another third in winning this weekends race at Texas, tying him with former teammate Sam Hornish Jr. for the most wins at Texas.
Scott Dixon heads into the race with the points lead, after scoring his second victory on the season and eighteenth overall. If Dixon can back up last year's win in the Bombardier Learjet 550k, he will tie another Sam Hornish Jr. record for most victories in Indy Car Series history at nineteen. Dixon's teammate Dario Franchitti makes his return to the Texas high banks, after a stint in Nascar. Dario sat on the pole is his first race at Texas, and finish 2nd.
Tomas Scheckter recently signed to drive nine races for Dreyer and Reinbold, including this weekend at Texas which will mark his 101st Indy Car Series start. He has three career poles at Texas and one career win. Milka Duno also returns this weekend driving for Dreyer and Reinbold, rounding out their three car lineup, also featuring rookie Mike Conway.
Texas could shake up the points as the battle for the title heats up heading into summer. Seven different winners in the past seven June Texas races opens the door for the competition to be furious, giving anybody in the field a chance of winning, but many big wrecks have forced contenders out of the running early. Dixon leads the points by four points over Ryan Briscoe and Dario Franchitti who are tied for second. Fourth place in the standings is Danica Patrick, and fifth is Helio Castroneves.