2020 IndyCar preview: Texas

Photo by IndyCar

Yes, The Rich Report loves multiple forms of motorsports and the NTT IndyCar Series enters the fold as they will make their 2020 debut at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday evening.

If you like high speeds and intense side-by-side racing, this is the race for you as 24 drivers will hit speeds over 220 miles per hour for 200 laps around the 1.5-mile oval. While we won’t see any pack racing that some might be accustomed to for an IndyCar race at an oval, there will be numerous moments of cars getting a draft to make a pass on someone. 2020 also sees the debut of the aero screen.

Josef Newgarden is the defending series champion and will look for this third title in 2020 along with becoming the first driver to defend a title since Dario Franchitti in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Newgarden is also looking to defend his Texas title after winning the 2019 race.

Charlie Kimball wipes the slate clean after not running a full season in 2019. This season, he joins A.J. Foyt Racing alongside Tony Kanaan, who is running his final IndyCar season. Kimball has four top-10 finishes in ten races at Texas.

McLaren teammates Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew make their debuts at Texas. Askew is in his rookie season while O’Ward is in first full-time season after running part-time with Carlin in 2019.

Marcus Ericsson joins Chip Ganassi Racing after a lackluster 2019 where he finished 17th in points. However, one of his three top-10 finishes last season came at Texas, and with a CGR Honda this year, he could be a legitimate threat to win Saturday night.

Scott Dixon needs no introduction. He’s a five-time champion and, arguably, the greatest driver in the history of the series. Dixon is a three-time winner at Texas and has a series-best average finish of 7.9 at the track.

Felix Rosenqvist had an eye-opening rookie campaign with Ganassi. He scored 10 top-10 finishes in 2019 and will look to improve on an already hot start to his IndyCar career. He finished 12th in his lone start at Texas.

Penske teammates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud will both be on the hunt for their second series championship. Power has two wins in 12 races at Texas along with eight top 10s. In eight races, Pagenaud has an average finish of 6.1, but as yet to earn a victory.

Kanaan is bringing back all the nostalgia for his swan song season as he brings back the classic green 7-Eleven paint scheme. In 20 races, he has 15 top 10s, but only one victory at Texas.

Graham Rahal has backtracked since his breakout season in 2015. He finished 10th in points for 2019 and has not won a race since the two Detroit races back in 2017. However, Rahal does have a victory and with another win at Texas, it could give him the confidence to compete for a championship in 2020.

Santino Ferrucci turned heads in his rookie campaign in 2019, but enters the season with controversy after getting extreme criticism for how he raced in an iRacing event earlier this year. Ferrucci nabbed a fourth-place finish in his lone Texas start.

Veteran Ed Carpenter is back once again with his own team. He brings on rookie Rinus Veekay to his team who was the runner-up in the 2019 Indy Lights season. Carpenter won at Texas in 2014 and has an average finish of 14.6 in 18 races.

Zach Veach as yet to breakout with Andretti Autosport in two seasons. He has finished 16th and 20 at Texas.

Alexander Rossi is the sure-fire fan favorite in the IndyCar Series. However, that championship has evaded him for the last three years. In his last two races at Texas, Rossi has finished third and second respectively.

Ryan Hunter-Reay has had silent campaigns since his championship season in 2012, but still has the talent and team to make a run for another title. He has five top-10 finishes in 13 races and finished fifth in last year’s Texas race.

James Hinchcliffe has had a wild journey in IndyCar and after losing his ride with Arrow McLaren, he joins Andretti part-time in 2020. He finished 19th at Texas last year, but has four top 10s in nine races at the track.

43-year-old Takuma Sato has seen his best seasons in IndyCar over the last three years. He won two races in 2019 and will look to make a run at the title this season. Sato has three top 10s in 11 races at Texas.

Alex Palou caps the rookie class in 2020. He comes from the Japanese Super Formula series. He has 10 career wins throughout the multiple series he has run so far. He joins Ferrucci at Dale Coyne Racing.

Conor Daly gets a full-time ride for the first time since 2017. He joins Carlin for all races on ovals as he will split his season with three different teams. He will be with Ed Carpenter Racing in the 20 car at road courses and will drive the 47 car in the Indianapolis 500.

Jack Harvey gets a full-time ride with Meyer Shank Racing. The team will have a technical alliance with Andretti, which gives Harvey an opportunity to be a front-runner in 2020. This will be his first race at Texas.

He didn’t win Rookie of the Year honors, but Colton Herta had one of the most impressive campaigns in 2019. He won two races last year and will look to start the way at Texas the same way he ended the previous season at Laguna Seca.

Marco Andretti has competed in every IndyCar race since 2006, but only has two wins to show. He has not won a race since 2011. However, he does have good numbers at Texas with seven top 10s and an average finish of 11.3 in 15 races.

Saturday is an all-day show. Practice took place in the morning where Dixon was fastest and Newgarden won the pole. The race will air on NBC at 8:00 p.m.

Spotter’s guide: https://www.indycar.com/-/media/Files/2020/Indycar/01-TEX/indycar-spotterguide-V3.pdf?la=en

Lineup: https://racecontrol.indycar.com/

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