2021 NTT IndyCar Series preview: Texas 1

After two weekends on the twisty turns through Alabama and the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, the NTT IndyCar Series heads to the Lone Star State for a doubleheader weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. 

Saturday and Sunday will cover half of the oval schedule this season with the two other oval races happening at the Indianapolis 500 at the end of May and a trip to St. Louis for a weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. 

Three faces will make their 2021 debuts as Ed Carpenter hops into his No. 20 ride, replacing Conor Daly. Daly will replace Max Chilton in the No. 59 for the weekend. 

Meanwhile, rookies Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean will take the weekend off and IndyCar veteran Tony Kanaan and former Haas F1 driver Pietro Fittipaldi will step in the No. 48 and No. 51 cars respectively. 

Kanaan is one of the most-consistent drivers at Texas with the second-best average finish among active drivers this weekend (6.7). In 21 career starts, he has one win, 11 top fives and 16 top-10 finishes. Kanaan was fastest in the lone practice session.

Holding the No. 1 spot for average finish at Texas is Simon Pagenaud. The Team Penske Frenchman is still seeking his first win at Texas, but holds an average finish of 5.7 in nine starts. This includes five top fives and seven top-10 finishes in those nine races.

Longtime veterans Scott Dixon and Will Power have been absolute monsters at Texas. In 34 starts combined, the men hold seven wins, 15 top fives and 22 top-10 finishes on the 1.5-mile oval. 

The points leader after two races is Alex Palou. The Spaniard started off the year in surprising fashion as he and his Chip Ganassi Racing team developed the perfect strategy to nab Palou’s first-career win in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park. He finished outside the top 10 at St. Petersburg, but maybe his fortunes will change at Texas after DNF’ing in last year’s event. 

Qualifying was canceled due to rain and the lineup was set by owner points.

Saturday’s race will consist of 212 laps, which will equate to 300 miles. You can catch the Genesys 300 on NBC Sports Network beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST. 

Starting grid:

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