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'5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW' ABOUT THE RAINGUARD WATER SEALERS 600
FORT WORTH, Texas (June 10, 2017) - Here are “5 Things You Need To Know” about Saturday night’s Rainguard Water Sealers 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway:
GET YOUR HANDS ON A HONDA: Led by first-time pole-sitter Charlie Kimball of Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda-powered cars occupy the top eight starting positions in tonight’s 22-car field. This comes following Honda-powered Graham Rahal’s sweep of last weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle. How embarrassing was THAT as viewed from GM’s Renaissance Center tower downtown? And let’s not forget the series’ last oval-track event, the 101st Indianapolis 500. Ten Honda-powered drivers combined to lead 181 of 200 laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With all that power and Honda’s speedway aero-kit…it could be another silent night for the Bowtie Brigade.
GRAHAM GEARED FOR THREE IN A ROW: Graham Rahal’s aforementioned sweep of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix last weekend has served as the perfect prelude for his return to TMS as defending event champion. “Overall, it was a very special day,” Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Mi-Jack/Bobby Rahal Automotive Honda, said of “The Resumption” completed on Aug. 27. “To get a win and cap what was somewhat of a difficult season off that way felt great. Those are some special memories for me. My grandmother passed away that day, so there was a lot going through my mind afterward. I didn't know it at the time.” Rahal is sixth in the point standings, 52 behind leader Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing.
HELIO AT (BOBBLE)HEAD OF THE CLASS: Helio Castroneves is the all-time Verizon IndyCar Series winner at TMS with four (2004 Race 2, 2006, 2009 and 2013)…but Helio is not happy. During the taping of a promotional piece for the track on Thursday, Castroneves playfully bemoaned that TMS has created a 6-foot bobblehead for Graham Rahal. “Where’s my bobblehead?” said Castroneves, standing next to Rahal’s YUUUGE likeness. “I won four times and don’t even have a street named after me! If I win again, I should get a bobblehead.” And maybe a bronze statue at the entrance to The Speedway Club. Helio and his No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet will chase victory No. 5 from the 10th starting spot.
PARITY RULES THE INDYCAR PADDOCK: There have been seven different winners in eight Verizon IndyCar Series races this season: Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.), James Hinchcliffe (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park), Simon Pagenaud (Phoenix Raceway), Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix), Takuma Sato (Indianapolis 500) and Graham Rahal (Raceway at Belle Isle-1 and Raceway at Belle Isle-2). Is this the night a darkhorse like, say, Max Chilton of Chip Ganassi Racing, or JR Hildebrand of Ed Carpenter Racing, breaks into the win column?
FIRESTONE RESPONDS TO REPAVED/RE-PROFILED TMS: Firestone Racing has brought more than 1,100 Firestone Firehawk racing tires to Fort Worth. Each car started the weekend with 12 sets. Based upon an open test conducted here in mid-April, followed by a separate Firestone test, Firestone engineers opted to bring a new set of specifications to TMS. “The right sides are similar to 2016 Texas rights, but are equipped with lighter tread gauge to deal with the extra heat that comes from a new racing surface,” said Cara Adams, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and Firestone Racing. “We have also used a softer left side construction with a new tread compound, similar to the tires used at Indianapolis with a lower stagger to help the right front tire work harder.” For anyone who missed it, the entire 1.5-mile layout and pit road were repaved during the offseason. In addition, the banking in Turns 1 and 2 was reduced from 24 to 20 degrees and the track widened from 60 to 80-feet in that area. Turns 3 and 4 have retained their traditional 24-degree banking.