The IZOD IndyCar Series and Texas Motor Speedway announced that the high-banked speedway's 550-kilometer race will be dropped next year in favor of a twin-race format, with both to be run on the same evening.
The "Firestone Two-Step" will consist of two full-field 275-kilometer races (171 miles/114 laps each) of the 1.5-mile speedway, with two race winners being recognized. Half points will be awarded in both races. How the starting field will be set for either or both events – along with the time allotment between races – is still to be determined, according to IZOD IndyCar Series president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart.
“I think it is important that we elevate all of our races to give them a big-event feel,” said Bernard, noting the format will be a first for the series and racetrack. “Eddie Gossage and Texas Motor Speedway certainly are taking things to the next level with the Firestone Texas Two-Step doubleheader. It was a concept that was first run by USAC in the 1960s, so it plays on an Indy car tradition but also brings a new no-limits feel to the event.”
The Texas date will be the first race following the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 and return the off-week between the events that was scheduled from Texas Motor Speedway's inaugural 1997 season through 2005. The IZOD IndyCar Series has raced at the facility in Fort Worth, Texas, 21 times, including twice in the same season seven times. Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe won this season's race, holding off Danica Patrick of Andretti Autosport.
“We have a special racing season in store for the fans of Texas Motor Speedway,” Gossage said. “Randy and I discussed hosting twin races when he first took the job heading the Indy Racing League. The concept has Indy car history to it, but at the same time provides a new dynamic event to our fans as well as the drivers themselves.
“Texas Motor Speedway traditionally has hosted some of the series' most exciting races and the Firestone Twin 275s' format should provide plenty more in the future. Drivers have two shots at winning and fans get an opportunity to see not one but two great races in one evening. It should be a tremendous show.”
There were 17 doubleheaders (nine on ovals) under USAC and CART sanction from 1967-'81, with a driver sweeping both races 10 times. The grid for the second race was determined by finishing order in the first contest in all 17 events.
Texas Motor Speedway also announced that its Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will run on Saturday evening next year for the first time, on April 9.