The IZOD IndyCar Series' return to Texas Motor Speedway will also bring a return to its old format, as last year's twin 114-lap races have been scrapped in favor of a single, 550-kilometer race. The Firestone 550 will run on the night of June 9.
Last year, the track hosted the "Firestone Twin 275s," a pair of 114-lap races that carried half the points and purse per race. There was an hour-plus break between races, which included a made-for-TV draw for starting positions for the second race, which drew negative reactions from both the fans and the drivers.
"The fans kind of lost interest in that long break there, so the best solution we felt like was to go back and make it 550 kilometers," TMS president Eddie Gossage told the Fort Worth Star Telegram
. "It will be one race, one big night and Indy cars will be flying under the lights at 220mph. It doesn't get much better than that."
There had been serious doubts whether IndyCar would return to Texas at all next year, in the aftermath of the multicar crash at Las Vegas that killed Dan Wheldon, and the subsequent confirmation that the oval races there and Kentucky were being dropped for 2012. Gossage, however, insisted that Texas – which has staged IRL/IndyCar races for 15 years – was never a question mark.
"I've said all along that we would be able to work out our business deal with IndyCar and am glad to report that our deal is done," Gossage said.