It’s been said over and over coming into the weekend, but the traveling Verizon IndyCar Series roadshow finally earns a well-deserved break after tonight’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. The series has been full-throttle since the start of April, running eight of its 17 rounds this season in a jam-packed two-month span. No matter who wins tonight, surviving that stretch and making it home for a weekend off will be a victory in and of itself for drivers and team personnel alike.
But that requires everybody to take care of business tonight, and with 600 kilometers of high-speed action ahead, the fans are due for one more thrill ride before the pause in the championship. As we prepare for tonight’s action, here are some of the biggest questions we’ll be looking to answer:
Can anybody touch the Team Penske trio this weekend?
Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, and Will Power qualified 1-2-3 at Texas on Friday, setting themselves up for an intra-squad battle at the front of the pack on Saturday night. Chevrolets have won four of the five Texas rounds since 2013, with Helio Castroneves kicking it off for Penske in the first year and Power taking last year’s victory, and Power enters the weekend with a five-point championship advantage after two wins and three podium finishes in the past four races.
Will Scott Dixon return to his winning Texas form?
With two wins and 12 top-10s in 18 career starts, Detroit 1 winner Dixon is one of IndyCar’s top performers on the Texas tri-oval. The latter of those two victories came just three years ago, but since then, he’s suffered two crash-related DNFs on the high-speed course. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has already set himself up to battle for the championship at just five points behind Power, but being there for the checkered flag may give him a chance at stealing the points lead. He’ll roll off seventh.
What would it mean to see Tony Kanaan win tonight?
With the best average finish of any active driver at Texas at 5.2, Kanaan knows his way around this place. Although his only win here came in his 2004 championship season, the Brazilian has 15 top-10s in 18 starts, and has only finished worse than 11th here once, back in 2003. After being jettisoned from Ganassi at the end of last year, Kanaan starts sixth tonight in his first Texas appearance driving for “Super Tex” himself, A.J. Foyt. Could he end a winless drought that dates back to 2014?