Blind draw determines grid for 2nd race
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Racing fans might be doing a double-take when the IZOD IndyCar Series comes to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone Twin 275s on June 11.
It will be the first time since 1981 -- and only the 19th overall, including CART and USAC -- that the IndyCar Series will have a doubleheader. These races, however, will feature some new twists.
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• The races will pay half the points and half the bonus prizes. The driver leading the most laps will receive two bonus points and the polesitter for the first race will get a bonus point.
• Traditional qualifying will be done to set the field for the first race. The field for the second race will be set by a blind draw immediately after the first race.
• One hour preparation time between the first and second race. There will be a halftime show, and drivers will be interviewed as they select their starting spot for the second race.
• Teams will get an extra engine so that if something happens in the first race, they can participate in the second race.
• All teams will use the same pit spots for both races.
The blind draw for the second race is a new twist to the old idea, and presents an intriguing scenario where drivers could find themselves racing alongside drivers that aren't usually at the front of the pack.
"I think they'll probably be a crash," Danica Patrick said. "You are going to have some drivers who are overanxious, someone out of place, some who normally doesn't race next to each other. I know it's going to give [IndyCar COO] Brian Barnhart a headache."
That doesn't mean Patrick doesn't like the idea of the twin races. She does.
"I think it's going to be good for the fans and, at the end of the day, they are the most important people," Patrick said. "I like it. I like change. I like something different."
Johnny Rutherford was one of the few drivers to sweep a doubleheader, doing so at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1979. He didn't think it required any kind of different strategy once the races began.
"It's two races; it's that simple," Rutherford said. "Where you start the second one is a different concept, but you still go out and put your best foot forward. And when the green flags drop, you go for it. If you're fortunate enough to have everything go your way, you win that first one and keep going."
Richard Durrett covers motorsports for ESPNDallas.com.