Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage always feels obligated to live up to the "Everything is bigger in Texas" motto and TMS' announcement Tuesday night was no exception.
To announce the speedway's 2011 slate, Gossage rented out the House of Blues and brought in the Goo Goo Dolls, Tony Stewart and Helio Castroneves. It was no ordinary schedule announcement.
For the Sprint Cup circuit, it was pretty ordinary, as the only major change was the move of Texas' spring date (April 9) to a night race. That takes the place of the Phoenix night race as the first evening event of the season.
For the IndyCar Series, however, it was a different matter. On June 11, TMS will host the Firestone Twins, two full-field 275-kilometer/114-lap races in the same day.
If you've been a fan of open-wheel racing for a while, you'll realize that this is a blast from the past. From 1967-1981, there were 17 USAC or CART doubleheaders, the final one on June 28, 1981 at Atlanta, where Rick Mears swept both races.
Both races at Texas will pay half points, so the weekend will essentially count as one race in the season scheme. From Indycar.com:
“I think it is important that we elevate all of our races to give them a big-event feel,” said [IZOD IndyCar Series president of competition and racing operations Brian] 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."
- Texas Motor Speedway
- Helio Castroneves