What’s new is old: Franchitti and Power win at Texas

Nick Bromberg

The top two drivers in the 2010 points standings, Dario Franchitti and Will Power, won Saturday night's Firestone Twin 275 Izod IndyCar Series races at Texas Motor Speedway.

The 114-lap races, which were run back-to-back with a break in-between, each awarded half points and half of a full race purse. Qualifying on Friday was for the first race while the second race was set by random draw between the first and second race.

Franchitti took the first race in dominating fashion, essentially leading from wire-to-wire after starting second. The only car able to compete with him was his teammate Scott Dixon, who hung on Franchitti's bumper after a restart with 10 laps to go but wasn't able (or willing?) to mount a serious challenge. It was Franchitti's second win of the season after he won the season-opening race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power took the second race for the first oval win of his career and his third win of the season. Power drew the third position -- while Franchitti drew the 28th starting spot -- and wasn't passed on the race track after passing Tony Kanaan for the lead. Dixon finished second in the second race, too.

And like last year, Power and Franchitti are atop the points standings again this year, albeit with Power in the lead. However, since Power finished higher in the first race than Franchitti did in the second race, he extended his points lead by five points.

Perhaps the most intriguing -- and awful -- aspect of the evening was the game show-type draw for the starting grid for the second race. 30 tires on the stage on the frontstretch contained a number, and drivers were interviewed and randomly picked a tire to reveal their starting positions. The process dragged interminably and also featured some odd song choices as drivers were on stage. Danica Patrick's music was "Sharp Dressed Man" and Ana Beatriz's was "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" while Alex Tagliani chose his position to (the edited version of) Cee-lo's "F You."

Many in the garage, including Franchitti, who was very vocal, opposed the random draw, saying that the field should have been inverted for the second race. With an invert, Franchitti would have started two positions further back in 30th, and Power would have started 28th instead of third.