(Texas Motor Speedway on Twitter)
After an almost month-long hiatus from the season opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg where Scott McLaughlin captured his first NTT IndyCar Series win. The stars of open-wheeled racing in America head to Texas Motor Speedway for the first oval race of the season. Continue on for everything you need to know about the Xpel 375.
PJ1 Problems: All the talk in IndyCar's ROP (rookie orientation program) at Texas earlier this month was all about the stained high groove through the turns at Texas Motor Speedway from the traction compound that is used during a NASCAR race weekend. PJ1 won't be applied for this weekend's race, however the residue left over will essentially make passing very difficult. As anyone who ventures into the residue will have a significant loss of traction potentially ending someone's day. To fight this, IndyCar introduced new systems to the aero kit for this weekend that can increase downforce on the car by 200 pounds.
Into the unknown...: For the first time in his NTT IndyCar Series career, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will make his first ever start at an oval in the series. Johnson did not take part in the IndyCar ROP at Texas earlier this month and his first laps in this weekend's practice session will be his first laps at close to 218 MPH. Johnson has won at Texas seven times during his NASCAR career with an average finish of 11.57.
2021 Race Recap: The 2021 Xpel 375 was the second race of a weekend doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway. Scott Dixon dominated most of the day leading 163 laps. But unfortunately for him faded late and brought Pato O'Ward and Scott McLaughlin in the mix for the win late. O'Ward led the last twenty-five laps En route to his first NTT IndyCar Series win. McLaughlin finished 2nd but was very impressive in his second oval start.
Race Predictions: For the 2022 Xpel 375, most insiders believe with the addition with the new bargeboards for increased aerodynamic downforce, the racing will probably be much closer than what we have seen in the past. The odds-on favorite for this race in Scott Dixon who has made Texas his own personal playground in the past winning three of the past five events at Texas. But, coming off a dominate performance at St. Petersburg it would be hard to go against Scott McLaughlin for this weekend's race.
Weekend Schedule: (all times Eastern)
Saturday, March 19th - IndyCar Practice @ 11:00 A.M. on Peacock
Saturday, March 19th - IndyCar Group Qualifying @ 2:00 P.M. on Peacock
Saturday, March 19th - IndyCar Final Practice @ 5:00 P.M. on Peacock
Sunday, March 20th - Xpel 375 @ 12:30 P.M. on NBC
Sunday, March 20th - NTT IndyCar Series post-race @ 3:30 P.M. on Peacock