Newman/Haas Racing – 29th Season Pre-Race Notes
Firestone Twin 275s – Texas Motor Speedway
Firestone Twin 275's –FAST FACTS
Round 6 of 17 in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series
DATE: Friday – Saturday, June 10-11, 2011
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Friday at 6 p.m. ET on Versus
RACE BROADCAST: Live on Saturday at 8 pm. ET on Versus
RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air on IMS Radio Network and SiriusXM channel 94
INTERNET BROADCAST: Timing & Scoring of each practice session and qualifying is offered on www.indycar.com
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.5-mile, high-banked oval
RACE LENGTH: 2 events, 114 laps each
2010 WINNER: Ryan Briscoe
2010 POLESITTER: Ryan Briscoe
NHR POLES AT TMS: To come
NHR PODIUMS AT TMS: To come
NEWS & NOTES
FOURTH RACE AT TMS FOR NEWMAN/HAAS RACING
Newman/Haas Racing competed at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008 with Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal, in 2009 with Rahal and Robert Doornbos and in 2010 with Hideki Mutoh. Mutoh started seventh, led one lap, set the third fastest race lap and finished 12th here last year. In 2009, Rahal qualified 12th but retired in 22nd after contact early in the race while Doornbos qualified ninth in and finished 11th. In 2008, Rahal started 18th and finished 11th while Wilson qualified 23rd, ran as high as 13th but finished 27th after he brushed the Turn 2 wall and retired with suspension failure after 39/228 laps.
Telemundo driver Oriol Servia will compete in his second race at Texas Motor Speedway while Sprott driver James Hinchcliffe is looking forward to his first here. Servia qualified third for the 2001 CART race at TMS but the race was cancelled due to safety concerns. He started 16th in 2008 with KV Racing and retired in 26th due to contact.
ORIOL ON HOW A STRONG RUN AT THE INDY 500 CAN HELP AT DIFFERENT TYPES OF OVALS
Servia qualified on the Front Row for the 100th Anniversary Indy 500 and ran in the lead pack for the entire race including leading the race twice for a total of 18 laps. Unfortunately the timing of caution periods and fuel strategy limited him to a sixth place finish. Despite the disappointment of not finishing higher, Servia is pleased with how much the team learned over during the two weeks at Indianapolis. "Especially because we had no oval or wind tunnel tests over the winter, I think there is a lot we learned in Indy that will translated to Texas and the rest of the ovals. We had a lot speed in the car and that is very encouraging facing the stretch of ovals that we have ahead of us. The team did a tremendous job preparing for Indy and everything worked with total precision which gives us all confidence to challenge for wins in the near future."
JAMES ON HIS INDY 500 EXPERIENCE AND HOW THAT CAN HELP HIM GOING FORWARD
"In general the month was just incredible; an experience I will never forget. I know the race didn't end the way we wanted but if there are 100 things to take away from May, 93 of them were good, so overall it was a big success. There is definitely some things learned on track that will transfer over to Texas, but in a lot of ways Texas is so different it will be a whole new kind of racing to learn so I have to still go in with an open mind. For sure some of the effort that goes into making a quick car at Indy will transfer to Texas and the other speedways. The difference really lies in the fact that at Indy you work a lot at being quick by yourself and in traffic, where at Texas being quick by yourself is a lot less of a concern because you will always be in a pack."
ORIOL ON WHETHER BEING RANKED THIRD CHANGES HIS INITIAL FOCUS OF WINS OVER POINTS
Servia enters Round 6 of the IZOD IndyCar Series season ranked third with a total of 150 points and is the ONLY driver to have finished in the top-10 in all five races so far. Prior to the season, Servia said his focus was on winning events more than concentrating on collecting points for a strong season-ending rank because that is what people remember. He moved to fourth place in the point standings after Round 3 in Long Beach and into third after Round 4 in Brazil. He is now only 44 points behind leader Will Power and 28 behind second place Dario Franchitti. Could that change his focus?
"I did say that and I still believe it. Looking at how consistent we have been, one would think that we were focusing more on points than anything else though. The truth is that I want to focus all our efforts on winning events but that doesn't mean that we will throw away races when the win is out of reach. We are almost a third into the season so the championship position starts to weight a little more than at the very beginning but to be honest only if we would actually be in a position go for the title in the last couple of races, I would then start thinking championship. Overall though, I want to give Newman/Haas and myself a well-deserved WIN!"
JAMES ON THE CHALLENGES OF HIS FIRST RACE AT TMS
"Having only driven a pace car here I have a lot to learn. It's the highest banked track we go to and I am told the banking comes in and disappears quite aggressively. That will be something I have to get used to. Given that this is more of a side-by-side kind of racing compared to Indy, I will really have to learn about how the cars behave in traffic, car placement, working with my spotter -- pretty much everything."
ORIOL AND JAMES ON BEING COMPETITIVE AT TMS
"Competition in Texas will be tougher than it has ever been there," said Servia. "We actually are a record-high of 30 entrants which will make for a very busy race. I expect us to be contending for the wins. The car showed in Indy that we have good terminal speed and the last time I drove the Newman/Haas Racing car on a 1.5 mile oval, I really liked the setup so we should be up there at the front."
"I remember watching over the last few years and noting how quick Newman/Haas was at the 1.5 mile tracks -- especially in qualifying," added Hinchcliffe. "So that is certainly something to be excited about. And I think that on top of a good car, we have a great team leader in Oriol and he will be able to push the setup even that little bit further. With all that said, this weekend is still a lot of firsts for me personally, so while I have a lot of confidence I will have a quick car, I have pretty realistic goals."
ORIOL AND JAMES ON THE TWIN RACE FORMAT & BRINGING THE FANS TO THEIR FEET
Qualifying will determine the starting order for the Race 1 and a blind draw between events will determine the starting order for Race 2. Servia and Hinchcliffe believe the Firestone Twin 275s will make a usually exciting race even more so – times two. "I always find new rules interesting and ways to keep the sport in evolution," said Servia. "I think having double file restarts already brings the excitement of the start of the race but having two finishes may bring the heat of the final laps twice. We could have the fans not using their seats much and being on their feet for most of the evening!"
"This whole deal is such a new thing and throws up so many variables!" added Hinchcliffe. "It is difficult to really know what to expect. I think it will add a sense of urgency to the racing because you now have half as many laps to get to the front. Having said that, from a drivers point of view you need to make sure you don't exhaust yourself mentally in race one because we only have an hour before we do it all again! On top of all that, it's a night race so your normal schedule is different. It's going to be pretty cool."
JAMES ON THE TYPE OF RACING THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN THINKING OF TMS
"Pack racing! I have never raced here but I got to do some pace car rides last year and it was incredible. It even felt fast in that car! I remember watching last years' race and thinking how badly I wanted to be out there mixing it up with everyone. Last year in Firestone Indy Lights I gained a real appreciation for 1.5 mile oval racing and really enjoyed racing on them. I just hope I get the same feeling on them in an Indy car!"
ORIOL AND JAMES ON "ARGUING" OVER REAL ESTATE AND A "215 MPH CHESS GAME"
"It is a track designed more for stock cars with high-banked corners which means that we can stay almost full throttle all around," said Servia. "It makes for very close and exciting racing although I find we accomplish that not in the safest of ways sometimes. It is challenging because it is a bit bumpy and because the front "straight" is not really straight which can create some "arguing" over real estate when you have two or three cars going all abreast."
"I think these types of tracks make great races; really good for the fans," added Hinchcliffe. "It also is a little bit of an equalizer since the pack racing takes a little bit of the emphasis off setup and onto being in the right place and the right time. If you qualify at the back on a short oval it will be a long day. Qualify poorly at a place like Texas and you can be top five by the second stint! It's like a 215 mph game of chess, and I like that."
ORIOL AND JAMES ON THE ADRENALINE FACTOR OF TWO RACES WITH A "HALFTIME"
Adrenaline is a big part of any sports and especially a high-speed one. Are there additional physical challenges of this format with a break between two races? "That is a very good point," said Servia. "You will have to up your game a little sooner than usual but at the same time you don't want to burn yourself out too much as you will have to go at it again right after. I'm not sure yet how we will approach it but one thing is for sure: if you have a shot at getting a win on the first one, there will be no holding back as who knows what could happen in the second one."
Added Hinchcliffe "The biggest challenge is 'The Crash.' When you are racing in a pack around a place like this, your adrenaline is through the roof. Then when you stop, your body naturally lets itself relax and you have a bit of a crash because you've been so flat out for a while. But then right as the adrenaline is dying down and you start to relax, it's going to be time to throw your helmet on and do it all over again! Managing that hour break will be super important."
JAMES ON THE CONSERVATIVE APPROACH TO INDY VS. A TWO-DAY WEEKEND (+2 races) IN TEXAS
"There is no doubt that after all the time in Indy, this weekend will feel so rushed! But obviously Indy is the anomaly and this is more representative of a traditional weekend. We just have to make sure we maximize the laps we get in practice. Rolling off the truck with a good car is much more vital with a short schedule like this so I think we are in a good position."
NHR ON OVALS
Since being formed by Carl Haas and Paul Newman in the fall of 1982, the team has earned a total of 107 wins and 109 pole positions. Twenty-seven of their 107 wins and 19 of their 109 poles came on ovals. The team's previous win on an oval was by Sebastien Bourdais in the Milwaukee Champ Car race in June 2006 and their previous oval pole was by Graham Rahal at Kansas in April 2009.