This weekend sees the return of the Texas Motor Speedway, the state’s most prestigious motorsport venue. The historic oval has been closed for several years, but this year it has reformed in preparation for the coming season, hosting the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the US Grand Prix, as well as Indycar and NASCAR events. The track is famous for its unique configuration, highlighted by the fact it is a three-point-two-mile street circuit – a blend of oval and straight-road elements. Although the track has changed since it last hosted an event, the demand for tickets remains high.
Which Teams Will Show Well At Texas Motor Speedway?
There are 16 cars entered into this year’s edition of the NASCAR Cup, which makes it the smallest field since 1969. That is mainly due to cost-cutting measures taken by the sport’s governing body, NASCAR, which has limited the amount of engines each team can have in stock to eight as a result of the ongoing economic crisis. The fact there are only 16 cars entering the race is a testament to how well the sanctioning body has managed the purse strings. It also shows how important the ‘mysterious dollar’ is, and how much teams value having the cash available to make up for any setbacks on the track.
However, while the number of cars has decreased, the level of talent has increased. Several teams have signed up for the race, including two-time defending champion Joe Gibbs Racing, which will field 14 cars this year. There will also be four teams fielding six cars, and one team with five cars.
Why Does Texas Motor Speedway Host Such A Big Event?
Located in the central part of the state, the speedway has a unique place in American motorsport. The venue was first established in 1960, and over the years it has become a regular stop on the NASCAR calendar. It is now one of the most iconic tracks in the sport, and the 2018 edition will mark its 61st anniversary. That makes it one of the longest-running motorsport events in the world.
The reason for its longevity is clearly down to its unique combination of elements. As well as the three-point-two-mile oval, the track also features a 2.5-mile chicane with 23 turns, which is one of the most demanding and physically challenging circuits in the world. The demanding racing means the event offers a unique glimpse into the future of motorsport, and provides an exciting climax to the season. The venue is a must-visit for any motorsport fan, and this year’s event will no doubt be no exception.
How Is The Track Changing For The 2018 Race?
The track has undergone several changes in recent years to prepare it for use in 2018. Most notably, the backstretch was realigned last year, moving it closer to the center of the track. The hope is that this will make it easier for drivers to get the jump on the other cars, especially at the start of the race. It also means drivers will have a better view of the checkered flag as they come to the end of the backstretch.
Another change is the removal of the left-hand turn at the entrance to the backstretch. The reasoning behind this change is that this is the area where cars traditionally slow down and drift towards the inside of the corner. The change will make this year’s racing more exciting, and add a new dimension to the classic sprint to the checkered flag.
Can A Defending Champion Be Challenged At Texas Motor Speedway?
Last year was a particularly intriguing one for motorsport fans, as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch took his first championship in the Truck Series. Having dominated the season, winning 12 out of 14 races (including the coveted championship), the big question is whether or not he can maintain that level of performance this year, and if so, against which rival Chip Ganassi Racing will he need to up his game?
The answer to both of those questions might be found in Texas Motor Speedway. The legendary oval has been a launching pad for several championship teams in the past, and will provide a stern test for any driver, regardless of experience. Can Busch defend his title, or will Ganassi or Ganassi’s teams, notably the No. 1 pit crew, be the ones to dethrone him? You will have to watch this year’s edition of the Texas Motor Speedway to find out.
Will There Be Any Upsets?
One of the reasons behind the renewed interest in the NASCAR Cup is the unprecedented level of competition. With a total of 16 teams entered, there will undoubtedly be some upsets, and the unpredictability of the sport makes it one of the more exciting series to follow.
Last year was also notable for the number of rookie drivers who made an impression on the grid. With more teams entering the sport than ever before, it will be fascinating to see which rookies make the biggest impression, and whether or not they can successfully bridge the gap between the ‘amateur’ racing and the pinnacle of the sport.
What Should We Be Watching Out For?
As well as the promise of an exciting end to the season, the opening three-and-a-half hours of the race will have you hooked. After a night of uneventful practice, the lights finally go out in the garage, and the team managers’ hands are finally able to relax as they watch their cars take to the track. That is when the real excitement begins, as the drivers push hard to get that all-important race start. The anticipation is almost unbearable.
As the race progresses, you will be able to tell which cars are driving the right strategy, and which ones are just hoping for a good day at the track, not necessarily a shot at the title. With only one caution flag being waved between laps, it is going to be a battle of attrition for the whole duration, and it will be something to behold. Keep your eyes open, and your fingers crossed, as the final lap approaches – it could get quite exciting!
It is an intriguing combination, as you have several new elements combined into one race. The sprint to the checkered flag will be exciting, demanding, and provide great entertainment. While the number of competitors has decreased for this year’s event, this is still one of the more exciting series to follow, as the battle for the championship will not be easy to predict.