FORT WORTH, Texas – Want a fresh twist at the track with the "No Limits" slogan?
Try this: A blind draw and an hour-long break will be part of the twin IndyCar Series races in Texas coming up in June.
The rules were revealed Wednesday for the first dual races in major open-wheel racing in 30 years. The races will be held June 11 at Texas Motor Speedway, the high-banked track that is one of the fastest in the series.
"I like it. I like something different," Danica Patrick said during the track's annual media day. "The opportunity for us to do something different that generates buzz and attention is really positive. It will be entertaining for the fans, and the drivers as well."
The Firestone Twin 275s will replace the single 550-kilometer (342 miles) event at the track.
Each race will pay half the points and half the bonus prizes. There will be an hour between races for teams to prepare their cars, and enough time for a halftime show of sorts by TMS president and showman Eddie Gossage.
Part of the break will include drivers coming up on a stage for a blind draw to determine their starting spot for the second race instead of being determined by the results of the first race.
"I haven't gone to random draw for a starting position for anything since I was in go-karting. It was a random draw for the first heat race, then they invert that for the second race. It's reminding me of old rules," Patrick said. "I had a lot of fun when I was go-karting, making my way up through the pack of 20 or 30 go-karts in an eight-lap heat race and winning them."
Cars will use the same pit stalls for both races, and each team will receive one additional engine for use as needed for the second race.
There have been only 17 twin races, nine on ovals, in the history of U.S. open-wheel racing including CART and USAC. All of those twin bills were between 1967 and 1981, the last a CART-sanctioned event at Atlanta Motor Speedway when Rick Mears won both races.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Johnny Rutherford, a Fort Worth native, won both times in a dual CART race at Atlanta in 1979. He also won the second part of a twin bill at Michigan in 1973, though he claims the USAC's scoring was wrong and he won the first race as well.
"That really upset me," Rutherford said with a smile.
"It's an exciting concept," he said. "This is going to be exciting for fans and for the competitors, especially with the draw to start the second race. When we did them before, it was the way you finish in the first one, just lined up for the second one. ... It's a little different, plus gives Eddie a chance on the hour in between to sell a lot more hot dogs and beers."