Andretti, Castroneves tied for IndyCar points lead

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One wonders if Texas Motor Speedway president/general manager/master promoter Eddie Gossage is rubbing his hands with glee as the IZOD IndyCar Series heads for his ‘Wild Asphalt Circus.”

Take a look at the IndyCar standings after this weekend’s doubleheader in Detroit and you may ask yourself that question, too.

Marco Andretti, the current generation of one of racing’s most storied families, and Helio Castroneves, arguably IndyCar’s most bankable star over the last decade, are now tied atop the championship. Not to mention that the series’ reigning American titleholder, Ryan Hunter-Reay, is right behind them both.

That’s the situation as North America’s top open-wheel series prepares to go from street fighting in the Motor City to high-banked action under the lights in the Lone Star State. Andretti and Castroneves each have 206 points, while Hunter-Reay sits 15 points off their pace in third position.

But the fight for the championship could get even more crowded after Saturday night’s prime-time Firestone 550 at TMS (8:30 p.m. ET; check local listings). Scott Dixon and Detroit Dual 2 winner Simon Pagenaud are coming up fast, with Dixon in fourth at 20 points behind and Pagenaud (29 points behind) vaulting into the Top 5 after his victory on Sunday.

It should all make for a doozy of a race, which comes along as the relationship between IndyCar and TMS enters what Gossage hopes is a more positive chapter after some tense moments between the two sides over the years.

“I love IndyCar racing. The fans love IndyCar racing,” he told The Dallas Morning News this weekend. “Finally, after 17 years, we were told how important we are after being told how unimportant we are repeatedly by every [IndyCar] administration since 1997. I’m excited about this.”

Here’s your current Top 10 in the IndyCar standings following the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit weekend:

1. 3-Helio Castroneves, Team Penske/Chevrolet – 206 points
25-Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport/Chevrolet – 206 points
3. 1-Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport/Chevrolet, -15
4. 9-Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing/Honda, -20
5. 77-Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports/Honda, -29
6. 14-Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Racing/Honda, -31
7. 19-Justin Wilson, Dale Coyne Racing/Honda, -37
8. 11-Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology/Chevrolet, -46
9. 27-James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport/Chevrolet, -52
10. 83-Charlie Kimball, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing/Honda, -57