High banks and high speeds part of Texas’ challenge (VIDEO)

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There’s an added sense of excitement that goes with racing under the lights. Throw in 24 degrees of high banks and speeds well over 200 miles per hour, and you’ve got IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway, a combination that produces some of the most electrifying – and sometimes terrifying – action you’ll see anywhere.

And more often than not, the endings pay off. In 24 previous IZOD IndyCar Series events at Texas, 16 of them finished with a margin of victory of less than one second; eight of them have been decided by less than one-tenth of a second. The Indianapolis 500 may be their crown jewel, but one could argue that the wheel-to-wheel action and close finishes at TMS has been sort of a calling card for the series over the years.

The Firestone 550 at Texas (Sat., 8:30 p.m. ET, check local listings) poses a tough challenge that the drivers must endure. Navigating those high banks at such high speeds subjects them to intense G-forces. In addition, lower downforce levels on the cars’ aerodynamic packages at Texas means that they’ll have a harder time handling their machines around the entire 1.5-mile oval.

A new tire compound and left-side construction from Firestone should help in terms of added grip, but that won’t decrease the level of difficulty. Expect to see more than a few white-knuckle moments in this one.

Tickets on sale for 2019 IndyCar race at Circuit of the Americas

Alison Narro, COTA
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Tickets are now on sale for the upcoming IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas March 22-24, 2019 and in grand Texas fashion, the series and track kicked off the sale with appearances by Simon Pagenaud and Colton Herta in San Antonio and Austin respectively.

The CoTA race will be the second race of the 2019 season.

Simon Pagenaud visited the Alamo as part of IndyCar’s announcement of ticket sales for next year’s IndyCar Classic at the Circuit of the Americas (Alison Narro – COTA)

The highly anticipated debut of IndyCar at CoTA adds another marquee event to the track’s schedule along with Formula 1, World Rallycross and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Pagenaud was joined by retired San Antonio Sours player Brent Barry and local businessman Red McCombs as they visited the Alamo and world famous McNay Art Museum.

This will be IndyCar’s first trip to the track, but Pagenaud came within one position of winning at Texas Motor Speedway in 2018. Driving for Team Penske, he started and second behind his teammate Josef Newgarden and finished a season-best second to Scott Dixon.

Pagenaud hopes to add to his current 11 victories after going winless in 2018.

Colton Herta, who will compete for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar in 2019, made his presence known in the Gen-X capital of Austin, Texas (Alison Narro – COTA)

After visting San Antonio, focus shifted to Austin where Herta was joined by Jay Frye, President of Competition and Operations at IndyCar and Bobby Epstein, Chairman of Circuit of the Americas.

Herta took to the streets of Austin and visited the Texas State Capitol building as part of his tour.

Herta, who will turn 19-years-old the week after IndyCar visits CoTA, will campaign for Rookie of the Year honors in 2019. He has one previous start in the series at Sonoma this September. He qualified 19th and completed all 85 laps before finishing 20th in the 25-car field.

In 33 starts in Indy Lights competition, Herta has six wins, 20 podium finishes and nine poles.