Final Four brings opportunity for Texas Motor Speedway

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Texas Motor Speedway is trying to make the most of having to share the spotlight with the Final Four this weekend in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

The 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth had run its spring NASCAR Sprint Cup race on a Saturday night, but opted to shift this year’s Duck Commander 500 to a Sunday afternoon in order to avoid a head-to-head conflict with the National Semifinal games at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington; the National Championship will be settled inside the home of the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.

Looking to capitalize, TMS is attempting to convince employees of the NCAA’s corporate sponsors that are in town for the Final Four to also take in the race with an all-inclusive ticket package for both events, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Additionally, TMS is trying to bring in fans traveling from Connecticut, Wisconsin, Florida, and Kentucky for the games. TMS has a Speedway Motorsports sibling in Kentucky Speedway as a link to those hailing from the Bluegrass State.

“This sets up well,” TMS president/GM Eddie Gossage said to the Star-Telegram. “Florida has two [Sprint Cup] speedways in the state – Daytona and Homestead – so there are lots of race fans there. We have a speedway in Kentucky, so we know those fans.

“Connecticut isn’t big racing territory, so that’s an opportunity. And Wisconsin is particularly exciting because they have lots of avid fans and tons of local short tracks there. We’re going to target those markets and see what we can do.”

While one can argue Gossage’s assertion that Connecticut isn’t “big racing territory” – some of the more notable short tracks in the country, like Stafford, Thompson, and the Waterford Speedbowl, as well as Sprint Cup drivers Joey Logano and Parker Kligerman are from there – you certainly can’t blame him for trying to go for a box-office slam dunk.

“What a great weekend for North Texas to have both going on,” he added. “Of course, we’d rather not have any competition, but it’s an opportunity. We’ll see how it turns out.”

IndyCar at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.


IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:53 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis