Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage plans to talk with IndyCar about potential changes to cars

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INDIANAPOLIS – The spate of airborne crashes over the past 10 days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has sent IndyCar officials, engineers and teams scurrying for a fix entering Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

But there might be another round of hand-wringing before the June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway, a high-speed 1.5-mile oval where cars run at breakneck speeds just off the pace of Indy. Will Power turned a 218-896-mph lap to win the pole position for last year’s Firestone 600.

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said he plans to talk Monday with IndyCar competition president Derrick Walker about whether the series will consider making aerodynamic changes to slow the cars.

“I started to call Derrick the other day, and I thought, ‘They’ve got their hands full with the biggest race of the year,’” Gossage told NBC Sports. “I’m sure they’re thinking about all the races and what they need to do to take care of these cars and these drivers.”

According to a Friday story on RACER.com, IndyCar might consider returning to 2014 bodywork for the Texas race.

Tony Kanaan, an outspoken veteran who has served as a de-facto leader on safety and other pressing topics among drivers, believes “something is going to be done” by IndyCar officials for the Texas race.

“We have to change it,” Kanaan said.

But the 2013 Indy 500 winner isn’t expecting the series to consult its drivers, who haven’t tested the new aero kits at Texas.

“How can you ask our input? I haven’t driven at Texas,” he said. “All I can do is go try it and give them the feedback. But before (driving there), I can’t decide. We can’t give them any hints. It’s more up to the engineers than us.”

Defending Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay also hadn’t heard of changes planned yet for Texas.

“We’re going to find out like the rest of you guys,” the Andretti Autosport driver said. “We have no idea. It’s a different downforce mandate there. It’s a very different package. I haven’t heard of additional testing. We’ll run a lot less downforce there than (at Indy). Certainly, there are concerns, but I have no idea what they’ll do.”

After drivers complained about dangerous pack racing at Texas, IndyCar lowered downforce levels to try to separate cars.

If the series decides to reduce speeds for Texas as it did for Indy 500 qualifying, Gossage would be in favor.

“The best answer to every problem in racing is to go slower,” he said. “Always. If you have a problem, slow them down. That was a reasonable response at Indianapolis, though maybe it was late, for qualifying.

“Every kind of racing would be better if they would slow them down 10-15 percent. You name the series, and I’ll tell you slow them down 10-15 percent and your racing will be better. That’s not an IndyCar thing but an across the board motorsports kind of thing.”

Gossage said one thing won’t change about the way he approaches watching his race.

“I hold my breath for every lap,” he said. “So do the fans. That’s nothing new, either. That’s the amazing thing, after seeing these drivers tame all this horsepower and speed, that’s what makes it spectacular.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.