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Romain Grosjean chronicles arrival in Texas for U.S. Grand Prix

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Formula One returns to Austin, Texas this weekend for the fourth United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the America’s.

The series’ drivers have been arriving in the Lone Star State throughout the week. Among them is Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who chronicled his arrival in the U.S. and then Texas on Twitter.

Grosjean admits that Austin is the only area of the US that he’s familiar with. That comes from his annual visit for the F1 race. He’ll likely be much more familiar with the country soon as he joins the US based team owned by Gene Haas in 2016.

“(The Circuit of the Americas) looks great and the first time I walked around it in 2012 I thought wow! The gradient up to Turn 1 is really something and it makes for a fun first corner when you’re in the car,” Grosjean said in a release. “It’s a really well-presented facility with an interesting circuit layout. It’s great to be at a race where the local character is very evident and that’s certainly the case in Austin, with the fan reception and the American way of presenting events.”

Grosjean, a native of France, will be competing in his fourth US Grand Prix in Austin, all of which have been with Lotus. In his first three starts, his best finish was second in 2013.

Last year, Grosjean started 16th and improved to 11th by race’s end. Grosjean has finished in the top 10 only once in the last four races. His only podium of the year came in Belgium.

“It’s quite a balanced circuit in that you don’t need one particular thing over another for the car to perform well,” Grosjean said. “In the first year the challenge was finding the level of grip we want and we did see the same for the past two races too.

“Every year so far the race has taken place a little earlier, and that’s good as it generally means warmer weather. This is good for many reasons, but wearing my race driving hat it’s good as it helps with tyre warm-up and grip. Grip is something we’ve struggled with in Austin in the past, so a warmer circuit with a bit more aged track surface should help with that.”

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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