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WATCH LIVE: IndyCar at Texas (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

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Coverage of the ninth round of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 from Texas Motor Speedway, takes place today starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com (stream link here). The coverage comes after an encore presentation of Texas qualifying, which begins at 7 p.m. ET.

Kevin Lee will be in the booth with Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller will be in pit lane.

Coverage will run from 7 to 10 p.m. CT and local time, so 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Pre-race coverage runs from 8 to 8:30 p.m. ET, race coverage from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET and post-race coverage from 10:30 to 11 p.m. ET.

This then leads into the premiere of the “Yellow, Yellow, Yellow” documentary, highlighting the behind-the-scenes work of INDYCAR’s Holmatro Safety Team.

It’s a Honda-heavy front of the grid with Charlie Kimball leading the field away from his first career pole, with Hondas in the top eight positions as they look for their sixth win this season.

Incidentally, despite its qualifying pace, Ganassi doesn’t have any of the previous five – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has two while Andretti Autosport, Dale Coyne Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have one apiece.

Beyond Kimball’s pole, some of the other story lines to watch include these:

  • None of the top seven drivers on the grid have won a race this year, and three of them (Tristan Vautier, Max Chilton, Mikhail Aleshin) haven’t won yet in IndyCar. Do any of them break through to become an eighth winner this season?
  • Do the Team Penske and Chevrolet runners have anything for the leaders?
  • How much will tires (new right sides) fall off on the newly repaved surface?
  • Will the race be a pack race or more strung out and processional?

The starting lineup is below.

Bob Fernley announced as president of McLaren IndyCar

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Bob Fernley will bring his experience as former deputy team principal at Force India F1 to McLaren Racing’s IndyCar effort in 2019.

Fernley will report directly to McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown.

“Heading back to the Brickyard will be a very special experience for me,” Fernley said at IndyCar.com. “I am proud to be leading this McLaren project and team. The 500 is a hell of a challenge and we have incredibly strong competitors to overcome if we’re to be successful. We will need to prepare well for the month of May and that work starts now.”

Fernley’s appointing come of the heels of last week’s announcement that McLaren will create a brand new team to compete in the 2019 Indy 500.

MORE: Fernando Alonso to return to Indy 500 in 2019

For now, Fernley’s responsibility is to create an entry that is capable of allowing two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso to win the Indy 500 in just his second start. But speculation has been widespread that the entry will be a jumping off point for a much broader involvement in IndyCar.

In 2017, Alonso qualified on the middle of row two (fifth), led 27 laps and succumbed to mechanical failure. His effort was impressive enough to be name Rookie of the Year for the Indy 500.

“Bob is a fantastic operator and someone I respect greatly,” Brown said. “His experience and leadership will be essential for us on this project. He is particularly talented at putting effective teams together and extracting maximum performance with finite resources. The Indy 500 is no easy race and Bob’s is a key role, so I’m delighted he’s on board.”