Eddie Gossage hopes Santa Claus brings him an early Christmas gift. Photo: Getty Images

Texas Motor Speedway boss wants IndyCar back, as well as return after Indy 500

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Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage wants an early Christmas present: a new agreement that keeps the Verizon IndyCar Series racing at the 1.5-mile Fort Worth track for many more years to come.

This past Saturday night’s race marked the end of the most recent agreement between the racing series and TMS, which has hosted IndyCar for the last 22 years (since 1997).

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, both IndyCar and TMS officials are expected to begin negotiations on a new multi-year agreement in the next month or so.

Gossage hopes to get his early Christmas present signed, sealed and delivered by the end of August, when the track traditionally begins selling tickets for the following year’s race.

“I would certainly hope we could reach a business deal,” Gossage told the S-T. “They’ve been here for 22 years, so I don’t know why that’s going to change.”

IndyCar has been on an upswing in terms of popularity and attention over the last few years, something that’s not lost on Gossage. There’s no question he wants the open-wheel series to keep returning to TMS year after year.

But Gossage would like to see one significant change in a new agreement, to return the annual race to its former place on the IndyCar schedule: the week after the Indianapolis 500.

It had been that way from 1997 through 2005, before the former IndyCar administration chose to insert another venue into the schedule the weekend after the 500.

In 2006, Watkins Glen followed the 500, while Texas was next.

The Milwaukee Mile followed the 500 from 2007 through 2009.

TMS returned to its former spot on the IndyCar schedule the weekend after the Indy 500 in 2010 and 2011, before the temporary road course at Belle Isle in downtown Detroit, Michigan, took over that spot and has continued in that slot ever since.

Although IndyCar officials are still working on race slots for the 2019 schedule, Gossage told the Star-Telegram he had a gentleman’s agreement with a prior IndyCar administration that TMS would always be the first race after the Indy 500.

“Hopefully that’ll happen again,” Gossage told the S-T. “This race should be the race after Indy. If you’re trying to capture fans who enjoy the Indy 500 and want to watch the next race, do you want them to see Detroit’s temporary street course?

“Or do you want them to see racing on one of the grand ovals for IndyCar? I would certainly fix that. It’d be good for IndyCar; it’d be good for Texas Motor Speedway.”

IndyCar has been a welcome guest to TMS, not to mention being one of the more popular races on the series’ schedule. That included two races per year at TMS from 1998 through 2004, as well as in the 2011 season, for a total of 30 visits by the series over the years.

While returning a second race to the schedule doesn’t seem to be in the cards, at least for the near future, if TMS can get IndyCar to return its race date to the weekend after the Indy 500, Gossage would be a happy man.

Scott Dixon, who won Saturday night’s race, says racing at TMS is one of his favorite – not to mention successful (three wins, 8 podium finishes in 19 starts) – venues.

“It’s always been a special place,” Dixon told the Star-Telegram. “I think Eddie and his whole team just do a fantastic job. I love coming here.”

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IndyCar: Ed Carpenter Racing signs Ed Jones for road, street course races in 2019

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2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Ed Jones has signed on to compete in IndyCar road and street course races in 2019 for Ed Carpenter Racing, the team announced Wednesday.

Jones replaces Jordan King at ECR, whose contract was not renewed for 2019.

“Joining Ed Carpenter Racing and Scuderia Corsa for the 2019 IndyCar Series is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of,” Jones said in a media release.

Jones will also drive a third car for ECR in the 2019 Indianapolis 500, making it 13 races of the 17-race IndyCar schedule that he’s due to compete in.

“Ed Carpenter Racing has shown amazing speed the last few years at the Indianapolis 500,” Jones said. “You can always expect the ECR cars to be at the front. I am really grateful for this chance and will do everything I can to make sure we, as a team, make the most of it.”

In addition, Las Vegas-based Scuderia Corsa will become a partner with ECR on Jones’ No. 20 Chevrolet (as well as the No. 64 Chevy he’ll drive in the Indy 500).

“Both ECR and Scuderia Corsa have been successful in their respective series and I feel the combination of forces will be greatly beneficial,” Jones said. “I’m extremely excited to get underway.”

Jones will yield driving duties in the No. 20 Chevy for four races to team owner Ed Carpenter on oval tracks, while Spencer Pigot returns as the team’s full-time driver in the No. 21 Chevrolet.

“I am very excited to welcome Ed Jones to the ECR family, as well as Scuderia Corsa and Giacomo (Scuderia Corsa co-founder Giacomo Mattioli),” Carpenter said. “I was very surprised when Ed became available at the end of the season. I look forward to working together to get ECR back in Victory Lane.”

The 23-year-old Jones, who hails from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, previously drove for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 (finished 13th in the final season standings) and Dale Coyne Racing in 2017 (finished 14th). He won the Indy Lights championship in 2016, as did new teammate Pigot in 2015.

During the 2018 season, Jones had two podium finishes (Long Beach and Belle Isle II) and eight top-10 finishes in the 17-race campaign.

Since forming in 2012, Scuderia Corsa has earned more than 100 wins over numerous racing platforms, primarily sports-car based. However, it made its first foray into IndyCar racing by backing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and driver Oriol Servia’s effort in the 2018 Indy 500.

Jones began his new job with ECR immediately, watching new boss Carpenter take part today (Wednesday) in a closed Firestone tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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