Superstar Racing Experience announces Lucas Oil Raceway as its second track

Superstar Racing Experience track
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Superstar Racing Experience, the new short-track series formed by Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham, announced that Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis will become the second track added to its six-race schedule.

SRX was unveiled July 13 and is modeled on the International Race of Champions (IROC) series that matched drivers from various auto racing disciplines in equally prepared cars for an annual four-race series for 30 years. The series also will be racing on the dirt at Eldora Speedway, which is owned by Stewart.

In a Twitter video, Lucas Oil Raceway showed an overhead shot of its frontstretch adorned with the SRX logo and name.

Superstar Racing Experience has named eight of the 12 drivers in its lineup with Ernie Francis Jr. revealed Monday as joining StewartHelio CastronevesBobby LabontePaul TracyTony Kanaan, Willy T. Ribbs, Mark Webber and Bill Elliott.

With Lucas Oil Raceway’s 0.686-mile oval having played host to NASCAR, ARCA and USAC races, many of the drivers are familiar with the track. Bobby Labone made three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts there from 1990-92, winning at what then was called Indianapolis Raceway Park during his ’91 championship season.

SRX will take place during the summer but has yet to reveal dates for its races. The race car is being designed and prepared by Evernham, the NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief (and former IROC mechanic) who also is overseeing its construction. SRX tweeted photos and renderings of the car Monday.

Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut, Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, New Smyrna Speedway in Florida and Knoxville Raceway in Iowa also have been mentioned as candidates as SRX tracks. Evernham has said he also would like to run a road course.

SRX races are planned for 90 minutes without pit stops and a “halftime” for adjustments. Drivers are expected to draw for their cars and crew chiefs.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.