IndyCar Texas start times: The NTT IndyCar Series will make its earliest stop yet in the Lone Star State as Sunday’s XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway kicks off the oval schedule of the 2022 season.
This will mark the IndyCar debuts at Texas for several drivers, namely Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is a seven-time winner at Texas but will be racing on an oval for the first time in IndyCar as he moves to a full-time schedule. Though Johnson is aiming for top 10s in his second season on street and road courses, he has much loftier goals for Texas (which will be the precursor to his Indy 500 debut in May).
“We get on the ovals, that changes,” said Johnson, whose scheduled test at Texas last week was scrubbed because of inclement weather. “I clearly haven’t spent a lot of time on the oval yet, but I would think my expectations would be top 10 to start and do better from there.”
PERSONAL BESTS: Jimmie wants best start, finish yet in IndyCar at Texas
As the last oval before Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas is an important barometer for veterans and rookies alike — even though it’s much different than the Brickyard.
A lot of good memories at this place, ready to make some more on March 20. pic.twitter.com/goUsbb23IF
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) March 7, 2022
Defending series champion Alex Palou said it’s more about sharpening the mental acuity for running inches apart at more than 200 mph.
“They are totally different the way you drive it, the way you defend, the way everything in the car works,” Palou said of Texas vs. Indy. “You go into an oval mindset, the way you race and pass, it’s the same way. The way the car feels and make changes is the same. It makes you get into a rhythm before the biggest race of the year.”
But there will be fewer laps to get acclimated as Texas was cut from a doubleheader last year and will be run entirely during the day after a long history of racing under its lights.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here to see where the 27 cars are on the grid after qualifying
“Texas is changing quite a bit this year,” six-time series champion Scott Dixon said. “Plus, there are a ton of actual aero changes to the car, which will be interesting for a lot of people if you have been able to test or were unable to test prior to it. I love that race. It’s a lot of fun.
“For everybody to get the small amount of spatial awareness and getting in the swing of ovals and getting off the track and onto pit road and how hard it is to stop the car in the pit box. It’s nice to get some track time before the 500. I love ovals. We need more of them in the future and hopefully we get some more back on. Texas gives you that flow of what you need to be doing for the 500.”
After driver complaints the last two years about the lack of an outside lane on the 1.5-mile oval because of traction compound residue, IndyCar announced Friday that a special 30-minute practice was added for 5 p.m. ET Saturday to try to re-establish the high groove.
Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Pato O’Ward, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Felix Rosenqvist and Takuma Sato will be running in the outside groove with last year’s tires and with downforce levels exceeding the maximum permitted for the race.
After a 15-minute break to detune the cars, IndyCar will hold a final one-hour practice Saturday starting at 5:45 p.m. ET.
Here are the details and IndyCar start times for XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway race weekend (all times are ET):
XPEL 375 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY INDYCAR START TIMES
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and streaming on Peacock, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit reporters. Click here for the full NBC Sports schedule for IndyCar in 2022.
COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 12:40 p.m. ET
GREEN FLAG: 12:45 p.m. ET
POSTRACE SHOW ON PEACOCK: After the race’s conclusion, an exclusive postrace show will air on Peacock with driver interviews, postrace analysis and the podium presentation. To watch the extended postrace show, click over to the special stream on Peacock after Sunday’s race ends.
Peacock also will be the streaming broadcast for both practices and qualifying Saturday. The race also will be streamed on Peacock (in addition to the NBC Sports App/NBCSports.com streams and the NBC broadcast).
PRACTICE: Saturday, 11 a.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, special practice in the outside lane with Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Pato O’Ward, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Felix Rosenqvist and Takuma Sato, 5-5:30 p.m. (Peacock Premium); Saturday, final practice 5:45-6:45 p.m. (Peacock Premium)
QUALIFYING: Saturday, 2 p.m. (Peacock Premium)
RACE DISTANCE: The race is 248 laps (372 miles) on a 1.5-mile oval north of Fort Worth, Texas.
TIRE ALLOTMENT: Eleven sets primary to be used during practice, qualifying and the race.
FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 67 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.
STARTING LINEUP: Click here to see the grid after qualifying
XPEL 375 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY INDYCAR WEEKEND START TIMES
(All times are Eastern)
Saturday, March 19
8 a.m.: NTT IndyCar Series garage opens
9:30 a.m.: Driver, team manager meeting
10:45-10:55 a.m.: IndyCar pit limiter practice
11 a.m.-noon: IndyCar practice (Peacock Premium)
2-3 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying (Peacock Premium)
5-6 p.m.: IndyCar practice (Peacock Premium)
Sunday, March 20
8 a.m.: NTT IndyCar Series garage opens
12:15 p.m.: Driver introductions
12:30 p.m.: XPEL 375 (248 laps, NBC)
COVERAGE ON NBCSPORTS.COM
HOW TO WATCH INDYCAR IN 2022: Full NBC Sports schedule