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Ed Blogs On Coming To Texas

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Firestone 550

Ed Blogs On Coming To Texas

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter Racing
June 8, 2012

Ed CarpenterEd Blogs On Coming To Texas
June 8th 2012 - As you’ve probably heard, this year’s race at Texas has been a bit controversial.

With a new car and engine combination, coupled with what happened last year at Las Vegas, drivers are concerned about racing at Texas’ 1.5-mile, high-banked oval. There have been concerns among drivers about racing there and talk that this could be the last IZOD IndyCar Series race at the track. All of the talk surrounding this race isn’t really fair to the track, its promoter, the fans or even the drivers.

There hasn’t been a really big crash at Texas since 2003, when Kenny Brack crashed hard at the end of the race. Since then, we’ve put on some great shows at TMS, with very few incidents and no major injuries. In my opinion, we should continue to race at Texas. It’s a natural fit for these types of cars, and we put on an amazing show at these types of racetracks.

The fact that we do is a testament to the cars, the track, the teams and the drivers. The concern mostly is about the possibility of pack racing, where all of us race inches apart in a large group. But it’s been years since the cars have packed together at Texas. Our recent races there have been close and entertaining without being dangerously close.

I always enjoy going to Texas. Eddie Gossage, the track’s general manager, does a great job promoting the event. The series needs promoters like Eddie. He actually sells the race to the public, which is a bit of a lost art these days. He always has an interesting angle and something different for the fans. I feel like we leave Texas having given fans something special. Eddie treats the drivers very well, and always has something unique for us.

He gives the rookies cowboy boots, and the winner gets a cowboy hat and six-shooters for the Victory Lane celebration. It’s funny, and it’s unique to the race and to Texas. His ideas give the race its flavor. He works his butt off to generate a crowd, too.

If you’ve never seen TMS in person, it’s a massive place. You can see it from miles in any direction. When you stand in the infield, the 24-degree banked turns tower overhead. It’s a giant complex with a ton of seats, and Eddie works hard to draw a crowd. It’s always one of our biggest crowds of the season.

That’s part of the reason why I hope we keep racing at Texas. We used to run there twice a season, and the balance between ovals and road and street courses is currently out of whack. We’re down to just five ovals in 16 races, and I want to see a better balance on the schedule.

As good as the oval racing is at Texas, it makes sense to be racing there every year. It fits nicely in our post-Indy schedule of ovals, which includes next week’s race at the Milwaukee Mile. I’ve never felt like Texas is a dangerous place to race, and I’m looking forward to racing there this weekend and for years to come.

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