DALLAS -- The IndyCar doubleheader is coming back to Texas Motor Speedway, but probably not the blind draw.
It sounded like a good idea at the time -- resetting the field for the second race at random.
But it fell flat when Dario Franchitti was saddled with a low starting position in the second race and wound up losing ground in the points standings -- despite winning the first race.
Not that TMS general manager Eddie Gossage minded the dust-up.
But he admitted that it likely left enough of an impression on the Izod IndyCar Series that the field for the second race next year will likely be the inverted results of the first race.
"I'm fine with that," Gossage said Tuesday night as the track announced its schedule for 2012, featuring five NASCAR races and the Izod IndyCar stop. "I just want something. I don't want a guy to win the first race and just set sail and be gone in the second race and you can't catch him. You know, make it interesting. I think that's what the inversion could do."
The format has not been announced, but there's plenty of time. The Firestone Twin 275s are scheduled for June 9, running the same weekend as a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The WinStar World Casino 400 is set for the night before, June 8.
The track's NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide weekends are again in April and November.
The AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup race is again a night race, on April 14.
The Nationwide race, the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, is April 13.
The November weekend features all three NASCAR touring series -- the trucks race on Nov. 2, the Nationwide race on Nov. 3 and the Sprint Cup race on Nov. 4.
It's not much of a change from 2011, but Gossage wasn't pushing for change this time. He got another Saturday night Cup race in April, along with the eighth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and a good spot on the IndyCar calendar -- the first race after the Indianapolis 500, with a week in between to promote the winner.
"That doesn't mean we won't change down the road. But for right now, why mess with it?" Gossage said.
The Danica effect
Danica Patrick will race twice in the Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway next season, now that she's set to make the move from the IndyCar Series.
Eddie Gossage said he has become a fan of hers, but her visits probably won't affect ticket sales much, he said.
"I don't think you're going to see 10,000 more people all of a sudden," he said.
"And I also don't think you're going to see 10,000 fewer people at an Indy race.... Wherever Danica goes, the spotlight follows. As long as you get a little of that spotlight, the crumbs on you, that's good, too. So the drivers will benefit. The Nationwide Series as a whole will benefit. But I also don't see it making a serious dent on the Indy cars."
Patrick has run one NASCAR race at TMS, a Nationwide Series start last November, starting 28th and finishing 22nd. She is scheduled to compete in the Nationwide Series race this November, also.
Start times for the races were not announced, but they are expected to be similar. Eddie Gossage likes to have the November Cup race start in the afternoon and end at night.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407