Texas Motor Speedway

Turn 4: Takeaways from TMS' summer race weekend

Scott Dixon pulled away for a more than four second victory in his third win at Texas.
Scott Dixon pulled away for a more than four second victory in his third win at Texas. rhailey@star-telegram.com

If you send something to Texas Motor Speedway, the mailing address is Fort Worth even though track president Eddie Gossage and city officials haven't always been on the same page.

Gossage's beef with city officials reached a point where he removed "Fort Worth" from the track and branded it as "No Limits, Texas." That promotional bit appears to have rubbed off on some, even in the media.

The Indianapolis Star had a story posted on its website with the dateline of "No Limits, Texas," during this weekend's races.

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That's got to warm Gossage's heart.

The Star-Telegram’s would never do such a thing, of course, but we will provide our post-race observations –

1. Generating interest. It’s no secret that motor sports is trying to reinvigorate and reestablish itself with younger generations. And TMS seems to have found something with its off-road ruckus and the SUPER trucks.

Judging by the handful of folks yours truly knew who attended the races that served as one of the highlights, particularly those with children.

IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud has never won at Texas Motor Speedway, but he feels good going into Saturday's race. In fact, the Frenchman will feel somewhat as a hometown favorite given his car sponsor.

The track has to build around its staple races such as IndyCar and the NASCAR trucks, and the off-road ruckus and high-flying trucks seem to catch fans’ attention.

The races were far from being sold out – the heat was a factor – but the track is doing its part to cater to new and younger audiences. Now it’s on the sanctioning bodies such as IndyCar and NASCAR to continue to find ways to do the same.

2. Dixon's dominance. Scott Dixon is IndyCar's leader in active wins and he turned in a dominant performance Saturday night. He led the final 119 laps and won the DXC Technology 600 by more than four seconds.

Some may argue that's "boring," but view it in a difference lens. Even though he may not be a household name to the casual sports fan, Dixon is one of the best open-wheel drivers of all-time. He passed Michael Andretti for third-most IndyCar wins in history with his 43rd career win.

This is like watching a great in another sport have a dominant performance. Why not just enjoy the moment?

3. Good for Kanaan.Tony Kanaan didn’t hold his feelings back about IndyCar’s desire to reduce pack racing at TMS. Yes, it’s more dangerous and safety is the priority.

But it’s always good to see an athlete who isn’t scared to speak his mind in an age when athletes in other professional sports – and certainly college – are muzzled for the most part.

The veteran driver stopped to do something he had never done

Sure, it helps that Kanaan is an established veteran in the series, but hopefully more drivers are willing to speak their mind. Airing differences is the best way to lead to necessary changes.

Unfortunately for Kanaan, his prediction wasn't too accurate. He envisioned himself finishing where he started -- sixth.

Instead, Kanaan made contact with the wall in Turn 2 early in the race and finished 21st out of 22 drivers. He entered the race with podium finishes in four of his last five visits to TMS.

4. Truck record? Johnny Sauter became a five-time winner at Texas in the NASCAR truck series on Friday night. It begs the question whether Sauter will soon become the track’s all-time leader in truck wins.

Todd Bodine holds the record with six, but it’s hard to see Sauter slowing down anytime soon.

At 40, Sauter remains one of the top drivers in that series. He’s won four times this season, and should threaten to tie Bodine when they return to Texas in the fall. And, who knows, maybe he’ll be in position to break it one year from now.

That would be an impressive feat at a track with plenty of memorable moments in the truck races.

When Verizon IndyCar driver Ed Jones first got into racing, whenever his parents typed his name on the internet they got that "other" Ed Jones, the feared Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman from the 70's and 80's.

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