TMS president Eddie Gossage is readying to enter negotiations with IndyCar to return in 2019. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com
TMS president Eddie Gossage is readying to enter negotiations with IndyCar to return in 2019. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Texas Motor Speedway

Will IndyCar return to Texas Motor Speedway in 2019?

June 12, 2018 07:00 AM

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage wants IndyCar to return in 2019, but it’s not a given.

The two sides don’t have an agreement in place for the 2019 season, but negotiations are expected to begin in the coming weeks. Gossage would like to have something worked out by August when TMS usually starts selling season tickets for the following race season.

"We’ll sit down here shortly and have conversations with them," Gossage said. "I would certainly hope we could reach a business deal. They’ve been here for 22 years, so I don’t know why that’s going to change."

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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.

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The open-wheel circuit has been a staple on TMS’ schedule since it opened in 1997, although it hasn’t always been a harmonious marriage.

TMS hasn’t been pleased with a few of the races IndyCar has put on in recent years with single-file snoozers or adding a race between the prestigious Indianapolis 500 and Texas’ date. IndyCar is wary of oval tracks because of the danger presented to drivers if it becomes pack racing.

But Gossage enters the negotiations with a clear goal – becoming the stop after the Indianapolis 500 once again.

Texas had that distinction since it opened until 2005. There had been an open date after the Indy 500, and Texas rode its coattails as the race after.

Gossage contends a gentleman’s agreement between the two sides has been broken.

"We had an agreement, albeit with the previous administration, that Texas would always be the first race after Indy and hopefully that’ll happen again," Gossage said. "This race should be the race after Indy. If you’re trying to capture fans who enjoy the Indy 500 and want to watch the next race, do you want them to see Detroit’s temporary street course? Or do you want them to see racing on one of the grand ovals for IndyCar?

"I would certainly fix that. It’d be good for Indycar; it’d be good for Texas Motor Speedway."

IndyCar has yet to release its full 2019 schedule and this is a change that Gossage is hopeful happens.

At the end of the day, though, it seems like the marriage should continue. Gossage is hopeful to reach a multi-year deal with IndyCar such as the five-year agreement the track has with NASCAR.

Previous contracts with the sanctioning body used to be year-to-year, but Gossage said times have changed in that regard.

But he doesn't think IndyCar needs to change or alter its approach to running on oval tracks such as TMS.

"They need ovals," Gossage said. "If they have any hope of growing in America, they must have ovals. The series is based on an oval track, the Indy 500, so you’ve got to have ovals.

"They’re in short supply of ovals, too, so I think we’re at a premium. These races we have are unbelievably scary, yet these drivers are so good that they do a great job time after time after time."

Saturday’s DXC Technology 600 race didn’t have the most drama. Race winner Scott Dixon led the final 119 laps, and pulled away for a four-plus second victory.

Dixon is an all-time great in the sport, but that might not resonate with fans and viewers who demand more thrilling moments in a race.

But Dixon, like Gossage, made it clear that he believes TMS remains a good stop for IndyCar.

"It's always been a special place," Dixon said. "I think Eddie and his whole team just do a fantastic job. I love coming here. This event is really cool. They put a lot of effort into it."

Star-Telegram Digital Reporter, Prescotte Stokes III, took a chauffeured ride around Fort Worth in an Indycar stopping at a Whataburger, Kroger and the Fort Worth Stockyards. The response from people on the streets, "Is that your car?"

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