"America's Original Nighttime IndyCar Race" Will Return To Traditional Race Format After Experimenting With Twin Race Concept In 2011"
FORT WORTH, Texas (December 22, 2011) - INDYCAR officially announced its 2012 schedule Thursday and the IndyCar Series will return to Texas Motor Speedway for a 16th consecutive season and a traditional race format on Saturday, June 9, with the Firestone 550.
"America's Original Nighttime IndyCar Race" - a staple of the IndyCar Series since Texas Motor Speedway opened in 1997 - will return to its original single-race format and be rebranded the Firestone 550 after experimenting with a twin-race concept known as the Firestone Twin 275s this past season.
The Firestone 550 will return to a 228-lap, 550-kilometer (342 miles) race that will carry full championship points and purse. The annual June IndyCar Series event, a 500-kilometer race from 1997-2006, was extended to 550 kilometers in 2007 before shifting to twin races in the same evening this year.
Texas Motor Speedway played host to the Firestone Twin 275s, a pair of 114-lap, 275-kilometer full-field races that carried half the points and purse per race. It marked the first time that the format was run in the IndyCar Series and just the 18th time overall for the sport.
"I've said all along that we would be able to work out our business deal with INDYCAR and am glad to report that our deal is done," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "The race will return to its original format of 228 laps and 550 kilometers. We ran twin races this year, but it required more than an hour break between races to allow teams the ability to change engines and make other necessary changes to the cars. In listening to the fans, that hour break was simply too long. We're glad we tried the unique format, but we always listen to the fans' input to hopefully enhance their experience in the future."
Tickets for the Firestone 550, beginning as low as $35 for frontstretch seating, are available by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500. The Firestone 550 also is part of the Texas Motor Speedway season ticket package that begins as low as $270.