INDYCAR fans will get more mileage out of the 2014 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Firestone 550 – won by Helio Castroneves on June 8 – has been retitled the Firestone 600.
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage on Sept. 23 announced the track’s 2014 schedule, which includes the traditional IZOD IndyCar Series date two weeks after the Indianapolis 500. The June 7 race on the 1.5-mile oval will include 20 additional laps for a total of 248.
Practice and qualifying will be held June 6, followed by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (the series have been paired dating to the speedway’s opening in 1997).
Castroneves, the championship front-runner, takes a 49-point lead over Scott Dixon into the Oct. 5-6 doubleheader race weekend in Houston. The victory at Texas Motor Speedway from the sixth starting position moved Castroneves into sole position of first place in the series standings, which he has held through eight succeeding races.
Castroneves, driving the AAA Insurance Team Penske car, led 132 laps in becoming the first four-time winner of “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race.” Reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was runner-up, while Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan advanced 10 positions to finish third.
“It’s always fun racing for the fans in Texas so now they’ll have a little bit more to cheer about," Castroneves said. "I’m also looking forward to going back there to try and defend our win from this season. Team Penske has had great success at Texas and I personally love racing there so hopefully we can make it five wins at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014.”
Gossage also announced that the 2014 season will feature "Big Hoss TV."
The video board, which will be built by Panasonic, will boast 20,666.64 square feet of 1080p HD display. The screen will be 218 feet wide by 94½ feet tall, but the actual height of the structure will rise to almost 125 feet above ground level with its support structures. The 108-ton video board will be located in the center of the backstretch behind the grandstands.
Click it: 'Big Hoss TV' video preview
Facilities in the state have seven of the world’s 50 largest HD video boards, with Texas Motor Speedway supplanting Reliant Stadium in Houston (14,549 square feet) with the largest.
Big Hoss TV will wrest the title of largest sporting venue HD screen from Charlotte Motor Speedway (16,000 square feet).
Season tickets are on sale now, with individual race tickets available Feb. 14. CLICK HERE for tickets and information.