Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers
TV: NBCSN telecasts both races live (3 p.m. ET on June 28 and 29). Race 1 qualifications (2 p.m., taped) will lead into the June 28 race telecast. Leigh Diffey is the chief announcer. Paul Tracy and Steve Matchett are the analysts.
Radio/web: All Verizon IndyCar Series sessions are broadcast on www.IndyCar.com and the INDYCAR 14 app in conjunction with real-time Timing & Scoring. In addition, the races will be broadcast on IMS Radio Network affiliates, XM 209 and Sirius 213. Paul Page is the chief announcer. … Streaming video of the June 27 practice sessions will be on www.IndyCar.com, incorporating Timing & Scoring and the IMS Radio Network broadcast.
Click it: Race 1 qualifying groups || Entrant list || Tickets and information
Twitter: @GPHOU, @IndyCar, #GPHOU
Weather forecast: Partly cloudy; highs in the upper 80s both days
Weekend schedule (all times Eastern)
Friday, June 27 – 11-11:45 a.m. Verizon IndyCar Series practice *
3-3:45 p.m. Verizon IndyCar Series practice *
3:45-3:55 p.m. Standing start practice *
* streaming video on www.IndyCar.com
Saturday, June 28 – 11 a.m. Qualifications for Race 1
2 p.m. NBCSN on air for Race 1 qualifications telecast followed by race
Sunday, June 29 -- 11 a.m. Qualifications for Race 2
3 p.m. NBCSN on air for Race 2
Race laps: 90 in counterclockwise direction on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit
Start: Standing start for Race 1; two-wide rolling start for Race 2 … single-file restarts
Pit box dimensions: 35 x 18 feet
Fuel: 60 U.S. gallons of E85 for each race ... Verizon IndyCar Series cars carry 18.5 U.S. gallons
Tires: The Firestone primary tires are the same construction and compound as used at St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Belle Isle earlier this season. The same alternate tires are being used on all street course races this season.
Engines: 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6s supplied by Chevrolet and Honda ... 150 kPa turbo boost for road/street course races; 160 kPa for push to pass (10 pushes for 15-second activation)
2013: Scott Dixon rode a victory and runner-up finish to Will Power at Houston – the penultimate event of the season – to the series championship. Takuma Sato and Helio Castroneves started from the pole in the races.
What’s needed for a quick lap: “Pretty much it’s the usual menu for the street tracks, which are good mechanical grip, strong stability and a good front end. But here especially you need to build a driver-friendly car for consistently good drivability all the time because the track has slippery concrete patches and very bumpy surfaces but some seriously high speed corners as well.”
– Sato, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing
For spectators: Youngsters 12 and under receive free grounds admission with a paid adult ticket. … The Verizon IndyCar Series paddock is open to spectators. … A driver autograph session is scheduled for 4-5 p.m. (local) June 27 at the INDYCAR Fan Village behind NRG Arena. The INDYCAR Fan Village is part of a Family Fun Zone that includes a go-kart track, interactive games and live music. … At 12:15 p.m. June 28 in the Family Fun Zone, drivers Josef Newgarden and Justin Wilson will participate in a demonstration of the “World Cup for Bots,” working with local high school teams (Clear Creek Independent School District and Greenville High School) as they maneuver robots shooting exercise balls into goals. ... The free Grand Prix-mere Showcase inside NRG Arena is a conglomeration of trade show, lifestyle expo, auto show, garden show and country fair. … Misting and water stations will be available around the venue. Spectators will be allowed to enter with a 20-ounce (or smaller) water bottle. ... Bobby Rahal is the grand marshal.
Of note: Since the last race in October, areas of the circuit were demolished and new concrete poured. Additionally, bumps were ground. … This is the second of three doubleheaders this season (Belle Isle and Toronto the others) and both races carry full points. … There have been five different Verizon P1 Award winners in the past five races. … There have been five different winners in the six road/street course races this season. … The first Indy car race at NRG Park was in 2006 (Sebastien Bourdais was the winner). An Indy car race was contested on Houston streets in 1998-2001 (Dario Franchitti was the first winner to lead Honda's first podium sweep in Indy car competition. Alex Zanardi was runner-up and Tony Kanaan finished third). … The eventual series champion has won at NRG Park each of the three times (Scott Dixon in 2013; Bourdais in 2006 and ’07). … Four drivers (Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Huertas and Carlos Munoz) will make their debut at NRG Park.
Some Houston history: A.J. Foyt began racing stock cars in 1951 (and later midgets) at Playland Park, a quarter-mile dirt track adjacent to the amusement park that was located on Main Street between Westridge and Murworth. Today, the area has apartment buildings and a parking lot for NRG Park. Foyt last drove race cars in Houston at the Astrodome on an indoor one-fifth-mile dirt oval. In four USAC midget races, he finished second and flipped (inaugural doubleheader in 1969), won in 1970 and finished fifth in 1972. Jim Greer of Houston and Foyt's father, Tony, bought A.J. his first midget circa 1951-52.