ROANOKE, Texas (May 1, 2021)—Storms in the area threw a monkey wrench into the NTT INDYCAR Series’ return to Texas Motor Speedway today. Rain in the morning delayed the start of the sole practice and then qualifying for the Genesys 300 was cancelled as the forecast of evening storms threatened the race being completed. Cars would line up according to the team owners’ point standings.
The change-up gave Sebastien Bourdais a starting berth of seventh and Dalton Kellett 22nd.
For Bourdais, it was a fortunate turn of events as he was not happy with the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet after practice—the only one of the weekend. In the race, both drivers got off to a solid start with Bourdais maintaining his seventh place until it was time for his first pit top..
On lap 55, strategist Larry Foyt called Bourdais to the pits. Bourdais ran low into Turn 1 only to find Colton Herta running slower than normal. Bourdais checked up but unfortunately for Bourdais, Josef Newgarden did not slow enough and he hit Bourdais squarely in the rear in Turn 2. The impact sent Bourdais into a hard left and then the car shot up the banking and it hit the outer retaining wall hard with the back end, eventually coming to rest in the middle of the track. Bourdais was not injured in the accident.
Bourdais at speed in practice. (INDYCAR Photo)
“Tough break for the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet,” said Bourdais, visibly disappointed. “Not entirely sure how we got there, but we really struggled with a tough car to drive in testing here and then in practice here this afternoon. When the race started, we actually were pretty racy and competitive and it looked like we had something to play for. Then I got run into just before the first pit stop and got wrecked. It’s a real shame but we’ll try to come back stronger tomorrow.”
Kellett ran a solid race, stayed on the lead lap and avoided trouble to bring his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet home in 18th for his first race on a banked superspeedway.
The K-Line crew had solid stops.
“It was a decent result for the No. 4 car,” opined Kellett. “I was really happy we were able to make up some spots after the start of the race. With this one groove layout we have, it’s really hard to pass and make some moves off the start and the restart, and after that you’re really trying to manage your tires, try and get some spots on pit lane. The guys did a great job tonight, we were able to jump some people in the pits so I’m really happy with our performance there. I think we still need to find some mechanical grip in the middle of [Turns] 1 and 2, we’re still struggling there a bit but overall, it was a decent result from where we were in practice. It was a challenging day with the weather being in and out. Really happy to get the race in. I’m obviously feeling for the 14 crew, they got to put that car back together tonight but we’ll all be racing tomorrow as a team so looking forward to it.”
A battle between the Scotts, both of whom hail from New Zealand, saw Dixon edge out rookie McLaughlin by a quarter of a second at the checkered to claim his fifth victory at Texas. Pato O’Ward finished third, followed by Alex Palou and Graham Rahal.
Team President Larry Foyt said the ROKiT Chevrolet will be back on track for tomorrow evening’s race which will be broadcast live on NBCSN starting at 5 p.m. ET.
“That was really tough” commented Foyt. “Seb was doing a good job, he was hanging right there with the leaders and about third back were coming back to us as some gyuys were really starting to struggle. We could see it getting bottled up so we actually called him into to pit that lap as Coleton was beginning to struggle. Then Colton was really slow, then Seb checked up for it but I guess Newgarden didn’t and he hit us in the back and turned us and a big crash ensued. Tough for the team but we’ll get it fixed and be back tomorrow. Dalton did a good job, raced hard all night and moved up from where he started, so that’s a good night for them to bring that car home and move up a little bit.”
A.J. chats with his young driver who ran his first high-banked oval race at Texas.