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Bernard added that drivers _ concerned about the compatibility of Indy cars on high-banked ovals following Dan Wheldon’s death at Las Vegas in October _ won’t influence whether or not the series returns to Texas.
“We want input from team owners, drivers, sponsors and fans and our partners,” he said. “I want to hear what their opinion is after (Saturday), but I want to also see how the schedule is laying out and what makes sense.”
Bernard has already announced a street race in Houston for next season, and said there’s “a tremendous amount of interest” from promoters in Austin. Gossage doesn’t like the series racing in other Texas cities, arguing it pulls away from his fan base.
“Eddie doesn’t call me and tell me how many NASCAR events he’s going to have, or how many races he’s going to have here, and it’s none of my business,” Bernard said. “My business is IndyCar and I think Eddie is a great partner, but let’s be honest, it’s two different markets. If you look at our crossover with the audience on ovals, it’s 67 percent crossover with NASCAR. When you look at road and street, it’s a different demographic.”
NON-STARTERS, OTHER TROUBLES: Simona de Silversto and Rubens Barrichello never even got off the starting grid because of engine problems.
“We have one update finally and then something like this happens, which is annoying,” said de Silverstro, who is the only driver still using a Lotus engine. “But that’s kind of how the whole season has been going with our program.”
Barrichello was in one of four Chevrolets that had problems. E.J. Viso, Oriol Servia and Ryan-Hunter Ryan got started and ran some laps.
Servia was coming off consecutive top-five finishes before finishing only 89 of 228 laps at Texas. Hunter-Reay was losing power and ran only 66 laps.
Including his last-lap crash at Indianapolis when trying to get past Dario Franchitti for the lead, Takuma Sato has now crashed in three consecutive races. He was done after 63 laps in Texas after getting loose on the backstretch and hitting the wall.
HERTA’S HONDA: Alex Tagliani has gone from being unable to finish races to feeling as if Bryan Herta Motorsports is capable of winning at any time.
“Since we got back with Honda, we are a threat pretty much every weekend,” said Tagliani, who started on the pole Saturday night. “I feel good, I said that our championship was going to start at Indy.”
Tagliana has improved in each of his races since switching, finishing ninth Saturday night.
After starting the season with Lotus, Tagliani was 17th in the opener but didn’t finish the next two races because of engine problems. He didn’t even complete a lap at Barber.
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