Every June, the IndyCar series pays a visit to Texas Motor Speedway. It’s been an annual event dating back to the track’s opening in 1997. From 2007 through 2010, and then 2012 and 2013, the race was advertised with the number “550” as the distance. 550 kilometers. For 2014, it was extended another 50 kilometers, to round out at a nice, even 600.
Except those numbers are completely meaningless. Here’s why.
Texas Motor Speedway is not 1.5 miles long. All of those numbers are based on that assumption, which IndyCar internally refutes. All of their timing and scoring is based on a measured distance of 1.44 miles. That works out to 2.317 kilometers. Time for a bit of light math.
The race, during the “550km” era, ran for 228 laps. 228 laps times 2.317 kilometers equals… 528.276km. That’s not even close to 550. To get close, we need another nine laps, leaving us at 549.129km in total, and 237 total laps.
But wait, the discrepancy actually gets worse. The difference between the old race distance and what was advertised was 21.724km. Now that the race is 248 laps long, it’s a total distance of 574.616km. That’s more than 25 kilometers shy of what’s advertised, a whopping 11 laps.
If the race were 259 laps, that would reach 600.103km of race distance, and that’s goddamn close to exactly what’s painted in massive numerals along the front stretch. But it’s not, it’s 11 laps off.
If one were to be sufficiently annoyed, and go back through every single race that IndyCar has run in Texas, adding up the total distance run versus the listed distance, they’d find some very irritating numbers.
At least, that’s what I did, and that’s definitely what I found.
Even excluding the shortened fall race in 2003, wherein Kenny Bräck had his accident, we find that 14,115.16km of racing has been run by IndyCar at Texas Motor Speedway, but they’ve advertised it as 14,695.23km. That’s 580 missing kilometers, for a total of 250 race laps not run.
Yes, this is just a ranty missive about something mostly inconsequential, but I want my extra laps, please.
Or at the very least, adjust the race distance to match what’s advertised.