Grand Prix of Houston

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Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston
Logo for the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.jpg
Route for the Grand Prix of Houston.svg
IndyCar Series
Venue NRG Park
Location Houston, Texas, USA
29°40′56″N 95°24′31″W / 29.68222°N 95.40861°W / 29.68222; -95.40861Coordinates: 29°40′56″N 95°24′31″W / 29.68222°N 95.40861°W / 29.68222; -95.40861
Corporate sponsor Shell, Pennzoil
First race 1998
First IndyCar race 2013
Last race 2014
Distance 151.47 miles (243.77 km)
Laps 90
Previous names Texaco Grand Prix of Houston (1998–2000)
Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston (2001)
Grand Prix of Houston (2006–2007)
Most wins (driver) Sébastien Bourdais (2)
Most wins (team) Team KOOL Green & Newman/Haas Racing (2)
Most wins (manufacturer) Reynard (3)
Circuit information
Surface Asphalt/Concrete
Length 1.683 mi (2.709 km)
Turns 10

The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston is an annual auto race on the IndyCar Series circuit. It was held in a street circuit located in downtown Houston for four years, then returned after a four year hiatus for two years on a course laid out in the parking lot of the Reliant/NRG Park complex. Before resuming in 2013, the last race was held on April 22, 2007 (with the IRL merger canceling the 2008 event just two months prior to the event).

Race history[edit]

From 1998 to 2001, CART held a race on Houston's downtown streets, adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center. This event was sponsored by the oil company Texaco, and named the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. However, construction in downtown Houston resulted in the race not being renewed for the 2002 CART season.

In 2005, the Champ Car World Series announced that it would be making a return to Houston in 2006; for some time, series directors had wanted to make a return to the city. The 2006 event was held on May 13 as the second round of the 2006 Champ Car schedule. However, this time the race was held on a 1.7-mile temporary street circuit on the Reliant Park complex instead of the downtown streets and was the first race held on a street course to run at night in the history of Champ Car or its precursor series (in 2003 and 2004, Champ Car ran under the lights at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio). Also, the American Le Mans Series held an event, the Lone Star Grand Prix, on the previous night, marking only the second time Champ Car and American Le Mans promoted their own events in the same city on the same weekend (they joined in 2003 for the Grand Prix Americas in Miami, Florida). For 2007, JAG Flocomponents picked up the naming rights to the previously unnamed street course, naming it JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park.

Mi-Jack Promotions had a handshake deal with IndyCar to revive the event in October 2011, however the required sponsorship was not found by June 2010.[1] IndyCar officials announced the event will return in 2013 sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell and using a tweaked version of the 2006–2007 course.[2] The event has a 5-year race contract through 2017 with IndyCar and Shell, using its Pennzoil brand of motor oil, is signed for 4-years as the event's title sponsor.[3]

Cars stream into turn 1 during the 2007 race

On the final race lap of the 2013 event the car of Dario Franchitti was launched airborne in turn five when it made contact with the car of Takuma Sato. Franchitti's car flew into the catch-fencing, displacing a portion of the fence and sending debris into the stands, injuring 14.[4] Franchitti suffered a broken ankle, broken back, and concussion, injuries which led him to retire from racing later that year.[5]

IndyCar & Mi-Jack Promotions announced on August 29, 2014 that the Houston doubleheader at NRG Park has been canceled for 2015 due to scheduling issues.

Features[edit]

The Champ Car paddock was located inside Reliant Arena. In 2006, the Newman/Haas, RuSPORT, Dale Coyne, and Team Australia haulers were on the northern side, while the Forsythe, Rocketsports, PKV, and CTE-HVM teams were on the southern side. The 2006 race was also the first and only Champ Car or IndyCar race to ever be held on a road or street course at night under the lights. 2007 and subsequent runnings have been day races.

Race winners[edit]


Champ Car/IndyCar[edit]

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
Champ Car history
1998 October 4 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Team KOOL Green Reynard Honda 70* 106.89 (172.022) 1:36:30 66.051 Report
1999 September 26 Canada Paul Tracy Team KOOL Green Reynard Honda 100 152.7 (245.746) 1:55:31 78.96 Report
2000 October 1 United States Jimmy Vasser Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lola Toyota 100 152.7 (245.746) 1:59:02 76.626 Report
2001 October 7 Brazil Gil de Ferran Penske Racing Reynard Honda 100 152.7 (245.746) 1:54:42 79.521 Report
2002

2005
Not held
2006 May 13 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing Lola Ford Cosworth 96 162.24 (261.099) 1:59:57 81.154 Report
2007 April 22 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Panoz Cosworth 93 156.519 (251.892) 1:45:32 88.986 Report
2008

2012
Not held
IndyCar Series history
2013 October 5 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda 90 151.47 (243.767) 1:54:48 76.856 Report
October 6 Australia Will Power Penske Racing Dallara Chevrolet 90 151.47 (243.767) 1:52:29 78.444
2014 June 28 Colombia Carlos Huertas Dale Coyne Racing Dallara Honda 80* 134.64 (216.682) 1:51:26 70.389 Report
June 29 France Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara Honda 90 151.47 (243.767) 1:51:44 78.981
  • 1998: Race shortened due to heavy rainshower that caused poor visibility.
  • 2014: First race shortened due to time limit.

Atlantics/Indy Lights[edit]

Season Date Winning Driver
Atlantic Championship
1998 October 4 United States Anthony Lazzaro
1999 September 26 Canada Andrew Bordin
2000 October 1 Canada Andrew Bordin
2001 October 7 United States Joey Hand
2006 May 13 Germany Andreas Wirth
2007 April 22 Brazil Raphael Matos
Indy Lights
2000 October 1 United States Casey Mears
2013 October 6 United States Sage Karam

References[edit]

  1. ^ "City's sputtering motor sports scene may rev up". Houston Chronicle. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  2. ^ Lewandowski, Dave (March 28, 2012). "Houston, we have liftoff for October 2013 event". IndyCar Series (IndyCar). Retrieved March 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Goodall, Russ (March 28, 2012). "IndyCar's coming to town: Houston race slated for 2013". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 17, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Olson, Jeff., Nate Ryan, and Curt Cavin. Franchitti breaks back, has surgery after crash that injures fans, USA Today, October 11, 2013, Retrieved 2014-01-12
  5. ^ Dario Franchitti retires from IndyCar after accident, USA Today, November 14, 2013, Retrieved 2014-01-12

External links[edit]