The Grand Prix of Houston, consisting of 12 races in 2013, has returned.
Based in Reliant Park, the 2013 Grand Prix of Houston has been selected to host two IZOD IndyCar Series races slated for Saturday and Sunday.
Helio Castroneves currently leads the IndyCar Series with 501 points, ahead of Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud by 49 points and 70 points, respectively. The Brazilian won the Firestone 550 at Texas in June. He has posted six top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes on the year.
Here's a look at the schedule, lineup of races and drivers to watch for the showcase in Houston.
Where: Reliant Park, Houston, TX
When: Oct. 4-6
Watch: NBC Sports
|IndyCar Race #1||Saturday, Oct. 5||2 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. ET||NBC Sports|
|IndyCar Race #2||Sunday, Oct. 6||12 p.m. CT, 1 p.m. ET||NBC Sports|
Lineup of Races
|Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Race #1||Saturday, Oct. 5||9:25 a.m. -10:25 a.m.|
|Pro Mazda Championship Race #1||Saturday, Oct. 5||11:35 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.|
|Firestone Indy Lights Race||Saturday, Oct. 5||12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.|
|IZOD IndyCar Series Race #1||Saturday, Oct. 5||2:40 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.|
|Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCB Race #1||Saturday, Oct. 5||5:15 p.m. - 5:40 p.m.|
|Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCB Race #2||Saturday, Oct. 5||5:55 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.|
|Pro Mazda Championship Race #2||Sunday, Oct. 6||7:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.|
|Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Race #2||Sunday, Oct. 6||9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.|
|Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS Race||Sunday, Oct. 6||10:45 a.m. - 11:35 a.m.|
|IZOD IndyCar Series Race #2||Sunday, Oct. 6||12:40 p.m. - 3 p.m.|
|Champions Race for Charity||Sunday, Oct. 6||3:10 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.|
|Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup||Sunday, Oct. 6||4 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.|
Drivers to Watch
Helio Castroneves has been a model of consistency in 2013, which has seen him build a 49-point lead in the IndyCar standings.
But the fact that he only has one win in 2013 has some thinking that drivers like Scott Dixon will eventually overtake the 38-year-old.
Castroneves has two second-place finishes since his win at the Firestone 550 at Texas, coming close at the Milwaukee IndyFest and Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto. He has matched his career high for top-10 finishes in a year.
The Brazilian was second in the IndyCar standings in 2008 and placed fourth last year.
Scott Dixon has three wins, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10 finishes this year. That includes winning the IndyCar Series at Pocono and both races at the Honda Indy Toronto in July.
On the other hand, the 33-year-old has placed 15th and 19th in his last two starts. He led for 27 laps at the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma before falling to 15th.
This is a big opportunity for Dixon to gain on Castroneves, but he's going to have to race better than he has since the Honda Indy Toronto. He has finished in the top three of the IndyCar standings in each of the last seven years, including his crowning year in 2008.
Simon Pagenaud has vaulted up the standings since July, placing second at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, fifth at the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and first at the Grand Prix of Baltimore.
The 29-year-old Frenchman also won Race 2 of the Indy Dual in Detroit in June. He has two wins, four top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes since placing fifth in the IndyCar standings last year.
Pagenaud's recent performance has some thinking he will make it more than a two-man race by the season finale at Auto Club Speedway. He's certainly raised some eyebrows around the tracks lately.
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