Wednesday, April 5, 2017

NASCAR Cup Series Texas Notes: 2017 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

Truex Jr. should fare well at Texas based on great Vegas and Fontana races.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, April 9
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 1:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 501 miles (334 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 85),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 170), Final Stage (Ends on lap 334)

Next Race: My Bariatric Solutions 300
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, April 8
The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Toyota Tundra 250
The Place: Kansas Speedway
The Date: Friday, May 12
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 8:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250.5 miles (167 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40), 
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on lap 167)

Clock Stopper: Keselowski First Driver To Multiple Wins
Brad Keselowski became the first driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to win multiple races this season when he passed Kyle Busch with 42 laps remaining and never looked back to visit Victory Lane for his first time at Martinsville Speedway.

Keselowski, who notched the first victory for Ford at Martinsville since Oct. 20, 2002 (Kurt Busch, Roush Fenway Racing, 28 races ago), will go for his second straight victory in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX).

The No. 2 Ford driver leads the series with 10 playoff points and sits fourth in the points standings, 34 markers behind No. 1 ranked Kyle Larson.

In 17 starts at Texas, Keselowski has four top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 16.2.

Super Soph: Elliott Poised For Win After Strong Start To Second Full-Time Season
Chase Elliott finished third at Martinsville for his third top five of the season. He has an average finish of 7.8, which has propelled him to second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings – four points below Kyle Larson.

Elliott, 21, is competing in his second full-time season after earning a playoff berth in his Sunoco Rookie campaign. He has two playoff points via his two stage wins.

The No. 24 Chevrolet driver performed well at Texas last season with finishes of fifth (spring) and fourth (fall).

His 5.1 average running position this season is the best in the series.

Texas Ranger: Johnson Tries To Continue Lone Star State Dominance
Defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has struggled early on his quest for a record eighth title.

He’s logged only one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix) and ranks 14th in points – 127 markers behind leader Kyle Larson.

Johnson hopes Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway – a track where he’s dominated recently – can be the turning point of his season. The No. 48 Chevrolet driver boasts a track-record six wins, including a streak of three consecutive victories from fall of 2014 to fall of 2015. In addition to his triumphs, Johnson claims 14 top fives, 20 top 10s and an 8.4 average finish in the Lone Star State.

New Surface And Configuration To Debut At Texas
Texas Motor Speedway made some renovations to its track over the offseason. Enhancements it made to ensure the best possible experience for fans included: adding an expansive French drainage system on the frontstretch and backstretch, repaving the entire track including pit lane, and re-profiling Turns 1 and 2 (banking reduced from 24 to 20 degrees, racing surface expanded from 60 to 80 feet wide).

Turns 3 and 4 of the track remain 60 feet wide at 24 degrees of banking.

JTG-Daugherty Racing Produces Strong Showing At Martinsville
Road-course ace AJ Allmendinger is turning into a short-track stud. The No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet driver posted a sixth-place showing at Martinsville Sunday for his fourth consecutive top-11 finish at “The Paperclip.”

Allmendinger’s JTG-Daugherty teammate, Chris Buescher, logged a season-best 11th-place showing at Martinsville – his best finish since a fifth-place result at Bristol last fall. Buescher, from Prosper, Texas, gets to race at his home track this weekend in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Next Alum Jones Beginning To Find Groove
Erik Jones, 20, a prolific winner at the NASCAR Camping World Truck and XFINITY Series levels, is beginning to find his groove as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

He hasn’t competed for victories, yet, but the Furniture Row Racing driver has recorded a top-15 finish in every race except Daytona, where he wrecked out at the halfway mark.

The NASCAR Next alum sits 13th in the points standings, tops among series rookies.

Although Jones is the top-ranked rookie in the points standings, Daniel Suarez leads him in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Race by two points. Ty Dillon sits third (10 points behind Suarez), followed by Corey Lajoie (-16) and Gray Gaulding (-38).

Busch Ready To Rebound From Martinsville Disappointment With Defense Of Texas Victory
Kyle Busch led 274 of 500 laps in last weekend’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but could not hold off Brad Keselowski at the end and finished second.

The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion will try to rebound in Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway – a race he won last year.

In 22 starts at Texas, Busch claims two wins, 11 top fives, 12 top 10s and an average finish of 11.6.

The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver is sixth in the standings, 80 points behind leader Kyle Larson. He has one playoff point via his stage win at Daytona.

Stenhouse Pulls Off Top-10 Finish at Martinsville
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used NASCAR’s new race enhancements to add some extra excitement to Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville. He bumped race leader Kyle Busch on the final lap and passed him so he could stay on the lead lap to begin the third stage. Stenhouse seized the opportunity to log a 10th-place finish – his second top-10 of the season.

The move not only helped Stenhouse, it took a playoff point away from Busch because it allowed Chase Elliott the opportunity to beat Busch to the stripe.

The Roush Fenway Racing wheelman will attempt to grab another top 10 at Texas, a track where he’s never finished higher than 15th.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Gridiron Gang – NFL Stars To Appear At Texas Motor Speedway: Four NFL players will attend Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Headlining the group is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams. He will be joined by his teammates, tight tnd Rico Gathers, a former Baylor basketball star, as well as center Joe Looney. Detroit Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson – a 2015 consensus All-American and national champion at Alabama – will also take in the race.


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