Texas Race Notes

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The NASCAR Cup Series will compete at another 1.5-mile track this week. Texas Speedway is slightly different from Kentucky Speedway. The track in No Limits Texas is a quad oval with more banking the Kentucky. We should be able to use the data from the race at Kentucky for our picks this week, but I will also be looking at the data from last year’s race at Texas Speedway. Here are my Race Notes from the last race at Texas…

 

Texas Fall 2019

The Track: Texas Motor Speedway added traction compound to give the drivers another lane at the top of the track. It took a long time for the rubber to build into the compound and it was like running on ice early in the race. That was the reason why they had so many cautions (There were 11 cautions). They broke the record for the most cautions in Stage 1 with six yellow flags. Hopefully NASCAR reconsiders how they add the traction compound this week because it caused a lot of cars to be wrecked.

Once the compound worked into the track there was plenty of grip. Most of the teams took two tires or no tires during their pit stops.

– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race: Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Blaney

 

Stage / Race Results

Stage 1 Stage 2

Race Results

1. Kevin Harvick 1. Aric Almirola 1. Kevin Harvick
2. Clint Bowyer 2. Erik Jones 2. Aric Almirola
3. Kyle Larson 3. Jimmie Johnson 3. Daniel Suarez
4. Alex Bowman 4. Kyle Larson 4. Joey Logano
5. Kyle Busch 5. Joey Logano 5. Alex Bowman
6. Austin Dillon 6. Kevin Harvick 6. Martin Truex Jr.
7. Kurt Busch 7. Alex Bowman 7. Kyle Busch
8. Ryan Preece 8. Daniel Suarez 8. Ryan Blaney
9. Ryan Blaney 9. Kyle Busch 9. Kurt Busch
10. Daniel Hemric 10. William Byron 10. Erik Jones

* Some of the cars stayed out at the end of Stage 1 to score Stage points.

 

Kevin Harvick won the pole and ran most of the race in the top 5. He lead a race-high 119 laps and won Stage 1. Harvick was running in the top 10 and got a penalty for illegal equipment over the wall on lap 193. Harvick fell to 23rd and had to race his way through the field in the final Stage. He passed his teammate (Aric Almirola) with 42 laps left and went on to Victory Lane.

Chase Elliott qualified 14th and raced his way into the top 10, but after only 9 laps he got loose and ran into the wall. He had a lot of damage to his car. He had a hard time staying on the lead lap after the crash.

Aric Almirola spent a lot of time running in the top 10. He qualified 6th and went to the front early in the race. He fell back in the field in Stage 1 but he had a real fast car in Stage 2. He passed Jimmie Johnson for the lead on lap 140 and went on to win Stage 2. Almirola raced Kevin Harvick for the lead in the final Stage but the No. 4 car was too much for him. Almirola finished 2nd.

Clint Bowyer used pit strategy to gain track position and take the lead in Stage 1. He ran Stage 2 in the top 10 as well. The No. 14 team did not use pit strategy very well in the final Stage, so Bowyer got shuffled back in the pack. He finished 11th. Bowyer will have the crew chief that Aric Almirola had in this race last year and that could help him finish in the top 10 Sunday.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the first driver into the traction compound. He used it to his advantage to gain speed and run in the top 10 in Stage 1. He ran into the wall in Stage 2 and it killed his car. Stenhouse ended up finishing last.

Kurt Busch qualified 4th and he was able to run most of the race in top 10. He ran really well at the bottom of the track. He had the 9th-best Driver Ranking and the 8th best running position in the race. This race was one of the better races for Busch on the 1.5-mile tracks last year.

Jimmie Johnson had a fast car. He also had one of the best cars in the spring race at Texas. He passed his teammate (Alex Bowman) for the lead on lap 100. Johnson led 40 laps in the race. He was running 3rd in the final Stage when he got loose and slid into the wall. He had to go to the garage and his race was ended. Johnson looked very good in both races at Texas and I expect the same from the No. 48 team Sunday.

Denny Hamlin was too tight early in the race but he was able to run must of the race in the top 10. He tried to run the top of the track and on lap 81 and the No. 11 car got loose and spun through the infield grass. He went two laps down and fought the rest of the race to simply get back on the lead lap.

Kyle Larson had a lot of speed. He had the best car at the top of the track. He finished 2nd in Stage 1. Larson started 16th after a long pit stop and raced his way into the top 5 at the end of Stage 2. Larson had the best car on the long runs. He probably would have battled Kevin Harvick for the win if Bubba Wallace spun out on purpose and trapped Larson a lap down after his pit stop. Matt Kenseth will drive this car Sunday.

Erik Jones had a really fast car. He spent a lot of the race running in the top 5. Jones ran most of Stage 2 in the 2nd position. Jones had the 3rd-best Driver Ranking and the 4th-best average running position in the race. The No. 20 car was one of the most consistent cars all day.

Brad Keselowski liked his car and he was running in the top 10 when he tried to run in the traction compound and it was too slick. The No. 2 car got loose and Keselowski ran into the wall. He was out of the race early so we did not get to see how fast the No. 2 car actually was. They posted good lap speed in practice though.

Martin Truex Jr. did not like his car to start the race. The car was too tight. There were a lot of early cautioned and that helped Cole Pearn have the time to fix the car. Truex started to run in the top 5 after laps 65. He got into the wall in the final Stage and it messed up his steering. Truex was still able to finish 6th.

Kyle Busch qualified 12th. His car had good short-run speed but he faded over the long runs. Busch was good enough to run most of the race in the top 10. Adam Stevens continued to work on a car that Busch did not like very much. He was really fast at the end of the race. Busch would have finished higher in the race but he stalled his car on pit road with 20 laps to go.

Joey Logano was fighting a car that started off loose and then built way too tight over the long runs. He banged fenders with Austin Dillon and that caused a tire rub. He had to pit to prevent the tire from going down. The No. 22 car lost a lot of positions. Logano’s car really came to life in the 2nd-half of the race. He finished 4th in the race after a lot of adjustments to the car.

Ryan Blaney had a car that was too loose in Stage 1. The No. 12 team worked on the car and used pit strategy to take two tires to get the lead in Stage 2. The car was good but not great. Blaney ran most of the race around the 10th position and he finished 8th.

Alex Bowman did not look very good in Stage 1 but he stayed out under caution to get the lead in Stage 2. The clean air really helped the No. 88 car. He led 11 laps and finished 5th. Bowman had one of the best cars at the bottom of the track.

– William Byron had a fast car. He led 10 laps in Stage 2. Chad Knaus kept working on the car and Byron picked up a lot of speed. He was running 2nd with 130 laps left but a slow pit stop at the end of the race caused him to finish 17th.

Austin Dillon had a good race. He qualified 21st and ran around the 15th spot for most of the race. The No. 3 team found some speed at the end of the race and Dillon finished 13th.

Ryan Newman qualified 25th and did his thing. He was running 17th at the end of Stage 1. The No. 6 car was running 14th at the end of Stage 2. The team took tire tires on the last stop and it allowed Newman to finish 15th in the race. His car kept getting better but lost some positions on the final run.

John Hunter Nemechek filled in for Matt Tift in the No. 36 car. He qualified 29th and ran most of the race around the 20th position. Nemechek finished 21st. Not bad for a substitute driver.

Daniel Suarez had one of the best races of his 2019 season. He qualified 7th, led 25 laps in Stage 2 and finished 3rd in the race. Cole Custer will be driving this car this week.

** Bubba Wallace spun out on purpose. Kyle Larson pitted right before Wallace spun out so Larson was trapped a lap down. Larson would have likely had a chance to win if Wallace did not spin out (on purpose).

 

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