Sunday’s race at Texas featured plenty of action that kept fans involved on a chilly afternoon. Tons of yellow flags and even one red flag flew throughout the afternoon. Several big names finished the day at the bottom of the leaderboard and failed to accumulate many points. One Busch brother started the day on the pole, but a different Busch brother would end the day in position one.
Kurt Busch started the race on the pole, but he wouldn’t be the one to lead the first lap. Kevin Harvick, who started on the outside of the front row, seized the lead on the first lap. Busch got loose in the first corner and slipped back to sixth place early.
The action started just two laps into the race as Alex Bowman brought out the caution. He got loose and collected several other cars in the process. Bowman, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez, and Ross Chastain were all involved in the wreck. Menard, Suarez, and Bowman sustained the most damage but all drivers involved were able to continue on, albeit several laps down.
The rest of the stage would go on caution-free until there were five laps to go in the stage. Martin Truex Jr., from second place, brought out the caution. He blew a right front tire and slammed hard into the outside wall, ending his day very early.
The stage ended under caution with Kevin Harvick leading the way. Kyle Busch followed up in second, Kurt Busch third, Joey Logano fourth, and Kyle Larson fifth.
Truex Jr. ended up finishing the race last, in the 37th position. The early exit for him ended a five-race streak of top-5 finishes.
To start the second stage, Kyle Busch won the race off pit road to grab the lead, Harvick restarted second. Off the restart, Busch pulled away from the pack with Harvick also pulling away in second.
Harvick tracked down Busch and stalked him in his tire tracks for the first half of the stage before finally slipping by and retaking the lead. Harvick then continued to lead until the next caution flag flew.
The caution was brought out by Kyle Larson in the same fashion as Truex in the first stage. Larson blew a right front tire and slammed hard into the outside wall. His car would coast for a few seconds before coming to a stop and catching fire. Larson, visibly shaken from the impact with the wall, hopped out of the car and took a moment to catch his breath as his car burned behind him.
Kyle Busch once again won the race off pit road and restarted first. Harvick’s crew had trouble on pit road and cost him eight spots, he restarted ninth.
Shortly after the restart, Harvick was forced to come back in under green due to a loose wheel. He would lose a lap to leader Kyle Busch as the stage wound down.
Kyle Busch went on to win the stage after a brief battle with his brother Kurt. The Busch brothers finished first and second, followed by Joey Logano, Erik Jones, and Clint Bowyer for the top-5.
To begin the final stage, Erik Jones won the race off pit road. His teammate, Kyle Busch, restarted next to him in second.
On the first lap of the stage, the biggest wreck of the day occurred that took out some big names. Denny Hamlin got loose and as he spun in front of the field he collected Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne, and David Ragan were all also involved. Hamlin, Keselowski, Johnson and Almirola all were done for the day following the crash.
The red flag was brought out due to the severe cleanup that was required following the big one at Texas.
After the race got back under green, Erik Jones opened up a commanding lead. Eventually, green flag pit stops began once again. During the green flag pit cycle, Paul Menard brought the caution out again as he blew a tire and made contact with the wall with 99 laps to go.
On a later restart, Kyle Busch kept the lead while Jamie McMurray slid his way into second in front of Jones. Kevin Harvick, after finally getting his lap back after trouble on pit road, began his charge back to the front.
Harvick drove his car all the way through the field up to second place behind Kyle Busch with 57 laps remaining. With 43 laps to go, green flag pit stops began. Busch and Harvick pitted with a two-second gap separating the two.
Ryan Newman, attempting to stay out as long as he could during the green flag pit stops, brought out the races final caution with 31 to go. He blew a right front tire and smacked the wall hard.
On the final restart, Kyle Busch started first on the inside, with Harvick second on the outside. Busch pulled in front and retained his lead with Harvick in tow.
The remaining 25 laps consisted of Harvick stalking Busch trying to earn a chance to pass him. Harvick was able to close the gap to as small as 0.3 seconds with five laps to go, but wouldn’t get any closer. Busch was able to hold him back and capture his first win of the season.
With the W, Busch solidified his spot in the playoffs and further added on to his points lead. Busch led a race-high 116 laps. Harvick led the next most with 87, and Jones the third-most with 64.
Next week NASCAR travels to Bristol Motor Speedway. The last time NASCAR visited Bristol, in August of 2017, Rowdy parked his car in victory lane.
Featured image courtesy of LAT Images/motorsport.com
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