Duck Commander 500: Race, Qualifying, & Practice

Published on April 19th, 2015

Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane.

It’s that time of year again, the flowers are blooming, and the smell of burnt rubber and Sonoco fuel is in the air.. That’s right. The spring Nascar race at Texas Motor Speedway faithfully returned deemed The Duck Commander 500 for the second year in a row. Unlike last year there was no rain delay, and the race took place on Saturday night under the bright lights once again.

I am an absolute fan of the Saturday Night race format. There’s just something great about getting to sleep in on Sunday and not having to worry about race traffic. But as far as race traffic is concerned. Hats off to the event organizers, because it wasn’t that grueling getting in and out. So if traffic is the reason you aren’t attending the race. Well you are just making excuses at this point.

The folks over at the speedway made the pre race huge this year. A brand new stage complete with massive catwalk adorned the front stretch, prepped and waiting for driver introductions. In addition to that stage, a second stage was set up for a pre race concert from Casey Donahew Band. Everything is bigger in Texas right?! A really cool new feature that Nascar had added was a red carpet for the drivers to walk on to introductions, where fans could line up on each side to catch a glimpse of their favorite Drivers and maybe even score an autograph or two. It was great for the fans.

So on to the race action. Because that’s what you really want to know about. Kurt Busch was on pole in the 41 car, the driver has been top notch since joining the Haas team. It’s clear he is hungry for another championship and he is having no problem proving he is worthy of it. While the crowd may boo him. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s motivation for the veteran driver.

Quickly after the start of the race 2014 Champion Kevin Harvick broke away from the pack taking an early lead for several laps until the first caution was called. Kurt took back over the lead only to be passed again and fall back into the pack.

Jimmie Johnson claimed the lead shortly after only to be passed by Harvick who was clearly hungry for the lead and win. However as the night went on and the temperature changed on the track, Johnson continued to make adjustments that would push his car to the front of the pack.

With under 100 laps to go the number 51 of Justin Allgaier slammed into the wall calling out another caution and a clean up effort on pit road after his car leaked oil on the grid near Hendrick drivers Jimmie Johnson & Kasey Kahne’s pit boxes. After the caution Joey Logano in the 22 car had nabbed the lead off pit road, but wasn’t able to hold it for long.

The final caution of the night was called with about 25 laps left to go. As cars poured in and out of the pits. Jamie McMurray and Jeff Gordon were on the front line. But Jimmie Johnson who was dominant all night ended up in a head to head battle with the other dominating force on the track Kevin Harvick. Pulling it out in the end Johnson who led 128 laps took the checkered flag for yet another victory at Texas. His second victory of the year. Finishing second was Harvick, followed by fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr in third.

So the big question after this race, is who will win the next one and secure their spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup this fall. Plenty of spots remain in the roster, and it’s as always at this point, anyone’s game.

 

 

 

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