AAA Texas 500: Race, Qualifying, and Practice

Published on November 15th, 2015

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is coming to a close. It’s the thing that every driver has been racing all year towards and the AAA Texas 500 means it’s almost over. The fall race at Texas is the 3rd to last race, followed by Phoenix and the last is Homestead.

2015 is the second year with the Elimination system in place, and it truly is an interesting concept that is shaking the sport up. If you aren’t familiar with how it works. A win basically guarantees your place in the Chase elimination rounds. To progress, you need to win races. Points still come in to play, in case a driver wins that has already been eliminated, or the same driver keeps winning over and over.

But since points matter less, that means the top dog position keeps getting shaken up. Once upon a time Jimmie Johnson was reigning champ for several years in a row due to points mattering the most. However because of the change in protocol, Harvick was the 2014 champ and this year Jimmie Johnson didn’t make it very far into the elimination rounds because he couldn’t secure a win in time.

Yet, that didn’t stop Jimmie from taking home the win during Sunday’s big race. Brad Keselowski who won the pole actually led for majority of the race, setting a new track record for most laps led with 312 of them. It honestly looked like it was going to be his race to win, until a debris caution in the final laps closed the gap and let Johnson get enough speed to pass him and take home the coveted six shooters.

Beyond the start and finish of the race, it was all kind of just Left Turns for the most part led by Brad Keselowski. It really felt like there weren’t that many caution laps. No one was making risky moves, and the real enemy over the weekend was tires. Several drivers had tire issues, from Kyle Larson to Kevin Harvick. Chase contender Joey Logano had a tire blow around 10 laps into the race and had to go to the garage to get fixed back up. The crowd who had watched the drama unfold between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth the past 2 races cited “Karma.” Time was ticking and a blown tire essentially took him out of the chase. If you’re unaware of the drama I’m referring to, Kenseth got a two race suspension for intentionally wrecking Logano at Martinsville and didn’t take part in the AAA Texas 500. Instead subbing in on the 20 car was rising star Erik Jones who finished 12th.

Brad Keselowski finished 2nd, Kevin Harvick in 3rd, Kyle Busch in 4th, and Carl Edwards rounding out the top five. After Texas, there are still 3 spots open for the Final Chase round. The race in Phoenix will be the deciding factor. Kyle Busch stated in the media room he liked the position they were in as far as the points go. We will see if those points are enough to get him into Chase next week, and who will join Jeff Gordon in the top 4.

 

 

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