Duck Commander 500 Weekend

Published on April 12th, 2016

Spring is here, and in DFW that means crazy weather and of course Nascar at Texas Motor Speedway for the Duck Commander 500! The Nascar Sprint Cup Series roared into town the weekend of April 9th, for a crammed weekend, and a Saturday Night Race.

Thursday included 2 practice sessions for the Xfinity Series and one for the Sprint Cup Series as well. All teams were focused on getting the cars ready for the Qualifying sessions on Friday, and no one spent many consecutive laps on the track. Martin Truex Jr, was the man to beat, holding the fastest lap time for the session.

Friday kicked off Sprint Cup Qualifying first, Carl Edwards taking the pole, making it two consecutive pole positions for him at Texas Motor Speedway. Following Edwards was Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., and rookie stand out Chase Elliott. Surprising everyone by failing to make it to the second round of qualifying were drivers like Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer. But other big names like Kevin Harvick barely made it and qualified past 20th position. Final Sprint Cup practice took place later in the day, and was dominated again by Martin Truex Jr. The teams worked to tune the cars for the big race on Saturday. Chase Elliott’s team even went through the trouble of a transmission change after qualifying, which meant he would have to start at the back of the pack come race time.

Friday night’s O’reilly Autoparts 300 was another shot in the bucket for Kyle Busch. Busch really finds his groove at a track like Texas where it seems he has won time and time again. Friday night was no exception, even with a couple close calls from up and comer Erik Jones and seasoned champ Brad Keselowski who finished 2nd and 3rd. Kyle and his team pulled it out in the end and held off the rest of the pack.

Saturday evening the main event was scheduled to start at around 6 PM. The pre race festivities got under way at 4 with a rockin’ preshow by Lynard Skynard. I can say honestly, I have never seen so many fans packed onto the in field to see a pre race musician or band. To say people were excited would be an understatement. However an unscheduled rain shower threw a damper on everyone’s party, causing the band to end their set early, and the track driers to come out and work their magic.

Nascar went ahead with driver introductions, but after about 40 minutes of milling about at their cars, it was made clear that the race wouldn’t be starting for at least another hour, which meant the cars would be on the track at 8:20 p.m. Fortunately for everyone the clouds moved off in another direction.  Texas weather.. is never accommodating.

The first few laps were the real test of how dry the track was, and when the pace car had done about 3 or 4 laps with the pack into the race, he peeled off and let the green flag get under way. The cars were off and roaring at full speed and Carl Edwards refused to give up his coveted spot full of fresh air at the front of the pack. Edwards led for 124 laps, before a sloppy pit stop knocked him down in the pack. The 19 Arris Toyota had to return to the pits because a wheel was put on loose. Causing him to go a lap down.

Most of race was pretty tame, then during the last 50 laps, a series of cautions and restarts got the whole pack antsy to make some big moves. Things got sloppy as Austin Dillon got loose in the back stretch and took out 13 other cars in the process, also known as “the big one.”

After the first caution Chase Elliott looked like he was going to be able to take the lead and hold off the pack, but a poor decision to come back in for four tires during the next caution probably cost him the win. He had taken 2 tires during the previous pit stop, so there was really no need for four.

This let Truex take the lead and Kyle Busch get right in behind him. Prime position for the restart, on lap 33 Busch in the 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota pulled ahead and stayed there, fending off the pack including Dale Jr who had pulled up past Joey Logano, Truex Jr, and Chase Elliott.

The last 10 laps were very exciting to watch as tires started wear and leaders slowed down. But Kyle Busch held them off and cleaned up. Sweeping both races. Not his first time to do so at Texas Motor Speedway. Saturdays top ten finishers were

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Martin Truex Jr.
  7. Carl Edwards
  8. Kasey Kahne
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Kevin Harvick

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Chase. So far Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and Jimmie Johnson have been the most dominant drivers, which should not come as a surprise. Martin Truex Jr is bound to make his mark very soon and try to solidify a place in the chase later this year. Also everyone must be wondering what kind of performance we will see when Tony Stewart gets back in the car for his final race season.

Even with a little rain the race weekend was a really great one. The Sprint Cup Series will return to Texas Motor Speedway in November for the AAA 500, come down and experience the excitement of rumbling engines for yourself.

Check out our Gallery of shots from the weekend below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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