O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Weekend

Published on April 15th, 2017


It’s spring time, and that means Nascar makes its return to Texas Motor Speedway for the Monster Energy Nascar Sprint Cup Series and the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500!

However the track surface was the hot talk in the press room all last weekend. Texas Motor Speedway was in dire need of a repaving for a couple years now. It was only a matter of time coming and in addition to the new pavement, they made a grade adjustment in turns 1 and 2. Leaving the drivers trying to adjust to familiar yet not familiar track.

It didn’t take long for most of the veterans to get it under control, but Kyle did hit the wall during practice. Leaving him to switch to a back up car and start at the back of the pack. Friday’s practice seemed a little slow going and hesitant to begin with. The same can be said for Qualifying, where multiple cars didn’t even make it through inspection in time to get on the board. Leaving some to question if drivers were really afraid to get on the track at full throttle. Kevin Harvick happily took the pole for Sunday’s race.

But Harvick’s lead on Sunday didn’t last for long, with Ryan Blaney showing how powerful his 21 Wood Brothers Ford. Blaney took the lead and held on to it for 148 laps. Winning the first two stages of the race and taking those valuable points in the race for the chase. But an unfortunate caution took the lead away from Blaney for the rest of the race, putting him at a 12th place finish.

When it came down to the final laps of a relatively tame race, the stars aligned for Jimmie Johnson to snatch the lead from Kyle Larson for his first win of the season. But the second place finish was still a good one for Larson, keeping him first in the points standings. It’s been a slow year for Johnson and most of the Hendrick group. This being the teams first time in victory lane this year. It was a hard fought victory, which was clear from Johnson needing a few extra moments to recover in Victory Lane. Johnson even noting he started to pass out after he climbed out of the car.

As for the rest of the top ten, Kyle Larson took Second followed by, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, and Kurt Busch.

This is the first year that Nascar has been using the three stage system, and because of it, the points leaders aren’t the usual suspects. So as the season progresses it could get really interesting to see how things pan out. Things will be much more clear cut in November, and surely tensions will be high with the championship on the line. I can’t wait to see who will be left when the smoke clears.



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