Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Texas AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, in three minutes:
Three things to watch
1. The Chase draws one race closer to its conclusion, with Jimmie Johnson the only driver assured of a spot in the final four. Will somebody else win at Texas to clinch a spot, or will Johnson make it tougher with another semifinal victory as he pursues his record-tying seventh championship? He’s won the last four fall races at Texas and five of the past eight overall.
2. Austin Dillon was a surprise pole winner for the race. He’d like to win to help get over the disappointment of not advancing to the Chase’s third round. He was eliminated two weeks ago at Talladega.
3. Kyle Busch will start at the rear of the field with a backup car, the result of a wreck during practice Friday. Busch then had a water leak in his No. 18 Toyota during qualifying. So he’s probably not brimming with confidence.
▪ There has been lots of talk about how JGR might be disappointed that it can’t qualify all four of its drivers for the championship round. Who among the rest of NASCAR’s teams wouldn’t love to be presented with that kind of potentially “bleak” scenario?
▪ If a non-Chase driver wins Sunday, it wouldn’t be a surprise. It’s happened twice at Texas over the past two seasons -- both times by Johnson.
▪ Kevin Harvick has won 35 times in his NASCAR career -- none at Texas. He’s also winless at Sonoma, Kentucky and Pocono.
Three picks for your fantasy team:
Jimmie Johnson: With a spot in the final already clinched, he could take it easy Sunday. Don’t count on it.
Joey Logano: Has been hot and cold during Chase, but will start on the front row with pole-winner Dillon.
Brad Keselowski: Fastest in final practice Saturday, wants to win again even though he’s out of the Chase.
He said it
“Everybody wants to make it to Victory Lane every week. We don’t try any harder or any less hard that we are not in the Chase.” – Kyle Larson.
Texas AAA 500
Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Tex.
Track type: 1.5-mile asphalt trioval.
Race distance: 501 miles, or 334 laps.
Green flag: 2:16 p.m.
Weather: Cloudy, high of 72; 20 percent chance of rain.
Radio: Performance Racing Network.