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NASCAR: Duck Commander 500 preview in 3 minutes

Everything you need to know about Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. There have been nine different winners in the past nine spring races at Texas Motor Speedway. Last year’s winner, Joey Logano, is hoping to change that.

2. Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with four wins at Texas but has never won the track’s spring race. His most recent victory came last fall.

3. For the past six years, Paul Menard has been no lower than 14th in points after the first six races but has never made the Chase. After six races this year, he’s sixth.

Observations

▪  It will be interesting to see how Richard Childress Racing approaches its appeal of its tire penalty next week. Traditionally, teams have tended to argue the severity of the penalty in their appeal, but since NASCAR spelled out infractions and their penalties in the rulebook before the season, that line of defense would seem an unlikely one.

▪  Because there is now a 20-car minimum for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, if injured Kyle Busch does not run the event and there are no other new winners before the May 16 race, the Sprint Fan Vote will be used to fill the field. In other words, more than one driver possibly could make their way into the field based on fans’ votes.

▪  Nice gesture by Fox, Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway to honor Fox broadcaster Steve Byrnes’ courageous battle against cancer by renaming next Sunday’s Cup race the Food City 500 In Support Of Steve Byrnes And Stand Up To Cancer.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Joey Logano: A win in this race a year ago helped launch Logano’s best Cup season. With a win in hand already, expect his Team Penske team to throw caution to the wind this weekend.

Kurt Busch: Busch has scored the fourth-most points of any driver since returning from his three-race NASCAR suspension. Expect another strong performance this weekend.

Kevin Harvick: Harvick had one of the fastest cars at this race last season, but his engine blew 28 laps into the event. He’s looking to change that this season.

He said it

“I can’t speak for the whole field, but I think a lot of people are really innovating and I think you’re going to see some shifts and speed and advantage throughout the field.” – Carl Edwards

Notes

Busch wins the pole: Kurt Busch continues to make the most of his return to racing. Busch edged Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick in Round 3 of Friday’s group qualifying to win the pole for Saturday night’s race.

The pole is his second in his four races since returning from a NASCAR suspension and 18th of his Cup career.

Brad Keselowski qualified third, Kasey Kasey fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth. Defending race winner Joey Logano will line up sixth.

Jeb Burton and Brendan Gaughan failed to make the 43-car field.

Larson ready to race: Kyle Larson missed the race at Martinsville (Va.) after sitting out for extensive medical tests following a fainting spell at an autograph session.

While no specific diagnosis was found, Larson was cleared to return to racing and is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet.

“When you are young, you think you are bulletproof, and that is just one little instance that shows you that you aren’t,” he said. “You’ve got to take care of yourself as you get older – definitely going to try and do a better job of that.”

Buescher adds races: Xfinity Series regular Chris Buescher has added two more Cup races with Front Row Motorsports and will drive the No. 34 Ford in next weekend’s race at Bristol and the May 3 event at Talladega, Ala.

Buescher has been filling the seat for Front Row regular David Ragan, who continues to sub for Kyle Busch in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 car.

N@SCAR

Getting there

Race facts

Duck Commander 500

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Forth Worth, Texas.

Track type: 1.5-mile paved, banked quad-oval.

Race distance: 334 laps or 501 miles.

Green flag: 7:46 p.m.

Weather: Cloud and high in the mid-70s with a 10 percent chance of rain.

TV: Fox.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

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