ThatsRacin

Expect a shootout at Texas Speedway as Chase enters home stretch

Seven Chase drivers - all of them but Jeff Gordon - need a victory in Sunday’s NASCAR AAA Texas 500 to assure themselves a spot in NASCAR’s championship round at Homestead.
Seven Chase drivers - all of them but Jeff Gordon - need a victory in Sunday’s NASCAR AAA Texas 500 to assure themselves a spot in NASCAR’s championship round at Homestead. (Credit too long, see caption)

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. Seven Chase drivers – all of them but Jeff Gordon – need a victory to assure themselves a spot in the championship round at Homestead. That’s especially true for Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano – the bottom four.

2. Joey Logano starts fourth and will go for his fourth win in five races. He again had the fastest car at Martinsville and was leading last week before being wrecked by Matt Kenseth.

3. The driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won’t be Matt Kenseth. Erik Jones is filling in for Kenseth while he serves a two-race suspension. Jones had an impression qualifying session Friday and starts sixth.

Observations

▪  Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson have said they will use Sunday’s race and next week at Phoenix as preparation for the season finale at Homestead. But the No. 24 team will still try to win.

▪  Danica Patrick starts 11th, her best qualifying performance of the season. In fact, Friday was the first time she had advanced to the final round of qualifying this year.

▪  Both Cup practices were called off Saturday as workers tried to get rid of “weepers” (rain that flows up through the track) that came from an overnight rain. The work also delayed the start of the Xfinity race by 45 minutes.

▪ Chip Ganassi Racing announced the formation of Generation Ganassi, a racing talent identification program aimed at young drivers aged 13-18. “Gen G” will look for drivers from levels including karting, sprint cars, modified, midgets and late model who have potential and pair them with Ganassi personnel.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Brad Keselowski: Pole winner said Friday he classifies Texas race as a must-win.

Kyle Busch: Has best average finish (12.9) of Chase drivers at Texas since 2005.

Joey Logano: No reason to think he’s slowing down; would certainly like to make a statement with a victory at Texas.

He said it

“It has me fired up to a whole other level after experiencing that.” – Gordon, on his victory last week at Martinsville.

Getting there

Race facts

AAA Texas 500

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas.

Track type: 1.5-mile quad-oval.

Race distance: 501 miles, or 334 laps.

Green flag: 2:17 p.m.

Weather: Sunny, high of 63. Zero percent chance of rain.

TV: NBC.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

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