NASCAR’s Xfinity and Monster Energy posses rode into Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, and after the smoke cleared, several Chase drivers from both series were looking at Must-Win scenarios as they head into Phoenix/IMS next week. Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 saw Christopher Bell celebrating in Victory Lane again. Kevin Harvick lived up to his nickname of “The Closer” by surging late to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup AAA Texas 500.
Christopher Bell isn’t a Texas native, but as a native of Norman, Oklahoma he considers Texas Motor Speedway his home track. After his victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Saturday, he told reporters that he had promised his nephew Trip the checkered flag should he ever win there. He held true to that promise by calling Trip up to pose next to him for pictures as he celebrated in Victory Lane.
The youngster from Joe Gibbs Racing swept both stages and the race win, earning himself a spot in the Final Four at Homestead-Miami in two weeks. Ross Chastain took a second place finish in a Cameo role for Niece Racing and Austin Cindric had another solid race with a third place finish. Chase contender Tyler Reddick went airborne in a wreck on Lap 161 after reacting to Chase Briscoe checking up high in Turn 2. Reddick still holds a slim edge over fifth place Briscoe going into the final race in the Round of 8.
Kevin Harvick had a so-so race throughout most of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup AAA Texas 500, but the important thing is that he survived the carnage of a Stage 1 that was plagued by seven caution periods that shook up the field and the standings. Sitting eighth in the standings, Chase Elliott needed a strong finish if he didn’t want to go into next week’s race at IMS facing a must-win situation. He swiped the wall trying to get too much in Turn 2, effectively ending his chances of a good finish.
Harvick won Stage 1 from the pole before falling off the pace giving his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola the chance to take the Stage 2 win. SHR swept the top three places, with Daniel Suárez rounding out the Top Three.