Saturday was an extremely cold day for everyone in the XFINITY Series except for the Number 22 of Ryan Blaney. Sunday started off dismally as rain soaked the track early. Kyle Busch held off a late charge by Kevin Harvick to win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Many drivers who were thought to have strong chances to win at Texas were taken out early by accidents.
Blaney Continues Strong Run of 22 Car by Dominating at Texas
Almost from the moment he jumped in the car on a “cold, cold” Saturday, Ryan Blaney put on a show for fans of the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Blaney blasted off when the green flag waved and took the green checkers for the Stage 1 win. Brandon Jones, winner of the second stage, was involved in a wreck at lap 99 that took him out of the race. Blaney held off a last-minute charge by the 20 of Christopher Bell to win by 2.327 seconds, finishing with a race high of 132 laps led. Christopher Bell took the 20 to second and Daniel Hemric took his Number 21 to third.
Harvick Survives Two Road Issues to Finish Second to Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick drove his Stewart-Haas Racing Number 4 hard and fast from the drop of the green and handily won the first stage. Just over halfway into the second stage, Kyle Larson blew the right front and hit the outside wall hard. A lug nut bounced into the jack and hung it up temporarily during the ensuing pit stop, causing Harvick to come out in eighth.
Red-Hot Speed On a Cold Day
Kyle Busch set a blistering pace for the rest of the second stage, leaving only 13 on the lead lap when he took the green checkered flag for the stage win. Almirola got Denny Hamlin loose on lap 179, helping to trigger a seven-car wreck that took out some early favorites (Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, David Ragan, and Jimmie Johnson).
Chaos On the Track
During the ensuing red flag period Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers blamed the jammed jack on the new equipment that NASCAR has mandated. There were only 11 left on the lead lap when the race resumed after a seven minute red flag period. There was good action throughout the pack until about 128 to go, when things calmed down and the cars got strung out with only occasional passing going on.
Harvick Takes Second
By 34 to go there were only five drivers left on the lead lap, but a number of drivers took the wave-around during a late-race caution to get back on the lead lap to make it interesting. Harvick overcame a series of pit road woes to fight back to a second place finish behind Kyle Busch, while Jamie Mac drove his Chip Gannasi Racing Number 1 to third, his best finish this season.
Lug Nuts Pose Problems for Four Teams at Martinsville
Looking back two weeks to the Martinsville race weekend, four teams were penalized after the race for loose lug nuts. All four were Cup teams in the STP 500 that was held Monday due to bad weather over the weekend.
The four teams penalized were the Number 3 Richard Childress Racing car of Austin Dillon, the Penske Racing Number 12 of Ryan Blaney, Michael McDowell’s Front Row Racing Number 34, and the Chip Gannasi Racing Number 42 of Kyle Larson. A $10,000 fine was levied against each of the crew chiefs - Justin Alexander, Jeremy Bullins, Derrick Finley and Chad Johnston, respectively.
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
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