Check out some on the best radio chatter from the AAA Texas 500 , as Jimmie Johnson claims his 5th win of the 2015 campaign and Joey Logano looks to climb out of a Texas -sized hole.
RELATED: Cut tire puts Logano in a hole How did a sunny Saturday in Texas lead to an hours-long weather delay that wiped out all but the NASCAR XFINITY Series race? That was one of the questions posed to NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday morning. "It was unique and was certainly frustrating," O'Donnell said of the situation, which was hampered by early morning showers and unusually heavy rain in Texas throughout October. "It's really hard where you have an environment where, you know, it's not raining, the fans look at it and say 'What's going on here?' " The main culprits in the delays were weepers, small cuts in the track where water pours out and streams across the racing surface. The weepers caused difficulties drying the track because, when the sun finally did come out, the heat helped pull the water up and out and compounded the problem, O'Donnell explained. Two Sprint Cup practices and XFINITY qualifying were canceled due to the delays, and the absence of the Cup practices, O'Donnell said, carried over into Sunday's AAA Texas 500 . Tire issues, first involving Joey Logano , whose left-rear shredded on Lap 10, put teams in a precarious guessing game early in the race. "I think Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. probably summed it up best in terms of talking about the lack of that last practice, (where) a lot of times teams really dial in the tire pressures," O'Donnell said. "Some would go perhaps too far, and you saw some of that happen early in Sunday's race. You didn't see that later in the race." Defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick also experienced tire trouble early in the race, but crew chief Rodney Childers claimed it was debris that caused it, as heard on the in-race driver-crew chief audio. "I think there were one or two where it was debris on the track, and that happens," O'Donnell said. "We do everything we can to make sure there's nothing on the race track." Logano's tire failure and subsequent damage to the No. 22 Team Penske Ford led to him going to the garage and finishing 40th. He is eighth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, 63 points below the cutoff line, heading into Phoenix. Facing a must-win situation at Phoenix in order to advance to the Championship 4, Logano's team won't have much time to dwell on the Texas result, but one wonders whether a final practice Saturday evening would have made a difference. "That was a lot of discussion in the garage area ... we talked to the drivers, the crew chiefs," O'Donnell said about the decision to not hold a final Sprint Cup practice after the XFINITY Series race. "There's a lot on the line and we certainly want to make every effort to get practice in, but after having those discussions, the teams felt like they were ready to start setting up the cars for the race and preparing for Sunday."
With the way the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was turning laps around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 , you'd think a certain former premier series champion was behind the wheel. Instead, it was 19-year-old Erik Jones . Filling in for the suspended Matt Kenseth , Jones -- in just his second career Sprint Cup Series start and third Sprint Cup appearance, all of which were in other drivers' cars -- spent much of the day in the top 10 in what proved to be a challenging race for some of the sport's most seasoned vets. Jones wasn't invincible to the rampant tire issues that plagued many, having a right-front go down and tearing up the nose of his Toyota Camry, but he battled back to finish 12th, a more-than-acceptable result for a driver still earning his stripes. "I wish we could have been a little stronger there at the end," Jones said on pit road after the race. "We had that right-front go down and it tore the nose up pretty good so kind of took us out of a shot at a top-10. To still come home 12th is a good day for us." Jones -- originally scheduled to run both the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series races -- had to change his Sunday plans when he learned on Thursday that Matt Kenseth had lost both appeals to get his suspension dropped and that a replacement was needed. His doubleheader quickly turned into a tripleheader, and a successful one at that. The Kyle Busch Motorsports/ Joe Gibbs Racing driver built on his points lead with a win in Friday's Truck Series race and followed it up with a fourth-place showing in Saturday's XFINITY event. Perhaps the biggest things he'll take away from the weekend, however, are the lessons learned on Sunday. "You really have to be on top of your game and if you have any mistake like we did with the right-front, it really takes you out of any shot you have to run well," said Jones. "Just staying in it and staying out front, that's the biggest thing you need to do. I thought we did a decent job of staying in the top 10 all day up to that point. Other than that, it was a good day for us." Jones, who also mentioned he's "ready to take a day off" after the busy weekend, gets to do it all again (the tripleheade that is) next weekend. Kenseth's suspension will keep him out until Homestead, thus "The Kid" will suit up once more for the Eliminator Round finale at Phoenix. Jones picked up his first career NASCAR national series victory there in 2013 at the age of 17 in the November Truck Series race, then backed it up the following year with another. With an added week of preparation with No. 20 crew chief Jason Ratcliff, the combination sets himself up for even higher expectations in his third career start. So does he feel he could win? "I'd like to think so," Jones said. "My fortune has been very good at Phoenix, it's a track I really like and actually JGR was there testing a month or two ago. I feel pretty good about it and feel going there we have a good package. "I feel confident in my ability and think that's definitely a place where we can go up and run top-10. You never know, if the weekend is going well we could probably be up front and challenge for it."
Inspection issues at Texas Motor Speedway will cost the Go Green Racing team with driver Joey Gase and the Premium Motorsports entry with Ryan Preece 15 minutes of practice time this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway . The two teams were among seven teams receiving warnings and/or time penalties prior to last week’s NASCAR events at Texas Motor Speedway . Gase, who did not qualify for the AAA Texas 500 , will be required to sit out the first 15 minutes of opening practice Friday at PIR after the No. 32 team failed the Laser Inspection Station (LIS) portion of pre-qualifying inspection three times. The No. 98 of Preece failed the LIS four times, also during pre-qualifying, resulting in the loss of practice time. The No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports ), the No. 95 of Michael McDowell ( Leavine Family Racing ) and the No. 23 of Jeb Burton ( BK Racing ) received written warnings for failing the LIS twice. On the XFINITY Series side, the No. 18 of Daniel Suarez ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) also failed on its first two attempts. The laser inspection platform, in use since the start of the 2013 season, measures specific points underneath each car, such as camber, wheelbase and rear axle positioning. Measurements are within 1/1,000th of an inch in most cases. The No. 20 XFINITY Series entry with driver Erik Jones ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) also received a written warning. The first practice for Sprint Cup Series teams this weekend at Phoenix is scheduled to get underway on Friday at 2 p.m. ET.
RELATED: Updated series standings " Chase Grid FORT WORTH, Texas -- Martin Truex Jr . said he wasn't sure if there was or wasn't contact, and having just climbed from his No. 78 Chevrolet on pit road, he hadn't had time to survey the side of Furniture Row Racing entry. But the distinctive donut, the result of contact with the tire of another car, was hard to miss just below the driver's-side window. "We just got together a little bit on the front straightaway," Truex said of late-race contact with Brad Keselowski as the two battled for the lead in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway . "I don't know if I went down or he came up. He said he thought he came up. It's all good, it's hard racing." A loose wheel and power steering issue -- the issue was that he had none -- dropped Truex from contending for the win to hanging on for a top 10. He finished eighth, and is fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with only one race remaining to determine the field of four that will compete for the championship later this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "We had a chance at the win there, I think," said Truex. "Racing with Brad at the end and the right front started shaking and the car just got really tight. Then it was just (a matter) of trying to keep the thing on there for 15 laps and make it to the end. It's just a shame. We had a really good car today. "The 2 (of Keselowski) was stout all day long but toward the end it looked like we got a little bit closer to him. Before that last caution we were actually catching him a bit. I don't know; I wished we would have finished better but all in all I guess it was an OK day." RELATED: Keselowski discusses racing with Truex Consistency helped put the No. 78 in the Chase picture, and a win earlier this season at Pocono Raceway guaranteed his spot in the 16-team field. He had 14 top-10 finishes in his first 15 starts to open the season. And that consistency is starting to resurface with four finishes of eighth or better in his last five starts. Truex led only a single lap, but given Keselowski's dominance on the day, few others spent any time out front as well. His team managed to avoid the tire issues that plagued some teams on the 1.5-mile track, and he quickly showed that his 23rd-place qualifying effort wasn't a sign of things to come. It helped his cause, he said, that Keselowski was unable to win and thus sew up one of the remaining spots in the finale. "That certainly helped a little bit. I was cheering pretty hard for Jimmie Johnson ," Truex said of Johnson's pass for the lead in the waning laps. " … We're still in good shape. Next week would have been a lot easier had we gotten second or third and we had a chance at it. It's disappointing when those finishes slip away but … all in all we're in good shape." Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Ford for Team Penske , was quick to confer with his rival on pit road. Though disappointed with the outcome -- Keselowski led 312 of 334 laps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race only to lose the lead to Johnson four laps from the finish -- there appeared to be no ill feelings as a result of the contact with Truex. "It certainly is never helpful when you make contact with another car, your own car or theirs, Keselowski said. "As far as whether it hurt my car or not, I couldn't answer that."
Miss Coors Light, Amanda Mertz, chats with AAA Texas 500 Coors Light Pole Award winner, Brad Keselowski, about his No. 2 Ford, which was fastest in all three rounds of qualifying.
Take a look back at the AAA Texas 500 from Texas Motor Speedway as tire trouble plagued some Chasers, and Jimmie Johnson chased down Brad Keselowski for his third consecutive win at the Texas track.
NASCAR.com’s Matt Strickert talks with Jimmie Johnson in Victory Lane after he made a late-race pass over Brad Keselowski to win the AAA Texas 500 .
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Below is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Texas Motor Speedway : 1. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson ran the bottom line to make up time and catch then-leader Brad Keselowski en route to his third straight Texas win (sixth overall). " RELATED: NASCAR.com goes 1-on-1 with Johnson in Victory Lane 2. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . The pole sitter led 312 laps and was just four circuits shy of punching his ticket to the Championship 4. " RELATED: Keselowski dominates but can't seal the deal 3. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Desperate to defend his 2014 championship title, Harvick rebounded from a couple cut tires and even spent some of Sunday's race driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the shifter because his car kept popping out of gear. " RELATED: Harvick overcomes adversity for top-three finish 4. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . NASCAR took the splitters from Kyle Busch and two of his Joe Gibbs teammates, but that didn't seem to deter Busch, who led a lap and kept his name in the hat for the Championship 4. " RELATED: NASCAR confiscates splitters for three JGR teams 5. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards recorded his seventh top-five Texas finish after spending most of the race in the top 10. 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt held onto a car that was "wrecking loose" and was the beneficiary twice en route to his 16th top-10 at Texas . 7. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Kurt Busch raced his way back into the top 10 on Lap 174 after dropping back to 22nd when his pit crew missed a few lugnuts during an early stop. " RELATED: Chase bubble watch post- Texas 8. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex, one of the biggest movers early, had to hold on tight in the closing laps due to a lack of power steering. " RELATED: Truex keeps title hopes alive with tough Texas run 9. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . While most teams were sweating the lack of practice due to Saturday's rain, Gordon and the No. 24 team could breathe easy thanks to their Martinsville win last weekend. 10. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray picked up his third straight Texas top-10 after stopping for two tires only during the final caution period. 11. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . After a lengthy chassis adjustment to help over the bumps, Dillon cracked the top 10 with 50 laps left in Sunday's race and went on to record his best Texas finish. 12. Erik Jones , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Subbing in for a suspended Matt Kenseth , Jones qualified sixth -- his best Cup start -- and managed his best Cup result. 13. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard went from being on the splitter during the first part of Sunday's race to needing help over the bumps en route to his eighth top-15 at Texas . 14. Brian Scott , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Scott turned in a solid run in his first Cup appearance at Texas . 15. Clint Bowyer , No. 15, Michael Waltrip Racing . "Stay after it," spotter Brett Griffin encouraged Bowyer as he was running 15th and chasing down the competition ahead of him. " RELATED: Hear driver audio on RACEVIEW . 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . After making her best Texas start (11th ), Patrick spent the race fighting a loose-handling condition. 17. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger restarted 20th on the final caution and picked up a few spots running the high line. 18. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Better on long runs, Almirola climbed through the field after an early penalty on pit road. 19. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . A hole in the cowl cover from the flat tire under green-flag conditions impacted Biffle late in Sunday's race. 20. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . " I think something is broken," Kahne reported as he faded from 12th in the final 25 laps. " RELATED: Hear driver audio on RACEVIEW . 21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . " The front is shot," Stenhouse reported to his team as he made his green-flag stop for four tires and fuel with 81 laps left in Sunday's race. 22. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was running ninth when he had a left-rear tire go down on Lap 145, and he made an unscheduled pit stop. 23. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan dropped through the field after he had to make an extra stop early in Sunday's race for damage sustained when leaving pit road on Lap 26. 24. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . A vibration with 100 laps to go prompted Hornish to give up the battle for the beneficiary pass and hit pit road. 25. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Looking for rear grip, Cassill was running 26th and racing for the beneficiary pass on Lap 201. 26. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . With Sunday's finish, Mears keeps his streak alive and has completed all 23 events he's attempted at Texas . 27. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt's biggest challenge mirrored that of the competition -- endure the ever-changing handling thanks to tire wear. 28. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier picked up six spots within the first eight laps but consistently dealt with a tight handling condition in the center of the turns. 29. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The longer green-flag run helped the handling of Gilliland's car. 30. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Handling was a persistent issue for Moffitt, who radioed his team early in the race, "The rear feels like it's on ice, especially on throttle." " RELATED: Hear driver audio on RACEVIEW . 31. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett improved upon his April appearance at the intermediate Texas track. 32. Jeb Burton , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . A 2013 victor at Texas in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Burton made his first Cup appearance at the 1.5-mile Fort Worth oval on Sunday. 33. J.J. Yeley, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley led Lap 55 during the fourth caution period before reporting to pit road for service. 34. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing . McDowell ran as high as 13th on Sunday, but was trapped on pit road when the eighth caution flag waved. 35. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto fared better during long green-flag runs and was in striking distance of his best Texas result. 36. Ryan Preece , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. The Texas newcomer started from the rear of the field after an engine change. 37. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson's best Texas start opened strong, but was stalled when he experienced a left-rear tire issue on Lap 101 to bring out the caution flag. 38. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . A mechanical issue (fuel pump) sent Hamlin to the garage early in Sunday's contest. 39. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne lost his right-rear tire and cut his brake line after getting into the wall on Lap 197 to bring out the eighth caution flag. 40. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano, now in a must-win situation going into Phoenix, was briefly sidelined when his left-rear tire exploded on Lap 10. " RELATED: Logano goes for a spin early 41. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman made his way into the top 25 before encountering a motor issue. 42. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart's day was done after he got loose and spun through the grass on Lap 52. 43. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Blaney dropped from the top 10 and headed for the garage after hitting the Turn 2 wall on Lap 25.
Members of the NASCAR.com editorial team make their predictions for the second race of the Eliminator Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Texas Motor Speedway ( AAA Texas 500 , 2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). Zack Albert Kyle Busch : With four top fives in his most recent five Texas starts, Busch has Lone Star momentum that could carry him to Homestead's championship round. Expect the best Chase of his career to get that much better with six-shooters a-blazin' in Victory Lane. Kenny Bruce Kevin Harvick : The defending champ flexes his muscle and earns a shot at his second crown. Brad Norman Kevin Harvick : Forget all the talk about Harvick winning next week at Phoenix -- although he may do that, too -- to advance in the Chase. The defending series champ will earn his way back to Homestead with a dominant outing on Sunday. George Winkler Joey Logano : He had arguably the best car again last week before Matt Kenseth wrecked him, so provided Joey can stay focused within a media circus, he'll have a great chance at a track where he has won as recently as spring 2014. Kathy Sheldon Kyle Larson : Pressure's peaking among the Eliminator 8, creating a huge distraction. And Larson has top-10 finishes at two of his four career Sprint Cup races at Texas . Larson likes big, fast tracks, and that's Texas Motor Speedway . RJ Kraft Kyle Busch : The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has a solid history at Texas (he won there in 2013) and it's his best track left on the schedule. Look for "Rowdy" to join Jeff Gordon by locking up a Championship 4 spot. Pat DeCola Jimmie Johnson : In or out of title contention, a winless Jimmie Johnson in the Chase just isn't a thing that happens. The three-time defending victor of this race will add a fourth straight trip to Victory Lane and ride out of Fort Worth wearing yet another black hat. Taylor Starer Joey Logano : Logano is coming off a rough week at Martinsville, where his 37th-place finish dropped him to last in the Chase standings. This year's Daytona 500 winner is looking for redemption, along with a ticket to the Championship 4 Round. Maggie MacKenzie Brad Keselowski : The Team Penske driver has been racing under the radar throughout the Chase, but the AAA Texas 500 could change everything. Keselowski, who sits sixth on the Chase Grid, statistically has done well at Texas and earned a top-five result in the spring race.