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Out Front with Miss Coors Light: AAA Texas 500
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.
Best in-car audio from the AAA Texas 500
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.
Stats advance: Analyzing the AAA Texas 500
A statistical look ahead to the second race of the Eliminator Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Statistical Advance: Analyzing the AAA Texas 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 27, 2014) – Below is a look at the Eliminator 8 – and beyond – at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas going into the AAA Texas 500 on November 2. ESPN’s coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET and the race is scheduled for 3 p.m. TEXAS -SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.3 2014 Rundown · Four wins, 13 top fives, 21 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.1 · Led 24 races for 873 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, nine top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 17.2 in 27 races · Average Running Position of 13.9, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 92.3, ninth-best · 323 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · 4,067 Laps in the Top 15 (63.9%), eighth-most 2 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.4 2014 Rundown · Four top fives, 15 top 10s · Average finish of 13.0 · Led 7 races for 41 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, three top fives, five top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 19.1 in 22 races · Average Running Position of 20.1, 22nd-best · Driver Rating of 73.1, 21st-best · 1,479 Green Flag Passes, second-most 3 - Joey Logano (No. 22 AAA Insurance Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.9 2014 Rundown · Five wins, 16 top fives, 21 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.3 · Led 21 races for 976 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, four top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 18.4 in 12 races · Average Running Position of 19.3, 20th-best · Driver Rating of 77.1, 19th-best 4 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.8 2014 Rundown · 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.3 · Led 19 races for 470 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, 13 top fives, 17 top 10s · Average finish of 8.3 in 24 races · Series-best Average Running Position of 9.4 · Series-best Driver Rating of 106.1 · 353 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 1,448 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 173.587 mph, second-fastest · Series-high 5,045 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%) · 742 Quality Passes, second-most 5 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.9 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, 15 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 14.9 · Led 15 races for 286 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, five top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 10.8 in 17 races · Average Running Position of 12.4, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 93.8, seventh-best · 179 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most · 1,380 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 173.154 mph, 10th-fastest · 3,931 Laps in the Top 15 (69.0%), 10th-most · 742 Quality Passes, second-most 6 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.4 2014 Rundown · Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 14.7 · Led 11 races for 135 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.5 in 19 races · Average Running Position of 12.4, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 96.9, sixth-best · 361 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 1,240 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 173.402 mph, fourth-fastest · 4,573 Laps in the Top 15 (71.9%), fifth-most · 716 Quality Passes, fifth-most 7 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.4 2014 Rundown · Six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; five poles · Average finish of 13.5 · Led 26 races for 1,518 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 19.5 in 12 races · Average Running Position of 18.1, 18th-best · Driver Rating of 78.8, 18th-best · 164 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most 8 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.3 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; eight poles · Average finish of 14.0 · Led 24 races for 1,817 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Three top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 13.6 in 23 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 15th-best · Driver Rating of 83.3, 14th-best · 1,461 Green Flag Passes, third-most · 3,706 Laps in the Top 15 (58.2%), 12th-most · 685 Quality Passes, seventh-most 9 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.2 2014 Rundown · One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 16.8 · Led 15 races for 453 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, seven top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.4 in 18 races · Average Running Position of 10.8, third-best · Driver Rating of 102.2, fourth-best · 353 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 173.610 mph · 4,448 Laps in the Top 15 (73.8%), sixth-most · 641 Quality Passes, 10th-most 10 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.7 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 19.9 · Led 5 races for 68 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Two top 10s · Average finish of 21.7 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 22.1, 28th-best · Driver Rating of 68.5, 25th-best 11 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.5 2014 Rundown · Four wins, 12 top fives, 18 top 10s · Average finish of 12.5 · Led 16 races for 379 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, four top fives, 13 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.0 in 24 races · Average Running Position of 13.1, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 90.4, 10th-best · 216 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 1,346 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 173.243 mph, eighth-fastest · 4,624 Laps in the Top 15 (72.7%), fourth-most · 736 Quality Passes, fourth-most 12 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Red Vest Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.5 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.2 · Led 16 races for 1,119 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Three wins, 10 top fives, 16 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 9.5 in 22 races · Average Running Position of 11.4, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 103.6, second-best · Series-high 522 Fastest Laps Run · Average Green Flag Speed of 173.393 mph, fifth-fastest · 4,666 Laps in the Top 15 (73.3%), third-most · 681 Quality Passes, eighth-most 13 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.7 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 16.0 · Led 7 races for 110 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, eight top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.7 in 21 races · Average Running Position of 12.0, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 102.2, third-best · 473 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 173.543 mph, third-fastest · 4,797 Laps in the Top 15 (75.4%), second-most · Series-high 784 Quality Passes 14 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.0 2014 Rundown · One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 17.1 · Led 12 races for 218 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, five top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 17.7 in 20 races · Average Running Position of 14.9, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 85.4, 13th-best · 223 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 1,398 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · 3,957 Laps in the Top 15 (62.2%), ninth-most · 688 Quality Passes, sixth-most 15 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.6 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 19.9 · Led 13 races for 204 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 16.3 in 23 races · Average Running Position of 15.3, 14th-best · Driver Rating of 86.5, 12th-best · 193 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most · 1,451 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Farmland Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.6 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 21.5 · Led 5 races for 23 laps Texas Motor Speedway Outlook: · One top 10 · Average finish of 19.6 in seven races · Average Running Position of 21.4, 24th-best · Driver Rating of 68.2, 26th-best The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Eliminator 8 at Texas Motor Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Jeff Gordon 27 2 1 9 12 6 17.2 92.3 2 Ryan Newman 22 2 1 3 5 3 19.1 73.1 3 Joey Logano 12 0 1 4 4 1 18.4 77.1 4 Matt Kenseth 24 0 2 13 17 0 8.3 106.1 5 Denny Hamlin 17 0 2 5 9 0 10.8 93.8 6 Carl Edwards 19 1 3 6 8 4 15.5 96.9 7 Brad Keselowski 12 0 0 1 3 0 19.5 78.8 8 Kevin Harvick 23 0 0 3 11 1 13.6 83.3 * – Based on last 19 races at Texas Motor Speedway (2005 – 2014). Texas Motor Speedway: History · Construction on Texas Motor Speedway began in 1995. · The first NASCAR national series race at TMS was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on April 5, 1997 – won by Mark Martin . · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was on April 6, 1997 – won by Jeff Burton . · The track underwent a repave between the 2001 and 2002 seasons. · In 2011, the spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was moved from Sunday to Saturday night under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway . · Texas Motor Speedway hosted its first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on November 6, 2005 – won by Carl Edwards. Notebook · There have been 27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway , one NSCS event from 1997 - 2004 and two races per year since 2005. · 138 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas ; 111 in more than one. · Jeff Gordon is the only drive to have made all 27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway . · Jeremy Mayfield was the first Coors Light pole winner, in 1998 with a speed of 185.906 mph. The inaugural Coors Light pole at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997 was cancelled due to weather conditions. · 19 drivers have Coors Light poles at Texas , led by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon , Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. with two each. · Two drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Texas Motor Speedway : Bobby Labonte (2003 and 2004) and Ryan Newman (2005 sweep). · Youngest Texas Coors Light pole winner: Brian Vickers (11/05/2006 – 23 years, 0 months, 12 days). · Oldest Texas Coors Light pole winner: Bill Elliott (4/08/2002 – 46 years, 6 months, 0 days). · 18 different drivers have won at Texas Motor Speedway , led by Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson with three each. · Seven drivers have multiple wins at Texas Motor Speedway : Carl Edwards (three), Jimmie Johnson (three), Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton , Denny Hamlin , Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart each have two. · Roush Fenway Racing leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with nine; followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five and Joe Gibbs Racing with four. · Three of the 27 (11.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; Kasey Kahne (2006), Jimmie Johnson (2012) and Kyle Busch (2013). · The third-place starting position is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Texas Motor Speedway , producing more wins than any other starting position (five) – most recent: Jimmie Johnson (fall 2013). · Six of the 27 (22.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway have been won from the front row: three from the pole and three from second-place. · 21 of the 27 (77.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Four of the 27 (14.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Texas Motor Speedway is 31st, by Matt Kenseth in 2002. · Youngest Texas winner: Joey Logano (03/30/2003 – 23 years, 10 months, 14 days). · Oldest Texas winner: Dale Jarrett (04/01/2001 – 44 years, 4 months, 6 days). · Jimmie Johnson leads the series in runner-up finishes at Texas Motor Speedway with five; followed by Matt Kenseth with four. · Matt Kenseth leads the series in top-five finishes at Texas Motor Speedway with 13; followed by Jimmie Johnson with 10. · Matt Kenseth leads the series lead in top-10 finishes at Texas Motor Speedway with 17; followed by Jimmie Johnson with 16 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 13. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Texas Motor Speedway with an 8.818. Johnson is the only active driver with an average starting position at Texas in the top 10. · Two active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top 10 at Texas : Matt Kenseth (8.250) and Jimmie Johnson (9.455). · There have been three NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Texas Motor Speedway : fall 2006 (334/339), spring 2008 (334/339), and fall 2012 (334/335). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions twice in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway ; the inaugural event in 1997 and spring 2007. The race has never been rain shortened. · Casey Mears has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway without posting a DNF (20). · Jeff Burton (4/06/1997) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4/02/2000) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career race at Texas Motor Speedway . · David Ragan (4/09/2011) and Martin Truex Jr. (11/04/2007) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Texas Motor Speedway . · 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski (11/02/2008) and Trevor Bayne (11/07/2010) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Texas Motor Speedway . · Two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Texas Motor Speedway : Carl Edwards (2008 sweep) and Denny Hamlin (2010 sweep). · 11 of the 12 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Texas Motor Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Texas in his first appearance; Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman won in their second appearance at TMS. · Jeff Gordon competed at Texas Motor Speedway 16 times before winning in the spring of 2009; the longest span of any the 12 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Only three of the 12 winning drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Texas Motor Speedway : Jeff Gordon (16) Kyle Busch (15) and Kurt Busch (13). · Kevin Harvick and Joe Nemechek lead the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 23 each. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway was the (4/4/2004) race won by Elliott Sadler with a MOV of 0.028 second ahead of Kasey Kahne . · Two female drivers have made NSCS starts at Texas Motor Speedway : Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 24 27 4/7/2014 Danica Patrick 30 25 11/3/2013 Danica Patrick 42 28 4/13/2013 Danica Patrick 32 24 11/4/2012 Shawna Robinson 16 36 4/8/2002 · Tony Stewart leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Laps Led at Texas Motor Speedway with 801 laps led in 24 starts. · Jeff Gordon leads all active NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers in Laps Completed at Texas Motor Speedway with 7,990 laps. · One NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has won at Texas Motor Speedway in two different manufacturers: Jeff Burton (1997 – Ford; 2007 – Chevrolet) NASCAR in Texas · There have been 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among three tracks in the state of Texas . Track Name City NSCS Texas Motor Speedway Fort Worth 27 Texas World Speedway College Station 8 Meyer Speedway Houston 1 · 80 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Texas . · 10 drivers from Texas have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. Six of the nine Texas native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Terry Labonte 22 11 1 Bobby Labonte 21 10 1 A.J. Foyt 7 0 0 Billy Wade 4 0 0 Bobby Hillin Jr 1 2 0 Johnny Rutherford 1 0 0 Chris Buescher 0 1 0 James Buescher 0 1 6 David Starr 0 0 4 Colin Braun 0 0 1 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
AAA Texas 500 entry list
See who will compete as the Sprint Cup Series returns to Texas RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 1 Jamie McMurray Felix Sabates Keith Rodden 14 Chevrolet McDonald's 2 2 Brad Keselowski Roger Penske Paul Wolfe 14 Ford Miller Lite 3 3 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Gil Martin 14 Chevrolet Dow 4 4 Kevin Harvick Tony Stewart Rodney Childers 14 Chevrolet Budweiser 5 5 Kasey Kahne Linda Hendrick Kenny Francis 14 Chevrolet Great Clips 6 7 Michael Annett Tommy Baldwin Kevin Manion 14 Chevrolet Cypress HQ Chevrolet 7 9 Marcos Ambrose Richard Petty Drew Blickensderfer 14 Ford DeWALT 8 10 Danica Patrick Tony Stewart Daniel Knost 14 Chevrolet GoDaddy 9 11 Denny Hamlin J D Gibbs Darian Grubb 14 Toyota FedEx Office 10 13 Casey Mears Bob Germain Bootie Barker III 14 Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 11 14 Tony Stewart Margaret Haas Chad Johnston 14 Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 12 15 Clint Bowyer Rob Kauffman Brian Pattie 14 Toyota 5-Hour Energy 13 16 Greg Biffle Jack Roush Matt Puccia 14 Ford Ortho Fire Ant Killer Fusion 14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr John Henry Michael Kelley 14 Ford EcoPower Oil Fusion 15 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Dave Rogers 14 Toyota M&M's 16 20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Jason Ratcliff 14 Toyota Dollar General 17 21 Trevor Bayne(i) Glen Wood Donnie Wingo 14 Ford Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 18 22 Joey Logano Walter Czarnecki Todd Gordon 14 Ford AAA Insurance 19 23 Alex Bowman Ron Devine Dave Winston 14 Toyota Dr. Pepper 20 24 Jeff Gordon Rick Hendrick Alan Gustafson 14 Chevrolet Drive To End Hunger 21 26 Cole Whitt Anthony Marlowe Randy Cox 14 Toyota Speed Stick Gear 22 27 Paul Menard Richard Childress Justin Alexander 14 Chevrolet Richmond / Menards 23 31 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Luke Lambert 14 Chevrolet Caterpillar 24 32 Joey Gase(i) Frank Stoddard Jr Clinton Cram 14 Ford 24/7 E-Cigs 25 33 David Stremme Joe Falk Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet 26 34 David Ragan Bob Jenkins Derrick Finley 14 Ford DOCKSIDE LOGISTICS 27 36 Reed Sorenson Allan Heinke Todd Parrott 14 Chevrolet Accell Construction 28 38 David Gilliland Brad Jenkins Jay Guy 14 Ford LOVE'S TRAVEL STOPS 29 40 Landon Cassill(i) Michael Hillman Mark Hillman 14 Chevrolet TBA 30 41 Kurt Busch Gene Haas Tony Gibson 14 Chevrolet Haas Automation 31 42 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Chris Heroy 14 Chevrolet Target 32 43 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Trent Owens 14 Ford Farmland 33 47 A J Allmendinger Tad Geschickter Brian Burns 14 Chevrolet Clorox 34 48 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Chad Knaus 14 Chevrolet Lowe's Red Vest 35 51 Justin Allgaier Harry Scott Jr Steve Addington 14 Chevrolet Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau 36 55 Brian Vickers Michael Waltrip Billy Scott 14 Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 37 66 Brett Moffitt Jay Robinson Scott Eggleston 14 Toyota Royal Teak Collection.com 38 78 Martin Truex Jr Barney Visser Todd Berrier 14 Chevrolet Furniture Row 39 83 J J Yeley(i) Ron Devine Joe Williams 14 Toyota Zak Products 40 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Rick Hendrick Steve Letarte 14 Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew 41 95 Michael McDowell Bob Leavine Wally Rogers 14 Ford Tommy Williams Drywall 42 98 Josh Wise Mike Curb Gene Nead 14 Chevrolet Provident Metals 43 99 Carl Edwards Jack Roush James Fennig 14 Ford Aflac MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
NASCAR.com's Texas race predictions
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.
Keselowski's dominance takes late Texas tumble
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Brad Keselowski maintained all weekend that in order to win his second Sprint Cup Series championship, he was going to need to win two of the next three races. The 2012 champion got his one loss out of the way early. Keselowski's No. 2 Ford Fusion was the beginning, middle and end of the story of Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway , dominating the field from the pole to a tune of 312 of 334 laps led -- but a second-place finish resulted after being passed by race-winner Jimmie Johnson on the final run of the afternoon. "We need to win the next two. I understand that. But I think we have a great opportunity to do it, as well," said Keselowski. " … We know if we keep running like we have the last two weeks, you know, we'll win races." Throughout the race, it appeared the only thing capable of stopping the No. 2 was a looming potential tire issue -- something many heavy hitters, including his teammate, Joey Logano , experienced -- but the changes his and Johnson's teams made during the last round of pit stops shifted the performance tide greatly. RELATED: Tire issues crop up early at Texas Keselowski did all he could to hold off Johnson, but the speed of the No. 48 and a potential alignment shift after contact with Martin Truex Jr .'s No. 78 -- which the Team Penske driver admitted, "probably didn't help either of us," -- allowed the six-time champion to take the lead with four laps to go and maintain the position. Despite the contact, Keselowski had nothing but kind words, post-race, concerning the wheelman of the No. 78. Heck of a job. Pleasure racing hard with you as well. If @Team_Penske can't win the championship, I hope you do. https://t.co/tnZHAifcDs — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) November 9, 2015 "The 48 car had mega turn that last run and I couldn't keep the turn and it kept pushing real bad. I did everything I could to hold him off but he was way faster that last run," Keselowski said. "Their team did a hell of a job and found speed and my team did a hell of a job, too. We led 300-some laps and these debris yellows always favor someone and it wasn't our day for them to favor us. "… We had damn near a flawless day … I'm sure we could have done something different. I don't know if I could have, but we could have. We'll have to go to work and try to figure it out." Johnson, whose victory gives him a certifiable monopoly on the Texas fall race with four trips to Victory Lane in a row, mentioned that he "just kept trying to put pressure on (Keselowski) hoping for a mistake," but it was evident that a mistake wasn't even needed. Keselowski did not err, he just didn't possess the car necessary on the final run to land in the winner's circle and lock himself into the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks. As it stands, Keselowski is sixth in points and 19 behind fourth-place Truex. As he noted, a win will likely be needed to advance. If he does, the No. 2 car could be the odds-on favorite. Homestead and Texas share many similarities and teams will be using the same Goodyear tire run Sunday at the Fort Worth track. "As strong as we ran today, if we carry that over to Homestead, good Lord, watch out," he said. "We know we need to win the next two to win the championship. The good news is we have that opportunity. That's the way I look at it."
Annett's hauler catches fire en route to Texas
Photo credits: KLTV.com The weekend for the No. 46 HScott Motorsports team heading to Texas Motor Speedway started off in a surprising manner after their hauler caught fire en route to the track on Thursday. Michael Dennis Smith, who was driving the trailer on Interstate 20, told KLTV 7 TV, an ABC affiliate in East Texas , that he and a passenger did not suffer any injuries from the event. Smith was hauling two NASCAR stock cars in preparation for the racing weekend at Texas . Officers responded to the scene, closing down traffic on the westbound side of the highway, according to KLTV 7. Michael Annett is scheduled to race the No. 46 Chevrolet in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). HScott Motorsports ensured fans, via Twitter, that this would not affect the team's on-track plans. The No. 46 hauler caught fire today on way to TMS. Happy to report everyone is safe. Expect 46 to race #AAATX500 ! pic.twitter.com/gUpLQQr3sE — HScott Motorsports (@TeamHSM51) November 5, 2015 UPDATE: On Friday, the 46 team went to work transforming Justin Allgaier 's backup car into Annett's ride for Texas . . @MichaelAnnett is getting comfortable in his new ride. Lots of work to do this morning. pic.twitter.com/JxEWudEPIo — HSM Team 46 (@TeamHSM46) November 6, 2015 Annett also took to Twitter over the weekend to take his team, Allgaier and BK Racing for their help. Want to say a special thank you to all the @Team_HSM guys for all of their hard work. #TeamMA — Michael Annett (@MichaelAnnett) November 7, 2015 Need to thank @J_Allgaier and the guys from @BKRacing_2383 for helping out as well. #TeamMA pic.twitter.com/cydOSTkQQd — Michael Annett (@MichaelAnnett) November 7, 2015 I can't thank everybody in the @NASCAR garage enough especially the whole @Team_HSM organization. The guys and girls have worked so hard — Michael Annett (@MichaelAnnett) November 8, 2015 It's now time to go out today and get a finish they deserve for all this hard work. Thanks again everybody for all the well wishes! — Michael Annett (@MichaelAnnett) November 8, 2015
Brad Keselowski wins Coors Light pole at Texas
MORE: See all 43 cars for Sunday's race " Complete lineup for Sunday FORT WORTH, Texas —As a driver who likely must win one of the next two races to keep his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title prospects alive, Brad Keselowski took a giant step in the right direction during Friday's knockout qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway . The 2012 series champion covered the 1.5-mile distance at a speed of 196.929 mph in the money round to win the pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 (2 p.m. ET on NBC/Live Extra, PRN, SiriusXM), the second of three races in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The Coors Light Pole Award was Keselowski's first at Texas , his third of the season and the 11th of his career. It was also the third pole in the last four races for Team Penske . The driver of the No. 2 Ford posted the fastest time in each of the three knockout rounds. Kevin Harvick (195.993 mph) qualified second, followed by Kyle Busch (195.716 mph) and Joey Logano (195.419 mph), as Chase drivers claimed the top four spots on the grid. However, Keselowski and Logano, embroiled in catastrophe and controversy last week at Martinsville Speedway , are on decidedly different agendas from those of Busch and Harvick, who are tied for second and fourth, respectively, in the Chase standings. "This is a good start, but our ultimate goal is to be the fastest at the end of the race on Sunday," Keselowski said. "It's a good start, and it gets us up front with a great pit stall, and hopefully we can make the most of it. "I'm pumped about this race. Track position is important everywhere, and here isn't as much as maybe a few others, because the track wears out, and you see some comers and goers with the way the track wears out—but we will still take it." Keselowski and Penske teammate Logano are sixth and eighth, respectively, among the eight drivers still eligible for the championship. "I think, if you're not in the top five right now, you're in a must-win situation," Keselowski said. "Thankfully, we started out in the right situation with being fast. We feel like we’ll be really strong next week at Phoenix as well. "So all signs point to us having a very strong opportunity to win one of the next two." Non-chase drivers took the fifth and sixth starting spots, with Kyle Larson qualifying on the inside of the third row and Erik Jones , subbing for suspended Matt Kenseth , grabbing the sixth position on the grid. Kenseth must sit out the next two races for wrecking Logano last Sunday at Martinsville. "Sixth is a really good effort for us," Jones said. "We made the final round at Kansas as well (in relief of injured Kyle Busch in May), so it's cool to make the final round in both our starts. "We'll see where it goes from here. Obviously we've got a long ways to go yet for Sunday— 500 miles. This definitely helps everybody's confidence a little bit for that." Kurt Busch , who also needs a win to stay in the Sprint Cup title hunt, will start seventh. Chase driver Carl Edwards qualified 13th, missing the cutoff for the final round by .004 seconds. Jeff Gordon , who secured a spot in the Nov. 22 Championship Round race at Homestead-Miami Speedway by winning at Martinsville, will start 18th. Martin Truex Jr . will take the green flag from the deepest position in the field among Chase drivers—23rd. Danica Patrick posted a season-best 11th-place qualifying effort.
Erik Jones to drive No. 20 Cup car at Texas
MORE: Kenseth's suspension upheld " Kenseth, Gibbs discuss final penalty Erik Jones will drive for the suspended Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM) at Texas Motor Speedway , according to a Joe Gibbs Racing official. A series of appeals of Kenseth's two-race suspension were heard on Thursday in Concord, North Carolina. Ultimately, the two-race suspension was upheld. Jones is also on the entry list for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend (Nov. 15, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM). RELATED: Entry list for Phoenix Jones, 19, filled in for Denny Hamlin (in the No. 11 Toyota) in the Bristol spring race in April when neck spasms flared up for Hamlin during a lengthy weather delay at the 0.533-mile track. Jones made his first Sprint Cup start in May at Kansas for the injured Kyle Busch (in the No. 18 Toyota) and was enjoying a nice run until an accident on Lap 196 sent him to a 40th-place finish. RELATED: Jones discusses busy weekend With this addition to the schedule, Texas will be a tripleheader weekend for Jones. The points leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race Friday night in the WinStar World Casino 350 (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) and will also run in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race, the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM) on Saturday afternoon as well. This latest opportunity comes as Kenseth has been parked by NASCAR for his actions at Martinsville Speedway last weekend. NASCAR suspended Kenseth for two races on Tuesday for his role in a crash with Joey Logano at Martinsville Sunday. The 2003 champion was also placed on probation for six months by the sanctioning body, but that was lowered to through December 31, 2015 in the appeals process. Kenseth and Logano wrecked on Lap 454 and the incident occurred as Logano was leading the race and Kenseth was several laps down. "Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the No. 20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the No. 22 car driver, a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said in a statement announcing the suspension. "The No. 20 car was nine laps down, and eliminated the No. 22 car's opportunity to continue to compete in the race. "Additionally, we factored aspects of safety into our decision, and also the fact that the new Chase elimination format puts a premium on each and every race. These actions have no place in NASCAR." Logano pressured and eventually spun Kenseth in a late-race battle for the lead two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway . Logano, having already advanced to the next round in the Chase with a win the previous week at Charlotte, continued on to victory and was unapologetic for his aggressive racing in his post-race remarks.
Keselowski clocks fast lap in first Texas practice
RELATED: Practice 1 results Brad Keselowski rose to the top of the leaderboard in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday at Texas Motor Speedway . Keselowski drove the Team Penske No. 2 Ford to a best lap of 197.059 mph around the 1.5-mile track in preparation for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM), the eighth of 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Defending series champion Kevin Harvick , driving the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet, was second-fastest in the 85-minute session, clocking a fast lap of 196.421 mph. Carl Edwards , a three-time Texas winner, was third-best at 196.249 in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota. Kyle Larson , Chip Ganassi Racing 's second-year driver, was fourth-fastest. Joey Logano , who had his three-race win streak snapped last weekend after a controversial run-in with rival Matt Kenseth , drove the Team Penske No. 22 Ford to the fifth-fastest lap. Erik Jones , the 19-year-old rookie subbing for the suspended Kenseth in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, was eighth-fastest in first practice as he readies for his second career Sprint Cup start. Jeff Gordon , last week's winner at Martinsville and the first automatic qualifier for the championship finale Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway , was 19th-fastest. His Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet showed minor damage and tire smoke from the left-rear fender in the early stages of first practice. Jimmie Johnson , winner of two consecutive Texas events and four of the last six races in the Lone Star State, was 14th-fastest in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet. The rest of the Chase contenders: Kurt Busch (10th), Kyle Busch (11th), Martin Truex Jr . (20th). Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Sprint Cup Series is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET.