• 2014 Season In Review Also Features Year In Photos, Video Highlights Package FORT WORTH, Texas (December 16, 2014) - The year at Texas Motor Speedway opened with pyrotechnics celebrating the unveiling of the world's largest, high-definition LED video board in March and culminated in November with additional fireworks courtesy of the post-race melee involving combatants Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 Eliminator 8 Chase race. There also was plenty of action and excitement in between as Texas Motor Speedway played host to its annual Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader in April, Firestone 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR twin bill in June and played host to its inaugural Red Bull Air Race World Championship event in September. The Texas Motor Speedway 2014 Season In Review recaps those major event weekends, in addition to the momentous "Big Hoss TV" unveiling, while the accompanying Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos captures all those key moments in addition to other noteworthy speedway -related events throughout the year. The Texas Motor Speedway Year in Photos features 90 images - primarily from the speedway's official photo agency Getty Images - that were chosen for their significance and/or artistic value and are presented in chronological order. A three-minute video recap of the top on-track moments, including the AAA Texas 500 post-race skirmish, also is available in HD by clicking here. All photos and video are free for media outlets to utilize, especially for their year-end, wrap-ups and can be previewed by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com or downloaded by visiting www.image.net/tmsinreview2014 . Let's take a look back: "Big Hoss TV" Unveiling / Wednesday, March 19 The Skinny: The world's largest, high-definition LED video board is unveiled amid fanfare and will be one of the most impactful fan enhancements in the history of Texas Motor Speedway and the world of motorsports. The Recap: Texas Motor Speedway unveiled the world's largest, high-definition LED video board in grand fashion as the evening featured fireworks, motorsports stars, reality television celebrities, dignitaries and the showing of an episode from A&E's hit reality show "Duck Dynasty" for more than 8,000 fans situated in the infield of the world-class sports facility. The official debut of the Panasonic-built "Big Hoss TV" was part of a star-studded evening that included appearances by Duck Commander CEO and "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, along with the heralded racing duo of NASCAR's Kyle Busch and INDYCAR's Helio Castroneves. Also in attendance were dignitaries such as NASCAR President Mike Helton, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, Panasonic Eco Solutions North America Vice President Richard Ballard, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith, SMI President and COO Marcus Smith and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. Positioned in the middle of the backstretch and stretching 218 feet wide by 94.6 feet tall, "Big Hoss TV" features 20,633.64 square feet of HD LED imagery that contains 281 trillion colors. The video board, constructed in just four months, surpassed fellow Speedway Motorsports, Inc. facility Charlotte Motor Speedway (16,000 square feet) as the Guinness World Record holder for the world's largest HD LED video board. The size of "Big Hoss TV" is staggering as it is 79 percent larger than the video board at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, which is 11,520 square feet. "It is the ultimate fan amenity," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "To have the biggest one in the world, that's just one of those 'Everything is Bigger in Texas' stories that we are really proud to be a part of." NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 / Monday, April 7 The Skinny: Rain forces a Monday matinee for only the third time in speedway history and Joey Logano wins the Duck Commander 500 for an automatic berth in the reformatted Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The Recap: With Duck Commander on board as the title sponsor and the "Duck Dynasty" stars on hand en masse, the weather was more conducive for duck hunting that NASCAR racing. The Duck Commander 500 , moved from its Saturday night slot to Sunday afternoon to avoid a conflict with the NCAA Final Four men's college basketball tourney being in Arlington, was washed out due to continual rain showers and rescheduled for a Monday matinee. It was just the third time in Texas Motor Speedway 's 18-year history that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was run on Monday due to inclement weather, the most recent coming in 2010 when both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races were run on the same day. Penske Racing's Joey Logano punched his ticket for a berth in the restructured Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format after surviving a green/white-checkered finish to win the Duck Commander 500 . Logano was cruising to victory with a two-second lead over teammate Brad Keselowski with just over one lap remaining in the scheduled 334-lap event, but a caution for debris forced a two-lap overtime shootout. Logano restarted third after pitting for four tires while Jeff Gordon and Brian Vickers opted for two tires and restarted first and second, respectively. Gordon held off Logano on the first lap, but Logano got a strong run inside on the frontstretch and was able to overtake him in Turn 1 and pull away to a 0.476 of a second margin of victory in the race that was extended to 340 laps. The victory was Logano's first since August of 2013 at Michigan and the fourth of his career. It also was his first Sprint Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway , which was highlighted by him becoming the youngest Cup winner in TMS history at 23 years, 10 months and 14 days. NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 / Friday, April 4 The Skinny: Rookie Chase Elliott , the 18-year-old son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott , lands his first career Nationwide Series victory in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 to become the second-youngest winner in series history. The Recap: Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 provided a historic milestone for a second-generation NASCAR driver and a glimpse into the talent that would flourish and lead to a series championship. Rookie Chase Elliott , the 18-year-old high school senior and son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott , needed just six starts in the Nationwide Series for his first career win that came in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 . Elliott made a bold move on the high side of Kevin Harvick in the elbow of the frontstretch to take the lead on Lap 185 and then held on for a 2.251-second victory over Kyle Busch in the 200-lap event. Elliott became the second-youngest winner in series history at 18 years, 4 months and 8 days. Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 / Saturday, June 7 The Skinny: Will Power's late pit lane penalty opens the door for Ed Carpenter to capture the Firestone 600 and become the first American winner at TMS since Sam Hornish Jr . in 2007. The Recap: The annual INDYCAR/NASCAR summer doubleheader yielded two first-time Texas Motor Speedway winners as Matt Crafton won the Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350 and Ed Carpenter was victorious in the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600. Carpenter took advantage of a strong second-half race performance and a critical late pit lane penalty by Will Power to record his first series victory since 2012 in the Firestone 600. The victory was the third of Carpenter's career and his first since winning the 2012 season finale at Fontana. In his previous 12 starts at Texas Motor Speedway , he had just one top-five finish and led one lap (2009) before breaking through to become the first American to win at Texas since Sam Hornish Jr . in 2007. Carpenter led 66 of the final 67 laps of the 248-lap event and avoided a potential shootout for the win with Power, who was running second when he was caught speeding in pit lane on his final green-flag pit stop. With 36 to go, Carpenter and Power pitted together and came out 1-2, but Power received a drive-thru penalty for speeding and fell a lap down. Carpenter suddenly had a nine-plus second cushion over second-place Tony Kanaan and was coasting to victory with an 18.5-second lead before a final caution came out with seven laps remaining. The race became a two-lap shootout and Carpenter was able to stave off Juan Pablo Montoya and the hard-charging Power, who moved from sixth to second and finished 0.52 of a second behind Carpenter. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 / Friday, June 6 The Skinny: Defending Camping World Truck Series champ Matt Crafton snaps a 26-race winless streak at TMS with a dominant victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400. The Recap: Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton had it easy compared to Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter in earning his first career win at Texas Motor Speedway . He led a career-best 118 laps en route to the victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 that snapped a 26-race winless streak at the speedway . Crafton led 118 of the 167 laps - the most he led in a single race in his 14-year career - and cruised to a 13.302-second victory over runner-up Justin Lofton . It was the fifth win of Crafton's career and second of the season, marking the first time in his career that he had recorded multiple wins in a season. His dominant performance established a track record for largest margin of victory in that series, eclipsing the previous mark of 11.817 seconds set by Dennis Setzer in this event in 2004. Red Bull Air Race World Championship / Saturday, Sept. 6, & Sunday, Sept. 7 The Skinny: Texas Motor Speedway plays host to the first race in the United States since 2010 for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, which returned to competition after a three-year hiatus. The Recap: The Red Bull Air Race World Championship made its return to the United States for the first time since 2010 as Texas Motor Speedway played host to the sixth stage of the eight-event international plane racing series. Before a crowd of more than 20,000 for the first of two U.S. stops, Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff captured his first victory of the season in the elite Master Class on the challenging, seven air gate, 3.7-mile course that was built in the infield of the motorsports venue. Ivanoff posted an individual two-lap run of 54.118 seconds to defeat Great Britain's Nigel Lamb, Canada's Pete McLeod and Germany's Matthias Dolderer in the Final 4 showdown on Sunday. Ivanoff gave his country a sweep of the weekend competition as fellow Frenchman Mikael Brageot won the Challenger Cup race the day prior. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 / Sunday, Nov. 2 The Skinny: A post-race confrontation between Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski and ensuing melee steals national headlines from six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson winning the AAA Texas 500 for a third year in a row. The Recap : With the remaining eight Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers looking to win the AAA Texas 500 and automatically advance to the championship round, six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson played the role of spoiler as he won the Eliminator 8 race in a dramatic second green/white-checkered overtime finish. Johnson, eliminated from championship contention in the previous round, won the AAA Texas 500 for a record third consecutive year, but it was the post-race scuffle that made national headlines the following day. While Johnson was celebrating his track-record fourth Cup win with burnouts on the frontstretch, chaos ensued on pit lane after an angry Jeff Gordon confronted Brad Keselowski and a fray quickly developed between the Chase contenders. Fellow Chase competitor Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski while Gordon was jawing with him and the situation quickly escalated as the crews got involved and transformed into a melee. The disagreement stemmed from the first GWC finish, where Gordon took the restart with the lead and Johnson beside him on the front row. Johnson grabbed the lead when a bold move by Keselowski resulted in contact with Gordon, which ultimately led to a flat tire, contact with the wall and a 29th-place finish that would derail his title aspirations. The caution flew for Gordon that set up the second GWC finish, where Keselowski found himself lining up front against the leader Johnson on the restart. Johnson, on the inside, maintained the lead on the restart while Keselowski found himself also trying to fend off a charging Harvick. Harvick got past Keselowski on that lap but didn't have enough time to chase down Johnson, who won by 0.513 of a second for his fourth victory of the season and 70th of his career. Johnson led nine times for 191 laps, but a record 13 cautions continually bunched the field as well as changed race strategies to give a number of drivers a shot at the victory.Johnson, Harvick and Keselowski took the top three positions, respectively, while Kyle Busch , who was looking to sweep all three NASCAR races after truck and Nationwide wins earlier, finished fourth. NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge / Saturday, Nov. 1 The Skinny: Kyle Busch gives Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th career Nationwide Series win and sets his sights on rare NASCAR tripleheader weekend sweep after winning the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge . The Recap: Kyle Busch added to the weekend drama and intrigue when he secured the second leg of a rare NASCAR tripleheader weekend sweep with a win in the Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge . Busch completed the Nationwide Series/ Camping World Truck Series sweep for the second time in his career at Texas Motor Speedway , with the first coming in the fall of 2009. That only left Sunday's AAA Texas 500 as the missing prize for the triple, which had only been accomplished by Busch (Bristol 2010) in the history of NASCAR. Busch extended his record for career Nationwide Series victories at Texas Motor Speedway by adding his seventh with a 1.562-second win over Joey Logano . Busch, who led six times for a race-high 116 laps, and Logano, who led five times for 59 laps, exchanged the lead six times over the final 85 laps in the 200-lap event before Busch took control late. It also was his seventh NNS victory of the season, 70th in his career and a milestone 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing . NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 / Friday, Oct. 31 The Skinny: Kyle Busch wins the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 as Kyle Busch Motorsports ties the Camping World Truck Series record for most victories in a season. The Recap: Kyle Busch , competing in all three NASCAR races during the weekend and chasing a rare sweep, endured a green/white-checkered overtime finish to secure the first leg with a victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350. Busch, who led a race-high 80 of 152 laps, was cruising to victory when two late cautions put a scare into his bid to secure his seventh win in just nine NCWTS starts this season. Following the final caution that led to the two-lap shootout, Busch got a strong restart on the outside of leader German Quiroga and took command of the lead coming out of Turn 2. He was pulling away with one lap to go when Quiroga hit the wall in Turn 2 to force the conclusion of the final lap to finish under caution. Busch's series-leading seventh win was his third truck victory at Texas Motor Speedway that pushed his career total in the series to 42. It also was the 12th victory overall for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 20 starts this season, tying the series record for season victories set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
In announcing its race dates, Chicagoland Speedway also revealed it was again the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Texas officials said the Nov. 6 race again fell in the Eliminator Round of the postseason, a three-race stretch that again included Martinsville and Phoenix, according to the track. Pocono Raceway officials said upon its schedule release that the NASCAR XFINITY Series would host a race June 4 at the Tricky Triangle. It would be the first XFINITY Series race ever at the venue.
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 4, 2014) ? Fourth-grader Whitney Thomason of Trophy Club's Samuel Beck Elementary School may have a future in NASCAR. Thomason is not an aspiring race-car driver, but exhibited the artistic talent for creating the winning paint scheme in Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics "Design A Die-cast" competition among the 11 local elementary schools and more than 6,500 students participating in Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" educational program. On Friday in front of nearly 4,500 students at the "Speeding To Read" assembly crowning the year-long champions at Texas Motor Speedway , Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics presented Thomason with a die-cast with her design and surprised her by unveiling an actual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series show car bearing her paint scheme. She also received tickets to Sunday's Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Texas Motor Speedway and a gift bag with NASCAR officially licensed merchandise Thomason's winning design, as voted upon by representatives from Texas Motor Speedway , NASCAR and Spin Master, incorporated her school's colors and logo as well as reading into the overall theme. The car featured a blue design with black trim ? Beck's school colors ? while utilizing the school's bulldog paw prints throughout. Thomason added "Speed To Read!" on the hood and three open books on the deck lid. She also had flames coming off the paw prints and books as well as a flame design on the side and hood of the car. "We are so excited to present Whitney Thomason with her very own Die-cast car," said Krista DiBerardino, Spin Master chief marketing officer. "Her design was exactly what we are looking for. She incorporated her school's colors and logo as well as reading into the overall theme. She should be very proud." NASCAR Authentics and Texas Motor Speedway partnered to create the program as an incentive for the students participating in the speedway's third-year "Speeding To Read" program. To be eligible to participate in the "Design A Die-cast" competition, students had to meet or exceed their reading goals through Turn 3 of the "Speeding To Read" competition that concluded Feb. 3. The students had the month of February to work on their designs and then each school selected their top choice in both Kindergarten-2 nd Grade and 3 rd -5 th Grade. Texas Motor Speedway , NASCAR and Spin Master then reviewed the paint schemes of the 22 finalists and selected the top two overall ? which were both Grades 3-5 ? as well as the best among K-2 students. Alyssa Cappadona, a fifth-grader at Haslet's J.C. Thompson Elementary School, was the runner-up in the overall competition with a design that was highlighted by a book on fire on the hood and JCT on the deck lid of a green-and-yellow paint scheme. Chloe Pace, a second grader at Lantana's E.P. Rayzor Elementary, had the top K-2 design featuring the school's mascot ? a wolf ? on the hood and "Read" on the deck lid on a blue car. The 11 schools competing in the third year of the "Speeding To Read" program designed by Texas Motor Speedway as well as Spin Master's NASCAR Authentics "Design A Die-cast" competition encompass eight communities and three school districts (Northwest, Denton, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw) in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The schools consist of E.P. Rayzor (Argyle), Kay Granger (Keller) and Samuel Beck (Trophy Club) in the Frontstretch Division; Chisholm Ridge (Fort Worth), Clara Love (Justin), J.C. Thompson (Haslet) and Prairie View (Rhome) in the Backstretch Division; and Carl E. Schluter (Haslet), Haslet, Roanoke and Sendera Ranch (Haslet) in the Pit Road Division. About "Speeding To Read": The mission of Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" program is to utilize motorsports, its drivers and our races to incentivize elementary school children to read more frequently and enrich their educational experience and future. "Speeding To Read" is an incentive-based, NASCAR-themed reading program created by Texas Motor Speedway to encourage elementary school students to read more frequently during the school year. The student bodies are split into two divisions ? kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade ? with individuals, classrooms and schools competing against each other to read the most books and earn the title of "Speeding To Read" champion. At each turn (or quarter), TMS crowns the top individuals and classrooms in K-2 and 3-5 as well as presents a giant, perpetual trophy to the school leading the competition at that point to display at their school until the next turn/quarter. The quarters are based off key dates in the NASCAR schedule and represent the four turns of a racetrack. Turn 1 is the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in mid-September; Turn 2 is TMS' AAA Texas 500 NASCAR race week in November; Turn 3 is the start of the new season with SpeedWeeks and the Daytona 500 in February; and Turn 4 is the Duck Commander 500 in April.
FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 14, 2014) ? Frigid temperatures, snow and ice in North Texas has not slowed construction workers from continued progress on the world's largest HD video board created by Panasonic at Texas Motor Speedway . On Friday, Dallas/Fort Worth media members were led by Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage on a sneak preview of "Big Hoss TV," which is scheduled to be completed by March 1 and officially dedicated during pre-race ceremonies for the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, April 6. Towering 12 stories high over the backstretch is the completed steel framework that will serve as the foundation for "Big Hoss TV." Workers have installed 28 of the 40 LED modules ? each measuring 54.5 feet by 9.5 feet ? that will be placed in 10 rows of four that will serve as record HD display area that measures 218 feet (width) by 94.6 feet (height). Once completed, "Big Hoss TV" will provide fans with 20,633.34 square feet of HD imagery and will be 79 percent larger than the video board at AT&T Stadium (11,520 sf), home of the Dallas Cowboys. It also will surpass current record-holder Charlotte Motor Speedway (16,000 square feet), the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. sister track of Texas Motor Speedway , for the world's largest HD video board at a sporting venue. "This is the largest fan amenity we have ever undertaken in the history of Texas Motor Speedway and it truly should be a game changer in the industry," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "Panasonic has done a tremendous job in keeping the project on schedule and have their crews working around the clock seven days a week on this enormous undertaking. Given the target completion date of March 1, we're working on a "Big Hoss TV" sneak preview event with a dynamic entertainment element that will be open to the public in mid-March that will be announced soon." "Big Hoss TV" also requires a state-of-the-art control room that is being built and housed adjacent to the timing and scoring booth atop the start/finish line on suite level. The control room houses five servers and two switchers that control the video feed to "Big Hoss TV." The control room operator will have the luxury of choosing from 19 different cameras, 16 of which are operated by two production trucks. Ultimately, the video is broken up into 16 different sections on the video board. The equipment will be manned by a minimum of five individuals which will include producer, director and technical directors. Construction on "Big Hoss TV" began after November's AAA Texas 500 as workers began digging 16 anchor holes 42 feet deep and four feet in diameter for the massive 108-ton structure. "Big Hoss TV" is anchored with 42 feet of steel rebar reinforced in the ground by 20 yards of concrete filled in each of the holes. The strength of the foundation allows for "Big Hoss TV" to sustain winds of 140 miles per hour. Initial construction plans also required workers to install 4,200 feet of 96-strand fiber optic cable that runs from the location of "Big Hoss TV" on the backstretch to the control room in the frontstretch suites. Workers have moved to a seven-day work week the past month to put the finishing touches on the project by the end of the month. The final phase of the project includes completion of the electrical infrastructure inside of the video board, where workers will install electricity and fiber optic connections to each of the 40 LED modules. Workers also will install the final wiring in the control room before they begin to test the lower section of the LED modules early next week. Tickets for the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader weekend and the official christening of "Big Hoss TV" are available by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com . FULL SERIES COVERAGE View all articles View all videos View all photos
FORT WORTH, Texas (Dec. 12, 2013) ? Texas Motor Speedway's "Year In Photos - 2013," featuring 100 of the top images shot by award-winning Getty Images photographers on and off the track this past season, are now available to both media and racing fans. The Getty Images photographs capture Texas Motor Speedway's memorable on-track moments of the year highlighted by major race winners Jimmie Johnson (AAA Texas 500), Kyle Busch (NRA 500) and Helio Castroneves (Firestone 550) as well as a variety of other racing series and special events throughout the year. The collection also features media events with NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and INDYCAR driver Marco Andretti; Dude Perfect trick-shot competition with NASCAR and INDYCAR drivers; "Speeding To Read" events with four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and 2012 Camping World Truck Series champ James Buescher; "Big Hoss TV" video board announcement; Wild Asphalt Circus Half Marathon & 5k; and Speedway Children's Charities Tree Lighting & Grant Ceremony, among others. The Texas Motor Speedway "Year in Photos-2013" is available in two versions, a slide show set to music with photo titles and individual photographs with photo titles and full cutlines. The slide show currently is available to fans to view on the landing page of www.texasmotorspeedway.com and the individual photos are available to view at http://www.texasmotorspeedway.com/2013-year-in-photos . The images also are available to download in high resolution for complimentary screen savers showcasing your favorite moment from Texas Motor Speedway this past year. FULL SERIES COVERAGE View all articles View all videos View all photos
Chat with NASCAR fans while following the racing at Texas Motor Speedway
Take a virtual hot lap around Texas Motor Speedway with 4-time NSCS Champion Jeff Gordon.
Editor's note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author. RELATED: Harvick and the most clutch moments in sports history DOVER, Del. -- How strong was Kevin Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing team in Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway ? "If we would have had qualifying on Friday," crew chief Rodney Childers said Sunday evening, "we'd have led 400 (laps)." Folks laughed and Childers smiled. But beneath the euphoria of another victory, Childers wasn't kidding. Harvick, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, didn't lead every lap in the series' 29th race. He led 355. The dominating performance came one week after the No. 4 Chevrolet was out front for 216 of 300 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . A miscalculation cost Harvick that particular victory -- his fuel cell ran dry just three laps from the finish to drop him from first to 21st. Combined with a crash at Chicagoland Speedway the previous week, Harvick arrived in Dover with seemingly little chance of advancing out of the Challenger Round of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Fifteenth in a field of 16 that would see four drivers eliminated from Chase contention, Harvick didn't accomplish the impossible at Dover. The improbable? Yes. The impossible? No. We've seen this movie before. Faced with elimination last year, Harvick thrashed the field at Phoenix and then went on a week later to win the race and the championship at Homestead. Pressure rolls off the 39-year-old like rain off a freshly waxed car. Being put in a must-win situation isn’t pressure in Harvick's world. It's opportunity. Pressure is being thrust into the spotlight following the loss of one of the sport's legendary figures. "That was pretty high," Harvick said of the call-up to fill the ride formerly held by seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt in 2001. "There will never be anything close to that one. "When you look at the sport's biggest hero gone, you look at millions of race fans that are depending upon somebody to drive that car and you have 350 people that have jobs and families and you're their guy, never done it before, but good luck. You know what I mean? That's a lot of pressure." Before Sunday, Harvick had never won at Dover. Cross the 1-mile concrete track off the list. Only Sonoma , Texas , Pocono and Kentucky remain to be conquered. In a span of barely three-and-a-half hours Sunday, Harvick and his team went from the best team not expected to advance to the team to beat from here on out. Runner-up Kyle Busch , extending his own amazing season by racing his way into the next round from outside the top 12, said as much. "That was a guy," Busch admitted, "that we wanted to knock out ... that's a guy that can win all these races and you don't want to have to compete against a guy like that." Harvick has finished second 10 times this year, and to come so close without closing the deal can be disheartening. It can also build character. "If you're going to get frustrated over running like we've run this year, you're probably going to be a detriment to your team," Harvick said. Win or lose, he said, you show up at the start of a new workweek and begin anew. "It's just the nature of this team and what they do, and the character of it is deep, and they all believe in each other," he said. "When you have a group of people like this that doesn't do things out of the ordinary for situations like this, you know, they just look at it as another task at hand." He has led more than 2,000 laps for the second consecutive season, a mark as impressive as this year's 19 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. It was a demoralizing defeat for those who thought they had the defending champion on the ropes. But there are more opportunities ahead for Busch and others in the Chase field. "We'll see what happens," the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. "There are still two more rounds to figure out who's going to make it to Homestead." In the meantime, Harvick and his group aren't making any apologies for Sunday's runaway. "“We're not going to ride around fifth all day and wait to take the lead at the end," Childers said. "That's not what we're made out of. "We came here to lead laps and to do our job and to end up with that car in Victory Lane." And at the end of the day, that's exactly what they accomplished.
More heartache for Erik Jones, who started on pole RELATED: Full race results " Updated Truck Series standings FORT WORTH, Texas _ Matt Crafton continued his recent domination of NASCAR’s intermediate racetracks Friday night, hammering out a victory over an aggressive Daniel Suarez in the 19th annual WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway . Crafton, the two-time/reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, survived a pair of late-race cautions and restarts against Suarez - including the final with two laps to go - to record his eighth career victory by 0.569-seconds. "The restarts were hairy," Crafton said in Victory Lane. "We got a pretty good start on that last one and ran side-by-side-by-side. We're happy for sure, but not satisfied." Erik Jones started on the pole Friday night after turning a qualifying lap at 181.074 mph in qualifying earlier in the day. Crafton started second and was seriously challenged only by No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota driver Suarez , who finished second in a two-lap shootout after trading paint with the No. 88 in the late laps. It was Crafton's third win of the season. The two-time defending series champion extended his lead in the points standings to 25 over Tyler Reddick . John Wes Townley in the No. 05 Chevrolet , Johnny Sauter 's No. 98 Toyota and Austin Theriault in the No. 29 Ford rounded out the top five. Reddick was fastest in the first round of qualifying but wound up starting 16 th in Friday’s Truck Series race. His No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford looked to have speed to challenge Crafton, but Reddick was forced to serve two pit road penalties then stalled on pit road late in the race. Jones, who has finished second or third four times in six races, had heartbreak again as the pit crew had trouble locating a spare battery when he pitted with a voltage problem. He was a lap down when repairs were complete. Before the mechanical trouble, Jones had led 68 of the first 86 laps in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Ten laps after the swap, Jones reported the new battery hadn't resolved the problem. He had to pit for a third battery on Lap 139 and went two laps down, finishing 15th. Crafton won last year's event here on fuel mileage, a strategy he and crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner mapped-out en route to victory on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway last month. Crafton also prevailed on the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway , a sister facility to TMS. Crafton led a career-best 118 laps en route to victory here last June, snapping a 26-race TMS winless streak. Crafton and Joiner stretched their fuel mileage over the final 61 laps and cruised to a 13.302-second margin of victory over Justin Lofton . That comfortable MOV erased the series' previous TMS record of 11.817-seconds set by Dennis Setzer in 2004. The victory was the fifth of Crafton's career and second of 2014, marking the first time he had scored multiple wins in a season. Friday night's start was Crafton's 29th at TMS - more than any active series driver entered in the 167-lap/250.5-mile event. For Crafton, that familiarity has bred respect. "You don't have to reacquaint yourself with the racetrack, but this track has changed quite a bit over the years," said Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra fielded by ThorSport Racing. "Last year in this June race, it was really, really different than what I'd seen in the past. Usually when you're here, you can run quite a few laps wide-open and I bet there wasn't a total of five laps the whole weekend wide-open. It's a lot slipperier and the racetrack is getting a lot more age on it. It's definitely changing and I think it's changing for the better." With his earlier victories this season at AMS and Kansas Speedway , Crafton definitely is the measuring stick on 1.5-mile layouts. He entered the night with an 11-point lead (257-246) over Tyler Reddick of Brad Keselowski Racing, last week's winner at Dover International Speedway , and a 14-point lead over Erik Jones , Friday night's pole-sitter and driver of the No. 4 Special Olympics World Games Toyota fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Spencer Gallagher, Johnny Sauter topped the opening session Practice 2: Full results Bringing his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Truck onto the track for the first time today, Matt Crafton wasted no time finding speed, his 178.566 mph lap around Texas Motor Speedway sending him to the top of the leaderboard during Thursday's final practice for the WinStar World Casino 400 (Friday, 9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). With conditions closer to that of Friday's race, BK Racing 's Tyler Reddick showed even more speed in this practice, wheeling his No. 19 machine at 178.566 mph around the 1.5-mile oval. Kyle Busch Motorsports' Daniel Suarez found his groove during the night's final session, rounding the Lone Star State track at 177.971 mph for the third spot on the leaderboard. Second-fastest in opening practice, ThorSport Racing's Johnny Sauter was fourth (177.049 mph) in the final session, followed by Kyle Busch Motorsports' Erik Jones (176.852 mph). After leading the opening practice, GMS Racing's Spencer Gallagher dropped to eighth on the leaderboard in the final session, recording a high speed of 176.523 mph. The Camping World Truck Series is back on track at Texas for Keystone Light Qualifying at 6:15 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1. Practice 1: Full opening practice results Propelling his No. 23 GMS Racing ride at 178.406 mpgh, Spencer Gallagher soared to the top of the leaderboard Thursday during opening Camping World Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway . Next up was ThorSport Racing veteran Johnny Sauter , who posted a high speed of 177.456 mph in his No. 98 Toyota Tundra. BK Racing 's Tyler Reddick -- who won the series' event at Dover last weekend -- was third with a high speed of 177.387 mph, while Kyle Busch Motorsports' Erik Jones (177.340 mph) and ThorSport Racing's Cameron Hayley (177.288 mph) rounded out the top five. Reigning series champion Matt Crafton did not make a run during the opening session. Only 24 of the 30 trucks listed on the entry list made a run during opening practice. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule