From Martinsville Half-Mile To High Speeds In Texas

From the Sprint Cup Series’ shortest track, Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR now moves to one of its fastest ovals with this coming weekend’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The preliminary entry list shows forty drivers led by defending race winner Jimmie Johnson and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick. The four non-Charter drivers on the list are rookie Ryan Blaney, Cole Whitt, Josh Wise and Reed Sorenson.

Johnson leads all competitors with six victories on the mile-and-a-half Fort Worth oval including three in a row and five of the last seven. Carl Edwards is next in line with three wins … There’s competitive balance among NASCAR’s three participating manufacturers with each brand winning the track’s spring race once over the last three seasons: Chevrolet with Johnson last year, Ford with Joey Logano in 2014 and Toyota with Kyle Busch in 2013.X-FINITY Series teams also will be competing at T-M-S with Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto

X-FINITY Series teams also will be competing at T-M-S with Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. There are thirty-nine drivers on the preliminary entry led by defending race winner Erik Jones and points leader Daniel Suarez, teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.

39 Entries For Cup Series Race

There are thirty-nine drivers on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 including thirty-six “Charter” teams. The three non-Charter drivers are rookie Ryan Blaney, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise.

There are six Cup Series competitors who are signed up for double duty and will also drive in Saturday’s X-FINITY Series race: Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson. Harvick is the defending race winner. Busch leads all drivers with six X-FINITY Series wins on the two-mile Fontana oval including a stretch of three in a row in 2010 and 2011.

Joe Gibbs leads all car owners with eight victories there, all coming consecutively from 2008 through 2012. Busch, Joey Logano and Tony Stewart contributed to that run of success.

Blaney Takes Checkered Flag In Thunder Valley

Ryan Blaney got the best of Matt Crafton on the night’s final restart Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway, pulling away from the field as Crafton’s Toyota sputtered and failed to come up to full speed.Blaney took the checkered flag a half-second in front of runner-up Kyle Busch to give Brad Keselowski Racing its second straight Truck Series victory in “Thunder Valley.” Blaney’s win in the Number-29 Ford snapped Toyota’s five-race
winning streak. Rookies John Hunter Nemechek, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones and Erik Jones took positions three through six with Crafton holding on for seventh place.

The race extended two laps past its scheduled distance after a late spin by Ty Dillon produced the fifth yellow flag of the night – setting up the decisive green-white-checkered finish. Blaney led a race-high forty laps and had to overcome an early penalty to notch his fourth career victory. NASCAR determined that he jumped the restart following the night’s first caution.

The pass-through penalty on pit road forced Blaney well off the pace. But he steadily climbed back into contention, had himself in position to win in the closing laps and took advantage of Crafton’s balky restart to claim victory … The race was red-flagged for 45 minutes due to rain with thirty-four laps left and Crafton leading. The two-time defending series champion led all but four of the remaining laps once racing resumed. But at the end of the night, he yielded to Blaney – who led the final three trips around Bristol’s high-banked half-mile.


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