Length: 1.5 miles
Banking: 24° in turns
Second Race in the Round of 8
If the 2016 NASCAR season had to be described in just two words, they would be ‘rain delays’. Joining the long list of races that have been delayed/postponed so far this year was Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race was scheduled to run at 2pm ET; however, just before pre-race ceremonies ended, it started to drizzle… and then it poured. This saw fans quickly scatter as they left the grandstands, drivers rushed to their haulers or motorhomes, and teams quickly placed water resistant car covers over the modified vehicles.
After a tedious 6-solid-hour wait, the cars finally pulled off pit road and began pace laps as the drivers put down rubber and helped to finish drying the track while the Air Titans completed their job along pit road. A frustrating 28 laps later, the race started under a green/yellow condition which means laps were being counted but cars weren’t racing. When the yellow flag was lifted and finally the race was underway, Joey Logano surged from his 2nd place starting position and took the lead away from pole-sitter, Austin Dillon.
The competition caution flag waved on Lap 30 and just as suspected, the track was tearing up tires. Given that this race track is old and quite grooved, sparks flew whenever the cars hit a divot and gave off a fireworks-like effect when several cars sparked at once.
There were 8 cautions in total for this race, all of which were for single-car spins (including Brian Scott, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, and Casey Mears) or for debris on the track.
The most notable caution came for the No. 3 of Austin Dillon (yet a second time) when he got loose, slid underneath Kevin Harvick and checked up. Without any time to slow down and get around Dillon, Harvick lightly tapped the NO. 3 car and sent him into the safer barrier. Dillon and his team weren’t pleased with the way they had been raced with Dillon saying “He knew how tight he was on my door and that is why I got tight and slid up in front of him. He didn’t check (up), but he had the opportunity to. He didn’t like it that the silver-spoon kid was out-running him tonight.” Harvick apologized in his post-race interview and reiterated that the contact was not intentional.
A little less than 30 laps later, another caution flag flew due to rain once again, and soon after turned into a red flag. The cars were brought down pit road and Carl Edwards, who came into the race 32 points below the cut line, was declared the winner. Edwards will be one of four drivers to compete at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2 weeks’ time.
Other drivers who finished in the Top 5 include the aforementioned Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr, Chase Elliott (who was battling the flu and had a backup driver on standby throughout the race), and Kyle Busch respectively.
The last race in the round of 8 will be at Phoenix International Raceway. Get your tickets here.
The championship race will be a Homestead-Miami Speedway. Get your tickets here.