Surprising and Not Surprising: Texas Motor Speedway

by SM Staff On Tue, Apr. 11, 2017

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 09: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson started at the rear of the field after a spin in Coors Light Pole Qualifying required the team to change tires before the green flag. The seven-time champion passed Joey Logano with 17 laps to go to capture his first win of the season, 81st career and his seventh win at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson led 18 of 334 laps and finished 0.340 seconds ahead of runner-up Kyle Larson.

Not Surprising

After a rough first six weeks of the season, Johnson was winless and the pressure to perform was mounting for the seven-time champion. Johnson had only one top-10 finish this season but that ended on Sunday and so will the pressure. “I guess I remembered how to drive; and I guess this team remembered how to do it! I’m just real proud of this team. What a tough track and tough conditions. We were really in our wheelhouse and we were just able to execute all day.”

“I guess I remembered how to drive, and I guess this team remembered how to do it! I’m just real proud of this team. What a tough track and tough conditions. We were really in our wheelhouse and we were just able to execute all day.”

Surprising

Ryan Blaney dominated the early stages by leading 148 laps and winning the first two segments. While running fifth, Blaney pitted during the caution flag on lap 300. He slid through the pit box and had air gun issues and he restarted 15th. “If you had asked me yesterday I wouldn’t have said we would win two stages and have one of the fastest cars. They made really good changes this morning and that definitely says a lot.”

“If you had asked me yesterday I wouldn’t have said we would win two stages and have one of the fastest cars. They made really good changes this morning and that definitely says a lot.”

Not Surprising

Joey Logano used a gutsy pit call by crew chief Todd Gordon to finish a season-best third. The field came in to pit road and Logano stayed out with less than 30 to go. Logano took the lead but eventually fell into the clutches of Jimmie Johnson. Logano led 38 laps. “That is Todd’s (Gordon) top-three there. He did a good job giving us a shot to win. I tried to hold of the 48, he was just faster. There is nothing to say besides that.”

“That is Todd’s (Gordon) top-three there. He did a good job giving us a shot to win. I tried to hold of the 48, he was just faster. There is nothing to say besides that.”

Surprising

Dale Earnhardt finished fifth and captured his first top-five of the season and his top-five since a runner-up effort last June at Pocono Raceway. “I figured we would get one sooner or later, but it’s nice. I know our fans are really pulling for us. Could have finished a little better, we will take top five.”

“I figured we would get one sooner or later, but it’s nice. I know our fans are really pulling for us. Could have finished a little better, we will take top five.”

Not Surprising

Larson started 32nd because his car didn’t pass pre-qualifying inspection in time to make an attempt during time trials. Larson was catching Johnson for the lead but ran out of laps and finished second. This was Larson’s fourth second-place of the season and he maintains his series points lead 17 points over Chase Elliott. “It feels really good. Our Credit One Bank Chevy was good from the start, was able to pass a lot of cars there in the beginning. Got a pit road penalty. I clipped too many boxes there and then came from the back and passed a lot of cars again. Just felt like we passed cars a lot. All-in-all a good day.”

“It feels really good. Our Credit One Bank Chevy was good from the start, was able to pass a lot of cars there in the beginning. Got a pit road penalty. I clipped too many boxes there and then came from the back and passed a lot of cars again. Just felt like we passed cars a lot. All-in-all a good day.”

Surprising

Pole-starter Kevin Harvick finished fourth.

“I think we overachieved today. The only chance we had today was to have clean air. Our car was very sensitive to the track and two tires. I was able to run out front and I could go okay then but in traffic, I really struggled off the corner.”

Not Surprising

Brad Keselowski finished in the sixth position and captured his sixth-consecutive top-10 finish. “We just kind of seemed stuck in that fifth or sixth place range for most of the race. We were fighting a few things and got a little better there at the end and maybe had a little bit more in the tank there if there was a little bit of time left but we just ran out of laps.”

“We just kind of seemed stuck in that fifth or sixth place range for most of the race. We were fighting a few things and got a little better there at the end and maybe had a little bit more in the tank there if there was a little bit of time left but we just ran out of laps.”

Surprising

After having to go to a backup car following an incident in final practice on Saturday, Trevor Bayne rebounded and finished 13th. This was Bayne’s fifth top-15 finish this season. “To get another top-15 finish out of a backup car that we were able to actually get unloaded, and practice laps on during a 50-minute session, is just a testament to the dedication of this team. I’m really happy we were able to come away from here with another consistent finish.”

“To get another top-15 finish out of a backup car that we were able to actually get unloaded, and practice laps on during a 50-minute session, is just a testament to the dedication of this team. I’m really happy we were able to come away from here with another consistent finish.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is off for Easter this weekend and returns to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 on April 23.

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