Who doesn’t take risks doesn’t achieve success as Austin Dillon won the NASCAR Cup race in Texas. Richard Childress’s cars used an unexpected strategy to finish 1-2 for the first time since October 2011.
Aric Almirola again got pole position in the draw and did not concede first place to the competitive yellow on the 20th lap. He stayed on the track with Harvick and the latter quickly came forward.
Thirty laps later, Almirola was finally able to get close to Harvick and overtake him again, and the two of them went to the pit stop, losing first place to Martin Truex. However, Almirola received a fine for crossing a solid line on the exit from the pit road and eventually lost two laps.
Meanwhile, Martin Truex did not have time to stop at the pit stop and he ran out of fuel. The leader literally on the circle was Kyle Bush, who was immediately overtaken by Ryan Blaney. In the end, Ryan won the first segment of the race.
The second half
The second segment began with a fight between Kyle Busch and Blaney on a restart, from which Kyle emerged victorious, but not for long. After five laps, Jimmie Johnson lost control and flew a rear bumper into the wall, triggering yellow flags and finishing off his chances. In the first segment, Johnson was good, he was driving in the top 10, and then because of a penalty on the pit stop for breaking safety rules again from the tail came to the top 10. And because of a stupid mistake, he crashed a fast car. Once again. However, despite all this Jimmy remained to fight for points and at the finish was 26th.
Denny Hamlin emerged as the leader after the restart, but Ryan Blaney got ahead again and pulled off confidently before the pit stops. After a pit stop cycle that lasted 30 laps, Blaney was back in front and won the second segment by a six-second lead.
The third segment began with a blockage. A lap after the restart, Kurt Busch hooked Almirola, pushed Kyle Busch into the grass, and Kyle Busch sent Truex into the wall. The race had to be stopped for 12 minutes to clear the rubble.
On the 225th lap, the race continued with the struggles of Hamlin, Keselowski and Blaney. Ten laps later, Ryan managed to throw Hamlin off his tail and started to come off, but John Hunter Nemechek didn’t let him. He flew off the track on the way out of the second turn, and then hung yellow flags.
This race in Texas was widely anticipated not only in the United States but also in Canada, where people are gradually starting to engage in racing. This is mostly thanks to American pioneers of the sport in general. As they started to grow all over the US, it quickly dawned on them that there would soon be very little space to grow further, so they started looking outward. Canada was most definitely an obvious choice, but having the population of a large state was not really appealing for the pioneers.
Therefore, some additional help was called in to convince them. You see, Canadians are a lot less reserved when it comes to making sports a bit more fun. Betting in the country has been allowed ever since the British days and is not frowned upon too much. With the collective effort of familiar NASCAR faces and a few Canadian casino bonus offers, the sport managed to engrave itself within the local community’s watch list.
Unfortunately though, the betting options lost their spark a bit after years of government regulation and the traffic that this particular race generated left many sportsbooks disappointed.
The race lasted only two laps: after that Ty Dillon flew into the outer wall of the track, hooking William Byron on the way.
The last pit stops started with the leaders, but after the stupid accident, which locked many leaders on the lag lap. At the time, Quin Houff, who was eight laps behind, suddenly decided to go down to the pit stop from the outside line. Instead, he flew into the passing Christopher Bell and Matt DiBenedetto and smashed the car against the wall of the fourth corner.
Brad Keselowski used this occasion after the race to talk about the possible downgrade of especially dangerous riders, and that makes sense. Before joining the Cup, Quin Houff had only 15 races in the ARCA and Xfinity in two years, with no success. And then there was the money, and enough money to buy out the driver’s contract signed just a few weeks earlier. NASCAR has already promised to discuss the situation with the queen, but perhaps the introduction of minimum barriers, such as one full season in the Xfinity or division of pickups, would help to raise the average level of riders.
Everyone who did not come to the pit stop took the opportunity, and on the front row were drivers of Richard Childress Racing. Austin Dillon changed only two tires, and Tyler Reddick just refueled. Dillon’s crew chief Justin Alexander said after the race: “I honestly didn’t expect to be on the front row at the first restart and was shocked by what others were doing on pit stops. I’m surprised that only we and someone else took two tires and Reddick just refueled.”
In general, there were a lot of questions about tires in the race. According to Joey Logano, there was wear and tear, but the circles did not become slower. It felt as if someone was playing a recently-opened race game under NASCAR license and before the race turned off tire wear in the settings. During the race, there were a lot of pit stops with the change of two wheels, and some were just refuelling. In social networks appeared photos of tires, on which Almirola drove 60 laps, but they looked like new, even the seams were not completely erased, not to mention the real wear.
A resounding finish
In the end, Austin Dillon overtook his partner on the restart, but it was not the end. Denny Hamlin lost control in the heat of the fight and also flew to the wall, taking Alex Bowman with him. After that, Hamlin crashed again.
The final restart was just two laps before the finish. Behind Dillon and Reddick were Logano and Kyle Busch. Austin had a great restart, and the competition between Busch and Logano for third place allowed the drivers to come off and finish on the first and second places respectively. After the win, Austin Dillon praised his team and allowed himself a bit of bragging.
Tyler Reddick, who is remembered in Xfinity as a racer who likes to take another chance, showed that he has changed towards working for the team.
The edge of the playoff zone has changed again. It’s time for Byron, Johnson, and Jones to think about winning because at least one or two of them won’t make the playoffs, depending on Dillon’s position by the end of the regular season. It’s especially worth thinking about Jones without a contract for next year and with Christopher Bell around the corner.