2018 Texas Motor Speedway, O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Congratulations to Clint Bowyer on picking up his first win of the season and first since joining Stewart-Haas Racing last year. I didn’t get a chance to watch this race because I had to work on Monday when it ran due to the fact it was cancelled because of snow in Virginia on Sunday. Now with a week off for the Easter holiday, I will be looking forward to seeing another race next weekend.

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 500

So, after a deserving week off, the teams will head to the Texas Motor Speedway to continue their quest for a championship. This track is another of the so called ‘cookie cutter tracks’ on the circuit. It is a 1.5-mile well banked quad-oval that is very similar to Atlanta and Charlotte and is owned by the same company as those two tracks. Jimmie Johnson has won six of the last eleven races run here. Will he be able to do it again?

Kevin Harvick: I have to go with Kevin to win once again on an intermediate track. He has been fast all year and won three races already. He got into an early accident in California, which broke his three race winning streak, but he looked really fast once again and was moving towards the front when the wreck happened. I think Kevin learned even more from that wreck than he already knows and will use that to his advantage once again this weekend.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin won the race in California a few weeks ago on a two-mile track and has looked very good once again on the intermediate tracks where he dominated the series last year. I think he is going to give Harvick a run for his money once again this weekend. These two seem to be along with Kyle Busch seem to be the most consistent so far this season.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has been very close all season long once again and you can never count him out at any track. He has finished second on both the intermediate and short tracks already this year, so we know this team is close to winning a race soon. He has finished in the top five at Texas in seven of his last two starts including two wins in that stretch. Going to be tough determining which two of the first three drivers mentioned to have on your team.

Jimmie Johnson: As I stated earlier, Jimmie has won six of his last eleven starts at this track including the spring race here two of the last three years. However, this team hasn’t shown the speed they need to win a race at this point of the season. I am sure they are going to get better and find more speed as the season progresses and become more competitive, but I will wait a while before putting Jimmie on my team.

Joey Logano: Joey has rebounded nicely this year and is running consistently well so far. He has only finished outside the top seven in two of his last ten starts at Texas. We have seen that the Ford teams seem to have a speed advantage at this point of the season and we should stick with having the majority of our rosters having drivers who are driving this make of car right now.

Chase Elliott: Chase has been the cream of the crop for the Chevrolet drivers so far this season. In his four starts at Texas, Chase has finished in the top ten in all of them, led laps in three of them, and finished every lap in those races. This team is getting close, but they still have a little bit of work to do to get their car to be at its best at the end of the race. This is going to happen soon.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has one win at this track and set a qualifying record here last year. Although he only has one win here, which came back in the 2009 season, he has consistently finished in the top ten. In fact, Kurt has finished in the top ten in seventeen of his thirty starts here. That includes five top ten finishes in his last seven starts. As I said before, the Ford drivers are the cream of the crop at this point of the season.

Brad Keselowski: Not to beat a dead horse as they say, but here is another Ford driver who has run consistently well at this track, especially lately. Even though Brad is still looking for his first win here, he has finished in the top five in five of his last seven starts here. I enjoy watching Brad and seeing what type of strategy they deploy in each race to get his car better and get him to the front of the pack where he can compete for a win late in the race.

Denny Hamlin: Denny disappointed me and I’m sure himself last weekend at Martinsville where he normally finishes in the top five or ten. Not that he had a bad race, just that they know they could have done much better. Well, Denny does have two wins at this track sweeping the races here back in 2010. Since then he hasn’t been real consistent here, but did finish third in the fall race last season.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan has only run six races at Texas in the Cup series and has gotten better every time here. He has looked fast all season long with his new Penske team and surprised a lot of people last week by finishing third at Martinsville. As I said, he has gotten better every time out at Texas and finished sixth here last fall. He is a dark horse to watch for this weekend too.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Chase Elliott
  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Erik Jones

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Alex Bowman
  • David Ragan

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Chase Elliott

Dark Horse: Ryan Blaney

Stay Away From: Kasey Kahne

Big 18: Joey Logano

24 thoughts on “2018 Texas Motor Speedway, O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

  1. When you look at 10 lap speeds, which is more important? A lot of the fast laps are on laps 1-10 or 5-15. but then you get some that might be on lap20-30?

    1. I think looking at the speeds later in practice are an indication of a team getting closer to the setup they really need in a race. If their fast laps are 1-10 it tells me they aren’t getting the car better as practice continues. But, that depends on how many 10 lap runs they do in practice and I don’t know if that is posted anywhere.

      1. no way. now is the time to be using almirola. they won’t maintain this. while jones will get stronger during the course of the year.

        1. I disagree. The Stewart Haas teams have been very good for the last 3 seasons. I think Almirola gets better as the season progresses and the team gels in their first year.

    1. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I know that, but must have been thinking of something else while I was writing. No excuse though. I have the article updated. Thank you once again. If it wasn’t for the readers I would make a lot of mistakes.

    1. He was still 3mph off the pace of Newman on his 10 lap run, so I don’t know if he’ll be able to move through the field very fast. Looks like his tires fall off too fast or the handling goes away.

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