Predictions For The O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 At Texas

Ross Houston
April 10, 2017

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes the Easter weekend off before returning to action at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 23rd.

Ryan Blaney will start alongside Harvick on the front row.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: There was a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday and in it, Kyle Larson finished second.

Kevin Harvick has adjustments made during a pit stop in the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Jimmie Johnson has led more laps at Texas than any other NASCAR Cup Series driver, and won a record six times there.

"I just missed the entry going into (Turn) 1", Busch said.

"I'm really surprised we won here", said Johnson. I know that we can do it.

Until he caught up with Logano after the final restart, and then got to Victory Lane.

"Jimmie felt like it was an isolated situation", Knaus said. The fall race last season was delayed almost six hours because of issues drying the surface, and an IndyCar race there last season started in June and wasn't completed until August due to a postponement after track officials struggled to get the track dry.

"I'm looking forward to trying to get our vehicle right for the race and trying to get to Victory Lane on Sunday so (track president) Eddie Gossage will leave me alone", Harvick said. He was also looking forward to his planned off-week trip to Mexico that he said would include a sunburn, margaritas, chips and guacamole.

Johnson discovered right after the start that there was a problem with the fluid delivery system in his vehicle.

Harvick is the polesitter at the 1¢-mile Texas track that earlier this year was completely repaved and reconfigured in Turns 1 and 2.

It was Johnson's seventh win at Texas, the most of any active driver.

The Chevrolets of series leader Kyle Larson and of Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne will start toward the back on owner points because their cars failed to pass pre-qualifying inspection in time to make a run during time trails. If you are fading Kevin Harvick, Truex joins Brad Keselowski as one of my favorite alternatives. Johnson said that he has a button connected to an electric motor that pushes fluid to a bite valve in his helmet, but that the system did not work for the entirety of the race. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt complained his air flow wasn't working too well in his auto as many drivers seemed to wilt under the Texas heat.

Johnson had to start in the back because his tires were changed after qualifying. Earnhardt still has yet to earn a top-10 finish, the latest he's gone in a season without doing so.

BLANEY'S RUN: Ryan Blaney dominated in winning the first two stages of the race and leading 148 laps.

The Speedway installed a new racing surface, widened the track from 60 to 80 feet and reduced the banking in the first two turns from 24 degrees to 20 degrees.

There were six caution flags during the race - none after the end of the Stage 2 mandatory caution - which meant green flag racing from Lap 97 - the beginning of Stage 3 - through the end of the 200 lap race.

"I ain't too anxious about it", said Earnhardt, who will start 37th on Sunday.

Blaney dropped to 16th with 32 laps left after over-running his pit stall.

"I thought after the first run I felt pretty comfortable on our qualifying run and just thought I could get a little bit more", Jones said. "It was bad to try to pass people". But he methodically worked his way to the front and was able to get around Logano for the top spot with 15 laps to go.

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