It was a long day at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday. Rain plagued the race all day and led to its early conclusion. Carl Edwards was able to wrest the win away from Martin Truex Jr. late in the going and secured his spot in the Final 4 at Homestead in just two weeks. It was the 28th win of his career and his fourth at Texas Motor Speedway. Here’s how it all went down in the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 Sunday.
Rain threatened on race morning, and NASCAR moved up the green flag and the low clouds were spitting rain in the hour leading up to the scheduled start time. However, only moments prior to the command to start engines, the rain came and the start was delayed.
The engines were fired five hours later at 7:10 p.m. ET. The field was put single file for 23 pace laps as the final bit of track drying was finished up thanks in part to the heat from the racecars.
Under the lights, from his second career pole and his first at Texas, Austin Dillon finally led the field to the green/yellow just before 8:00 p.m. ET and the laps actually started counting; Joey Logano started second followed by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson
The yellow was lifted and the green displayed on lap 7. Dillon and Logano were side by side for much of the lap, but Logano cleared him entering turn 3 and took the lead; behind Dillon, Brad Keselowski grabbed third, Kevin Harvick was fourth, Paul Menard fifth. Harvick took third on lap 11. Matt Kenseth took fifth on lap 14. Edwards followed to take sixth from Menard. The lead for Logano was just over a second.
Logano was starting to catch the back of the field by lap 23.
NASCAR had originally scheduled a competition caution for lap 25, but due to the green/yellow laps moved that to around lap 28 and that caution, officially the second of the race, came out at the start of lap 29. Logano was out first followed by Harvick, Dillon, Keselowski and Edwards. All took four tires and fuel.
Green came back out on lap 34; Logano had the lead by turn 1; Harvick and Keselowski side by side behind. Those two were still fighting for the spot with Harvick prevailing by lap 35. Dillon was fourth. Edwards fifth.
Logano’s lead was just over 2 seconds by lap 50.
Edwards began to slowly move forward; he was fourth by lap 61. Keselowski had fallen to fifth, Logano’s lead was just over 4 seconds. There were 29 cars on the lead lap by lap 67. Dillon took second on lap 68. Jimmie Johnson, running outside the top 10, reported a possible tire going down on lap 72 and pitted under green. With the pit cycle nearing, others deeper in the field followed. However, taking the cue those among the leaders began to pit by lap 75. Soon pit road was full. Logano pitted from the lead on lap 76, Dillon stated out to lead a lap. Dillon pitted a lap later.
The stops cycled through by lap 79 with Logano back in the lead. Kyle Larson was scored seconds, Edwards third, Harvick fourth, Martin Truex Jr. was fifth.
Dillon, Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Johnson and Kenseth rounded out the top 10. The lead up front was just over five seconds.
There were 20 cars on the lead lap, by lap 88. Logano’s lead was 4 seconds. Edwards was third, Truex fourth, Harvick fifth. Chase driver Kyle Busch reported a possible engine issue or exhaust leak while running 16th.
By lap 100, Logano had stretched his lead out to just over five seconds.
The third caution came out on lap 109 when Brian Scott got loose and spun exiting turn 4; he made no contact and was able to continue. The leaders all came in for stops. Logano was out first, followed by Larson, Truex, Edwards and Dillon.
The restart came on lap 116. Logano took the lead on the outside with Larson close behind, Edwards grabbed third.
Caution four, this time for debris came out on lap 118. Harvick was reporting a vibration. Johnson was among the few to pit. Harvick’s crew chief reported that the tire changers were confident they got all the lugnuts tight, but he could pit if he felt he needed to. Harvick stayed out and restarted 8th.
The green came back out on lap 120. Logano again took the lead on the outside; Truex and Larson fought for second; Edwards hovered close behind. Truex had second by the end of the lap, Larson settled into third. Keselowski had fifth behind Edwards.
Edwards took third on lap 126. The lead was just over 2 seconds.
Chase Elliott battling flu like symptoms, took fifth on lap 138. Harvick was sixth. Kurt Busch was the lowest running Chase driver in 19th. Truex was gaining ground on the lead.
Menard spun after losing a tire in turn 3 and caution five waved on lap 144. He did not make contact and was able to continue. Kyle Busch reported he had a hole in the right side of his grille. The leaders all pitted. Logano was out first, Truex was second followed by Larson, Edwards and Harvick. The Busch crew worked to tape over the hole in front of his car; he came out 19th just behind brother Kurt.
Green came back out on lap 149; Logano took a clear lead, Truex fell into second, Edwards grabbed third, Harvick and Larson contested fourth and fifth side by side, with Harvick getting the spot and Larson settling into fifth.
Elliott retook fifth on lap 161.
Harvick had fallen to fifth by lap 182; up front in traffic, Truex was closing in on leader Logano.
Kenseth pitted from seventh on lap 187 to start a round of green flag stops; Truex and Edwards followed a lap later. Logano pitted from the lead on lap 189. Thanks to coming in one lap later, Truex had the lead after the cycle, Edwards was second, Logano third, Elliott was fourth, Kenseth fifth. The lead for Truex was 1.3 seconds.
Harvick had fallen to seventh by lap 196.
Crews were reporting more rain was nearing and soon Edwards was reeling in leader Truex in traffic by lap 199.
The two were clear of traffic by lap 203, and Edwards was still closing. The lead was under a half a second. By lap 211, however Truex had stretched his lead out to near a second.
The gap began to close again by lap 214 in more lapped traffic. Behind Elliott was looking for third from Logano. Elliott had the third place spot by lap 220; Truex was reporting a possible issue with his car; he started another cycle of green flag stops on lap 223; Edwards and Logano pitted at the same time. Truex and Edwards came into the pits side by side.
Truex was out first, Edwards second, Logano third.
The lead after the stops was 1.4 seconds. By lap 229 the lead was just over 2 seconds and growing with rain still threatening. Truex was still reporting that “it just feels like something is broken.”
Dillon had moved to fifth by lap 237. Kyle Busch had worked his way into 10th.
Truex lapped Kurt Busch in 17th on lap 244. Logano had retaken third, but Elliott took the spot back on la 246. Dillon also got by and was soon challenging Elliott for third.
Dillon’s run ended on lap 255 when he got loose entering turn 3 and spun; he made no contact and caution 6 came out. Dillon was able to keep moving and did not lose a spot staying in front of Logano.
The leaders all came in for stops. Edwards was able to win the race off pit road, Truex was second, Logano third followed by Elliott and Dillon. Spotters were reporting raindrops; soon drivers were reporting the same.
Despite the light rain being reported, the green came on lap 260. Edwards took the lead on the outside, Truex and Elliott were side by side for second; Truex was able to take the spot by the end of the lap, Elliott fell into third.
On lap 263, Dillon exited turn 4 and hit the wall hard after contact with Harvick from behind; he slid down the track and took out the car of Casey Mears; Brian Scott was also swept up. Dillon had heavy damage as did Mears who was done for the night. Caution seven came out and those outside the top five pitted. The top five who stayed out: Edwards, Truex, Elliott, Logano and Ryan Blaney. Kurt Busch was penalized for pitting twice while being the free pass car; he was held a lap.
Harvick said he didn’t mean to get into Dillon; Dillon said Harvick didn’t check up and said he had two weeks to get back at him.
Green came out on lap 271; Edwards had the led by turn 1, Truex and Logano was side by side for second. Exiting turn 4, Logano got by Truex on the high side and took second. The weather radar showed rain was again threatening. By lap 276 the lead was 1.7 seconds. There were 16 cars on the lead lap.
More reports of rain started on lap 283. Kyle Busch had moved to fifth and was looking for fourth from Elliott.
The caution, number 8, for rain came out on lap 291. The pits opened and among the few takers was Johnson, Larson, Keselowski and Blaney. The rain began to pick up and NASCAR lost the track, brought the cars down pit road on lap 294 and displayed the red flag. NASCAR declared the race official with 40 laps left. Logano was second followed by Truex, Elliott and Kyle Busch. Harvick, Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10. Chase driver Johnson finished 11th, Kurt Busch 20th. The full results can be found here.
The next stop is the penultimate race of the Sprint Cup season, the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will be held next Sunday. Live coverage will be on NBC with the green flag coming out just after 2:30 p.m. ET.
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