BOWYER FINISHES SIXTH BUT LOSES GROUND
If it's any sign of how difficult it is to win the Chase, Clint Bowyer, third in points coming into Sunday's Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500, finished sixth and fell farther behind both of the drivers before him.
Bowyer dropped 10 points to leader Jimmie Johnson, now trailing by 36 with two races remaining. Second-place Brad Keselowski is 29 before Bowyer.
“You keep having these top-10s and flirting with top-fives week-in and week-out, and unless you're winning these races every week, you can't gain points,” Bowyer said. “Even if we were winning right now, it ain't enough to run them down for a championship.”
PATRICK LOGS BEST CUP FINISH
For the first time in her brief Sprint Cup career, Danica Patrick finished a race still on the lead lap.
In her previous eight Cup races this season, she had not finished better than two laps off the lead, and her highest finishing position was 25th, a mark she bested by one Sunday.
BUSCH BROTHERS STRONG
Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch were the only non-Chase racers to finish in the top 10, with Kyle coming in third and Kurt eighth in his fourth race with his new team, Furniture Row Racing.
The eighth-place finish matches Kurt Busch's best in this tumultuous season that included a midyear team change from Phoenix Racing to Furniture Row.
“It's cool to see Kurt developing with a new team and getting that chemistry going quite quickly in order to get himself better acclimated for 2013,” Kyle said.
LONG GREEN, SHORT GREEN
Sunday's race went nearly 100 laps before the first caution of the day, but also had one of the shortest green-flag runs you'll ever see.
Just seconds after the green flag dropped on lap 120, Bobby Labonte hit the rear of Trevor Bayne's car. The leaders hadn't even made it through the first turn by the time cars were sliding through the grass of the infield.
Juan Pablo Montoya took the brunt of the damage in the pileup. His car was in the garage for more than 50 laps for repairs before he got back on the track.
EARLY DAMAGE FOR HARVICK
Very early Sunday, Kevin Harvick's No. 29 car had to head back to the garage after suffering some damage.
How early? The race hadn't even begun yet.
A sky diver who dropped onto the track as part of the prerace entertainment, was carrying a sandbag that held the state flag of Texas behind him.
As he came in, the sandbag slammed the side of Harvick's car, which was sitting on pit road with the rest of the cars.
The crew took the car back to the garage to do their best to repair a dent just below the window.
OKLAHOMA SOLDIERS AMONG THOSE HONORED
Texas Motor Speedway always maintains a strong involvement with supporting the military, and some Oklahoma soldiers are being included this weekend.
Fort Sill's 77th Army Band performed the national anthem before Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.
In addition, troops from the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base and the Wounded Warrior Battalion at San Antonio Medical Center attended the races on Saturday and Sunday.
Airman First Class Jonathan McKnight of Broken Arrow and Sgt. Kenneth Fischer of Mountain View are among the troops to be included in the “Troops at the Track” initiative.