Share “Texas Motor Speedway story lines:...”

Texas Motor Speedway story lines: Handicapping the Chase competitors' chances

Here are five key story lines to watch at this weekend's Texas Motor Speedway races.
by Scott Wright Published: November 2, 2012
Advertisement

photo - Driver Jimmie Johnson smiles as he talks with crew members in the garage before a practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) ORG XMIT: TMS06
Driver Jimmie Johnson smiles as he talks with crew members in the garage before a practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) ORG XMIT: TMS06

Leaving with the lead

Leaving Texas with the points lead is usually a good thing for the potential champion.

Since the November race was added as the eighth of 10 Chase races in 2005, the points leader after Texas has won the title five of seven times.

However, the latest trend is reversed. The last two years, the leader after Texas — Edwards last year and Hamlin in 2010 — got passed for the title.

Non-Chasers for Victory Lane

Not since Tony Stewart in 2006 has a non-Chase driver won at Texas in November, but here are three guys who could get it done on Sunday:

Cousin Carl: The back flip has been a popular celebration on the TMS infield, with Carl Edwards winning five races at the track (two Nationwide, three Sprint Cup).

The Shrub: NASCAR's little Busch, Kyle, has won more than any driver at Texas — seven races in all — but none in Cup.

Epic Swag: Mark Martin, a master of the 1.5-mile, should have the No. 55 running toward the front. Unfortunately, he doesn't go by “Epic Swag” anymore. That was a one-week gag after his Twitter account was hacked and his handle changed to that name.

Nationwide: Youngsters in pursuit

Not counting the Sprint Cup double-dippers who are looking for extra laps on the track, there are typically two categories of drivers in the Nationwide Series: the young gun looking to work his way into a Cup car, and the veteran trying to show the world that his racing career isn't over.

Right now, experience is leading.

The 37-year-old Elliott Sadler holds a narrow six-point lead on defending series champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who just turned 25. And 22-year-old Austin Dillon is a manageable 26 points back as he nears the end of his first full Nationwide season.

Sadler has a Cup win at Texas in 2004, but Stenhouse is the driver to watch this week. Not only did he win at Texas in the spring, he has six total wins this season, and five of them have come on 1.5-mile tracks.

That could give Stenhouse an upper hand on the title as well, with 1.5-mile tracks hosting two of the final three races (Texas and Homestead).

by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Father who reportedly gave children prescription drugs jailed on neglect charge
  2. 2
    OU football: DeMarco Murray purchased iMacs for the Dallas Cowboys offensive line
  3. 3
    26 Percent Of Young Women Report That They Have Been Stalked Online
  4. 4
    UNC Officials Failed To Stop 18-Year Long Student Athlete Academic Fraud: Report
  5. 5
    New 'Autopsy' Reveals Big Surprises About Boy King
+ show more