CLINT BOWYER – 2017 Texas I Race Advance

No. 14 Haas Automation Ford driver for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) Clint Bowyer has enjoyed his fair share of success over 22 races in his career at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The Emporia, Kansas native has led 85 laps on his way to three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s on the 1.5-mile oval.

Through that experience, it would be expected he knows well the secrets to success in Texas that he’ll apply once again to Sunday’s 500-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race.

But that’s not the case. Just ask Bowyer.

“Whatever has been the key to success is Texas is probably the opposite of what you will want to do this weekend,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “It’s literally a whole new ballgame.”

That’s because a dramatically different racetrack will greet Bowyer and the NASCAR Cup Series drivers when they begin practice Friday.

The track and pit lane underwent a complete repave since the series last visited in November, and turns one and two were re-profiled, altering the configuration of the oval after its second full repave since it opened in 1997. The first time occurred in the summer of 2001 as the speedway had the racing surface repaved with a granite-based asphalt compound from the original limestone-based asphalt.

All racecar drivers dread repaved racetracks. It dramatically increases grip, which usually limits racing to a single groove that makes passing difficult.

“I’m not a fan of repaves,” Bowyer said. “It’s disappointing for everybody, including the tracks, but it was time. Tracks are like a bottle of wine in that they age really well. But, at some point, you pop the cork and drink the wine. After you drink it, the bottle is empty and it’s time for something new.”

One of the reasons for the Texas repaving project was the result of unusually lengthy rain delays that plagued all three NASCAR and IndyCar Series race weekends last year. The aging racing surface made it difficult to dry the track in a timely fashion.

Bowyer applauded Texas track officials.

“I remember being down there last year and thinking we might not get a chance to race on this track,” he said. “They kept pumping, but the water kept seeping up through the cracks and crevices in the racetrack. You can’t have that. You can’t have fans camped out in the infield waiting on something to happen while the sun is out and we can’t get on the track.”

The re-profiling of the speedway reduced the banking in turns one and two by four degrees, decreasing it to 20 degrees. That change added additional racing surface with the width expanding from 60 to 80 feet in that section of the track. The result is a more unique and challenging layout than the previous symmetrical layout of 24 degrees in each turn and racing surface width of 60 feet in those turns.

The changes will prompt a new strategy for Bowyer and his crew chief Mike Bugarewicz-led team that arrives at Texas eighth in the standings as it rides a streak of five consecutive top-13 finishes, including three top-10s.

“In years past, it’s been tire management and finding a groove where you can work, but I really do think that will be all thrown out the window,” Bowyer said. “Now, you will probably need to find the shortest way around the track, which means riding around the bottom will be the fastest way around.”

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What are the new secrets to success on the newly repaved Texas Motor Speedway? 

“For Texas it’s all about having the sheer speed. On those 1.5-mile tracks, you have to have a car that unloads fast. You can be a little bit tight or a little bit loose but, if that car isn’t making grip, making downforce and having the speed on the racetrack, then you are going to struggle. Unloading a fast hot rod right off the truck is going to be so important because you are going to have to qualify well and have that track position to be a contender.”

DANICA PATRICK – 2017 Texas I Race Advance

While Danica Patrick is more closely associated with her performance at tracks like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has far more experience at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, the site of Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. However, all of her experience has been marginalized by recent changes at the 1.5-mile oval.

Of all the tracks where the NASCAR Cup Series competes, Patrick has the most starts at Texas, having driven in 21 major-league races – nine in the Cup Series, four in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and eight in the IndyCar Series.

Patrick’s career-best NASCAR Cup Series result at Texas is 16th, a mark she earned at both events there in 2015. In her four Xfinity Series races at Texas, Patrick has three top-15 finishes, including an eighth-place result in April 2012. In Patrick’s eight IndyCar Series starts at the track, she has five top-10s, including a third-place result in June 2007 and a second-place finish in June 2010.

While Patrick enters Sunday’s race with considerable experience at Texas Motor Speedway, it all goes for naught as the Cup Series returns to the track this weekend. In January, track officials announced an extensive capital improvement project that included a complete repave of the 1.5-mile track surface and pit lane, along with a reconfiguration of the banking in turns one and two from 24 to 20 degrees. The project also added additional racing surface in turns one and two with the width expanding from 60 to 80 feet in that section of the track. The effort marked the second full repave since Texas Motor Speedway made its NASCAR debut in 1997, and the first since the summer of 2001.

The resurfacing project was just completed last month, so NASCAR Cup Series teams will first run laps on the new layout when drivers head out for Friday morning’s practice session at Texas. Patrick and the No. 10 TaxAct Ford team will look to capitalize on the extended practice session NASCAR has given teams Friday to get acquainted with the new track configuration and learn as much as they can for Sunday’s race.

As this is the final race weekend before the filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns on April 18, TaxAct is offering its “Premium Finish” promotion this weekend at Texas. If Patrick or any member of the SHR team secures a top-10 finish in Sunday’s race at Texas, NASCAR fans can file their 2016 federal and state tax returns using the TaxAct Online Premium Bundle for only $10 – it’s currently priced at $85. This gives filers access to the federal and state forms needed to complete their TaxAct Online return no matter how complex their tax situation, all in, for $10, with offer and pricing subject to change.

If an SHR driver does not finish in the top-10, NASCAR fans can take advantage of a $10 discount off of their federal return when they use TaxAct Online Plus or Premium Editions. Filers can lock in their “Premium Finish” price online by visiting TaxAct.com/Ten and the applicable discounted pricing offer is available through April 15. With TaxAct’s Price Lock Guarantee, filers are guaranteed to pay the price offered for its online products at the time they register, no matter when they choose to file.

As NASCAR Cup Series teams head to Texas, Patrick and her No. 10 TaxAct Ford team look to conquer the new track surface and get a “Premium Finish” in Sunday’s race.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Talk about racing at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I’ve always liked racing at Texas. I first competed there in the IndyCar Series in 2005 and they always put on a great show for the fans. Texas is a really nice facility. The track has been repaved since we were there in the fall, so I’m glad they’re giving us extra practice time Friday to get a handle on the new track surface.”

 

You have a lot of experience at Texas and you seem to really enjoy racing there. Why is that?

“I think, more than anything with Texas, it’s the fact it’s a really high-banked, fast track and those are the kinds of tracks I’ve liked the most. I feel that load in the corner and you’re able to carry so much speed through there because of that banking. I feel like it translates more to a feeling I was familiar with from Indy cars, so I like going to Texas.”

KURT BUSCH – 2017 Texas I Race Advance

Typically when a racetrack undergoes a repave or reconfiguration, officials from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will schedule an organizational test to give race teams the opportunity to gather information that will be used for the upcoming race.

Typically.

Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth underwent a complete repave and reconfiguration of its 1.5-mile oval that annually plays host to a pair of NASCAR Cup Series races, a process that began in January. The project featured a four-degree reduction of the banking in turns one and two to 20 degrees, and a 20-foot widening of the racing surface to 80 feet in those turns in an effort to create more passing opportunities.

It’s the second full repave since Texas Motor Speedway made its NASCAR debut in 1997, and the first since the summer of 2001. But the timing of this repave, which came during the winter between NASCAR’s November race and Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, meant that the project schedule was so tight that it didn’t leave time to hold a test session.

When an organizational test session is held, teams are permitted to run data-capturing equipment on their racecars that is not allowed during race weekends. Engineers are able to dissect aerodynamic data, engine data, miscellaneous mechanical data, tire data and more. That data is shared amongst the teams in-house, but is also implemented in simulators.

Simulation programs are used to help determine which setups to bring to the racetrack each week. Ford Performance, Stewart-Haas Racing’s (SHR) manufacturer partner, took that idea and ramped it up when it opened its Technical Support Center in Concord, North Carolina three years ago. Ford Racing teams are able to access a full-motion platform simulator that allows them to optimize their setups for individual track configurations, and for drivers to practice driving a track ahead of an upcoming race weekend. But, in order to gather the data needed for the simulator, track mapping and accurate tire data needs to be accessible.

So, this weekend, Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for SHR, and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series drivers will head into the weekend facing a great unknown. Their first laps on the track will be just that.

Fortunately for Busch, the last time he faced a situation like this was at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta just last year. The racetrack was repaved, underwent banking changes in turns one and two and a reduction in the racing surface in those turns. While there was enough time to hold a two-day organizational test, he was not among the drivers who participated. However, Busch was able to score a top-five finish in that race, his first at the 1.5 mile speedway, and in doing so earned top-five finishes at each of the active racetracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Since opening 2017 by winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Busch and his No. 41 team have struggled. They’ve been challenged by mechanical and handling issues alike. So as they head to Texas this weekend not knowing what they’ll face, they’ll hope to experience a similar result to the last time they were in this situation. And they’ll do it at a track where Busch knows how to get the job done.

Busch is a former winner at Texas, having visited victory lane during the track’s November race in 2009. He started that race third and led 89 laps en route to the win. In 28 career starts at Texas, Busch has finished in the top-10 a total of 15 times, including a ninth-place finish in this race last year. Busch hopes this is the weekend he’ll be able to bring home his second Texas win in NASCAR’s top series and get his 2017 season back on track. 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

Talk about heading to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend with the unknowns that you will face. 

“I think the trend in NASCAR is to keep all of us on our toes as much as possible, it seems like. Practice sessions here and there, moving things to the next day as a result of weather. To head into Texas with no formal tire test, no official track mapping, let ’er rip. This is new territory for our sport. I think it shows how much we’re having to adapt on the fly. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? It doesn’t matter. It’s what it is, and it’s unique the way we’re headed in there to go 215 mph with no track time.”

COLE CUSTER- 2017 Texas I Race Advance

Event: My Bariatric Solutions 300 (Round 6 of 33)
Date: April 8, 2017
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
Layout: 1.5-mile oval

Cole Custer Notes of Interest

  • Custer is currently 12th in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings, 86 points behind series leader Elliot Sadler.
  • In six XFINITY Series starts and eight Camping World Truck Series starts since 2016, Custer has two top-five finishes, six top-10s and 10 top-15s at 1.5-mile tracks. His best Truck Series finish is third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and his best XFINITY Series finish is fourth at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, both in 2016.
  • Custer is an XFINITY Series rookie-of-the-year contender and has one “Rookie of the Race” award, earned at Las Vegas where he finished 11th. Custer’s best finish in the five races held this season is 10th at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • In 2016, Custer finished ninth and 14th, respectively, in his two Truck Series starts at Texas.
  • Custer will be joined in Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Kevin Harvick, who has five wins in 19 XFINITY Series starts at Texas. This will be Harvick’s second of five XFINITY Series races scheduled for 2017.
  • Just 40 miles east of Texas Motor Speedway sits Haas Factory Outlet – Dallas, a two-time recipient of Haas Automation’s “Best Service in the World” award. Known for its exceptional customer service, HFO – Dallas is a Haas Automation direct distributor, carrying replacement parts for next-day delivery with a fleet of fully-stocked service trucks, along with technicians who provide installation and ongoing service. Haas Automation, founded by SHR co-owner Gene Haas and the primary sponsor of the No. 00 Ford, is the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America.

 

Cole Custer, Driver Q&A 

What are your thoughts on racing at Texas Motor Speedway?
“I’m excited. It’s a new surface that no one has run on, so it’s going to be a new challenge. It evens the playing field a bit. I think our team has shown a lot of speed in the last couple of weeks, so I think we’ll have a strong Haas Automation Ford Mustang.”

Your best result at Texas is a ninth-place finish in the fall 2016 Truck Series race at Texas. Being at Stewart-Haas Racing and driving a new Haas Automation Ford Mustang, what are your expectations?
“Well, we easily had a top-five car in Fontana. If we could run in the top-five this weekend, I think it’ll be a huge thing for us. We’re still focusing on having solid days and trying to see if we can get some consistency going, but we’re looking forward to getting some good runs. With the resources we have from Ford and the support they’ve given us, we’re confident going into Texas that we can place well.”

This is your second of four races with teammate Kevin Harvick. What are your thoughts on having a teammate on track?
“It will be huge having Kevin. He’s helped me immensely in the past few weeks with notes to have and things I need to think about going into each race. We’ll have another car to bounce things off since it’s a new track and he’s probably going to figure the place out fast because he’s one of the best.”

Tony Stewart holds the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying lap record at Texas and won Cup Series races there in 2006 and 2011. Will you also look to him for advice?
“I always try to lean on Tony as much as I can. He’s been a huge help because he’s been at the track trying to give me advice, especially about communication. It’s been awesome having Tony around. He’s had a lot of success there, so I’m sure I’ll benefit from him.”

How will the new track surface affect the racing?
“I think everybody liked the old surface because it was so worn out, you could move around and tires were a big deal. This year, we’ll just have to figure out the track and try to see where we need to be and what we need to do. I’m sure it’s going to be an edgy track because of the new pavement. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m confident we can accomplish what we want.” 

Jeff Meendering, Crew Chief Q&A

What are your thoughts and expectations on racing at Texas Motor Speedway?
“So far, our intermediate car program is off to a great start. I’m looking forward to Texas because it’s a track that’s being repaved and they changed the banking, so no one really has any experience there. I feel like the playing field will be more level. Cole’s been getting up to speed on the new tracks he’s raced at, so I think we’re going to get our car dialed in faster than our competition will.”

With Kevin Harvick being on the track, as well, how will your strategy be different than other races?
“We’re going there with a few different style setups, so we’ll get a read on their setup and they’ll get a read on ours. Cole leans on Kevin pretty hard for driving and recommendations, so I think it’ll be good to compare the two setups.”

CLINT BOWYER – 2017 Martinsville I Race Report

Event:               Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:             500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish:      8th/7th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 8th (174 points, 94 out of first) 
Race Winner:    Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 130):

  • Started eighth, finished 10th to earn one race point.
  • Suffered minor front-end damage on lap three, then reported throughout stage his car had no rear grip.
  • Dropped as far back as 15th, then rallied back to 10th in the closing laps of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 260):         

  • Started 26th, finished 14th.
  • Dropped to 26th before start of Stage 2 after stop to add a rear spring rubber to help handling.
  • Stage 2 ran without caution; Bowyer drove by 12 cars under green-flag conditions and battled to stay on lead lap as race wound down.

 Final Stage Recap (Ended at Lap 500):   

  • Started 13th, finished seventh.
  • Dropped to 16th after suffering front and rear damage in a lap-287 multicar accident.
  • After repairs, Bowyer climbed as high as fourth in the closing laps. 

Notes:              

  • Rain canceled Friday’s qualifying session. The starting lineup was set by current 2017 owner points, per the NASCAR rulebook.
  • The race marked Bowyer’s fifth consecutive top-13 and third top-10 finish in 2017.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:           

“We were just a little bit off today, but everybody kept working hard and didn’t give up. We really wanted to lead laps and take home the grandfather clock (winner’s trophy), so we are disappointed. We are still learning and getting better each week. This is a really good team, and SHR is a great organization. We’re going to get better and better as the season goes on.”

Next Up:          

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

KURT BUSCH – 2017 Martinsville I Race Report

Event:               Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36) 
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
 Location:          Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:             500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish:      14th/37th (Accident, completed 295 of 500 laps) 
Point Standing: 19th (119 points, 149 out of first) 
Race Winner:    Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):

  • Kurt Busch started 14th, finished 14th.
  • Busch was scored as high as 10th during Stage 1.
  • Battled a loose-handling condition on corner exit.
  • Visited pit road at the conclusion of Stage 1 for right-side tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):

  • Started 22nd, finished 25th.
  • Struggled with a lack of forward drive on corner exit.
  • Lost a lap to the leader on lap 202.
  • Visited pit road at the conclusion of Stage 2 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 261-500):

  • Started 23rd, finished 37th.
  • Busch was caught up in a multicar accident on lap 290. He was able to continue in the event but suffered more severe damage a mere eight laps later in turn three. The damage was significant enough to force the team to retire from the race.

 Notes:

  • There were 14 caution periods for a total of 95 laps.
  • A total of 20 drivers finished on the lead lap.
  • Keselowski’s win in the Martinsville 500 is his 23rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville.

Next Up:                                                                       

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

KEVIN HARVICK – 2017 Martinsville I Race Report

Event:               Martinsville 500 (Round 6 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:             500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish:      9th/20th (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 10th (154 points, 114 out of first)

Race Winner:    Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Ends on Lap 130):

  • Kevin Harvick started ninth, finished 11th.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford pitted under caution on lap 72 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments.
  • Harvick gained several positions on pit road and restarted third following the lap-72 pit stop.
  • He pitted under caution on lap 109 to reverse his previous changes after noting he was tight in the center and loose off.
  • The team stayed out during the lap-123 caution and gained two positions in the closing laps of the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Ends on Lap 260):          

  • Started 21st, finished 24th.
  • The No. 4 Ford battled a tight-handling condition in the center of the corner and loose off.
  • Harvick went a lap down to leader Kyle Busch on lap 205 while racing in the 23rd position.

Final Stage Recap (Ends on Lap 500):

  • Started 25th, finished 20th.
  • The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford came to pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments following Stage 2.
  • Harvick pitted under caution on lap 282 for right-side tires and repairs. He restarted 27th.
  • He raced the No. 13 car for the free pass for more than 100 laps before finally returning to the lead lap on lap 406.
  • The Bakersfield, California, native restarted 21st on lap 414 and stayed out under caution on lap 421 to move into the top-12.
  • The No. 4 car sustained damage trying to avoid an incident on lap 434. The team pitted for repairs and restarted 19th.
  • Harvick battled until the end and took the checkered flag in 20th. 

Notes:                          

  • Harvick scored his fourth top-20 finish of 2017.
  • He scored his 24th top-20 finish in 32 career Cup Series starts at Martinsville.
  • Keselowski’s win in the Martinsville 500 is his 23rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville.
  • Kyle Larson leads the point standings by four points over Chase Elliott.
  • A total of 20 drivers finished on the lead lap.
  • The race was slowed by 14 cautions for 95 laps.

 Next Up:                                                                                  

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

DANICA PATRICK – 2017 Martinsville I Race Report

Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Format:             500 laps, broken into three stages (130 laps/130 laps/240 laps)
Start/Finish:      29th/23rd (Running, completed 499 of 500 laps) 
Point Standing: 29th (77 points, 191 out of first)
Race Winner:    Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended on Lap 130):

  • Danica Patrick started 29th and finished 25th.
  • The No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion started the race from the 29th position after Friday’s qualifying session was cancelled and the field was set per the NASCAR rule book.
  • Patrick struggled getting the car to turn in the center of the corner and went a lap down to the leader at lap 52. The team made adjustments on trips to pit road at laps 73, 110 and 126.
  • The No. 10 team was the recipient of the free pass when the caution flag waved at lap 123. That put Patrick back on the lead lap to conclude Stage 1.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended on Lap 260):        

  • Patrick started 12th and finished 20th.
  • As Patrick pitted four laps before the end of Stage 1, crew chief Billy Scott called for her to not pit between stages, which put the No. 10 TaxAct Ford team in 12th to start Stage 2.
  • Stage 2 ran caution free, and Patrick went down a lap to the leader at lap 218.
  • Patrick reported the car was still “tight in the center” of the corner and that she had to “be careful to not get too loose in and off” as well. Scott called for tires, fuel and adjustments when the team pitted between stages. 

Final Stage Recap (Ended on Lap 500):  

  • Patrick started 21st and finished 23rd.
  • Patrick raced to put herself in position for the free pass once again when the caution flag waved at lap 288.
  • The No. 10 TaxAct Ford team pitted five times throughout the final stage for tires, fuel and adjustments to help improve the car’s handling.
  • Patrick was scored 13th with less than 100 laps to go. Unfortunately, contact from the No. 11 car of Denny Hamlin sent the No. 10 TaxAct Ford spinning in turn three on lap 418. Patrick lost a lap to the leader as she worked to get the car re-fired and dropped back to 24th.
  • In the closing laps of the race, Patrick was only able to pick up one spot and took the checkered flag in the 23rd position. 

Notes:              

  • Patrick earned 14 points in Sunday’s race at Martinsville, which gives her a total of 77 points for the season thus far. She is ranked 29th in the driver point standings heading into next weekend’s event.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 TaxAct Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“We struggled at the start of the race, but the TaxAct team did a really good job on pit road all day, and Billy made some good calls to get the car turning better. We were able to run up in the top-15, and it’s unfortunate we got turned by the No. 11 and that just took us out of contention for a great finish today.”

 Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.