Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 7 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 334 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/164 laps)
Start/Finish: 25th/2nd (Running, completed 334 of 334 laps)
Point Standing:11th (192 points, 118 out of first)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
● Clint Bowyer started 25th and finished 15th.
● Bowyer quickly reported his car “was the best it’s been all weekend, boys.”
● Bowyer led laps 80-82 – his first laps led of 2019.
● Gave up the lead when he pitted for fuel with just four laps left in the stage and finished 15th.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
● Bowyer started third and finished 11th.
● Bowyer stayed on the track during the stage break and restarted third.
● Fell back to 10th on the restart with a loose car.
● As the stage progressed, Bowyer’s car loosened up and began to climb back to the front.
● During a caution, Bowyer reported a strange battery reading, and the crew tried to determine the cause.
● Bowyer switched between primary and backup battery, and the issue never jeopardized his race.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 171 -334):
● Bowyer started 12th and finished 11th.
● Bowyer began clicking off fast laps again and climbed to fifth by lap 200 and second by lap 224.
● Stayed in the top-three through a pit-stop cycle. Pitted again with 74 to go for two tires and restarted seventh.
● Bowyer raced in second when he and leader Denny Hamlin made fuel-only stops in the closing laps.
● However, Bowyer couldn’t catch Hamlin and finished as runner-up, 2.743 seconds behind.
● Bowyer earned his second top-five of the season and his fourth top-five in 27 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Texas.
● Bowyer’s second-place result equaled his previous best finish at Texas – second in April 2011.
● Bowyer led once for three laps to increase his laps-led total at Texas to 88.
● Denny Hamlin won the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 to score his 33rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Texas. His margin of victory over second-place Bowyer was 2.743 seconds.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
● Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Kyle Busch leaves Texas as the championship leader with an eight-point advantage over second-place Hamlin.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang:
“All in all, our car handled good. It wasn’t lightning fast all day long, but as they started slip sliding around and struggling we’d kind of prevail on those long runs. That was our M.O. Denny, he was relatively fast all weekend long – top of the sheet – so we just weren’t really. All in all, I’m really happy to finish where we were. What a wild race. Just about the time you think you’re gonna have some stage points the caution would come out and then you thought you were back in and it happened again. Then you’re like, ‘Well, damn. What kind of haymakers are gonna be thrown at the end,’ and it just didn’t. Anytime you finish second it’s like, ‘What could I have done?’ When he came out of the pits that far ahead of us I was like, ‘We’re in big trouble,’ but second is not bad for the way our weekend started.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 7 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.