Texas Observations

Thoughts, observations and a few questions following the AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, race number eight of the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup:

  • Despite having won the previous three Chase races and the previous two Cup races in-a-row at TMS, Jimmie Johnson was on no one’s pre-race radar. All the pre-race talk was about Kenseth, Logano and nearly everyone else. After being such a regular fixture in Victory Lane for the past decade, it’s odd to think of “Six-Time” as an underdog. But he was.
  • Johnson’s win on Sunday is number 75, one shy of tying the record held by the late Dale Earnhardt. Yes, hard to believe for some, but the past keeps slipping further away in the rearview mirror. Problem is, too many fans haven’t accepted the new NASCAR and still look fondly at the past.
  • Here’s a stat: Johnson never ran out of the top 10 all afternoon. His worst position was 10th.
  • How quickly did the word “karma” come to mind when Joey Logano lost a tire early?
  • I keep thinking that Kyle Busch will have a bad race. That’s usually what happens to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver in post-season, ending in an early exit from the Chase. This year, the 18 team has been just good enough in the Chase to move onto the next round. Given the year Busch has had, winning the championship would make one hell of a story.
  • Except Jeff Gordon winning it would make an even better one.
  • One of the things I love about NASCAR is that the best car doesn’t always win the race.
  • Tires weren’t an issue in Friday’s Truck Series race or Saturday’s Xfinity race. It only goes to show the kind of voodoo setups the Cup teams are using these days.
  • An overhead shot by NBC Sports Network during the Cup race showed a lot of empty seats, something I’m not used to seeing at TMS. Some might say its because the Cowboys have a home game on the same day. Others will say its because it’s just a lot less hassle to park oneself in the Lazy Boy in front of a 65 inch screen and not have to pay $7 for a beer. I’ll go with the latter.
  • Of course that “comfy at home” scenario might be the ticket for some, but TMS is one of those tracks where you get a real sensation of the speeds capable by today’s Sprint Cup cars. One of my favorite spots in all of NASCAR is in the Turn One grandstands at TMS, watching Cup cars barrel into the corner at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. It’ll take your breath away.
  • I really think that there’s something to the theory that all the blasting of the TMS track surface by the Air Titans opened up some of the seams in the track, which in turn, caused the tire problems. I would think that the aging surface will need some serious attention paid to it (possibly sealing) before next spring’s Cup weekend. It might change the character of the track, but it will also supply ammunition for people to bitch about something.
  • Thinking about betting against Kevin Harvick winning at Phoenix next weekend? Don’t!
  • I do believe that the top four drivers right now (Gordon, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.) are the four who will decide the championship at Homestead in two weeks.
  • It really bothers me that the cars outside of the Chase get absolutely ZERO coverage by NBC Sports Network during a race. You never know how the non-Chasers will impact the championship — until one of them does — like we saw happen on Sunday.
  • In case you missed it, some members of Congress are once again targeting spending by the military at sports events. Much of it centers around funds being spent in the NFL, but some of the money is spent in NASCAR. The dollar amounts in question are minuscule compared to the billions being wasted elsewhere.


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