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NASCAR at Texas: A. Dillon wins Cup, Cindric wins Xfinity and Kyle Bush wins Trucks

NASCAR at Texas: A. Dillon wins Cup, Cindric wins Xfinity and Kyle Bush wins Trucks

NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
The ‘Big One’ comes late and confounds the race results

Fort Worth, TX, July 19/20 (GRW): Late in the race a big pile up just behind the front runners brought out the crucial caution which produced a surprising final result. This yellow trapped everyone who had already pitted a lap down on the ones who had yet to pit – and this, pretty much, won the lottery for those who had waited.

Even with the wave around, these presumed favourites to win were now trapped behind a pack of sixteen ‘also-rans’ and, as the last few laps ticked down, they had no real chance to get back into contention.

After the next caution, and the pit stops those who had inherited the front positions could take now without risk of falling back into the pack, the Childress teammates Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick, who had not led a single lap all day before that, were one-two. They held on through yet another caution to take the final restart side-by-side at the front. When that green was waved they had to hold on for just four more laps for one of them to be the winner. Dillon, Childress’ grandson, edged out Reddick for the win.

"Not bad for a silver spoon kid, right," Dillon joked. "Tyler Reddick, he raced me clean. One-two for RCR. This has been coming. We’ve had good cars all year. I’ve got my baby Ace back home and my wife and I love them so much. I’m just so happy. Thank God. To tell you the truth, it means a whole lot [to be in the playoffs] for the family, for all our of partners."

Reddick acknowledged the track position was a huge help at the end. And runner-up is a career-best finish for the former two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion in the NASCAR Cup Series. "We had to catch a few breaks," Reddick said. "Can’t ask for much more than we got there, me and my teammate on the front for the last couple restarts. He’s done this a little longer than I have and I’m a little bit rusty, haven’t been on the front row in a while.”

PHOTO NCS TMS Green 071920Aric Almirola and Ryan Blaney lead the field to start the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500; note the fans in the grandstands (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The ‘Big One’ came on lap 307 of the 334-lap race after the cars that had been fighting for the win at the front had all pitted – including Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, and Chase Elliott. Given the way they were now locked behind those who had not yet pitted, they were lucky for any scraps they could get. Clearly the battle had been between Hamlin and Blaney (who had led the most laps – 150) and the others. Now they had to settle for nothing. Blaney made it back up to seventh. Hamlin was involved in the next caution and finished in 20th place. Almirola was tenth, DiBenedetto was 17th, Elliott was 12th.

If pitting earlier puts those drivers at risk of a result like this if a caution falls in the middle of a long pits stop sequence, why do crew chiefs do it? In F1 they call it the ‘undercut’. A driver fighting for position with another one pits early and takes on fresh tires; these fresh tires give him a performance advantage (a big advantage in NASCAR) and he can gain ground on his rival after he comes out on those fresh tires. By the time the other driver pits, he has lost ground, ground he cannot make up easily. In NASCAR, as we saw here at Texas, the danger of the undercut is the risk of the yellow coming out before everyone else has pitted in this cycle of pit stops. In F1 that risk is much less given that in F1 cautions (‘safety car’) are fairly rare.

Is it fair? No NASCAR rules are broken. The crew chief has to make a calculation on the risk of being trapped a lap down if the yellow comes out – and here today, those who were waiting as long as possible were rewarded. Congratulations to Dillon’s crew chief Justin Alexander and to Reddick’s crew chief Randall Burnett.

This win for Dillon locks him into the ‘playoffs’ with a shot at the championship. Did his driving performance here at Texas, in which he lucked into the win, make him a true contender for the title? I don’t think so. Perhaps more than Justin Haley did for his flukey win at Daytona last year, but this win here does not put him up into the ranks of the series top championship contenders.

This race came as the finale in a long sequence of races jammed into this three-day weekend – two IndyCar races, two IMSA races (Michelin + WeatherTech), ARCA, Xfinity, NASCAR Trucks, Formula One and NASCAR Cup series. You have to forgive me if, after watching the bulk of all these races and the long 500-miler at Texas only to see it won by a fluke, my enthusiasm for racing – especially boring racing – has waned ...

(With notes from NASCAR Wire Service)

• Click HERE for the results of the NASCAR Cup race at TMS

• The next NASCAR Cup race will be run next Thursday (!), July 23 at Kansas Speedway.

PHOTO NXS TMS FinalRestart 071820Kyle Busch and Austin Cindric lead the field to the final restart of the Bariatric Solutions 300 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) 

NASCAR Xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway

Cindric declared the winner after Kyle Busch is disqualified

Fort Worth, TX, July 18/20 (GRW): Kyle Busch making one of his infrequent appearances in the Xfinity Series, came to the front in the closing stages of this race. He first took the lead on lap 115 of the 201-lap race but the key was when he regained the lead with nine laps to go and then there was one more yellow, sending the race into overtime. He won that last restart and beat Austin Cindric to the checker by ten car lengths.

However, in post-race inspection, Busch’s car was found to be too low and it was disqualified. This made Cindric the official race winner and gave him his third oval-track win in a row – the only oval track wins he has recorded so far in his driving career.

Chase Briscoe was credited with a second-place finish, Justin Allgaier third, Harrison Burton fourth and Michael Annett fifth ... and so on. Allgaier with 98 laps in the lead and Cindric with 44 laps had been the strongest runners for most of the race.

"Obviously great to get the Money Lion Ford Mustang in Victory Lane no matter how it happens," Cindric said. "Great points day. You want to win it on track and I feel like we had a shot to do that today and maybe didn’t execute as well as we should have and that’s what kept us out, but fast race cars and being in position, that’s what counts.”

• Click HERE for the complete official final results of this Xfinity race at Texas.

• The next Xfinity race will be held at the Kansas Speedway on Saturday, July 25.

 PHOTO NGROTS TMS VL 071820Kyle Busch celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Vankor 350 (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

NASCAR Truck Series Race Vankor 250 at Texas Motor Speedway

Kyle Busch makes good with a genuine win in the Truck Series

Fort Worth, TX, July 18/20 (GRW): Despite his disappointment in having been disqualified out of his win in the Xfinity race which ran here earlier in the afternoon, Kyle Busch bounced back to win the truck race under the lights by a 0.8-second margin over Christian Eckes. Matt Crafton finished third. Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Stewart Friesen was fourth and Brett Moffitt was fifth.

The other Canadian in the field, the young Quebecker Raphael Lessard, finished 12th, a lap down. These Canadians are avoiding the problem of the closed Canada-US border by staying on the American side of the line.

Eckes, like Busch, was driving a truck entered by Kyle Busch’s team, so Busch was happy with Eckes second-place result.

“What can you say about Christian [Eckes], he’s getting better each and every week, every time out getting that chemistry more and more with [his crew chief] Rudy Fugle and those guys,” Busch said. “So real proud. But wanted to make sure we went out on a win.”

• Click HERE for the results of the NASCAR Truck Series race at Texas.

• The next NGROTS race will be held at Kansas Speedway next Friday, July 24.

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