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NASCAR at Texas: Cup race rain-delayed; Harrison Burton steals Xfinity win; Creed wins Trucks

NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader Echopark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
• Cup race rained out on Sunday; rescheduled to Monday at 10:00A EDT

Fort Worth, TX, Oct 25/20 (GRW): The NASCAR Cup Series race scheduled to run here on Sunday afternoon after the Truck Series race ran earlier in the day completed only 52 of it scheduled 334 laps before mist and rain brought out the red flag. Despite waiting out the rain for over four hours, NASCAR bowed to the reality that it was impossible to complete the race on Sunday.

Accordingly, they postponed the completion of the race until 10:00A EDT on Monday.

UPDATE: On Monday, NASCAR tried to wait out the rain and made repeated attempts to dry the track but this all failed. Finally at 6:00P EDT, they called it a day and gave up further efforts to dry the track on Monday. They are now saying that they plan to start the race at 12:00 noon EDT on Tuesday. This, despite a weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday that still has a lot of rain in it.

In the US, there is a race broadcast scheduled for noon EDT on NBCSN. Presumably this race will also be broadcast in Canada via TSN, probably TSN1/4 at noon EDT

The word is that the local weather forecast for the Fort Worth area calls for a high probability of rain both on Monday and Tuesday (and now WEdnesday as well). Hence, NASCAR may not be able to complete this race on any of those those days. In that case, what might happen?

Given that both of the two weekends coming up already have races scheduled (Martinsville and Phoenix), it is hard to see when this Texas race could be run if it is rained out again tomorrow. If it were me, I would declare a ‘force majeure’ and call the race completed as of the 52 laps already run on Sunday – and tell everyone to scoot back home to get ready for the Martinsville race next Sunday.

The standings in the race as of the lap 52 red flag were: 1. Clint Bowyer, 2. Jimmie Johnson, 3. Erik Jones, 4. Joey Logano and 5. Martin Truex. Denny Hamlin was in 15th place and Kevin Harvick was in 36th place, a lap down, after crashing on the wet track.

PHOTO NXS TMS BURTON VICTORY CIRCLEHarrison Burton in victory circle (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
• Burton wins over Gragson with a last-lap pass

Fort Worth, TX, Oct 24/20 (GRW): Harrison Burton, who had previously won two Xfinity Series races this year but who previously had been eliminated as a playoff contender, passed Noah Gragson coming off turn four on the final lap to win this race. Gragson, who had led the previous 14 laps and who was in a ‘must win’ situation, was devastated. He might still have a mathematical chance of driving his way into the playoffs finale at Phoenix – and a win next week at Martinsville would do it for him – but, for all intents and purposes, his championship hopes are over.

Earlier in the race, on lap 107 of the race’s 200 laps, it looked to be all over for Burton when he lost control of his car and spun down onto the infield grass. However, he did not hit anything and, as the race went on he was able to recover, running in the top ten and then, in the closing laps, to race his way up into eighth place.

Two quick cautions later – on lap 170 and 177 – saw three of the playoff contenders – Ross Chastain, Justin Allgaier and Brandon Jones – all involved and going laps down. Both Allgaier and Jones were unable to continue making their hopes of advancing to the playoff finale dim. This caution set up the final restart with Cindric and Gragson lined up in the front row ahead of Anthony Alfredo and Burton.

On the restart, Cindric’s car went loose and he fell back a number of positions while Gragson took over the race lead. If he could hold onto win the race, he would be guaranteed a place among the final four playoff contenders at Phoenix. Burton was back in third behind Alfredo and, while he looked to be faster than Gragson or Alfredo, he was struggling to get past Alfredo – and so long as he could not get past Alfredo, Gragson’s lead was protected.

Burton dove under Alfredo with two laps remaining and he made the pass – but he was still several car lengths back of Gragson. Somehow he was able to make use of his superior speed and close right up on Gragson and then, coming off turn 4 with the checker in sight, he dove under Gragson and then he sprinted out ahead over the final half-straight, crossing the finish line half a second ahead.

“We had such a fast race car,” Burton said. “I’ve never driven anything harder than that last corner in my life. I don’t know how it stuck. I lost my voice—I was screaming. Gosh, that’s special. I’ve never spun out and come back and won, so that’s cool.

“We were obviously pushing the limits all day… of speed. That’s kind of what we came to do, to be fast, to win our first stage of the year, which was a good sign, and our speed—what we did on that last lap was incredible. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m pretty damn glad it did. What a cool place to win. We’re going home with cowboy hats.”

Cindric is now in a more comfortable place in the playoff standings; he is in second place behind Briscoe who won last week’s race and ahead of Allgaier and Justin Haley – but he will still be hoping to win next week to clinch his spot among the final four at Phoenix.

Although Briscoe had clinched his playoff spot at Phoenix with his win last week at Kansas, he was looking like repeating that win here, leading the first 34 laps until a problem with his right-rear tire sent him to the pit road under green. This turned out to be more serious than just a flat tire and he and his car spent some time behind the wall while repairs were made to the rear suspension, He returned to the race but laps down, In the end, he finished in 24th place, some 16 laps behind the race winner. No matter, his win at Kansas will see him advance to the finale at Phoenix in two weeks time.

• Click HERE for the results of this Xfinity race at Texas

• The next Xfinity Series race will be run next Saturday, October 31, at Martinsville.

PHOTO NGROTS TMS Creed2 102520Sheldon Creed drives during the SpeedyCash.com 400 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series SpeedyCash.com 400 at Texas Motor Speedway
• Another GMS driver – Creed – qualifies for the championship finale

Fort Worth, TX, Oct 25/20 (GRW): When this race went into overtime and saw its final restart Sheldon Creed was alongside Austin Hill in the front row. But Creed’s GMS teammate Brett Moffitt was lined up right behind him and, when the final green flag waved, he pushed him ahead. Creed kept going and, when the yellow flew on the final lap freezing the race order, Creed was still ahead of Hill.

By this time, Moffitt had fallen to fifth place but that did not much matter because, as the winner of last week’s race at Kansas, he was also locked into the finale at Phoenix just as Creed was on the strength of his win here at Texas.

“Man, what a good truck my guys put together,” said Creed. “We’ve been inconsistent here, but we’ve always had speed, and today, man, just awesome. Two trucks locked in for the organization—that’s awesome—and hopefully we can get the other two (Zane Smith and Tyler Ankrum) or at least one more next weekend. Hard racing today. Man, it’s crazy. We’ve just been working for this all year, and I feel like I’ve improved so much and put so much work into this. Man, going to Martinsville stress-free is so nice.”

Finishing behind Creed and Hill were Zane Smith in third, Rapheal Lessard in fourth and Moffitt in fifth.

The race saw six different drivers take a turn at leading laps but it was Creed who was dominant here leading 131 of the races 152 laps (including overtime). Matt Crafton led for 13 laps and finished in sixth place.

Stewart Friesen skipped the Kansas race and that dropped him down in the starting order, but mid-race, coming off the sixth caution, he vaulted ahead to challenge Creed for the lead before the seventh caution flew a few laps later. This time Friesen took the start on the front row alongside Creed and a couple of laps later he dove under him to lead the race. But he only led for four laps before Johnny Sauter made a dubious move in an attempt to get past Friesen below him. Unfortunately, Sauter’s truck got loose and it swerved up into the side of Friesen’s truck sending it spinning into the barrier – where it was wrecked and was unable to continue.

Soon after this some kind of altercation on lap 145 between Ben Rhodes and Christian Eckes resulted in both of them sustaining so much damaged they were unable to continue – and bringing out the ninth caution which sent the race into overtime. The overtime that saw Creed get ahead of Hill and win the race.

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

• The next NGROTS race will be held next Friday, September 30, at Martinsville.

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