Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Takes Center Stage in the Lone Star State

Written by Ryan Musich


(Ft. Worth, TX)    After a fantastic and thrilling race last November, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series take center stage at the newly renovated Texas Motor Speedway. There are a lot of questions going into the weekend because of new pavement that has been laid down since November, which is the last time NASCAR was in town. More questions surround turns 1 and 2 as the banking has been reduced from 24 degrees to 20 degrees, and the racing groove has been widened in those turns from 60 feet to 80 feet. Until today no driver had tested the newly renovated track. After hearing from drivers such as Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Jimmie Johnson, and Trevor Bayne, the opinion differs on which modification to the track will play a bigger factor Sunday. Bowyer, Johnson, and Buescher said the reduction of the banking on turns 1 and 2 will play a bigger factor, but Bayne predicted the new pavement could be a bigger factor for the drivers. One thing all 3 drivers agreed on was that they thought most drivers would be tentative most of the race Sunday. Especially after 4 wrecks took place at Friday’s practice.

    The race will not have a repeat winner after last year’s AAA Texas 500 here at Texas Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards stepped away from NASCAR in January of this year to pursue “other opportunities.” Jimmie Johnson will be looking get back onto victory road, and pick up his 6th win at Texas Motor Speedway and 2nd win in this exact race. Another driver to look out for in this race is Kyle Busch, who won the 2016 O’Reilly Auto Part 500. Ryan Blaney ran the fastest today at practice, and could easily be a dark horse in this race this Sunday. With the new modifications to the track though, this race could easily be a toss-up as well, since most of these drivers will want to be cautious. We will have to see who sets the pole tonight, and we could have a clearer opinion come tomorrow and Sunday.

Prediction: As I write this, qualifying has not happened, so I’m going off of pure instinct at this point. I’m going to have to go with the safe pick here in Jimmie Johnson. I feel like I need to go with the favorite here. Johnson has always run very well at this race and has won in 2015. My backup pick would be Kyle Busch. Busch has been having a lot of great races this year and has finished in the top 10 in 3 of last 4 races. This race is bound to feature quite a few wrecks in turns 1 and 2, and basically anywhere else on the track. The new pavement will inevitably affect the way these racecars perform. If it’s anything like what happened in today’s practice, numerous amount of drivers are bound to walk away from Sunday’s race upset and unfulfilled. We will see how qualifying goes tonight and I will be back tomorrow with your NASCAR Xfinity Series Pre-Race article. Have a great night everybody!

Share This Story:

Related Content