NASCAR: O’Reiley’s Auto Parts 500

This week the Monster Energy Cup Series travels to Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reiley Auto Parts 500.

OReilly500_2017_color

During the off season Texas Motor Speedway repaved and reconfigured the mile and a half track. The new layout has proven to be a challenge for drivers during practice.

In pre qualifying inspection on Friday, several drivers had issues with their cars and had to go through the process causing nine drivers to miss qualifying all together…
Kasey Kahne
Kyle Busch
Chase Elliott
Chris Buescher
Kyle Larson
Derrike Cope
Eric Jones
Dale Earnhardt Jr

These drivers will have their starting positions set by car owner points.

Jimmy Johnson qualified in the first round but spun out on the track and had to replace the tires – he will start the race at the back of the field

Kevin Harvick ran a lap in 27.21 seconds around the mile and a half track to earn the pole for the 19th time in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Harvick wins a shotgun for earning the pole. The race winner will take home a pair of six shooters.

TSM350_-_2015_-_Kevin_Harvick_-_Stierch_4_Cropped

The starting lineup for the O’Reilley’s Auto Parts 500:
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Blaney
Clint Bowyer
Joey Logano
Brad Keselowski
Jamie McMurray
Martin Truex Jr
Matt Kenseth
Ryan Newman
Kurt Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Trevor Bayne – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
Michael McDowell
Ty Dillon
Landon Cassill
AJ Allmendinger
Denny Hamlin
Aric Almirola
Danica Patrick
Daniel Suarez
David Ragan
Paul Menard
Corey LaJoie
Jimmie Johnson – moved to the back of the field for tire change after qualifying wreck
Austin Dillon
Matt DeBenedetto
JJ Yeley
Cole Whitt
Gray Gaulding
Reed Sorenson
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Kyle Busch\
Kasey Kahne – moved to the back of the field in a backup car
Erik Jones
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Chris Buescher
Timmy Hill
Derrike Cope

Stages one and two of the 334 lap race will be 85 laps each with stage three lasting 164 laps.

Ozzy Osbourne and son Jack gave the command to send the drivers to their cars. Sports caster Jim Rome gave a rousing command to start the engines.

NASCAR has announced a competition caution at lap 30.

Austin Dillon has taken his car to the garage with a reported track bar issue. The crew is working on the left trailing arm.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag and edges out in front for the lead. Drivers are already getting three wide in the field.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

FORT WORTH, TX – APRIL 09: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Ford, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Harvick

The first caution flag comes out on lap three for debris on the track.

Daniel Suarez brings his car down pit road to make repairs on his car after contact on the track.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap six and pulls out in front of the field.

Ten lap in Kevin Harvick has a lead of nearly a second.

The second cution flag of the race comes out when Jeffrey Earnhardt and Reed Sorenson get into a crash. Gray Gaulding is also involved.

Austin Dillon returns to the track eleven laps down.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 16 and gets a challenge from Ryan Blaney to take the lead.

After starting near the back of the filed, Kyle Larson has already moved up to the top 10. Seven time champion Jimmie Johnson is also moving trhough the field. Dale Earnhardt Jr has moved up eleven spots from his 37th starting position.

Lap 26 Ryan Blaney has pulled out to a lead of nearly a second over Kevin Harvick.

When NASCAR throws the competition caution – the third caution flag of the race – leader Ryan Blaney has a lead of over a second and is approaching a second and a half.

Taking only two tires Kevin Harvick lead the race off of pit road. Chris Buescher got turned around on pit road but his crew serviced the car even though he was facing backwards.

During pit stops Kyle Larson is penalized for driving through too many pit stalls to get to their pit boxes.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 36 but Ryan Blaney gets out in front for the lead.

Dale Earnhardt Jr has moved up 20 spots for 17th after missing qualifying due to inspection issues.

Lap 42 Ryan Blaney has a lead of less than half a second on second place driver Kevin Harvick.

Lap 51 Ryan Blaney has a lead of over a second and a half on Kevin Harvick. Drivers are getting three wide vying for position.

Ryan Blaney has led more laps today than he has in his entire NASCAR career to date.

Kevin Harvick has picked up several pieces of paper bag on his grille on this very windy Texas day.

Lap 60 Ryan Blaney has a lead of nearly two and a half seconds and has begun lapping slower traffice with 31 cars on the lead lap.

With 23 laps remaining in the first stage, Dale Earnhardt Jr has moved into the top 10.

Ryan Blaney has increased his lead to over three seconds. On lap 58.

Lap 65 Ryan Blaneys lead is up to three and a half seconds.

There are 12 laps remaining in stage one and Ryan Blaney has a lead of over three seconds on second place driver Martin Truex Jr.

Eight laps remaining in the stage and Martin Truex Jr has closed the gap to less than one second as Blaney encounters slower traffic. There are 28 cars on the lead lap.

Five to go and Martin Truex Jr has caught up to lead Ryan Blaney. Truex has won four stages so far this season, the most of any driver.

Wood Brothers driver Ryan Blaney wins stage one. Paul Menard is the “lucky dog”.

Blaney_Heads_Off_For_Practice.(1)

The top 10 at the end of stage one:
Ryan Blaney
Martin Truex Jr
Jamie McMurray
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselwoski
Kyle Larson
Clint Bowyer
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Joey Logano
Kyle Busch

Martin Truex Jr leads the race off of pit road.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green fflag of stage two on lap 93 but Ryan Blaney retakes the lead of the race. Drivers are getting three wide behind the leader.

Jamie McMurray is reporting a loose wheel. Crew chief reports that tire changers got all five lug nuts.

Lap 102 Ryan Blaney leads by just under half a second on second place driver Kevin Harvick.

Lap 111 Ryan Blaney has pulled out to a lead of over a second and a half. The winds have picked up at Texas Motor Speedway, now blowing over 20 mph.

Martin Truex Jr has taken over second place from Kevin Harvick.

Lap 114 Ryan Blaney has increased his lead to three seconds.

The fifth caution flag of the race comes out for debris on the track. Drivers come down pit road for service.

Taking only two tires Ryan Blaney edges out the lead off of pit road by a nose.

It has been 35 years since a Wood Brothers driver has lead 100 laps at a race; but Ryan Blaney has done just that.

Martin Truex Jr brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 140 but Ryan Blaney takes over the lead as Treux falls back.

Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr have moved into the top five with Johnson in third and Junior in fourth.

Lap 133 Ryan Blaney has a two second lead over second place driver Jimmie Johnson. Johnson started the race in 40th place after spinning out and flat spotting his tires in qualifying.

Lap 141 Jimmie Johnson has close Ryan Blaney’s lead to less than a second and a half.

Lap 147 Ryan Blaney has again increased his to to over two seconds on Jimmie Johnson.

Michael McDowell is reporting that he is losing power.

Only 14 laps remaining in the stage and Ryan Blaney continues to dominate the race with a lead of nearly two seconds.

Lap 161 Ryan Blaney has a second and a half lead over Jimmie Johnson.

The sixth caution of the race comes out on lap 163 for debris on the track.

Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service just short of the end of stage two.

NASCAR throws the green flag with just three laps to go in stage two. Ryan Blaney and Jimmie Johnson are in the front row with Blaney bringing the field down for the green flag from the inside lane. Blaney edges out Johnson for the lead.

Ryan Blaney wins stage two.

Ryan_Blaney_Road_America_2015

The top 10 at the end of stage two:
Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson
Jamie McMurray
Kyle Larson
Chase Elliott
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselwoski
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Martin Truex Jr

Ryan Blaney wins the race off of pit road.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag start of stage three on lap 178 and edges out in front of Brad Keselowski with a little push from Martin Truex Jr.

Lap 180 Kevin Harvick has a lead of nearly half a second over Brad Keselowski.

Paul Menard is on pit road with the hood up reporting electrical issues.

Lap 190 Kevin Harvick continues to lead the race by just over half a second on Brad Keselowski.

Lap 198 Kevin Harvick’s lead is now just under half a second as Brad Keselowski slowly closes he gap. After restarting in 20th place at the beginning of the stage, Ryan Blaney has moved up to 15th.

One hundred and thirty laps to go – pole sitter Kevin Harvick is in the lead, there are 25 cars on the lead lap, and two cars out of the race.

Lap 209 Kevin Harvick’s lead is down to only a third of a second on Brad Keselowski. Dale Earnhardt Jr is in third place.

Lap 215 Kevin Harvick is still out front but Brad Keselowski has dropped back to fourth place and Dale Jr is in second.

Lap 218 Martin Truex Jr passes Dale Earnhardt Jr for second place. Kevin Harvick has a lead of less than a quarter of a second.

Martin Truex Jr is the first driver to bring his car down pit road for the cycle of green flag pit stops.

Paul Menard has returned to the track but is 18 laps down after making mechanical repairs to his car.

Once current leader Joey Logano makes his green flag pit stop, Martin Truex Jr will take over the lead of the race in front of Kevin Harvick after green flag pit stops have cycled through.

On lap 234 Martin Truex Jr has nearly a two second lead over Kevin Harvick. Dale Jr is in third three seconds behind.

Lap 238 Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on second place driver Kevin Harvick.

Lap 248 Martin Truex Jr has a lead of over a second on Kevin Harvick, but Dale Earnhardt Jr has closed to less than a second and a half on Kevin Harvick. There are 21 cars on the lead lap.

With 80 laps to go, Martin Truex Jr has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds.

With 74 laps remaining in the race, Truex has a lead of just under three seconds over Kevin Harvick. Ryan Blaney has moved up to eighth place.

Aric Almirola brings his car down pit road for service. He is one lap down. Almirola is driving with an injured wrist after tripping over his daughter’s scooter earlier in the week.

Sixty-three laps to go and green flag pit stops have begun.

Martin Truex’s team had issues on pit road, which resulted in a 15 second pit stop.

Denny Hamlin and Danica Patrick were penalized for driving through too many pit boxes.

Ryan Blaney gets loose but he saved the car and the track stays green.

When Joey Logano comes down pit road, Kevin Harvick will take over the lead of the race as green flag pit stops have cycled through.

Joey Logano finally brings his car down pit road with 45 laps remaining in the race.

Kevin Harvick takes over the lead of the race but Jimmie Johnson is coming on hard to challenge Harvick. Martin Truex Jr is in third place with Dale Earnhardt in fourth.

Kasey Kahne gets loose and takes his car down pit road with a possible tire issue.

With 35 laps remaining in the race the eighth caution flag comes out for debris on the track.

Some of the drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Kevin Harvick leads the race off of pit road after taking two tires. Ryan Blaney had some issues in his pits that cost him a lot of time…and places on the track.

After pitting only 10 laps ago, Joey Logano stays out.

Joey Logano brings the field down for the green falg restart on lap 304 and edges out for the lead.

Twenty-five laps to go and Joey Logano is holding on to the lead by nearly half a second over Jimmie Johnson.

Twenty to go and Logano is still in the lead over Jimmie Johnson.

With 17 laps to go Jimmie Johnson passes Joey Logano to take over the lead of the race.

Jimmie Johnson has gotten out in front of the field and is pulling away.

Ten to go and Jimmie Johnson has a lead of nearly a second over Joey Logano with Kyle Larson in third.

Eight to go and Jimmie Johnson has a half second lead over Joey Logano, with Kyle Larson challenging Joey Logano for second.

Five to go and Jimmie Johnson holds on to a half second lead over Joey Logano.

With two laps to go, Kyle Larson passes Joey Logano for seocnd.

Jimmie Johnson takes the white flag.

Jimmie Johns wins his seventh race at Texas Motor Speedway. After not having some good finishes this season, Hendrick Motorsports places three of his four cars in the top 10.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

FORT WORTH, TX – APRIL 09: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jimmie Johnson

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 – Qualifying

FORT WORTH, TX – APRIL 07: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jimmie Johnson

The unofficial results of the O’Reileys Auto Parts 500:
Jimmie Johnson
Kyle Larson
Joey Logano
Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Brad Keselowski
Jamie McMurray
Martin Truex Jr
Chase Elliott
Kurt Busch
Clint Bowyer
Ryan Blaney
Trevor Bayne
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Kyle Busch
Matt Kenseth
Ty Dillon
Aric Almirola
Daniel Suarez
AJ Allmendinger
Chris Buescher
Erik Jones
Michael McDowell
Danica Patrick
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
JJ Yeley
David Ragan
Landon Cassill
Cole Whitt
Matt DiBenedetto
Corey LaJoie
Austin Dillon
Gray Gaulding
Reed Sorenson
Paul Menard
Derrike Cope
Kasey Kahne
Timmy Hill
Jeffrey Earnhardt

NASCAR is taking a short break but returns in two weeks with a visit to Thunder Valley.

photos courtesy of:
image.net

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41353373

By Joetregembo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51817575

By Royalbroil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42901129


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