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NASCAR AAA Texas 500 Preview: The Chase Heads Back To Texas

 

NASA image of the Texas Motor Speedway

NASA image of the Texas Motor Speedway

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Three races separate Jimmie Johnson, current Chase for the Championship points leader, from the 2012 title. Brad Keselowski likely has a thing or two to say about that, and he’s just two points behind Johnson in the Chase.

While the Texas Motor Speedway is known for its fast speeds (it’s one of the fastest non-restrictor-plate tracks on the Sprint Cup tour), it isn’t necessarily known for carnage the way Talladega or Daytona is. In fact, April’s Samsung Mobile 500 saw the last 234 laps run under green flag conditions.

Still, if Johnson and Keselowski both manage to have worst-case-scenario afternoons, Clint Bowyer (whose 26 points behind Johnson) and Kasey Kahne (29 points from Johnson) could be poised to make up lost ground. While some feel the championship has all but been decided, we think it’s still very much up for grabs.

Texas Motor Speedway, the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth that the Sprint Cup visits on Sunday, really doesn’t favor a particular driver currently in the Chase. Sure, Johnson has won here (in 2007), but so have Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart (who’s tied with Carl Edwards for the most wins in the AAA Texas 500).

While these last five drivers are out of contention for this year’s crown, all can play a wildcard role on Sunday, and given Kyle Busch’s recent performance, we wouldn’t count him out, either. Speaking of wildcards, Danica Patrick returns in the Go Daddy Stewart-Haas Chevy, so we wonder who she’ll tangle with this race to prove her fortitude.

Sunday’s weather in Fort Worth calls for high temperatures in the low 70s, with partially overcast skies and just a 20-percent chance of thunderstorms. The race will be televised on ESPN, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.


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