Texas II Preview

Back to back 1.5 mile tracks creates a dearth of storylines. The top cars last week will be the top cars this week. The tires are likely similar, although Texas offers more grip than Atlanta. Jimmie Johnson will enter Phoenix with the points lead, so nothing to see there. There weren’t any feud-starting wrecks at Atlanta to boil over this weekend. I’m not trying to be negative, but what separates Texas from Atlanta? Hopefully next year when Atlanta is swapped for California, they will split the intermediate tracks apart more.

Is there any reason to believe Carl Edwards won’t pull off another intermediate track win? There have been 12 1.5 or 2 mile races this year. Edwards has won 5, and finished 2nd once. He also had two other races where he had serious chances to win, only to blow an engine (Atlanta) and break his splitter (Chicago). While Roush-Fenway has restored their downforce dominance, you have to say it’s mostly Edwards. The only other Roush driver to win a race is Greg Biffle, and neither of his two wins came on a track longer than 1 mile. Edwards and crew chief Bob Osborne have clearly figured out something that works for Edwards’ driving style. And let’s be clear, it has little to do with a “crabbed out” car or a mysterious oil pan lid.

There is a 10% chance of rain in Texas on Friday. That’s more than enough reason for fans to fear another rainout of qualifying.

What Happened Last Year

Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch took turns dominating the race. Denny Hamlin wrecked late while racing Kenseth for the lead. Kenseth looked set to win until Jimmie Johnson popped up with six laps left to overtake Kenseth for his third straight win and the overall Chase lead. Thanks to Jeff Gordon’s sudden inability to finish well, the title became academic for the final two weeks.

Who Will Get the Coveted Awkward Firesuit/Six Shooters/Cowboy Hat Photo Op?

Two words: Cowboy Carl. Four more words: Jimmie Johnson takes second. Seven more words: Dale Earnhardt Jr starts strong, fades late. Twenty more words…nevermind.