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NASCAR

Can Tony Stewart Keep his Momentum at Texas Motor Speedway

Coincidentally last fall the race at Texas Motor Speedway followed some intense beating and banging at Martinsville Speedway.  Tony Stewart was able to put the short paper clip behind him and win.  They won’t be beating and banging this week because this week’s race is at the Texas Motor Speedway.  It is way too fast for that.  This week’s NASCAR race is the SAMSUNG Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Texas Motor Speedway is almost exactly like Charlotte and Atlanta.  The only difference is the track surface itself is different.  There is 24 degrees of banking in the turns and 5 degrees in the straights.  The high banking in the corners is what makes this tracks one of the fastest 1.5 mile tracks on the circuit.  It could be argued that Atlanta is faster but that is up to debate.  This track is all about handling and speed.  Running good here is the most important.  Fortunately, for those teams that don’t quite get it right during practice, there are 500 miles of racing to adjust their car.  As always on these tracks the Crew Chief needs to watch where those cautions fall, as someone might try to steal it on fuel millage.

According to the numbers the favorites for this weekend, in order of driver rating are Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon.  Driver ratings are good but who has sealed the deal.  Carl Edwards leads all drivers with three wins followed by Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin with two wins each.  Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. round out with one win a piece.  Also of note is Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to sweep both races in a season.  Matt Kenseth won this race last year and Tony Stewart won the race in the fall.  This track has been dominated by Roush Fenway Racing with eight victories.  Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports only have three wins each.

Things to watch for this week.  This track is where Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first NASCAR Cup race.  He has been running good this year and is currently second in the points.  Will he win and end his winless streak that goes back to 2008? Jeff Gordon is currently a disappointing 21st in points.  Will he be able to turn his season around?

Last fall Tony Stewart called out Carl Edwards before the race.  “He better be worried, that is all I got to say”.  Tony did just that and went on to win the race and the Championship.  Tony has already won two races this year and is on his way to repeat as Sprint Cup Champion.  This would be his race to seal it since having three wins would virtually guarantee getting into the Chase for the Sprint Cup no matter what happens the rest of the regular season.

The race is this Saturday at 7:00 PM ET.  If you can’t get to the track it will be on FOX.  Follow me during the race on Twitter @brian_jr1.