Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) announced today that the repave that was scheduled to take place after this year’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 would be put on hold and reevaluated after the race in 2018.

This move was made after pressure from drivers came when the series was at AMS just a few weeks ago.

“We appreciate all of the input we have received from key individuals in the NASCAR industry, as well as our customers,” said Ed Clark, Atlanta Motor Speedway president. “The overwhelming majority have urged us to hold off on paving so that we can enjoy at least one more weekend of high-speed slipping and sliding in 2018 before the new surface is installed.

Before the reevaluation occurs, AMS will provide a meticulous maintenance program to preserve the surface from further deterioration.

This move is a mistake! AMS must be repaved!

What will happen when it rains? Everyone involved would have to sit for hours on ends waiting for the track to dry. Why? Weepers!

Remember back in 2015 when it rained a few hours before the start of the race? I sure do! The rain stopped nearly three to four hours before the initial time the green flag was supposed to wave. The track was dry, but weepers caused the start of the race to be delayed. The conditions may not have been ideal for track drying, but the race was delayed.

Let’s look at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). The IndyCar and NASCAR race weekends were encompassed with rain. IndyCar had to complete the Firestone 600 in August due to the fact that the track could not dry because of weepers, nearly two months after the race was scheduled for completion. The NASCAR Fall race at TMS started late into the evening due to rain that arose the problem of weepers.

TMS scheduled a repave and reconfiguration to help solve the weeper problem.

The racing surfaces of AMS and TMS are at the same length of time as far as the age of the pavement.

It is tiring to many to hear driver’s complain that it would take a few years for the track to get back to being multiple-grooved. With the technology we have today, track operators have the opportunity to help “age” the asphalt making it multiple-grooved. TMS used that technology to help age their new asphalt. Let’s see how that works before we decide to scratch a repave in the near future because of complaints from the drivers.

Who is to blame IF it rains in 2018 and fans have to wait for hours because the track is dry, but weepers are the main culprit that cars aren’t racing? It is on the drivers who pushed for the postponement of the repave at Atlanta.

Johnny Sauter was able to make a pass with two laps to go to sail into victory lane in the Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. This is Sauter’s second win in a row, and GMS Racing’s third win in a row.

 

“I knew we had a good truck today. In qualifying, everyone was just so discouraged and hanging their heads a little bit. It felt really good. we just kept working on it all night. I tried to give it away there on that last restart. I couldn’t get going. I had to wait for the pressures to get up, and it went,” said Sauter in post-race victory lane.

 

The first half of the race saw Spencer Gallagher get an early lead on the opening lap. Despite the early lead, Daniel Hemric and Gallagher set sail from the field as they battled for third on back. As the opening laps began to unravel, the field began to settle down early on. As the opening green flag run continued. Hemric was able to slowly move toward the front, but Gallagher changed his line to pull ahead. Tommy Joe Martins hit the wall, but the field remained green. Before the expiration of time on the caution clock, Gallagher had over a one second lead over Hemric. As the field hit pit road, Hemric was able to gain the lead. As the race restarted, Hemric was able to get an advantage, but was able to pull away as Gallagher and Christopher Bell battled for second. Bell was the victor of the battle. However, Gallagher was able to gain the momentum to pass Bell. As the race reached the halfway point, Hemric was the race leader, Gallagher was second, Bell was third, Crafton was fourth, and Sauter rounded out the top-five.

 

The second half of the race started with Gallagher making a move on Hemric to regain the lead. However, the caution flew on lap 82 for the expiration of the caution clock. As the leaders hit pit road for their second stops, Hemric regained the lead again from Gallagher. On the restart, Gallagher spun his tires, but was able to gain the lead as the field went into turn three. Gallagher was unable to pull away from the field as Bell remained on his bumper. Bell was racing Gallagher for the lead, but got loose as they hit lapped traffic. Bell lost one spot, but was able to gain it back quickly. As Gallagher and Sauter settled into their respoective positions, Hemric and Bell battled for the third position. As the laps winded down, the caution clock expired for the third time with 22 laps remaining. As Gallagher had an elongated stop, Sauter was able to gain the lead off pit road. On the restart, Sauter and Crafton were side by side going into one, but Crafton gained the advantage. Hemric and Sauter continued to battle for position, but Sauter was able to pass Hemric to catch Crafton’s bumper with less than five laps to go. With two laps to go, Sauter regained the lead from Crafton after passing him on the high side. Sauter gained the victory, Crafton finished second, Hemric finished third, Tyler Reddick finished fourth, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.

 

The race experienced three cautions due to the caution clock for a total of 12 laps.. There were seven lead changes among four drivers. Sauter led six laps, Crafton led 15 laps, Hemric led 38 laps, and Gallagher led the most laps at 88.

 

With his win tonight, Sauter made two positions at Homestead-Miami Speedway to be filled through points. With his second place finish despite hitting the wall, Crafton holds a one point advantage going to Phoenix over Timothy Peters in the Chase Grid. Ben Kennedy, who had an ill handling truck all night, is 13 points way from the cutoff line. Sauter holds the top seed going into Homestead with two wins, William Byron has a five point cushion over the cut line, and Bell has a four point cushion on the cut line.

 

The Camping World Truck Series returns to competition at Phoenix International Raceway next Friday for the Lucas Oil 150. The race will begin at 10 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series saddles up and head to Texas Motor Speedway for the second time of 2016 for the Striping Technology 350. The race will be 220.5 miles or 147 laps.

 

35 drivers have arrived in Texas to compete for 32 spots. John Wes Townley was scheduled to compete in Friday’s event in Texas, but due to a non-racing related injury to his left ankle, Cody Coughlin will pilot the truck on Friday.

 

There have been 37 races for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas. 23 different drivers have won from the pole. 21 different drivers have found their way into victory lane. Only five races have been won from the pole with Todd Bodine being the last driver to do so in 2007. In 2015, the race record was set by Erik Jones at 158.002 mph. In 2006, Clint Bowyer set the qualifying record at 184.464 mph.

 

William Byron is going for the Texas sweep on Friday night. Byron was able to outlast Matt Crafton to win in June. “I have the track time and the experience of knowing what it takes to win there. The only difference will be the track conditions since it was much hotter when we raced there in June. It was really hard to judge what the truck would be like when the lights came on and everything cooled off. It will be interesting to go back there this weekend and see what the track is like. I think we're going to have a lot of speed and hopefully get that ticket to the next round of the Chase,” said Byron, who is going for the win to lock himself in the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

Byron has the chance to join Johnny Sauter in the final four. Sauter was able to win last weekend at Martinsville. Sauter finished third in June. “We aren't backing down just because we know we're locked in to compete for the championship. We ran really well at Texas earlier this year and started from the pole so I know we're capable of making this three wins in a row for GMS,” said Sauter.

 

Ben Kennedy and Matt Crafton are looking for the win or a strong finish at Texas in an effort to keep their hopes for a championship alive.

 

"I feel pretty good about Texas and the way our team has prepared. I've run pretty well there over the last few years and I've been able to improve a little each time. We finished fourth there in the spring and that was my first top five with GMS. We've come a long way since then and I know these guys are going to do whatever it takes to get us locked into the next round,” said Kennedy.

 

"I keep saying it, but I firmly believe it - if it's meant to be, it will happen. We've won a couple times there, and have always run well there, so it's a track we definitely have the potential to make-up some ground. I think it will take winning, especially given what happened at Martinsville,” said Crafton. “I entered Martinsville saying, I didn't think you were going to be able to advance with a mulligan, we had ours last weekend. That's the glory of this chase though, all you have to do is win, and your in. We've been able to do that in the past at Texas, so I firmly believe if we do our jobs, and have a little bit of luck on our side, we can get it done.”

 

There were two practice sessions scheduled for the Trucks at Texas on Thursday, but due to weather, the Trucks will have one practice session on Friday morning. That session is scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. EST to 10:30 a.m. There will be no TV coverage of the session.

 

Qualifying for the Striping Technology 350 will be at 3:45 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The race will also be on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST.

The Duck Commander 500 from the 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway was one of the better spring races seen at the speedway. Here are five takeaways from this weekends festivities in the Lone Star State:
 
·      Kyle Busch: He is definitely in the prime of his career as a racer. After his injury from the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway in 2015, fans have started to turn a new leaf with Busch. When he was doing his celebratory burnout at the end of the race, fans were cheering louder than the occasional boo’s heard when he wins. 
 
·      Joe Gibbs Racing: Just a couple years ago, fans and media were asking “What is going on at Joe Gibbs Racing?” Well, that has turned into “Who can stop them?” In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, JGR teams have qualified 1-2-3 in all but one event in the 2016 season. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, JGR teams are towards the front of the field throughout the race. Joe Gibbs Racing has found something that the other teams have not found yet. Will JGR have all four cars, including the affiliate, Furniture Row Racing, in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in September?
 
·      Texas Motor Speedway: It is time to shorten the spring race at Texas to 400 miles and/or switch this race to the daytime. The race was over 3.5 hours long this weekend. This is not okay for the “millennial generation” that NASCAR is trying so desperately to reach. The fans were not packed this weekend at the track. Are fans not buying tickets to this race so they could go to the Chase race in November? Eddie Gossage does a great job promoting his events, but is there anything else he can do to wrangle in more spectators? 
 
·      Green/Yellow Situations: The Duck Commander 500 started under a Green/Yellow situation to help NASCAR dry the track, after late afternoon showers. Jet Dryers and Air Titans were doing yeoman’s work on drying the track. Personally, NASCAR should go away from these type of situations. Fans pay and want to see the race start on the first lap. If the track was not ready to race, then do not put the cars on the track. Luckily, weepers were not an issue this go-around at Texas Motor Speedway, but NASCAR needs to look at this policy.
 
·      Cup Drivers in the Xfinity Series: LET IT GO! Xfinity Series regulars enjoy having the Sprint Cup drivers racing with them. Having Cup drivers in this series allows for fans to see what these up and coming drivers are made of. “Names are made here” is the slogan for the Xfinity Series. Wouldn’t you love to actually see what these drivers are made of?  Cup drivers in this series allows for people who are unable to see their favorite Cup drivers race on Sunday, due to whatever circumstances, see them race. If Xfinity drivers are okay with this dilemma, then why aren’t the fans?
 
What are your takeaways from Texas Motor Speedway?
Kyle Busch, who did not have the dominant car, wins the Duck Commander 500, which marks his fourth straight NASCAR race win at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. Busch wins his 36th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, his second win of the season, and a second win in Texas. Busch has won 22% of races he has run since returning to the circuit since his injury last season at Daytona. He is also 39 wins (in all three national series) from tying Richard Petty’s 200 wins, a record held since July 4, 1984. In order to be in position to win, Busch's pit crew constantly made adjustments to the car on each pit stop. Busch took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on a late race restart to clinch the win.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, followed by Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, and Chase Elliott.

"Well, it was a really good effort.  You know, Adam Stevens and all these guys, they come here well-prepared to start with, and had a good practice plan and everything, and we were able to set up our race car to my liking.  Wasn't necessarily the fastest qualifier, but we knew we had a good race car, and the things that we did kind of worried me actually for about the first two-thirds of the race, just not -- the track wasn't necessarily coming to us, but then all of a sudden it took a shift and things did come to us, and we had a really good car there at the end.  Adam made awesome adjustments all night long, though, and kept us in the game and kept getting us better and took us from probably being a sixth-, eighth-place car, something like that, to then being able to run up front in the top three, and barring different tire circumstances or different restart circumstances at the end, giving us a shot to win," said Kyle Busch in post-race media availability.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who scored his sixth top-five finish at Texas Motor Speedway, talked about his night. “Well, we had a great car.  We didn't really know we had that good a car, but when the race started, we were real tight.  We made some good adjustments to get the car handling well, and then really controlled the balance of the car the rest of the night with the track bar.  We had about a second- or third-place car. Kyle put it on them at the end.  He ran as hard as he could, and his car was there for him.  Sucks for Martin because he had such a great car, but Martin has just got to remember that he's going to get that opportunity again.  They've got a great team. That's it.”

 Joe Gibbs Racing teams, including their affiliation with Furniture Row Racing and Martin Truex Jr., led an overwhelming total of 247 out of 334 laps in the Duck Commander 500. Hendrick Motorsports had all four of its team’s finished in the top-10 at Texas Motor Speedway, its first since this race last year.  

 Chase Elliott, the highest finishing rookie, talked about his first race at Texas in the Cup Series. “It was a solid night.  Obviously I hated to have to start in the back, but I think having a good qualifying effort allowed us to get a good pit selection.  I think that helped us to try to gain spots throughout the night, but the biggest thing was just having a good car.  I was really happy with it, especially on the long run, and we made some gains throughout the night to try to help our short run speed.  I thought we did that. Definitely still have some work to do on my end, and we'll keep digging at it.  We're definitely not content.  We know we have some work to do, and we'd like to be contenders.  So we're going to keep working at it.”

There were no issues in post-race inspection. NASCAR is taking the cars of Ky. Busch and Earnhardt Jr. back to the R&D Center in Charlotte.

Unofficially, Kyle Busch leads Jimmie Johnson by six points in the championship standings, followed by Kevin Harvick (-7), Carl Edwards (-18), and Joey Logano (-25).

 The start of the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway was delayed by 1 hour and 50 minutes, and started under a green/yellow situation. The race saw 17 lead changes among eight different drivers. The caution flag flew seven times for a total of 41 laps. 16 cars finished on the lead lap. The time of the race was 3 hours, 37 minutes, and 16 seconds.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will head to the “The Last Great Coliseum”, the .533 mile, Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500. Action from Bristol Motor Speedway will begin on Friday, April 15th, at 11:00 am EST for the first practice on Fox Sports 1. 

Page 2 of 3