A Bristol Repeat at Texas – AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series returned to Texas Motor Speedway for the first race in the Round of 12. The non-playoff #6 of Brad Keselowski started on pole, with playoff driver Joey Logano alongside in the #22. Behind them was the #24 of William Byron and #8 of non-playoff driver Tyler Reddick. Michael McDowell in the #34 and Chase Elliott in the #9 started behind them, and further back was Austin Dillon in the #3 and Denny Hamlin in the #11. Kyle Larson in the #5 and Daniel Suárez in the #99 rounded out the top-10.

The start of the race was pretty tame, with few battles throughout the pack and a couple of lead changes later into the stint. Joey Logano drove up to the lead, when not long after the caution was brought out by Martin Truex, Jr. spinning and hitting the outside wall. A few laps later, the caution would be brought out once again for Truex’s teammate, Kyle Busch in the #18 for a very similar accident, though Busch wouldn’t be as lucky, taking the car to the garage.

Just two laps after they went green, the #47 of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. collided with the #42 of Ty Dillon, sending the #47 into a spin and bringing out another caution. After this quick yellow, William Byron enjoyed a tame green flag stint, with not much challenge from behind. On lap seventy-eight, the #20 of Christopher Bell spun in turn one, bringing out the fourth caution of the evening before stage one even completed.

After a similar green flag stint, the #48 of Alex Bowman hit the turn four wall, causing damage to his car and bringing out the caution.

The restart was a shootout between Kyle Larson in the #5 and Denny Hamlin in the #11. The two battled side by side for a majority of the remaining laps, with Larson ahead by mere feet entering turn three, going into the last lap of the stage. Exiting turn two, the drivers made contact, almost crashing. They kept it straight however, allowing Kyle Larson to win stage one.

The start of stage two was pretty tame compared to stage one, aside from a single car wreck sandwiched between two relativily big green flag runs. It wasn’t till about halfway that things took a crazy turn. Cody Ware in the #15 got loose in turn three, but when he overcorrected he went head on into the turn four wall, and rolled down the track. He had yet another collision, this time hitting the pit road safety wall, at a speed high enough to damage it. Ware got out of the car under his own power, and was taken on a stretcher to the infield care center. As of this writing, he has fortunately not sustained any major injuries from this scary crash.

Soon after, Chase Elliott in the #9 had an issue in a very similar area, though not nearly as brutal. Elliott hit the wall, causing huge issues to the right side, and not allowing him to continue in this race. Not very long after, Christopher Buescher in the #17 would have a spin very similar to Ricky Stenhouse’s in the earlier stage of the race.

The sprint to the stage end saw the #12 of Ryan Blaney lead with no challenge from Ross Chastain in the #1. Blaney won the second stage.

The start of the final stage was delayed due to rain on the backstretch, and lightning in the area. At the green flag, Michael McDowell in the #34 was the leader. McDowell battled with Erik Jones in the #43 for a couple of laps, before they were both passed by Tyler Reddick in the #8. Reddick led until the next Caution, a wreck from Christopher Buescher in the #17. Kevin Harvick in the #4 now led, but incredibly wrecked from the lead, bringing out another caution. Truex now led in the #19, but he wrecked from the lead in the same fashion Harvick did.

The next restart saw Ricky Stenhouse in the #47 lead before being passed once again by Reddick. The next caution came out a while after with the #2 of Austin Cindric and Stenhouse crashing, and then another caution right after for Aric Almirola crashing in the #10. Reddick would continue to lead the race, only getting challenged slightly by Joey Logano in the #22. After the long, caution-filled 500 miles, Tyler Reddick earned his third career win in the Lone Star State!

After playoff spoiler Reddick, playoff driver Logano finished second in his #22. Justin Haley in the #31 finished an amazing third for that team, ahead of playoff drivers Ryan Blaney in the #12 and Chase Briscoe in the #14 finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Erik Jones in the #43 got a good sixth place, ahead of playoff driver William Byron piloting his #24 to seventh. Pole sitter Brad Keselowski in the #6 finished his race in eighth, with Kyle Larson in the #5 and Denny Hamlin in the #11 finishing out the top-10.

Featured photo from Patrick Vallely.

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