FORT WORTH, TX — They say that everything is bigger in Texas, well that certainly applies this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The stakes are bigger, the challenge is bigger and the win means a guaranteed spot to battle for the championship at Homestead in three weeks.
Only one driver is locked into the championship race. Martin Truex, Jr. claimed his spot in the championship battle with a dominating win last week at Martinsville. Truex led 464 of the 500 laps to get his seventh win of the season.
That leaves seven drivers looking for the win to secure their spot in the championship battle. No one needs a win more than Chase Elliott. Elliott’s chance for his first championship took a huge hit after mechanical problems led to a 36th place finish and he now sits 44 points below the cut-off line. Texas has not been a track that Elliott has had much success in mastering. He has two top five’s and five top ten’s. Winning is the best way for Elliott to move on, making up 44 points is a tough job.
The other driver that really needs a win is Kyle Larson. Larson advanced into the current round with his first win of the season, but a finish in ninth place last week has left Larson 24 point below the cut-off line. The No. 42 team has an average finish of 20th at Texas, with three top five’s and four top ten’s. Getting to the championship based on points is possible, but unlikely. Larson, just like Elliott, needs a win to stay in the race for the championship.
Kevin Harvick finds himself just 14 points out of the top four and fortunate for him Texas is a track where he runs well. He has two wins, 10 top five’s and 23 top 10’s. He did pick up the win last season in the fall at Texas so Harvick will be a favorite on Sunday.
The last driver below the cutoff line is driver of the No. 12, Ryan Blaney. Blaney is just 15 points below the cutoff line and runs pretty well at Texas. He has two top five’s and three top ten’s in just nine races, so it would not be a surprise for him to be a contender for the win on Sunday.
Just because Truex is locked into the championship race, don’t think that his team won’t be battling for a win on Sunday. Truex has run extremely well on the 1.5 mile tracks the last couple of years and would love nothing more than to repeat his first round performance of winning two out of three races.
Be sure to listen to the Fox 4 Race Zone podcast for our wrap-up of all the racing action from Texas Motor Speedway.