Erik Jones gets 7th Xfinity victory at repaved Texas track

Setting a NASCAR DFS lineup at DraftKings is never easy, but Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is shaping up to be an exceptionally tight race.

Jimmie Johnson makes a little noise as he celebrates winning the. Logano had the lead off the restart because he didn't pit; but succumbed to Johnson's fresher tires with 17 laps to go.

All week, drivers have been talking about the need to get more rubber on the new track surface, which improves the cars' grip in the turns. But that and track changes didn't keep him from his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup win this season, and the 81st in his career. "The first time I came here, it's amusing, it really wasn't that good to me, but after that it just kind of clicked and I felt really good here ever since".

While hot, Johnson said he initially felt better after getting out of the No. 48 Chevrolet. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, who won Sunday, also experienced a cooling issue and received three IVs in the infield care center. He was also looking forward to his planned off-week trip to Mexico that he said would include a sunburn, margaritas, chips and guacamole.

Today's Monster Energy Cup Series race is the first at the track since a complete repaving process that started in January. Keselowski's two wins in 2017 has taken him to the fourth position, 41 points behind leader Kyle Larson. Logano, pole sitter Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top five.

Asked about his seven Cup victories at the 1.5-mile oval, Johnson said, "I thought the repave might change it, but I still think I have the keys to the front door", Johnson said.

Johnson started at the back of the 40-car field because of a tire change after a spin in qualifying.

"I guess I remembered how to drive; and I guess this team remembered how to do it", Johnson said.

The win is a bounceback of sorts for Johnson after a rough first six weeks of the season.

Despite finishing 10th as the first driver one lap down, Elliott Sadler retained the series lead by six points over Byron in second place.

Older brother Ricky had closed out the wins at Daytona and Sebring this year.

Earnhardt's top-five was his first since he finished second at Pocono (Pa.) last June, about a month before he stepped away from his auto for the rest of the 2016 season with concussion symptoms. If a vehicle fails inspection the first time, it must restart the process but still get on the track for qualifying before it ends.

While a caution flag near the end of the second stage helped Blaney hold on for the bonus points, it eventually shuffled him back in the field. Kyle Busch and Keselowski swapped the lead several times over the last 160 laps of the race but with 43 laps to go Brad took the lead for the final time.

"Oh, probably on the second or third run I knew we were in good shape", said Johnson after his win. "It was bad to try to pass people". I wish I could've gotten by Joey earlier. Here is a look at the drivers we like to contend for the victory. The next opportunity he will have to race at Texas Motor Speedway will come on November 5 at the AAA Texas 500. There was no threat of rain Sunday - good thing the race wasn't a day later, when storms are in the forecast - but there were wind gusts of 30 miles per hour or more throughout the race. The fast practice laps provide further evidence that Ferrari's pace is much improved this year, allowing the scarlet cars to compete with the long-dominant Mercedes team. The 23-year-old Blaney finished 12th after leading 148 of 334 laps.

After the traditional Easter weekend break, the next Cup race is April 23 at Bristol.

  • Julie Sanders