A look ahead to next week’s NASCAR doubleheader featuring the My Bariatric Solutions 300 xfinity Series race on Saturday, April 7 and O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 8. The My Bariatric Solutions 300 will be televised live on FOX beginning at 2 p.m. CT as well as live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Radio. The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 1 p.m. CT and also on PRN and SiriusXM Radio.
TEXAS COULD BE NEXT VICTORY DROUGHT-BUSTER FOR SOME NOTABLE CUP SERIES DRIVERS
FORT WORTH, Texas (March 28, 2018) – Stewart-Haas Racing driver Clint Bowyer ended a 190-race winless drought in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Monday with his victory at Martinsville Speedway. It was the second-longest active streak between wins, trailing only the streak of Paul Menard (238).
“I told my son (Chase) this morning, I was like, ‘Dammit, we’ve got to get our picture in Victory Lane,’ ” Bowyer said in his post-race press conference. “He told me he wanted a checkered flag. Let me tell you something, Gene Haas, Tony Stewart, to give this old dog a fresh chance and fresh blood with a new opportunity and finally to get the 14 in victory lane is just a weight off the shoulders. It’s been a long time. You start to question if you can get it done or not. To have it come at this place meant a lot. ”
With the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 coming up next week, is Texas Motor Speedway the answer for a Cup driver looking to end a winless slide?
There are six drivers that have streaks of 100 or more races – the others being David Ragan (176), Trevor Bayne (171), Jamie McMurray (154), AJ Allmendinger (128) and Aric Almirola (125) – but none among that group have done particularly well at Texas that would warrant major consideration.
However, there is a group of notable drivers in the midst of uncharacteristic droughts of 25 or more races and four of them could potentially see it end in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 given their past successes.
Let’s take a look at that group:
- Kurt Busch (41 races) – The Stewart-Haas driver ranks third among active drivers with 17 career top-10 finishes, including a win in the fall of 2009. He has recorded top-10 finishes in five of his last seven visits and led 60 laps. He also set a track record en route to winning the AAA Texas 500 pole position in November.
- Joey Logano (33 races) – The Team Penske driver won this event in 2014, but that is not the statistic to get excited about heading into the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. The stat to keep in mind is that Logano has finished third or better in three of his last four starts at Texas and led a combined 217 laps. Dating to this race in 2013, he has posted top-five finishes in seven of his last 10 visits.
- Jimmie Johnson (29 races) – The seven-time Cup champ from Hendrick Motorsports is off to an extremely slow start in the 2018 campaign and he must have Texas Motor Speedway circled on his calendar. If any track is going to kickstart his season, this is the one. He earned his track-record seventh win in last April’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 and leads every major career category at Texas. He is the career leader in wins (7), top-fives (15), top-10s (21) and laps led (1,041).
- Ryan Blaney (28 races) – The Team Penske driver only has six career starts at Texas Motor Speedway, but his last two show some promise for next week. He finished 12th in this race last year, but led 148 laps. In the fall’s AAA Texas 500, he finished a personal-best sixth. He also qualifies well at Texas, starting eighth or better in his last four visits.
Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola will visit with 1,100 elementary school students next Thursday as he makes stops at two Dallas-Fort Worth schools participating in Texas Motor Speedway’s Speeding To Read program.
Almirola will be awarding the winners of the Lionel Racing “Design A Die-Cast” competition that was held among the 12,061 students at the 21 Speeding To Read schools with an actual Lionel 1:24-scale die-cast with their paint scheme design.
He will visit B.B. Owen Elementary in the morning (9:45-10:30 a.m.) to present the die-cast to KG-2nd grader winner, Mirayah Wortman, in front of a full-school assembly of nearly 500 students.
Almirola will then head to Diamond Hill Elementary in Fort Worth in the afternoon (1:30-2:15 p.m.) to present to the 3rd-5th grade and overall winner, Alondra Villa, before a student body of 600.
Villa’s design also will become part of the Lionel Racing NASCAR die-cast line that is sold at major retailers across the country.
Diamond Hill, a predominantly Hispanic school with 95 percent being of that descent, is looking forward to hearing the story of Almirola and his family, which are of Cuban erican meal is only available at the Levy All-American concession stands (Section 104 Saturday and Sunday, Section 132 Sunday, and Section 433 Sunday). Price is only $10. The Hawg Heaven BLT will be on sale throughout the NASCAR doubleheader weekend that features the NASCAR xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300 on Saturday, April 7, and the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 8.
Texas Motor Speedway will provide the media with a sneak preview of its latest upscale fan amenity – the Restart Bar – on Friday, April 6, the first day of on-track activity for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR doubleheader. The event, from 10:30-11 a.m. CT, will include a tour of the bar, food and beverage, a major sponsor announcement and media availability with a marquee Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver.
Texas Motor Speedway will provide a bus shuttle to and from the media center to the Restart Bar for the media contingent. The bus will be located on Allison Ave. and depart at 10:15 a.m.
The Restart Bar will provide guests with an exclusive experience and one of the best views in motorsports. Located approximately 26 rows above the Restart Zone at the start of the dogleg section on the frontstretch of Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval, this is the area where the field picks up speed to take the green flag for the start of the race as well as following each of the caution periods.
Fans will have the option to enjoy the race day from both outdoor and indoor seating, combining the close proximity to the on-track action with a suite-style experience.
The Restart Bar will debut with the xfinity Series My Bariatric Solutions 300 on Saturday, April 7, and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 8. Admission is $150 for the xfinity race and $200 for the Cup race.
JUST FOR KIX
American Country Music artist, actor and film producer Kix Brooks will serve as the Grand Marshal and deliver the command for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 8, at Texas Motor Speedway.
Brooks is best known for being half of the award-winning musical duo Brooks & Dunn as well as host of radio’s American Country Countdown. In their two decades together, Brooks & Dunn won more Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards than any act in the history of country music. They have sold more than 30 million records.
In 2015, following a five-year hiatus, Brooks & Dunn reunited and joined forces with Reba McEntire for Reba + Brooks & Dunn: Together In Vegas, a Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace. The performed the residency in March and will return in August for six additional performances.
In April of 2009, budding 12-year-old pianist Lewis Warren, donning a white tuxedo, announced his arrival on the national stage by performing the National Anthem in front of more than 150,000 fans and a national television audience prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Nine years later, Warren is returning for an encore performance as he will handle the National Anthem duties prior to next Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Now 21 years old, the Fort Worth native returns with an enhanced skill set and a burgeoning resume.
“I’m very excited and honored to come back again,” Warren said. “The race is such an exciting event, and also the opportunity to honor my country through song is always humbling. I honestly still can’t believe how young I was when I performed. In that sense it does feel slightly different due to the fact that I find myself more matured emotionally and pianistically.”
Warren is in his third year of college, studying Piano Performance at the esteemed New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Since he last visited Texas Motor Speedway, Warren appeared on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, was a finalist in the New England Conservatory’s Honors Piano Competition and honored multiple times.
Those honors include Grand Prize Winner at the Dallas Symphonic Festival Competition; Grand Prize Winner of the State and Regional Omega Psi Phi Talent Hunt Competition; and National Finalist in the Junior Division of MTNA Piano Competition.
He gives much of the credit to his experience at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I would say my life changed in the sense that I got a taste of the professional world and how to hold myself as a pianist at an early age,” Warren said. “I had to be mature and confident yet also be myself, which is joyful and playful simultaneously; great life lessons.”
Warren’s initial visit to Texas Motor Speedway came about when Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage watched the 12-year-old play during a church service.
“Whenever one is performing you never know who is listening in the audience,” Warren said. “I very was surprised when Mr. Gossage contacted me for the first time. To think on it reminds me of a saying: ‘Whenever a musician plays, it is always a performance or audition.’”
RACING & RAFFLES
As a result of the passing of a state constitutional amendment this past November, Texas Motor Speedway on behalf of Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas will be able to host the popular 50/50 raffles during its major race weekends, beginning with April’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR doubleheader.
Texas Motor Speedway and SCC would be joining all the other major-league sports teams in the state, including the Dallas Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, Texas Rangers and FC Dallas, that are permitted to conduct 50/50 raffles at their events.
The raffle will be run throughout the race weekend with volunteers selling tickets throughout the facility each day, including at the dirt track event. Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas will announce one grand prize winner from the raffle contributions during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 race on Sunday, April 8. The winner will received 50% of the amount from the raffle purchases during race weekend.