8:50 p.m. CT
NASCAR RACING EXPERIENCE PARTNERS WITH TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
NASCAR Racing Experience, the leading experiential racing company in North America, has partnered with Texas Motor Speedway for a full-time program on the 1.5-mile oval beginning in 2019.
“We’re excited to join forces with Texas Motor Speedway to bring an incredible racing experience to race fans in real NASCAR race cars,” said Bob Lutz, CEO of Driving 101, which operates NASCAR Racing Experience, Mario Andretti Racing Experience and Richard Petty Driving Experience. “With permanent homes now in Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and now Texas Motor Speedway, race fans, thrill-seekers and corporate guests can race year-round at destinations around the country.”
To promote the partnership, NASCAR Racing Experience is sponsoring the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Bubba Wallace will drive in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. The traditional “Petty Blue” car is sporting NASCAR Racing Experience stripes on the hood, rear deck lid and fenders.
NASCAR legend Richard Petty, owner of the famed No. 43 entry, said he is looking forward to expanding the program’s reach into the Greater Southwest via TMS.
“It’s a good venue, a good location and we never really concentrated on this part of the country,” King Richard said during a press conference Saturday afternoon. “There’s a bunch of people that come here from all over the country. We’re going to try to get them down to the Speedway and run a few laps.”
NASCAR Racing Experience offers a realistic on-track program. There’s no lead car to follow and drivers run laps without an instructor alongside. Cars in the program are retired Cup machines formerly driven by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, among others.
As part of the expansion into TMS, NASCAR Racing Experience has engaged Legends as exclusive onsite corporate sales agent.
8:39 p.m. CT
Cole Custer discusses breaking a winless drought at Texas and advancing to the Championship 4 for the NASCAR Xfinity Playoffs.
7:03 p.m. CT
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 300 RACE RESULTS – N1831_UNOFFRES
DRIVER POINTS FOLLOWING O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 300 – N1831_UNOFFDRIVPTS
OWNER POINTS FOLLOWING O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 300 – N1831_UNOFFOWNPTS
6:56 p.m. CT
Top-Three Closest Xfinity Series Finishes In Texas Motor Speedway History
Margin Date Race Winner Runner-up
0.128 April 14, 2007 O’Reilly 300 Matt Kenseth Denny Hamlin
0.142 Nov. 5, 2011 O’Reilly Challenge Trevor Bayne Denny Hamlin
0.162 Nov. 3, 2018 O’Reilly 300 Cole Custer Tyler Reddick
6:27 p.m. CT
Cole Custer bangs past Tyler Reddick on a dramatic final lap to win Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway. The 0.162 of a second margin of victory was the third-closest Xfinity Series race in the history of the speedway. Custer’s victory – his first of the season and second of his career – earns him an automatic berth in the Xfinity Series Championship 4 in two weeks at Miami-Homestead Speedway.
“I can’t believe it. I drove deeper than I did all weekend into Turn 1,” said Custer, driver of the No. 00 Autodesk Ford Mustang fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing. “Going to Homestead ! It’s awesome. We haven’t won all year but been so close. This is perfect time to do it.”
RACE WINNER FAST FACTS – N1831_RNOTES
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 300 CUMULATIVE REPORT – N1831_CUMUL (3)
5:07 P.M. CT
CUSTER CLAIMS XFINITY STAGE 2 WIN AT TMS
Playoff contender Cole Custer emerged with a victory in Stage 2 of Saturday’s 14th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Custer, driver of the No. 00 Autodesk Ford Mustang fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing, finished 0.430-seconds in front of Justin Allgaier and his No. 7 Suave MEN Chevrolet Camaro SS after the 45-lap segment. The stage win added 19 points to Custer’s total in the Round of 8.
Earlier, Daniel Hemric of Richard Childress Racing earned his ninth stage.
Hemric, who qualified his No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro SS ninth on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval, paced a line of seven-of-eight drivers competing in the elimination event.
5:04 P.M. CT
CUMULATIVE REPORT FOR STAGES 1 & 2 FOR SATURDAY’S O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 300 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES PLAYOFF RACE
N1831_CUMUL4:37 p.m. CT
4:44 P.M. CT
HEMRIC SCORES XFINITY STAGE 1 WIN AT TMS
Playoff contender Daniel Hemric padded his point total Saturday with a Stage 1 victory in the 14th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Richard Childress Racing driver earned his ninth stage win of the season.
Hemric, who qualified his No. 21 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro SS ninth on TMS’ 1.5-mile oval, paced a line of seven-of-eight drivers competing in the Round of 8 elimination event. Hemric was followed by Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, pole-sitter Christopher Bell, point-leader Elliott Sadler, Matt Tifft and Justin Allgaier. The lone Playoff driver out of the top-10 was Austin Cindric in 11th.
Hemric began the race one point behind Sadler (3,058-3,057) in the championship standings, with this event and next weekend’s race at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., near Phoenix to decide the Championship Four at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks.
The start of the 200-lap/300-miler was marred heading into Turn 1, when Bell’s No. 20 GameStop NBA 2K19 Toyota Camry broke loose and slid up the track, triggering a nine-car melee. That was one of three caution periods to plague the opening segment.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 300 STAGE 1 RESULTS – N1831_CUMUL Stage1
EDWARDS, CASTRONEVES INDUCTED INTO TEXAS MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME
He wasn’t carrying a helmet and he declined (several times) to reprise his signature back flip off a stage. With that, retired NASCAR star Carl Edwards celebrated his induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Saturday as 2017 classmate to popular IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves.
Edwards and Castroneves became the 20th and 21st members of the TMHOF during induction ceremonies at The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom as part of the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Playoff tripleheader weekend.
Edwards shocked NASCAR Nation when he unexpectedly announced his retirement from big-time stock car racing in January 2017. But the man who punctuated each of his six victories at TMS with a back flip off the door of his race car was cheered as he entered the ballroom.
“I didn’t expect that at all. And then to have people here wearing Carl Edwards gear _ I didn’t expect that,” said Edwards, a 39-year-old native of Columbia, Mo. Edwards made 24 NASCAR Cup Series starts at TMS from 2005 to 2016 and led 691 total laps on the 1.5-mile oval.
“The more I’m away from the sport there’s two things that are clear that I miss _ I definitely miss driving the car,” Edwards said. “Just sliding a car sideways is a blast. And I miss the people. This is really cool. It means a lot for (TMS President) Eddie Gossage to have me back here just so I can say ‘hi’ to a lot of folks. Never thought I’d be so happy to see (NASCAR executive) Mike Helton again. Just cool.”
Edwards has become a gentleman sailor and worldwide traveler over the past two years, while also devoting more time to his family. “It’s been a really great two years. I’ve had a lot of fun,” said Edwards, whose career featured stints with Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
Edwards added he has had “a couple conversations with people” about racing again, but none in the last year or so. “I think everyone pretty much understands I’m not interested in coming back and doing anything too serious right now. It’s been off my radar for a long time,” Edwards said. “I do miss driving the cars. I have a feeling something will come up that’ll be natural to do and I get to drive a little more. But definitely I’m not going to go sign up a three-year contract to run for a Cup championship or something like that. Not right now.”
Edwards added he was honored to join Castroneves , the winningest open-wheel driver in TMS history.
Castroneves, whose INDYCAR tenure with Team Penske ended after the 2017 season, owns TMS records for most wins (4), top-10s (15), top-fives (11) and laps-led (506) over the course of a record 20 career starts. Each of those victories was punctuated by his trademark front stretch fence-climb, a tradition that began after his first Indy car win at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit in 2000 and prompted his “Spider Man” nickname. Castroneves also recorded one pole position around TMS’ 1.5-mile oval.
“Coming here today to see the Speedway, I said, ‘Man, I miss this place,” said Castroneves, a 43-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I miss the environment _ but I’m not retired. I’m still driving.”
Castroneves moved to Penske’s sports car organization for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after 18 successful open-wheel seasons, driving an Acura ARX-05 Prototype with Ricky Taylor. While committed to sports car racing, Castroneves will renew his quest for a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 win in next May’s 103rd edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” with Team Penske at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Castroneves implored Gossage to help him convince team-owner Roger Penske to add June’s IndyCar Series night race at TMS to his abbreviated open-wheel schedule. “We got to start sending messages to RP,” Castroneves said. “I’ll never stop thanking the fans, whether it’s from racing or Dancing With the Stars. This is a phenomenal honor.”
Gossage presented each inductee with a TMHOF ring.
The event marked the TMHOF’s first dual induction since native Texan Bobby Labonte, the 2000 Cup champion from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Speedway Motorsports Inc., founder O. Bruton Smith were recognized in 2008. It also was the Hall’s sixth dual induction overall.
Fittingly, Edwards was honored on the same day as his last team-owner, Joe Gibbs, received the Bruton Smith Legend Award for his leadership of a championship-winning organization. With more than 300 combined wins in the Cup and Xfinity series, Gibbs has solidified himself as one of NASCAR’s most successful owners.
Cup star Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing was honored with the 2017 Racer of the Year Award after a pair of strong finishes in April and a drought-ending victory in the fall Cup race. Harvick scored the first Cup Series victory of his career in 30 starts in Fort Worth during last November’s AAA Texas 500.
NASCAR Xfinity title contender Christopher Bell, a native of Oklahoma City, Oka., received the 2017 TMS Sportsmanship Award.
The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame ceremony serves as a major fundraiser for Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter. SCC has invested over $10.6-million in the North Texas community to help children in need. In the 20-year existence of the local chapter, SCC has improved the lives of over 2.4-million children.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff race is underway at Texas Motor Speedway. Polesitter Christopher Bell spins on the opening lap in a nine-car incident to bring out a caution flag on Lap 2. Bell escapes with minimal damage. Photo credit: Getty Images.
3:11 p.m. CT
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. posted the fastest lap at 192.349 miles per hour in Saturday’s final Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Stenhouse Jr. was followed by NASCAR Playoff contenders Kurt Busch, who was second fastest at 192.075 mph, and Martin Truex Jr., who was third at 191.884 mph.
Also cracking the top 10 among the NASCAR Playoff contender contingent were Kevin Harvick (7th, 191.625 mph), Kyle Busch (8th, 191.625 mph) and Aric Almirola (9th, 191.625 mph). Chase Elliott was 17th (190.402 mph), Joey Logano 18th (190.235 mph) and Clint Bowyer 22nd (190.054 mph).
The AAA Texas 500, the middle race of the three-event Round of 8 segment of the NASCAR Playoffs, is set for 2 p.m. CT Sunday (TV: NBC Sports Network, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM, 95.9 FM The Ranch).
FINAL MENCS PRACTICE – C1834_PRACFINAL
1:46 p.m. CT / UPDATED AT 2:18 P.M. WITH QUALIFYING RESULTS, POLE WINNER FACTS AND STARTING LINE-UP
NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff contender Christopher Bell captured his fifth pole of the season during Saturday’s same-day qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Bell posted a lap of 189.321 miles per hour in the third and final round of the knock-out qualifying format to sit on the pole for today’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (TV: NBC Sports Network, Radio: PRN, SiriusXM, 95.9 FM The Ranch).
Shane Lee, a non-playoff contender, qualified second with a lap of 189.056 mph to fill out the front row. Bell was joined among the top five by three other playoff contenders, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick and Justin Allgaier.
Custer qualified third with a lap of 188.758 mph, Reddick fourth at 188.488 mph and Allgaier fifth at 188.350 mph.
QUALIFYING RESULTS – N1831_QUALRES
POLE WINNER FAST FACTS – N1831_QNOTES
STARTING LINEUP – N1831_STARTROW
12:48 p.m. CT
Aric Almirola had the fastest lap in Saturday’s practice to pace seven of the eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 Playoff contenders among the top 10 for the session.
Almirola recorded a fast lap of 193.854 mph to lead the field while fellow playoff drivers Kyle Busch (193.805 mph) and Clint Bowyer (193.771) were second and third, respectively.
Also cracking the top 10 among the playoff drivers were Kurt Busch (6th, 193.313 mph), Kevin Harvick (8th, 193.285 mph), Joey Logano (9th, 193.161 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (10th, 193.154).
Chase Elliott was the only playoff driver outside of the top 10 in practice, finishing with the 19th fastest lap at 192.226 mph.
PRACTICE #2 RESULTS – C1834_PRAC2
Saturday’s AAA Texas 500 Schedule
9:00am NXS Garage Open
9:00am – 3:30pm Texas Motor Speedway Credential Office Open
9:00am – 3:30pm NASCAR Credentials Open
10:00am – 5:30pm MENCS Garage Open
11:00am SCC Hall of Fame Luncheon
11:00am Gates 3, 4, 5, Luxury Suites & Victory Lane Club Open
11:00am Gates 2 & 6 Open for Luxury Suites & Victory Lane Club Suites Only
11:00am – 3:30pm MENCS HOT PASS IN EFFECT
11:30am Legends Racing at Lil’ Texas
11:30am – 12:25pm MENCS 2nd Practice
11:30am – 1:30pm NXS Garage Open to Public
12:40pm NXS Salute to Veterans Qualifying Fueled By Texas Lottery
2:00pm – 2:50pm MENCS Final Practice 3:30pm NXS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 (200 Laps, 300 Miles)
30 minutes after Checkered Flag – No Limits Live Auction benefiting SCC, Speedway Club Ballroom